Daily: 28/12/2021

У Білорусі журналісту Радіо Свобода Олегу Груздиловичу висунули звинувачення

Йому загрожує до чотирьох років позбавлення волі

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Засідання РНБО перенесли на 30 грудня

Раніше засідання Ради національної безпеки і оборони планувалося на середу, 29 грудня

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Russian Court Orders Prominent Rights Group to Shut Down 

Russia’s Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that Memorial, the country’s most prominent human rights organizations, must shut down. 

Prosecutors had accused Memorial of failing to properly mark its publications under its designation as a foreign agent.They also said the group denigrated the former Soviet Union and rehabilitated “Nazi criminals.” 

Memorial rejected the accusations as being politically motivated, and its leaders have pledged to continue their work. 

The group rose to prominence through work to document crimes during the time of Soviet leader Joseph Stalin, and more recently spoke out against efforts to repress critics of Russian leader Vladimir Putin. 

Some information for this report came from the Associated Press, Agence France-Presse and Reuters.

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«Антонов» показав військово-транспортний літак, у створенні якого взяли участь понад 30 підприємств

За повідомленням, Ан-178-100Р №001 – це літак нового покоління, створений на базі сучасних світових інформаційних технологій

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Премʼєр-міністр Ізраїлю заявив, що не проти «доброї» ядерної угоди з Іраном

Раніше Ізраїль звинувачував свого регіонального ворога Іран у використанні «ядерного шантажу» як розмінної монети, що дозволяє наблизитися до здобуття ядерної зброї

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Russian Gas Supplies to Europe Under Scrutiny 

With the arrival of winter in Europe and energy prices soaring, tensions are running high over the provision of gas from Russia — especially through the Yamal-Europe pipeline that runs through Poland and Belarus. 

But the Yamal pipeline is just one part of a complex gas infrastructure network shaped not only by energy needs but also wider economic interests and politics, including strife between Russia and Ukraine. 

The pipeline, opened in 1994, runs over 2,000 kilometers (1,242 miles) to Germany from the city of Torjok in central Russia, transiting through Belarus and Poland. 

It delivers 30 billion cubic meters of gas to Europe each year, making it one of the most important vehicles for the provision of Russian gas to the continent. 

Russia sells Germany gas at a cheaper rate than it does to Poland, in part to make up for the higher transit fees through the longer delivery distance. 

But this means that it is more cost efficient for Poland to buy Russian gas from Germany. 

Some of the gas sold by German traders to Poland flows directly into Polish territory, or if that is not sufficient, the pipeline can also operate in reverse to send more to Germany’s eastern neighbor. 

Since December 21, the pipeline has been operating in reverse, with gas flowing east back into Poland from the German border, according to data from management company Gascade seen by AFP. 

This means that over the last days, Germany itself has not been receiving gas via Yamal. 

Meanwhile, Russian gas continues to flow to Europe through other major pipelines such as Nord Stream I and TurkStream. 

It is not unusual for the Yamal pipeline to operate in reverse for short periods, but this latest about-turn comes against a backdrop of political tension over fears that Russia may invade Ukraine. 

Political pressure 

In Germany, the government has said that in the event of any “escalation”, it will put the brakes on another gas pipeline, Nord Stream 2, which is still awaiting the green light from the authorities. 

Some European states, such as Poland and Ukraine, have accused Moscow and Russian energy company Gazprom of cutting gas supplies to Europe to exert political pressure over these tensions. 

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said the change in gas flow through the Yamal pipeline is purely down to fluctuating orders and denied any political motive. 

Gazprom, for its part, has called accusations that it is failing to deliver enough gas to Europe “absolutely groundless and unacceptable” and blamed Germany for dipping into its reserves to supply neighboring Poland. 

Berlin on Monday denied any intervention on its part. “It is not the government that decides on gas flows, but the market, the traders,” the Economy and Climate Ministry said. 

According to George Zachmann, a specialist in energy issues for the Brussels-based Bruegel think tank, Gazprom may also be “favoring its own pipelines” over those it does not 100% control, such as the Yamal pipeline. 

Low reserves

A spokeswoman for the German Economy and Climate Ministry told AFP that “security of supply is still guaranteed.” 


But Berlin, which has “relatively low” gas reserves with its tanks just 53 percent full, could soon have “difficulties”, according to Christophe Bonnery, president of the Association of Energy Economists. 


“If contracts are adhered to there will be no problems until at least March,” said Zachmann. But “if Russia cannot or will not deliver gas for technical or other reasons, then supplies could fall short.” 


The wrangling comes amid an explosion in gas prices, which are up to seven times higher than at the beginning of the year.


The surge is thought to be partly down to a particularly cold winter and an increase in activity linked to the post-coronavirus economic recovery. 

With 40% of gas consumed in Europe coming from Russia, Moscow is suspected of taking advantage of the tensions on the world market to reduce supply and drive up prices. 


The International Energy Agency (IEA) in September called on Russia to be a “reliable supplier” and send more gas to Europe. 

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Верховний суд Росії ліквідував міжнародне товариство «Меморіал»

Генеральна прокуратура наполягала, що організація систематично порушувала закон про іноземних агентів

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Із 2014 року в Україні викрито понад 20 російських дипломатів-розвідників – СБУ

У СБУ запевняють, що контррозвідка проводить «системну роботу щодо запобігання та нейтралізації загроз гібридної агресії РФ проти України»

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Росія: Жириновський закликав бомбити Україну в новорічну ніч

26 грудня на пресконференції в місті Грозний глава російського регіону Чечня Рамзан Кадиров заявив про готовність «вирішити питання» з «приєднанням» України до Росії або Чечні

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У МЗС Росії підтвердили проведення переговорів із США 10 січня у Женеві

Очікується, що ці переговори будуть зосереджені на нарощуванні російських військ біля українського кордону та на вимогах Кремля припинити розширення НАТО на схід

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The Euro: How It Started 20 Years Ago

As Europe rang in the New Year 20 years ago, 12 of its nations said goodbye to their deutschmarks, French francs, liras and pesetas as they welcomed the euro single currency. 

On January 1, 2002, euro notes and coins became a reality for some 300 million people from Athens to Dublin, three years after the currency was formally launched in “virtual” form. 

Here is a recap of the event, drawn from AFP reporting at the time: 

In a far cry from the austere New Year’s celebrations imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic 20 years later, fireworks, music and lights blazed at midnight into the early morning of January 1, 2002, to mark the biggest monetary switch in history. 

AFP reported that many people passed on their traditional New Year’s Eve parties, choosing instead to queue up at cash dispensers in their enthusiasm to get hold of the first pristine euro notes. 

In Berlin, Germans said hello to the euro and goodbye to their beloved mark at a special ceremony at the Brandenburg Gate, as up to 1 million people thronged the streets for the traditional giant New Year’s Eve street party there. 

The euro cash was also a hit in the coffee shops and red-light district of Amsterdam. 

Irish revelers were, however, less in a hurry to welcome the euro, continuing to pay for Guinness, Ireland’s favorite tipple, in the national currency, leaving the headache of the changeover until the next day. 

As many feared, the euro switch provoked sporadic price hikes across Europe. 

From Spanish bus tickets, which jumped by 33%, to a Finnish bazaar, where “everything for 10 markka (1.68 euros)” was now “everything for two euros,” many price tags were a bit heftier since the single currency became legal tender. 

The European Central Bank president at the time, Wim Duisenberg, who warned merchants not to take advantage of the euro launch to increase prices, said he had not seen signs of widespread abuse. 

“When I bought a Big Mac and a strawberry milkshake this week it cost 4.45 euros, which is exactly the same amount as I paid for the same meal last week,” Duisenberg told reporters. 

Europe surprised itself with the almost glitch-free transition to the single currency, AFP reported. 

The Germans — reputedly skeptical about the single currency and nostalgic for their mark — turned out to be among the most enthusiastic. 

An editorial in the popular German tabloid Bild proclaimed: “Our new money is moving full speed ahead. No problems whatsoever in saying adieu to the mark, no tears to be shed.” 

Initial “europhoria” was, however, tempered as a few hiccups appeared, such as cash shortages and long lines in banks, post offices and at toll booths. 

France urged citizens to not rush all at once to the banks with their savings, often hoarded under mattresses and in jam jars, since they had until June 30 to get rid of their francs at commercial banks and until 2012 at the Bank of France. 

And the European Commission reported minor problems in getting small euro bills and coins distributed in most countries. 

Duisenberg said, however, he was sure that January 1, 2002, would be written into history books as the start of a new European era. 


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US, Russia to Hold Security Talks in January 

The United States and Russia will hold talks in January about nuclear arms control and tensions along the Russia-Ukraine border. 

A spokesperson for the White House National Security Council told reporters the two sides would meet January 10, followed by Russia-NATO talks on January 12 and a meeting on January 13 with Russia, the United States and other members of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe. 

“When we sit down to talk, Russia can put its concerns on the table, and we will put our concerns on the table with Russia’s activities as well,” the spokesperson said.”There will be areas where we can make progress, and areas where we will disagree. That’s what diplomacy is about.” 

Western governments have been alarmed by the buildup of Russian troops along the border with Ukraine, expressing concern about potential plans for a Russian invasion.Russian leader Vladimir Putin has denied any such plans and has demanded guarantees against NATO expansion close to its territory. 

The National Security Council spokesperson said in respect to Ukraine’s own interests, the U.S.-Russia talks will not reach any decisions about Ukraine. 

“President Biden’s approach on Ukraine has been clear and consistent: unite the alliance behind two tracks — deterrence and diplomacy. We are unified as an alliance on the consequences Russia would face if it moves on Ukraine,” the spokesperson said. 

Some information for this report came from Agence France-Presse and Reuters 

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Росія: лідер «Акваріуму» Борис Гребенщиков повідомив, що з країни вислали флейтиста гурту

Борис Гребенщиков сказав шанувальникам на концерті: «У такій ситуації найближчим часом може опинитися будь-хто з нас і з вас»

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Президент США підписав закон про оборону на наступний рік – 300 млн дол виділено Україні

Загалом оборонний бюджет США на наступний рік передбачає витрати на військові потреби на майже 5% більше, ніж торік

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OCCRP назвав «корупціонером 2021 року» Лукашенка

«Останній диктатор Європи» удостоївся цієї нагороди за потурання організованій злочинності і корупції», – йдеться в повідомленні на сайті OCCRP

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Денісова звернулася до МКЧХ і ОБСЄ через утримуваного в Макіївці Ставцева

За словами омбудсмена, у Ставцева загострився виразковий коліт із тотальними ураженням шлунково-кишкового тракту, що призвів до постійних кровотеч

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Omicron Variant Causing Flight Cancellations Worldwide 

Holiday travelers continued to experience widespread flight cancellations as the omicron variant causes airline staff to call in sick.

According to FlightAware, which tracks delays and cancellations, there have been 2,395 total flight cancellations around the world Monday with 869 of those impacting flights “within, into, or out of the United States.” 

Some 6,342 flights have been delayed around the world with 1,602 delays impacting U.S flights. 

Over the Christmas weekend, thousands more flights were canceled, leaving travelers stranded. 

“We apologize to our customers for the delay in their holiday travel plans,” Delta said in a statement. “Delta people are working hard to get them to where they need to be as quickly and as safely as possible on the next available flight.” 

The holiday season is the busiest time of year for air travel. The U.S. Transportation Security Administration said 2.19 million passengers were screened on Dec. 23, and the previous day saw more travelers than the same day in 2019. 

When things might return to normal is unclear. 


Delta and JetBlue have reportedly asked the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to reduce quarantine times for their vaccinated employees. Some airlines are also reportedly offering bonuses to work more to cover for sick employees. 

Amid the scramble, some are expressing concern. 

“We’ve got to make sure employees don’t feel pressured to come to work when they’ve been exposed to COVID or they think they may have the symptoms,” Captain Dennis Tajer, a spokesperson for the Allied Pilots Association, told ABC News. 

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