country:russia

  • USA trekker seg ut, Russland rykker inn – NRK Urix – Utenriksnyheter og -dokumentarer

    https://www.nrk.no/urix/usa-trekker-seg-ut_-russland-rykker-inn-1.14342752

    Alors que les États-unis semblent réduire peu à peu leur présence en Afrique, la Russie a signé des accords de coopération militaire avec au moins la moitié des pays africains.

    USA trekker seg ut, Russland rykker inn

    Afrika består av 54 selvstendige stater. Russland har i løpet av de fire siste årene inngått et militært samarbeid med over halvparten av dem.
    Russiske og egyptiske spesialstyrker under en øvelse i Egypt i august 2018.

    Det handler om å lære moderne krigføring. Hvordan nedkjempe og utslette militsgrupper som ikke følger vanlige regler som gjelder for krigføring ?

    I tillegg trekker supermakten USA seg ut av Afrika. Mange av landene på det afrikanske kontinentet ser seg om etter en ny samarbeidspartner og militær støttespiller.

    –---------

    U.S. Prepares to Reduce Troops and Shed Missions in Africa - The New York Times
    https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/01/world/africa/us-withdraw-troops-africa.html

    STUTTGART, Germany — Hundreds of American troops in Africa would be reassigned and the number of Special Operations missions on the continent would be wound down under plans submitted by a top military commander, a response to the Trump administration’s strategy to increasingly focus on threats from China and Russia.

    Defense Department officials said they expected most of the troop cuts and scaled-back missions to come from Central and West Africa, where Special Operations missions have focused on training African militaries to combat the growing threat from extremist Islamist militant groups.

    The plan by Gen. Thomas D. Waldhauser, the leader of United States Africa Command, follows an ambush in Niger last fall that killed four American soldiers and an attack in southwestern Somalia that killed another in June.

    In an interview with The New York Times, General Waldhauser said his plan would help streamline the military’s ability to combat threats around the world — but not retreat from Africa.

    –-----

    Russia to increase military presence in Central African Republic | Central African Republic News | Al Jazeera
    https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2018/11/russia-increase-military-presence-central-african-republic-18111909031651
    /mritems/images/2018/11/19/665003303001_5968862195001_5968848897001-th.jpg

    Russia to increase military presence in Central African Republic

    With an arms embargo in place on the Central African Republic, Russia is ready to send military trainers to the country.

    #afrique #russie #états-unis #armement #présence_militaire


  • Ukraine-Russia tensions reach Greece’s holy Mount Athos | World news | The Guardian

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/dec/14/ukraine-russia-tensions-reach-greeces-holy-mount-athos

    Orthodox church’s decision to make Ukrainian branch independent of Russia causes schism and predictions of violence

    by Shaun Walker in Athos

    Fri 14 Dec 2018 06.00 GMT

    In the chilly pre-dawn gloom one recent morning, Father Makarios hurried to his chapel, one of dozens of churches and cathedrals across Mount Athos, to perform morning liturgy. A two-hour marathon of biblical recitations and sonorous chanting, it would be just one of many services that day.


  • During Seven-Hour Spacewalk, Russian Astronauts Gather Clues to Orbital Mystery
    https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/10/science/spacewalk-russia-soyuz.html

    Finally, the astronauts, Oleg Kononenko and Sergey Prokopyev, found what they were looking for: a tiny, sealed hole in the spacecraft’s hull.

    They sought out this puncture because they were seeking clues to who drilled that circular hole in a #Soyuz craft that is currently docked at the space station. The hole caused a small air leak at the space station in August. Though quickly sealed, it roiled space relations between the United States and Russia as Russian media speculated that a NASA astronaut had deliberately sabotaged the station.

    #ISS


  • Widespread Blurring of Satellite Images Reveals Secret Facilities – Federation Of American Scientists
    https://fas.org/blogs/security/2018/12/widespread-blurring-of-satellite-images-reveals-secret-facilities

    Yandex Maps—Russia’s foremost mapping service—has also agreed to selectively blur out specific sites beyond recognition; however, it has done so for just two countries: Israel and Turkey. The areas of these blurred sites range from large complexes—such as airfields or munitions storage bunkers—to small, nondescript buildings within city blocks.

    (...) By complying with requests to selectively obscure military facilities, the mapping service has actually revealed their precise locations, perimeters, and potential function to anyone curious enough to find them all.

    #satellite #flou #secret #armée

    • Le billet de Matt Korda est fort intéressant.

      Although blurring out specific sites is certainly unusual, it is not uncommon for satellite imagery companies to downgrade the resolution of certain sets of imagery before releasing them to viewing platforms like Yandex or Google Earth; in fact, if you trawl around the globe using these platforms, you’ll notice that different locations will be rendered in a variety of resolutions. Downtown Toronto, for example, is always visible at an extremely high resolution; looking closely, you can spot my bike parked outside my old apartment. By contrast, imagery of downtown Jerusalem is always significantly blurrier; you can just barely make out cars parked on the side of the road.

      As I explained in my previous piece about geolocating Israeli Patriot batteries, a 1997 US law known as the Kyl-Bingaman Amendment (KBA) prohibits US companies from publishing satellite imagery of Israel at a Ground Sampling Distance lower than what is commercially available. This generally means that US-based satellite companies like DigitalGlobe and viewing platforms like Google Earth won’t publish any images of Israel that are better than 2m resolution.

      Foreign mapping services like Russia’s Yandex are legally not subject to the KBA, but they tend to stick to the 2m resolution rule regardless, likely for two reasons. Firstly, after 20 years the KBA standard has become somewhat institutionalized within the satellite imagery industry. And secondly, Russian companies (and the Russian state) are surely wary of doing anything to sour Russia’s critical relationship with Israel.
      […]
      My complete list of blurred sites in both Israel and Turkey totals over 300 distinct buildings, airfields, ports, bunkers, storage sites, bases, barracks, nuclear facilities, and random buildings—prompting several intriguing points of consideration:

      • Included in the list of Yandex’s blurred sites are at least two NATO facilities: Allied Land Command (LANDCOM) in Izmir, and Incirlik Air Base, which hosts the largest contingent of US B61 nuclear gravity bombs at any single NATO base.
      • Strangely, no Russian facilities have been blurred—including its nuclear facilities, submarine bases, air bases, launch sites, or numerous foreign military bases in Eastern Europe, Central Asia, or the Middle East.
      • Although none of Russia’s permanent military installations in Syria have been blurred, almost the entirety of Syria is depicted in extremely low resolution, making it nearly impossible to utilize Yandex for analyses of Syrian imagery. By contrast, both Crimea and the entire Donbass region are visible at very high resolutions, so this blurring standard applies only selectively to Russia’s foreign adventures.
      • All four Israeli Patriot batteries that I identified using radar interference in my previous post have been blurred out, confirming that these sites do indeed have a military function.

      lien vers le billet mentionné dans le dernier paragraphe : repérage des sites de batteries de Patriot en Israel https://seenthis.net/messages/743998


  • [Video] Porting OpenMandriva to various architectures
    https://www.openmandriva.org/en/news/article/video-porting-openmandriva-to-various-architectures

    Hungry for the #News? Here it is folks! OpenMandriva goes again beyond - did you know that you can port it to various architectures? AArch64, armv7hnl, RISC-V, Ryzen - make your call! Interested? Then check out the video below, our freshly elected new President of the OpenMandriva association, Bero, presents this topic on Embedded Linux Conference in Edinburgh in October, and then delivers same to Linux Piter in St.Petersburg, Russia, early November (pictures below in portfolio). Feel (...)

    News



  • After the Quake

    #Gyumri, the city symbol of the quake that 21 years ago struck Armenia. The stories of the homeless, the #domiks, the migrants, waiting for the opening of the borders with Turkey. Reportage.

    December 7, 1988, 11.41 am – An earthquake measuring 6.9 on the Richter scale hits northern Armenia, killing 25,000 and leaving many more homeless. Mikhail Gorbachev, then General Secretary of the Communist Party of the U.S.S.R. cuts short an official visit to the United States to travel to the small South Caucasus Soviet republic as news of the catastrophe makes headlines the world over. Poverty skyrockets as a nation mourned its dead.

    Hundreds of millions of dollars flooded into the country for relief and reconstruction efforts, but two other events of as much significance soon frustrated efforts to rebuild the disaster zone. In 1991, Armenia declared independence from the former Soviet Union, and in 1993, in support of Azerbaijan during a de facto war with Armenia over the disputed territory of Nagorno Karabakh, Turkey closed the land border with its eastern neighbor.

    Meanwhile, as corruption skyrocketed, the conflict as well as two closed borders and an economic blockade by Azerbaijan and Turkey only added to Armenia’s woes. Yet, despite strong economic growth in the mid-2000s, albeit from a low base, and promises from then President Robert Kocharyan to completely rebuild Gyumri, Armenia’s second largest city and the main urban center to be hit by the earthquake, the outlook appears as bleak as ever.

    Once Gyumri had been known for its architecture, humor and cultural importance, but now it has become synonymous with the earthquake and domiks – “temporary” accommodation usually amounting to little more than metal containers or dilapidated shacks. Hot in the summer and bitterly cold in the winter, others more fortunate found refuge in abandoned buildings vacated during the economic collapse following independence.

    Vartik Ghukasyan, for example, is 71 and alone. An orphan, she never married and now struggles to survive on a pension of just 25,000 AMD (about $65) a month in a rundown former factory hostel in Gyumri. However, that might all change as more buildings are privatized or their existing owners seek to reclaim them.

    According to the 2001 census, the population of Gyumri stands at 150,000 although some claim that it has since grown to 160-170,000. Nevertheless, few local residents take such figures seriously. Pointing to low school attendance figures, they estimate the actual population might be no more than 70,000. Even so, despite the exodus, there are as many as 4-7,000 families still living in temporary shelter according to various estimates.

    Anush Babajanyan, a 26-year-old photojournalist from the Armenian capital, is one of just a few media professionals who remain concerned by their plight. Having spent the past year documenting the lives of those still waiting for proper housing, the anniversary might have been otherwise low-profile outside of Gyumri, but Babajanyan attempted to focus attention on the occasion by exhibiting her work in Yerevan.

    “When I started this project, 20 years had passed since the earthquake and there were families still living in domiks who were not receiving enough attention,” she told Osservatorio. “ The government and other organizations promised to solve the issue of their housing, but their actions were not enough. Since then I have seen very little improvement.”

    “If this issue wasn’t solved in 20 years, it probably isn’t surprising that not much has changed in just a year. However, it has been two years since Serge Sargsyan, then Armenian prime minister and now president, said that the issue of these residents will be solved by now. But, although some districts are being reconstructed, this is not enough to resolve the issue.”

    As the center of Shirak, an impoverished region that most in Armenia and its large Diaspora appear to have largely forgotten, Gyumri suffers from unemployment higher than the national average. Travel agents continue to advertise flights from the local airport to parts of Russia. As elsewhere in the region, the only hope for a better life lies outside. But, with a global economic crisis hitting the CIS hard, there are now also fewer opportunities even there.

    This year GDP per capita has already plummeted by over 14 percent nationwide, far in excess of the decline registered in Azerbaijan and Georgia, while poverty and extreme poverty - already calculated with a low yardstick - has reportedly increased from 25.6 and 3.6 percent respectively in 2008 to 28.4 and 6.9 percent today. Local civil society activists claim that the figures might be twice as high in Gyumri.

    But, some believe, the city could benefit greatly from an open border with Turkey , transforming itself into a major economic and transit hub for direct trade between the two countries. Just 8 km away lies the village of Akhurik, one of two closed border crossings. Repair work had been conducted on the railway connecting Gyumri to the Turkish city of Kars prior to last year’s World Cup qualifying match with Turkey held in Yerevan.

    With Turkish President Abdullah Gül making a historic visit to Armenia for the match, villagers were once again given hope that a border opening would be imminent. “It will be very good if it opens,” one resident told RFE/RL at the time. “We used to work in the past — 40 families benefited from work related to the railway. Now they sit idle without work or have to choose migrant work in Russia. It will be good when the line is opened.”

    But, with pressure from Azerbaijan on Turkey not to sign two protocols aimed at establishing diplomatic relations and opening the border until the Karabakh conflict is resolved, such a breakthrough appears as elusive as ever while unemployment and poverty increases. Nowhere is that more evident than the city of Ashotsk, just 30 minutes outside of Gyumri. Karine Mkrtchyan, public relations officer for the Caritas Armenia NGO says conditions are typical.

    “Everywhere you will see abandoned places, especially public spaces,” she says. “They are ruined. There are no facilities, there is a lack of drinking water, and irrigation. People are on their own to solve their problems. We had a loss of life during the earthquake and then massive migration which stopped in the late 1990s before starting again in early 2000. Now there are even more people who decide to migrate.”

    Last week, on the 21st anniversary of the earthquake, the government attempted to counter criticism of what many consider to be inaction and a lack of concern with the socioeconomic situation in Gyumri. Opening a sugar refinery owned by one of the country’s most notorious oligarchs at the same time, the Armenian president visited Gyumri and promised that 5,300 new homes would allocated to those still without by 2013.

    The $70 million construction project has been made possible through a $500 million anti-crisis loan from the Russian Federation.

    However, whether such promises come to fruition remains to be seen and government critics remain unimpressed. Indeed, they point out, even if the apartments are built and allocated on time, it would have taken a quarter of a century to do so. Moreover, for Gyumri natives such as Mkrtchyan, the need for economic investment and development in the regions of Armenia remains as urgent as ever.

    https://www.balcanicaucaso.org/eng/Areas/Armenia/After-the-Quake-55719
    #tremblement_de_terre #post-catastrophe #Arménie #histoire #logement #réfugiés_environnementaux #asile #migrations #réfugiés #frontières


  • Accelerated remittances growth to low- and middle-income countries in 2018

    Remittances to low- and middle-income countries grew rapidly and are projected to reach a new record in 2018, says the latest edition of the World Bank’s Migration and Development Brief, released today.

    The Bank estimates that officially recorded remittances to developing countries will increase by 10.8 percent to reach $528 billion in 2018. This new record level follows robust growth of 7.8 percent in 2017. Global remittances, which include flows to high-income countries, are projected to grow by 10.3 percent to $689 billion.

    Remittance flows rose in all regions, most notably in Europe and Central Asia (20 percent) and South Asia (13.5 percent), followed by Sub-Saharan Africa (9.8 percent), Latin America and the Caribbean (9.3 percent), the Middle East and North Africa (9.1 percent), and East Asia and the Pacific (6.6 percent). Growth was driven by a stronger economy and employment situation in the United States and a rebound in outward flows from Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries and the Russian Federation.

    Among major remittance recipients, India retains its top spot, with remittances expected to total $80 billion this year, followed by China ($67 billion), Mexico and the Philippines ($34 billion each), and Egypt ($26 billion).

    As global growth is projected to moderate, future remittances to low- and middle-income countries are expected to grow moderately by 4 percent to reach $549 billion in 2019. Global remittances are expected to grow 3.7 percent to $715 billion in 2019.

    The Brief notes that the global average cost of sending $200 remains high at 6.9 percent in the third quarter of 2018. Reducing remittance costs to 3 percent by 2030 is a global target under #Sustainable_Development_Goals (SDG) 10.7. Increasing the volume of remittances is also a global goal under the proposals for raising financing for the SDGs.

    https://www.worldbank.org/en/news/press-release/2018/12/08/accelerated-remittances-growth-to-low-and-middle-income-countries-in-2018

    #remittances #migrations #statistiques #chiffres #2018 #coût #SDGs


  • Caught in Russia-Ukraine storm: a cargo ship and tonnes of grain | Reuters
    https://ca.reuters.com/article/topNews/idCAKBN1O4128-OCATP


    Cranes and ships are seen in the Azov Sea port of Berdyansk, Ukraine November 30, 2018. Picture taken November 30, 2018.
    REUTERS/Gleb Garanich

    When the Island Bay cargo ship arrived from Beirut at the Kerch Strait, gateway to the Azov Sea, it sailed into a perfect storm of geopolitics and bad weather.

    The following day, Russia opened fire on three Ukrainian naval ships, impounded them and detained their sailors, some of them wounded. It then blocked the strait by putting a tanker underneath a new bridge it has built linking the Russian mainland to the Crimean peninsula it annexed from Ukraine in 2014.

    While the world digested the implications of the Nov. 25 incident, the most explosive clash in recent years, Russia said it had reopened the channel to the Azov Sea, which is shared by Russia and Ukraine.

    But Island Bay remained at anchor outside the strait, lashed by gale force winds and sleet, its hull icing over while cargo ships amassed on either side.

    On Monday, a week on, the captain reported seeing 20 vessels awaiting clearance to cross. Refinitiv data that day also showed 20 Ukraine-bound vessels held up at the strait since Nov. 25, with two others allowed through.

    Meanwhile, Island Bay’s cargo of 5,500 tonnes of wheat, destined for flour mills in Libya, waited in the Ukrainian port of Berdyansk.
    […]
    In Berdyansk’s port, where icy winds had recently ripped off the roof of a nearby shed, staff of stevedore company Ascet Shipping were reading the daily reports from the Island Bay with growing concern.

    Ascet loads almost a million tonnes of Ukrainian grain a year onto cargo ships in Berdyansk and was waiting to load the Island Bay; its size means each day of waiting time costs around $2,000-$2,500, Ascet’s chief executive, Denis Rusin, said.

    This has made Berdyansk an unpopular port in recent months.

    Ship owners do not want to go to Berdyansk,” said Rusin, whose clients include U.S. firm Cargill [CARG.UL], one of the world’s largest dry bulk and tank shipping companies. “Buyers are refusing to bet on passage.


  • Siberian region fights to preserve permafrost as planet warms | Bangkok Post: news

    https://www.bangkokpost.com/news/world/1588110/siberian-region-fights-to-preserve-permafrost-as-planet-warms

    YAKUTSK, Russia: Eduard Romanov points to a spot on a block of flats where a major supporting beam has sagged and begun to crack, destabilising the nine storeys of apartments above.

    Many houses in Yakutsk are made up of concrete panels and stand on stilts which ensure ventilation of the building’s underbelly and prevent it from heating the permafrost, the layer of mineral cemented together with water which is stable as long as it stays frozen. But warmer temperatures are threatening that

    In Russia’s Siberian city of Yakutsk, one of the coldest on Earth, climate change is causing dangerous melting of the frozen ground, or permafrost, on which the buildings stand.

    #climat #arctique #permafrost #russie


  • #resistance as a Service
    https://hackernoon.com/resistance-as-a-service-a6a9cd14192f?source=rss----3a8144eabfe3---4

    Exploring a business model where startups are challenging the whole governments to heal the world faster than charities.Resistance as a Service (image courtesy of the author).What my Internet looks likeHi, my name is Pyotr. I’m from Russia. I use VPNs so you can easily reach me on LinkedIn and Reddit. You can also text me in Telegram because I’m using it’s proxies.I have a sophisticated system of passwords. I prefer pin-code for my phone over touch id. My disks are encrypted. I’m hiding all sensitive data with double bottom to protect it from thieves and (more importantly) from those who swore to protect me from thieves.Yes I’m a bit paranoid, but… People are getting jailed just for likes and reposts. So I guess I do have a real danger of being arrested for the kind of shit I’m going to discuss (...)

    #human-rights #censorship #business-models #blockchain


  • The Scourge of the #Red_Notice – Foreign Policy
    https://foreignpolicy.com/2018/12/03/the-scourge-of-the-red-notice-interpol-uae-russia-china

    notez l’appel de une de la newsletter, très explicite :
    It’s not just Russia and China that have been accused of misusing Interpol Red Notices

    How some countries use Interpol to go after dissidents and debtors.
    […]
    Red Notices issued by Interpol’s 194 member states are usually reserved for people suspected of committing serious crimes. But under the UAE’s sharia-influenced legal system, some foreigners who did business there have found themselves on Interpol’s wanted list for business disputes, bounced checks, or even credit card debt—things that in many countries do not carry criminal penalties.

    There is no public information about how many Red Notices are issued by the UAE for these relatively minor matters. But one British-based group that helps people in this predicament says it is now seeing at least two cases a month.

    Under the UAE’s credit system, customers are often asked to write a check for the value of any bank loan they take, which is then held as a security. If the loan is defaulted on, the bank can then cash the check to recover its money. But because the sum is often high, it’s not unusual for the check to bounce. The Gulf state of Qatar, which has a similar credit system, sentenced British businessman Jonathan Nash to 37 years imprisonment last year for a check that could not be covered.  

    In the UAE, all you have to do is get sick and not be able to pay your mortgage bill,” Estlund said. “What grabs people’s attention about #Interpol Red Notice cases is that it could be you, it could be me.

    #notice_rouge
    https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Notice_rouge


  • Ukrainian leader says Putin wants his whole country, asks for NATO help | Reuters
    https://www.reuters.com/article/us-ukraine-crisis-russia-idUSKCN1NY1K5

    Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko accused Russia’s Vladimir Putin on Thursday of wanting to annex his entire country and called for NATO to deploy warships to a sea shared by the two nations.
    […]
    Ukraine’s border service said it would only allow Ukrainian citizens to travel to Crimea via its land border with the annexed territory, while the head of the Ukrainian navy said Kiev would try to get Turkey to close the Bosphorus Strait to Russian ships.

    There were further signs that Russia was pressing ahead with its plans to fortify Crimea and turn it into what Kremlin-backed media have called a fortress.

    Russia on Thursday deployed a new battalion of advanced S-400 surface-to-air missile systems in Crimea, its fourth such battalion, TASS news agency cited a spokesman for Russia’s Black Sea Fleet as saying.

    Citing a Crimean security source, Interfax news agency also reported Russian plans to build a new missile early-warning radar station in Crimea next year that would be able to track ballistic and cruise missiles from a long distance.

    Russia was also working on a new technical system to allow it to better track shipping around the peninsula in order to protect its maritime borders, Interfax said.

    En tous cas, il y en a qui n’ont peur de rien : demander à la Turquie de fouler au pied la #convention_de_Montreux, il faut oser !


  • The Kaiser goes : the generals remain - Theodor Plivier
    https://libcom.org/history/kaiser-goes-generals-remain-theodor-plivier-1932

    Text entier en anglais : https://libcom.org/files/TheKaiserGoesTheGeneralsRemain.pdf https://libcom.org/files/TheKaiserGoesTheGeneralsRemain.mobi

    Du même auteur : Stalingrad (1945), Moskau (1952), Berlin (1954), une trilogie sur la guerre contre les nazis. Je n’ai pas encore trouvé de version en ligne.

    This is an amazing novel about the German Revolution, written by a participant. Republished here in PDF and Kindle formats.

    I’m republishing a novel about the German Revolution called The Kaiser Goes: the Generals Remain, written by a participant in the naval mutinies which kicked the whole thing off. But the novel doesn’t just concern rebellion in the armed forces, there’s all kinds of other exciting events covered too!

    I first became aware of the novel when I noticed some quotations from it in Working Class Politics in the German Revolution1, Ralf Hoffrogge’s wonderful book about the revolutionary shop stewards’ movement in Germany during and just after World War I.

    I set about finding a copy of The Kaiser goes..., read it, and immediately wanted to make it more widely available by scanning it. The results are here.

    Below I’ve gathered together all the most readily accessible information about the novel’s author, Theodor Plivier, that I can find. Hopefully, the sources referenced will provide a useful basis for anybody who wants to do further research.

    Dan Radnika

    October 2015

    THEODOR Otto Richard PLIVIER – Some biographical details

    Theodor Plivier (called Plievier after 1933) was born on 12 February 1892 in Berlin and died on 12 March 1955 in Tessin, Switzerland.

    Since his death Plivier/Plievier has been mostly known in his native Germany as a novelist, particularly for his trilogy of novels about the fighting on the Eastern Front in WWII, made up of the works Moscow, Stalingrad and Berlin.

    He was the son of an artisan file-maker (Feilenhauer in German) and spent his childhood in the Gesundbrunnen district in Berlin. There is still a plaque dedicated to him on the house where he was born at 29 Wiesenstraße. He was interested in literature from an early age. He began an apprenticeship at 17 with a plasterer and left his family home shortly after. For his apprenticeship he traveled across the German Empire, in Austria-Hungary and in the Netherlands. After briefly returning to his parents, he joined up as a sailor in the merchant navy. He first visited South America in 1910, and worked in the sodium nitrate (saltpetre) mines in 1913 in Chile. This period of his life seems to have provided much of the material for the novel The World’s Last Corner (see below).

    He returned to Germany, Hamburg, in 1914, when he was still only 22. He was arrested by the police for a brawl in a sailors’ pub, and was thus “recruited” into the imperial navy just as the First World War broke out. He spent his time in service on the auxiliary cruiser SMS Wolf, commanded by the famous Commander Karl August Nerger. It was he who led a victorious war of patriotic piracy in the Atlantic, the Indian Ocean and the Pacific, seizing enemy ships and their cargo, taking their crews prisoner, and returning in glory to Kiel in February 1918. The activities of SMS Wolf are described in fictional form in the final chapter of Plivier’s The Kaiser’s Coolies (see below). The young Plivier didn’t set foot on land for 451 days, but while at sea he became converted to revolutionary ideas, like thousands of other German sailors. Nevertheless, he never joined a political party. In November 1918, he was in Wilhelmshaven and participated in the strikes, uprisings and revolts accompanying the fall of the German Empire, including the Kiel Mutiny. He also played a small role in the November Revolution in Berlin.

    He left the navy after the armistice (11 November 1918) and, with Karl Raichle and Gregor Gog (both sailor veterans of the Wilmhelmshaven revolt), founded the “Green Way Commune”, near Bad Urach. It was a sort of commune of revolutionaries, artists, poets, proto-hippies, and whoever turned up. Two early participants were the anarchist Erich Mühsam and Johannes Becher (see below), who was a member of the German Communist Party (KPD). At this time several communes were set up around Germany, with Urach being one of three vegetarian communes set up in the Swabia region2.

    It was the beginning of the anarchist-oriented “Edition of the 12” publishing house. Plivier was certainly influenced by the ideas of Bakunin, but also Nietzsche. Later he took on some kind of “individualist anarchism”, ensuring that he didn’t join any party or formal political organisation.

    In Berlin in 1920 he married the actress Maria Stoz3. He belonged to the circle of friends of Käthe Kollwitz4, the radical painter and sculptor, who painted his portrait. On Christmas Day 1920 he showed a delegation from the American IWW to the grave of Karl Liebknecht5. In the early ‘20s he seems to have associated with the anarcho-syndicalist union, the FAUD (Free Workers’ Union of Germany), and addressed its public meetings6.

    Plivier underwent a “personal crisis” and began to follow the example of the “back to nature” poet Gusto Gräser7, another regular resident of “Green Way” and a man seen as the leading figure in the subculture of poets and wandering mystics known (disparagingly at the time) as the “Inflation Saints” (Inflationsheilige)8. In the words of the historian Ulrich Linse, “When the revolutionaries were killed, were in prison or had given up, the hour of the wandering prophets came. As the outer revolution had fizzled out, they found its continuation in the consciousness-being-revolution, in a spiritual change”9. Plivier began wearing sandals and robes…10 According to the Mountain of Truth book (see footnote), in 1922, in Weimar, Plivier was preaching a neo-Tolstoyan gospel of peace and anarchism, much influenced by Gräser. That year he published Anarchy, advocating a “masterless order, built up out of the moral power of free individuals”. Supposedly, “he was a religious anarchist, frequently quoting from the Bible”11. This was not unusual amongst the Inflationsheilige.

    His son Peter and his daughter Thora died from malnutrition during the terrible times of crisis and hyper-inflation in 1923. A year later he began to find work as a journalist and translator. He then worked for some time in South America as a cattle trader and as secretary to the German consul in Pisagua, Chile. On his return to Germany he wrote Des Kaisers Kulis (“The Kaiser’s Coolies”) in 1929, which was published the following year. It was a story based on his days in the Imperial Navy, denouncing the imperialist war in no uncertain terms. At the front of the book is a dedication to two sailors who were executed for participation in a strike and demonstration by hundreds of sailors from the Prinzregent Luitpold12. Erwin Piscator put on a play of his novel at the Lessingtheater in Berlin, with the first showing on 30 August 1930. Der Kaiser ging, die Generälen blieben (“The Kaiser Goes: The Generals Remain”) was published in 1932. In both novels Plivier did an enormous amount of research, as well as drawing on his own memories of important historical events. In the original edition of Der Kaiser ging… there is a citations section at the end with fifty book titles and a list of newspapers and magazines consulted. This attention to historical fact was to become a hallmark of Plivier’s method as a novelist. The postscript to Der Kaiser ging… clearly states what he was trying to do:

    “I have cast this history in the form of a novel, because it is my belief that events which are brought about not by any exchange of diplomatic notes, but by the sudden collision of opposed forces, do not lend themselves to a purely scientific treatment. By that method one can merely assemble a selection of facts belonging to any particular period – only artistic re-fashioning can yield a living picture of the whole. As in my former book, The Kaiser’s Coolies, so I have tried here to preserve strict historic truth, and in so far as exact material was available I have used it as the basis of my work. All the events described, all the persons introduced, are drawn to the life and their words reproduced verbatim. Occasional statements which the sources preserve only in indirect speech are here given direct form. But in no instance has the sense been altered.”

    His second marriage (which didn’t produce any children) was to the Jewish actress Hildegard Piscator in 1931. When Hitler came to power as Chancellor in 1933, his books were banned and publically burnt. He changed his name to Plievier. That year he decided to emigrate, and at the end of a long journey which led him to Prague, Zurich, Paris and Oslo, he ended up in the Soviet Union.

    He was initially not subject to much censorship in Moscow and published accounts of his adventures and political commentaries. When Operation Barbarossa was launched he was evacuated to Tashkent along with other foreigners. Here, for example, he met up (again?) with Johannes Robert Becher, the future Culture Minister of the DDR! In September 1943 he became a member of the National Committee for a Free Germany (NKFD), which gathered anti-Nazi German exiles living in the USSR – not just Communist Party members, although there were a fair number of them involved. In 1945 he wrote Stalingrad, based on testimonies which he collected, with official permission, from German prisoners of war in camps around Moscow. This novel was initially published in occupied Berlin and Mexico, but ended up being translated into 14 languages and being adapted for the theatre and TV13. It describes in unflinching and pitiless detail the German military defeat and its roots in the megalomania of Hitler and the incompetence of the High Command. It is the only novel by Plievier that was written specifically as a work of state propaganda. It is certainly “defeatist”, but only on the German side – it is certainly not “revolutionary defeatist” like Plievier’s writings about WWI. The French writer Pierre Vaydat (in the French-language magazine of German culture, Germanica14) even suggests that it was clearly aimed at “the new military class which was the officer corps of the Wehrmacht” in an effort to encourage them to rise up against Hitler and save the honour of the German military. The novel nevertheless only appeared in a censored form in the USSR.

    He returned to Weimar at the end of 1945, as an official of the Red Army! For two years he worked as a delegate of the regional assembly, as director of publications and had a leading position in the “Cultural Association [Kulturbund] for German Democratic Renewal” which was a Soviet organisation devoted to changing attitudes in Germany and preparing its inclusion into the USSR’s economic and political empire. As with so much else in Plievier’s life, this episode was partly fictionalised in a novel, in this case his last ever novel, Berlin.

    Plievier ended up breaking with the Soviet system in 1948, and made an announcement to this effect to a gathering of German writers in Frankfurt in May of that year15. However, Plievier had taken a long and tortuous political path since his days as a revolutionary sailor in 1918… He clearly ended up supporting the Cold War – seeing the struggle against “Communist” totalitarianism as a continuation of the struggle against fascism (logically enough). What’s more, his views had taken on a somewhat religious tinge, talking of a “spiritual rebirth” whose foundations “begin with the Ten Commandments from Mount Sinai and end with the theses of the Atlantic Charter”! Although it can be read as a denunciation of the horrors of war in general, it’s clear that Berlin, his description of the collapse of Nazi Germany in 1945, is far more of a denunciation of Soviet Russia than anything else. The character Colonel Zecke, obviously a mouthpiece for Plievier’s views, even claims that Churchill and Roosevelt only bombed Dresden because they wanted to please Stalin. If you say so, Theo…! One virtue of Plievier’s single-minded attack on the Russian side is that he draws attention to the mass rape of German women by Russian soldiers. This was a war crime which it was not at all fashionable to mention at the time he was writing, despite the existence of perhaps as many as two million victims16.

    Berlin ends with one of the recurring characters in Plievier’s war novels being killed while participating in the East German worker’s revolt in 195317. Despite his conservative turn, Plievier obviously still has some of the spirit of Wilhelmshaven and can’t restrain himself from giving the rebellious workers some advice about how to organise a proletarian insurrection – seize the means of production! Another character says:

    “What use was it raising one’s fists against tanks, fighting with the Vopos [Volkspolizei – People’s Police], trampling down propaganda posters – one has to get into the vital works, to get busy at the waterworks, the power stations, the metropolitan railway! But the workers are without organisation, without leadership or a plan –the revolt has broken out like a steppes fire and is flickering away uncoordinated, in all directions at once.”

    He went to live in the British Zone of Occupation. He got married for a third time, in 1950, to Margarete Grote, and went to live next to Lake Constance. He published Moscow (Moskau) in 1952 and Berlin in 1954. He moved to Tessin in Switzerland in 1953, and died from a heart attack there in 1955, at the age of 63.

    His works – particularly the pro-revolutionary ones – are almost unknown in the English-speaking world (or anywhere else) today. The republication of The Kaiser Goes: The Generals Remain in electronic form is a modest attempt to remedy this!

    Finally, please read Plivier’s novels! Even the reactionary ones…

    #Allemagne #histoire #révolution #littérature



  • Moscow & NATO Playing a ’Dangerous Tit-For-Tat Game’ in the Ukraine
    https://therealnews.com/stories/moscow-nato-playing-a-dangerous-tit-for-tat-game-in-the-ukraine

    I keep asking myself, if Americans really were asked to fulfill Article 5 of the NATO treaty for a place like Tbilisi, or even a place like Riga, or any of those countries we’ve now expanded NATO into or proposed expanding NATO into, like Ukraine, what would Americans say when they were told that full conscription was in process, full mobilization was in process, war taxes are going to be levied, and we’re going to war for a city you can’t even pronounce and couldn’t find on a map? That’s what we’re talking about. And oh, by the way, Russia is generally speaking cheek and jowl with that city, whereas we’re ten thousand miles away.

    #OTAN #Russie


  • Avakov: Ukraine’s wall along Russian border nearly half complete

    Ukraine has built almost half of its 2,300-kilometer wall on the border with Russia, Interior Minister Arsen Avakov said on Nov. 24 during his visit to the border checkpoint in Kharkiv Oblast.

    “The project has been extended until 2021,” Avakov said. “The budget plan for the 2019 allocates Hr 400 million ($14.4 million) for it. But the head of the Border Guard Service hopes to receive additional funds.”

    The Kharkiv section of the Ukrainian-Russian wall has been almost completed with only 20 kilometers left, according to Avakov. The works will continue on the border sections in Sumy and Luhansk oblasts. It includes fortifications with a barbed wire fence, two-meter deep anti-tank trenches, 17-meter-high watchtowers, 40 border checkpoints as well as equipment with motion sensors, border security closed-circuit television (CCTV) and alarm systems.

    Overall, 47 percent of the 2,300-kilometer wall has been built, the minister said.

    In addition, starting from January, Ukraine has launched the biometric control system for Russian passport holders at all border-crossing checkpoints.

    Former Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk, who is running for president in the upcoming March presidential elections, joined Avakov on the trip to the border in Kharkiv Oblast on Nov. 24.

    The ambitious project known as the European Wall was announced by then-Prime Minister Yatsenyuk in 2014 in the wake of the Russian military intervention in the Donbas. Ukraine lost control over parts of Luhansk and Donetsk oblasts and 400 kilometers that border with Russia. The wall was designed to protect Ukraine from further attacks on its territory as well as to stop illegal flow of weapons from Russia.

    In the aftermath of the EuroMaidan Revolution that drove pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych from power on Feb. 22, 2014, Kremlin incited mass anti-government demonstrations in eastern Ukraine and occupied Crimean peninsula. In Donetsk and Luhansk, protesters “declared independence” from Ukraine which escalated into an armed conflict between Ukrainian forces and Kremlin-backed forces. In April 2014, pro-Russian protesters took over the Kharkiv administration and “declared independence from Ukraine” but the Ukrainian government managed to retain control over the region.

    The construction of the wall, however, halted due to lack of funding and a corruption scandal.

    In 2015-2017, the Border Guard Serviced received Hr 800 mln ($28.8 million) — less than a quarter of the total cost of the project estimated at over Hr 4 billion ($147.6 million).

    In November 2017, the National Anti-Corruption Bureau arrested eight people on embezzlement charges. NABU detectives found that the officials of the Border Guard Service in cahoots with local contractors had siphoned off Hr 16.68 million ($600,800) from the Project Wall funds.


    https://www.kyivpost.com/ukraine-politics/interior-minister-ukraines-wall-along-russian-border-nearly-half-complete.

    #Ukraine #Russie #murs #frontières #barrières_frontalières


  • Russia Wants Bulgarians to Stop Painting Soviet Monuments To Look Like American Superheroes | Earthly Mission
    https://www.earthlymission.com/russia-wants-bulgarians-to-stop-painting-soviet-monuments-to-look-li

    Russia is demanding that Bulgaria try harder to prevent vandalism of Soviet monuments, after yet another monument to Soviet troops in Sofia was spray-painted, ITAR-Tass reported.

    The Russian Embassy in Bulgaria has issued a note demanding that its former Soviet-era ally clean up the monument in Sofia’s Lozenets district, identify and punish those responsible, and take “exhaustive measures” to prevent similar attacks in the future, the news agency reported Monday.

    #russie #bulgarie #mémoire #monuments #marrant


  • Russia’s Gazprom says offshore part of TurkStream is complete | Reuters
    https://uk.reuters.com/article/turkey-russia-gas-pipeline-idUKL8N1XU3N5

    Construction of the offshore part of the TurkStream pipeline that will carry Russian gas across the Black Sea to Turkey has been completed, Russian gas producer Gazprom said on Monday.

    TurkStream is part of Moscow’s efforts to bypass Ukraine as a gas transit route to Europe, which imports around a third of its gas needs from Gazprom.

    Projects of this kind and this project in particular are not directed against the interests of anyone. Projects of this kind are purely creative,” Russian President Vladimir Putin said as he and Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan attended an official ceremony in Istanbul.

    Work will now focus onshore and is on track to be completed by the end of 2019, he said.

    Gazprom is building the TurkStream in two lines, each with a capacity of 15.75 billion cubic metres of gas per year. The first will supply Turkey and the second southern Europe.

    Turkey is almost completely reliant on imports to meet its energy needs. A crippling currency crisis which has seen the lira plummet has increased costs, prompting energy companies to hike consumer prices.

    Turkey’s state pipeline operator Botas will build the 69-km section of TurkStream which will carry natural gas from the coast to its distribution centre in Luleburgaz in northwestern Turkey, Energy Minister Fatih Donmez told private broadcaster NTV, adding he expected this to be completed in 2019.

    A 145-km section of pipeline from the distribution centre to the border will be constructed by Botas and Gazprom, he said.


  • Putin’s interests in Syria and Lebanon are limiting Israel’s military options
    Playing chess with Hezbollah is one thing. Trying to figure out what Putin wants, in Syria and perhaps also in Lebanon, even as Hezbollah is trying to manufacture weapons there, is a completely different challenge
    Amos Harel - Nov 18, 2018 9:39 AM
    https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-putin-s-interests-in-syria-and-lebanon-is-limiting-israel-s-milita

    One reason for Israel’s exceptional caution in dealing with Hamas in the Gaza Strip is its growing concern over the northern front. Though it may sound like a threadbare excuse, this seems to be one of the considerations driving Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to decide, time after time, to try to reach a cease-fire in Gaza.

    The problem Israel faces in the north, in a nutshell, is the real danger that its operational window of opportunity is closing. In recent years, Israel has exploited the upheaval in the Arab world to expand its offensive activity, most of which is secret.

    Via hundreds of airstrikes and special operations, the army and the intelligence agencies have worked to distance the danger of another war and reduce the enemy’s operational capabilities in the event that war does break out.

    In Syria and Lebanon, the campaign initially focused on preventing Iran from smuggling advanced weaponry to Hezbollah. But over the last year or so, a new mission has been added – preventing Iran’s military entrenchment in Syria. This peaked with a flurry of incidents between the Israel Defense Forces and Iran’s Revolutionary Guards last winter and spring.

    A problem may also be developing in Lebanon. In his address to the United Nations General Assembly in September, Netanyahu warned of efforts by Iran and Hezbollah to set up missile production facilities in the Beirut area. Given the problems its smuggling operations had encountered, the Revolutionary Guards’ Quds force apparently decided it had to shorten the distance between the manufacturer and the customer by moving its efforts to improve the accuracy of Hezbollah’s rockets to Lebanon.

    Netanyahu’s speech did its job. In the three days between that speech and the tour of Beirut the Lebanese government conducted for diplomats to rebut it, someone worked hard to get rid of the evidence. But over the long run, Iran seems unlikely to abandon this effort.

    What’s even more worrying is that Putin has recently displayed increased interest in events in Lebanon. In the worst-case scenario, the defensive umbrella — both real and symbolic — that Russia has spread over northwest Syria would be expanded to Lebanon, further complicating Israel’s calculus.

    Even now, at least according to Arab media reports, Israel hasn’t conducted an airstrike in Lebanon since February 2014, when the IAF, apparently pursuing an arms convoy that had crossed the border from Syria, bombed a target in Janta, a few hundred meters to the Lebanese side of the Lebanon-Syria border.

    Hezbollah, which was willing to pretend the spit was rain as long as its convoys were being bombed on the Syrian side, immediately responded with a series of attacks by Druze residents of the Syrian Golan Heights.

    The cell’s commander, Lebanese terrorist Samir Kuntar, and his successor, Hezbollah’s Jihad Mughniyeh, were both subsequently killed in attacks attributed to Israel. Since then, Israel has confined its attacks to Syria.

    But playing chess with Hezbollah is one thing. Trying to figure out what Putin wants, in Syria and perhaps also in Lebanon, even as Hezbollah is trying to manufacture weapons there, is a challenge of a completely different order of magnitude.

    Netanyahu was presumably hinting at this problem, among others, when he spoke about security considerations that he can’t share with the public, at the memorial for Paula Ben-Gurion earlier this week.

    #IsraelRussie


  • AIS Animation Shows Bizarre U-Turn Collision in North Sea – gCaptain
    https://gcaptain.com/ais-animation-shows-bizarre-u-turn-collision-in-north-sea

    Two cargo ships collided in the North Sea off the northwestern coast of Germany on Thursday, resulting in damage to both ships but so far no pollution.

    Germany’s Central Command for Maritime Emergencies has taken up the response. The agency reports that the Turkish-flagged general cargo ship PAKSOY 1 collided with the Dutch-flagged cargo ship EEMS COBALT at approximately 9:30 p.m. local time around 25 km northwest of Borkum, Germany on Thursday. 

    The cause of the collision is still under investigation, but an AIS animation of the ships’ track shows the PAKSOY 1 made an sudden U-turn directly into the side of the EEMS COBALT after the two ships had already passed. Check it out:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FW9hRKux2-M

    Initially the ships were stuck together with the bow of the PAKSOY 1 embedded in the hull of the smaller EEMS COBALT. They were eventually separated Friday morning and both vessels moved under their own power to port (EEMS COBALT sailed for Eemshaven while PAKSOY 1 headed to Westerems where it now at anchor). The EEMS COBALT has suffered a hold in its hull above the waterline and PAKSOY 1 has damage to its bow.

    According to AIS, the PAKSOY 1 sailing from The Netherlands to St. Petersburg, Russia, which raises even more questions about why it made the sudden U-turn.

    No injuries or pollution has been reported.


  • #Fridtjof_Nansen, WWI, and the Beginning of the Modern Refugee Regime

    This week–on November 11–marked the 100th anniversary of the Armistice that ended World War I. In terms of refugee law, the Great War is usually eclipsed by WWII, which gave rise to the Refugee Convention (in 1951). The Convention forms the basis for our international and domestic humanitarian law up until today.

    But the First World War was also foundational to our current refugee regime, and so it’s too bad that WWI developments in refugee law get short shrift. Upwards of 10 million people were displaced by the War and the subsequent rise of the Soviet Union. Many would never return home and would permanently resettle in other countries. This mass movement of civilians led to political, cultural, and social changes, and predictably, to a backlash against refugees (as a security, economic, and health threat) that sounds all-too familiar today.

    Probably the most prominent figure in post-WWI refugee resettlement was a Norwegian wunderkind named Fridtjof Nansen. Mr. Nansen was born in 1861. He was a record-breaking skater and skier. He studied zoology in university, and went on to become a world famous artic explorer. In 1888, he led the first expedition to cross Greenland, and in 1895, he came within 4 degrees of the North Pole, the furthest north anyone had traveled to date. After his career in the Artic, he turned to science, where he made important contributions to the fields of neurology and oceanography. Mr. Nansen served as a diplomat and advocated for separation of Norway and Sweden (which had been united since 1814). Norway became independent in 1905.

    Norway was neutral during the First World War, and during those years, Mr. Nansen was involved in organizing his nation’s defense. In 1917, he was dispatched to Washington, where he negotiated a deal to help alleviate a severe food shortage in his country.

    After World War I, Mr. Nansen successfully helped advocate for Norway’s involvement in the League of Nations, and he served as a delegate to that body. He became involved in the repatriation of prisoners of war, and between 1920 and 1922, led the effort to resettle over 400,000 POWs in 30 different countries. In 1921, Mr. Nansen became the League’s High Commissioner for Refugees and helped resettle two million Russians displaced by the revolution. At the same time, he was working to relieve a massive famine in Russia, but had trouble securing international aid (due largely to suspicion of the new Marxist government). He also assisted Armenian refugees after the genocide there, and devised a controversial population exchange between Turkey and Greece, which resolved a Greek refugee crisis, but also resulted in the expulsion (with compensation) of Turks from Greece.

    Mr. Nansen created the “Nansen” passports in 1922, a document that allowed stateless people to travel legally across borders. By WWII, 52 nations recognized the passport as a legal travel document. Nansen passports were originally created to help refugees from the Russian civil war, but over 20 years, they were used by more than 450,000 individuals from various countries (including a number of well-known figures, such as Marc Chagall, Aristotle Onassis, G.I. Gurdjiieff, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, and Igor Stravinsky). The passports served as a foundation for a clearly-defined legal status for refugees, and some scholars consider the creation of the Nansen passports as the beginning of international refugee law.

    In 1922, Mr. Nansen was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. The Nobel Committee cited “his work for the repatriation of the prisoners of war, his work for the Russian refugees, his work to bring succour to the millions of Russians afflicted by famine, and finally his present work for the refugees in Asia Minor and Thrace.”

    Mr. Nansen continued his involvement in the League of Nations through the 1920s, and he flirted with Norwegian politics, though he seems to have no major ambitions in that direction. In 1926, Mr. Nansen came up with a legal definition for refugees from Russia and Armenia, and his definition was adopted by several dozen nations. This marked the first time that the term “refugee” was defined in international law, and it helped set the stage for later legal developments in the area of refugee protection.

    Fridtjof Nansen died on May 3, 1930. After his death, a fellow delegate from the League of Nations eulogized, “Every good cause had his support. He was a fearless peacemaker, a friend of justice, an advocate always for the weak and suffering.”

    Even after his death, Mr. Nansen’s work continued. The League of Nations established the Nansen International Office for Refugees, which helped resettle tens of thousands of refugees during the inter-War years. The Nansen Office was also instrumental in establishing the Refugee Convention of 1933 (now, largely forgotten), the first international, multilateral treaty offering legal protection to refugees and granting them certain civic and economic rights. The 1933 Convention also established the principle of “non-refoulement,” the idea that nations cannot return individuals to countries where they face persecution. To this day, non-refoulement is a key concept of international (and U.S.) refugee law. For all this work, the Nansen Office was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1938.

    Fridtjof Nansen’s legacy lives on in many ways. There are geographic features named after him in the Artic, Antarctic, and various places around the globe. In space, there is a crater on the moon named in his honor, as well as an asteroid. The oldest ski club in the United States is named for Mr. Nansen, and there is a species of fish that bears his name (Nansenia). A museum in Armenia documents his scientific and humanitarian achievements. And each year, the United Nations bestows the Nansen Refugee Award on an individual or organization that has assisted refugees, displaced or stateless people. For me, though, Mr. Nansen’s most enduring achievement is his pioneering work to help establish international refugee law, a legal regime which protects us all.


    http://www.asylumist.com/2018/11/13/fridtjof-nansen-wwi-and-the-beginning-of-the-modern-refugee-regime
    #Nansen #asile #réfugiés #histoire


  • Venezuela’s Decline From Oil Powerhouse to Poorhouse
    https://www.bloomberg.com/graphics/2018-venezuela-oil

    Oil is at the center of the Venezuelan economy. It accounts for 95 percent of the country’s export revenues and bankrolls the regime of President Nicolas Maduro.

    Even with global prices rising above $80 a barrel last month, the nation’s output is sliding. The U.S. shale producers boosted supply by 23 percent in the past year, while in Venezuela, owner of the world’s largest oil reserves, civil unrest and an economic collapse caused production to fall by 37 percent.

    As Venezuela’s oil production plunges toward 1 million barrels a day, the lowest level in seven decades, the country is running out of cash to pay for food and medicine. Salaries can’t keep up with hyperinflation, last gauged at an absurd 1.37 million percent. Living in a country where the price of food can change within hours prompted more than 1.5 million Venezuelans to flee the country in the past 4 years.
    […]
    The situation got worse in August 2017, when U.S. President Donald Trump imposed financial sanctions against Venezuela and its state oil company PDVSA in a bid to punish Maduro for the economic mismanagement and endemic corruption.


    […]
    Venezuela’s dwindling production has reduced the country’s influence across Latin America. Where Venezuela once provided subsidized oil to neighbors, now it needs to hoard all it produces in order to be able to pay bondholders, as well as China and Russia, which have loaned almost $69 billion in the past decade in exchange for oil.

    So far, the government’s solution was a selective default that’s estimated at $6.1 billion of international securities. Loans granted by the Chinese Development Bank and Russian oil company Rosneft Oil Co PJSC have been either renegotiated or paid with delays. A bond that PDVSA continues to pay is one secured by its interest in Citgo, its money-earning U.S. refining arm.


    Short of cash, Venezuela pays its debts to China and India with oil. With output falling, Petroleos de Venezuela SA has starved its own refineries. While U.S. refineries are running close to their maximum, the ones in Venezuela are operating at less than a quarter of capacity. The result is fuel shortages, especially in the countryside, adding to the pain of Venezuelans.


  • Uber Releases Ugly 3Q 2018 Results: Losses Widen to $1.1 Billion, Growth Slows | naked capitalism
    https://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2018/11/uber-releases-ugly-3q-2018-results-losses-widen-to-1-1-billion-grow

    Uber has no plan to make money – it would have to raise fares 2 to 3 times to become profitable – how long will investors continue to subsidize a Company that promises to make it up in volume.

    Alles klar?

    Posted on November 15, 2018 by Yves Smith
    From Hubert Horan:

    3q P&Ls released tonight. Losses and margins got worse. Gross revenue growth continues to slow down, showing their inability to fix the fundamental weakness in the core car service business.

    Expenditures on the marginal business (food delivery, scooters) that are key to the longer term growth narrative drag results down further.

    Mainstream media coverage hasn’t reached “The Emperor has no clothes” point yet, but stories are raising explicit doubts about the viability of next year’s IPO.

    Actually, as we’ll discuss, there are Uber skeptics, just not necessarily among reporters.

    First, from Eric Newcomer at Bloomberg, who shows doubts about Uber’s proposed IPO valuation of $100 billion and its oft-made claims that it’s another Amazon:

    Uber’s sales are dramatically slowing even as the ride-hailing company is spending more to fuel global growth, particularly in its food delivery business. Revenue growth of 38 percent in the third quarter was almost half of what the growth rate was six months earlier, when the company was negotiating a $9.3 billion investment led by SoftBank Group Corp.

    That’s a troubling sign for a serially unprofitable business that hopes to get valued like a technology company in a planned initial public offering next year. Uber Technologies Inc. lost $1.07 billion in the quarter ended Sept. 30, an improvement over a year ago, but the loss widened 20 percent from the second quarter.

    Highly valued companies typically grow quickly or generate big profits — and great ones do both. In the fourth quarter of 2005, Amazon.com Inc. had about the same revenue as Uber’s today — just under $3 billion, not adjusted for inflation. Yet, Amazon earned $199 million in profit and was worth about a fourth of Uber’s $76 billion valuation.

    TechCrunch was more credulous, and also touted a more flattering profit metric:

    Uber, which is expected to go public sometime next year, just released its Q3 2018 financial results. Uber’s net losses increased 32 percent quarter over quarter to $939 million on a pro forma basis, though Uber expected these losses as it continues to invest in future growth areas.

    On an earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization basis (EBIDTA), Uber’s losses were $527 million, up about 21 percent quarter over quarter. And as Uber prepares to go public, the company has started presenting the income statements with stock-based compensation.

    Ten years from now, Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi envisions its core ride-hailing business accounting for less than 50 percent of Uber’s overall business, Khosrowshahi told me at TechCrunch Disrupt SF 2018. That means Uber expects businesses like Eats, scooters, bikes and freight to contribute to be more of Uber’s business, which requires Uber to invest heavily in those businesses.

    And why should we expect UberEats and scooters to become profitable? Just because Uber wants it to be so?

    The New York Tines’ story came off like a string of Uber talking points, with the only apparent real cause for pause that Lyft is also planning its IPO for 2019. For instance:

    Uber’s I.P.O. is likely to create an enormous financial bonanza for its many investors and shareholders, including the company’s co-founder, Travis Kalanick, as well as venture capital firm Benchmark and the Japanese conglomerate SoftBank.

    To get ready for a public offering, Mr. Khosrowshahi has been trimming Uber’s money-losing businesses. Uber has withdrawn from markets including Southeast Asia and Russia, where it faced stiff competition and was spending a lot of money. It has focused on other areas, like food delivery, as well as other geographies that show more potential for growth. On Wednesday, Uber began a loyalty program that will give riders access to extra perks the more frequently they use Uber services.

    Uber said Uber Eats, its food delivery business that started in 2015, was growing rapidly, with bookings through its separate app up 150 percent from last year.

    Yet Uber’s spending also continues to rise. The company said its total costs and expenses were $3.7 billion in the third quarter, up from $3.5 billion in the prior quarter.

    It would be more accurate to say that Uber is cutting some loss-generating operations while expanding others.

    Finally, to the Wall Street Journal:

    The results for the three months ending in September show that Uber is still growing quickly but is likely to be unprofitable for some time. In documents for a bond offering last month, Uber said it expected it wouldn’t reach a profit for at least three years.

    Uber has turned its attention to providing customers with a host of transportation options in addition to its core ride-hailing service. Mr. Khosrowshahi said he is particularly hopeful about electric-scooters and bicycle rentals, which he has said can be a low-cost replacement for short car trips in urban centers.

    “What we’re going after is essentially to debundle car ownership,” Mr. Khosrowshahi said in an interview at The Wall Street Journal’s WSJ Tech D.Live conference Tuesday. “A world in which the people who cannot afford to buy a car have access to consistent mobility wherever they are, that’s a better world.”

    Of the 22 comments on the story so far, only one read as positive, and other readers dismissed it as bad sarcasm. And remember that WSJ readers viciously attacked the initial stories on the Theranos fraud, accusing the journalists of being jealous of a talented entrepreneur. A sampling:

    charles cotton

    I’ve been tracking Uber and its copy cat, Lyft since 2013. The underlying root of their both their problems is that there business platform is toxic and can not ever make a profit. The burn rate is over 90% of investors money which has resulted in a meltdown. Outside investors have dried up and quite frankly dismayed. Such investors were all reckless, naive, and greedy being lured by hyped, false financials and advertising.

    The promise of “get in quick, we’re going public’” being the worm on the hook. There were no accurate disclosures or prospectus given to the investor…. No one really knows what is going on at Uber.”

    Joseph Swartz

    Uber may be the biggest con game the Street has seen in decades…..an IPO of a Company that loses billions of dollars, subsidizes every ride we take, and has gone off the path with Uber Eats, a ridiculous venture. I recently read it’s drivers last about 6 months, on average, before quitting.

    Uber has no plan to make money – it would have to raise fares 2 to 3 times to become profitable – how long will investors continue to subsidize a Company that promises to make it up in volume.

    Gary Ayer

    Uber is raising money via a public offering because otherwise they would go out of business due to continuous losses.

    Jef Kurfess

    Doing a thriving business selling dollar bills for $.85?

    So Uber’s PR machine is having less and less success in keeping its story going. But will polite press amplification be enough to save Uber’s bacon.

    #Uber


  • A game of chicken: how Indian poultry farming is creating global #superbugs

    On a farm in the Rangareddy district in India, near the southern metropolis of Hyderabad, a clutch of chicks has just been delivered. Some 5,000 birds peck at one another, loitering around a warehouse which will become cramped as they grow. Outside the shed, stacks of bags contain the feed they will eat during their five-week-long lives. Some of them gulp down a yellow liquid from plastic containers - a sugar water fed to the chicks from the moment they arrive, the farm caretaker explains. “Now the supervisor will come,” she adds, “and we will have to start with whatever medicines he would ask us to give the chicks.”

    The medicines are antibiotics, given to the birds to protect them against diseases or to make them gain weight faster so more can be grown each year at greater profit. One drug typically given this way is colistin. Doctors call it the “last hope” antibiotic because it is used to treat patients who are critically ill with infections which have become resistant to nearly all other drugs. The World Health Organisation has called for the use of such antibiotics, which it calls “critically important to human medicine”, to be restricted in animals and banned as growth promoters. Their continued use in farming increases the chance bacteria will develop resistance to them, leaving them useless when treating patients.

    Yet thousands of tonnes of veterinary colistin was shipped to countries including Vietnam, India, South Korea and Russia in 2016, the Bureau can reveal. In India at least five animal pharmaceutical companies are openly advertising products containing colistin as growth promoters.

    One of these companies, Venky’s, is also a major poultry producer. Apart from selling animal medicines and creating its own chicken meals, it also supplies meat directly and indirectly to fast food chains in India such as KFC, McDonald’s, Pizza Hut and Dominos.

    https://www.thebureauinvestigates.com/stories/2018-01-30/a-game-of-chicken-how-indian-poultry-farming-is-creating-glob
    #inde #antibiotiques #santé