Medvedev congratulates Obama on Christmas, New Year

FILE : Barack Obama and Dmitry Medvedev

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MOSCOW, December 31 (KATAKAMI / Itar-Tass) — Russian President Dmitry Medvedev sent congratulatory messages on Christmas and New Year to his U.S. counterpart Barack Obama, the Kremlin press service reported on Friday.

“In the outgoing year we managed to achieve tangible results in joint efforts in order to provide the positive dynamics of Russian-U.S. cooperation,” Medvedev said in the congratulatory message. “Our sincere and constructive dialogue contributed to the solution of the most important bilateral and international issues. The new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, which builds up the foundations of global security, was signed. Large-scale cooperation in high technologies and innovations was established. The bilateral Presidential Commission launched promising projects in various fields,” Medvedev noted.

“I hope that in the next year we will continue the intensive dialogue, consistent development on the path of pragmatic and long-term partnership between our countries,” the Russian president underlined.   (*)

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Photostream : New Year's Eve celebrations in Australia

Fireworks explode over the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Opera House during a pyrotechnic show to celebrate the New Year January 1, 2011. Local authorities planned for over 1.5 million people to crowd the Sydney Harbour foreshore and welcome in the new year under the massive fireworks display. REUTERS/Tim Wimborne

The sky above the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the city center lights up at midnight during the fireworks display to celebrate the New Year's Day in Sydney, Australia, Saturday, Jan. 1, 2011. (AP Photo/Rob Griffith)

A curtain of fireworks cascades over the Sydney Harbour Bridge during the 9 pm fireworks display on new year's eve in Sydney, Australia, Friday, Dec. 31, 2010. (AP Photo/Rob Griffith)

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - DECEMBER 31: Fireworks explode at Circular Quay during the preliminary 9pm session on December 31, 2010 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Jeremy Ng/Getty Images)

The sky above the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the city center lights up at midnight during the fireworks display to celebrate the New Year's Day in Sydney, Australia, Saturday, Jan. 1, 2011. (AP Photo/Rob Griffith)

World Begins to Say Hello to 2011

Fireworks explode above the Sydney Opera House during the preliminary 9pm session as Sydney celebrates New Year's Eve on December 31, 2010 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Jeremy Ng/Getty Images)

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December 31, 2010 (KATAKAMI / VOA) — Australia, New Zealand and Pacific island states have welcomed the new year with celebrations and fireworks displays, as the first places in the world to welcome 2011.

The new year first reached the island nation of Kiribati, which sits just east of the International Date Line.

New Zealanders welcomed New Year’s Day 2011 with a spectacular fireworks show in the capital of Wellington.

The sky above tall Sydney city buildings light up with the 9pm fireworks display on the new year's eve in Australia, Friday, Dec. 31, 2010. Enthusiastic Australians camped out at parks alongside the Sydney Harbour Bridge to win the best view of the spectacular New Year's Eve fireworks kicking off celebrations around the world. (AP Photo/Rob Griffith)

In Sydney, Australia, at least 1.5 million people gathered to witness the annual New Year’s fireworks show on the Harbor Bridge.

Later, Moscow residents will gather in Red Square, and about 250,000 people will be on the banks of London’s River Thames to witness a fireworks display as the Big Ben clock at Parliament chimes in the new year.

One of the world’s biggest New Year’s Eve celebrations will take place in New York City, where organizers say a million people will be in Times Square for the annual drop of a huge ball adorned with bright lights and jewelry.  (*)

Creating jobs a big challenge, says PM Julia Gillard

Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard

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January 1st, 2011 (KATAKAMI / THE SYDNEY MORNING HERALD) — IN THEIR new year messages the Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, and the Opposition Leader, Tony Abbott, have voiced optimism for the year, and have reminded voters of their differences.

”As I look forward to 2011, I do see some challenges for our country,” Ms Gillard said.

”Like creating jobs in a strong economy, giving every child a great start in life at school, tackling climate change and persevering in our mission in Afghanistan.”
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Mr Abbott said: ”We should be optimistic about our future as long as we don’t forget those among us who are doing it tough.

”I hope 2011 will be a year of lower taxes, fairer welfare, better services and stronger borders and I’ll be talking to the Australian people about how best to achieve these important goals.”

Exhorting the population to work hard to keep Australia a ”lucky” country, Ms Gillard said Australians should look forward to a future as a fair and prosperous nation.

”As the fireworks fade and the cricket moves from Melbourne to Sydney, I’m proud to be Australian and excited about the year ahead.”

Mr Abbott promised he would do his best to protect Australian families from added burdens on their cost of living.

”I hope this year we will count our blessings and strive to be worthy of all of the advantages that go with being Australian.”

Ms Gillard said: ”I hope you enjoy the rest of your break, and come back full of energy and excitement – but not too soon. Happy new year.”  (*)

German Chancellor Angela Merkel uses New Year's speech to stress importance of euro

German Chancellor Angela Merkel poses moments after delivering her New Year's television address to the nation at the Chancellery (Bundeskanzleramt) on December 30, 2010 in Berlin, Germany. (Photo by Henning Schacht-Pool/Getty Images)

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December 31, 2010 (KATAKAMI / DEUTSCHE WELLE) — The chancellor highlighted the importance of the euro in her New Year’s speech, saying the single currency was at the center of Germany’s prosperity. She also said Germany had emerged stronger from the economic crisis.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel opened her annual New Year’s Eve address to the nation by looking back to her speech from one year ago, when Germany faced an uncertain year ahead.

“Let me be completely open,” she said as she started her address. “A year ago, when I sat before you and delivered this speech, I looked to the future confidently but with mixed feelings, because our country was in the middle of a financial and economic crisis.”

As 2010 comes to a close, however, Merkel struck a much more confident tone, patting Germans on the back for helping pull the country out of the economic doldrums.

“Germany mastered the crisis like almost no other country,” she said. “We even emerged from the crisis strengthened.”

“Never have more people had work in reunified Germany than today. The number of unemployed is the lowest in almost 20 years,” the chancellor said.

“We have come out of the crisis stronger. And that is, above all, thanks to you, my fellow citizens.”

Euro ‘intertwined’ with Germany

While Germany leads the way economically among European nations, other countries are still struggling, which has led to widespread unemployment and fears about the eurozone’s shared currency.

The euro is important for Germany and Europe, Merkel said
However, Merkel defended the euro in her speech, saying it was intertwined with Germany’s “well-being.”

“Europe is currently facing a big test. We have to strengthen the euro. It is not just about our money. The euro is much more than a currency,” Merkel said.

“Fortunately, we Europeans are unified. A united Europe is the guarantor for our peace and freedom. The euro forms the foundation of our prosperity,” she said.

“Germany needs Europe and our common currency, for our own well-being and also in order to overcome big challenges worldwide.”

Job well done

Merkel drew a comparison between the hard work displayed by Germans to pull themselves out of the economic crisis to the country’s national soccer team, which took third place at the World Cup in South Africa.

Germans rallied around the national team during the World Cup
“Our national soccer team wonderfully demonstrated precisely those virtues that make us strong: diligence and discipline, imagination and technical quality of the highest standard.”

The chancellor looked ahead to the summer of 2011, when Germany is to play host to the 2011 women’s World Cup. The host nation is seen as a strong title contender, which Merkel referenced in her speech.

“When the women’s World Cup takes place in Germany next year, our team will be hoping to win its third title,” she said. “With our support, they can certainly do it, and I’m looking forward to the opening game in Berlin.”

Soldiers not forgotten

Germany’s armed forces received a lot of attention in 2010, both for the debate about ending Germany’s long-standing policy of conscription and the Bundeswehr’s role as part of NATO’s engagement in Afghanistan.

The chancellor paid her respects to the nine German soldiers who died this year in Afghanistan.

“Even though no words from me can ease the pain felt by the families and friends of those who have fallen, I want to say from the bottom of my heart: that they will not be forgotten,” Merkel said.

Merkel wrapped up her speech by looking forward to the year ahead, calling on Germans to live in solidarity – “from person to person.” Germany should not strive to “have more” but to “live better,” Merkel said, which serves to foster togetherness and well-being in the country.

Quoting philosopher Karl Popper, Merkel said: “The future is wide open. It is dependent on us – all of us.” To that Merkel added, “In this sense, let us look ahead to the next year with ideas, curiosity, and passion for the solutions to new challenges.” (*)

A special New Year 2011 wishes from Indonesia

Happy New Year 2011

Greetings from Indonesia !

Friends, I wish you Health…
So you may enjoy each day in comfort.

I wish you the Love of friends and family…
And Peace within your heart.

I wish you the beauty of nature…
That you may enjoy the work of God.

I wish you Wisdom to choose priorities…
For those things that really matter in life.

I wish you Generosity so you may share…
All good things that come to you.

I wish you Happiness and Joy…
And Blessings for the New Year.

I wish you the best of everything…
That you so well deserve.


HAPPY NEW YEAR, DEAR FRIENDS !

From Indonesia with love …

Mega Simarmata

 

Mega Simarmata

Editor in Chief of KATAKAMI.COM

INDONESIAKATAKAMI.WORDPRESS.COM

INDONESIAKATAKAMI.BLOGSPOT.COM

Jakarta, Indonesia

New Year reception at the Kremlin

Russia's President Dmitry Medvedev

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December 30, 2010 (KATAKAMI / KREMLIN.RU) — Speaking at the New Year reception, Dmitry Medvedev noted that 2010 was marked by Russia’s overcoming the economic crisis with minimal losses.

The President emphasised that the nation was able to overcome the consequences of the dramatic events with relatively few losses. “We tried to do what we have promised and we met our commitments, because the most important thing for the authorities is not to lose people’s trust,” Dmitry Medvedev said.

Speaking about foreign policy, the President stated that Russia has tried to promote its interests all around the world, and succeeded in making progress on improving relations with a number of nations.

In conclusion, Dmitry Medvedev stressed that Russia is entering the second decade of the 21st century “standing firmly and confidently on its feet.”  (*)

British Prime Minister David Cameron’s New Year message

British Prime Minister David Cameron

 

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December 31, 2010 (KATAKAMI / NUMBER10.GOV.UK) —  A transcript of a podcast recorded by Prime Minister David Cameron to mark the New Year :

After eight months in this job, I am acutely conscious of the challenges we face as a country. But I begin this New Year in the same positive frame of mind as when I set out the task of starting a new government back in May.

By nature I am an optimist – about people, about human nature and, above all, about the future of our great country.

If we sort out our problems, and make the most of our many opportunities, we can be one of the international success stories of the new decade.

As for politics, my approach is simple: politics is public service in the national interest.

We all have our dreams, ambitions and principles that we cherish and want to put into place.

But most important of all, particularly at times like this, is to deal with the real problem in front of us.

And there can be no doubt what that is: the state of our economy and the budget deficit.

We have been living seriously beyond our means.

We have to sort this out.

Every sensible person knows this.

The national interest dictates that we do the right thing, which is to act, not the easy thing, which would be to delay.

In doing so, we should be clear: Britain has a really bright future to look forward to.

2011 is going to be a difficult year, as we take hard but necessary steps to sort things out.

But the actions we are taking are essential, because they are putting our economy and our country on the right path.

Together, we can make 2011 the year that Britain gets back on its feet.

Eight months ago we inherited an economy in deep trouble.

The previous government had racked up the biggest budget deficit in our peacetime history.

We only have to look at what’s been happening in Greece or Ireland to see the kind of danger we were in.

Rising interest rates. Falling confidence. Others questioning whether you are still credit-worthy as a country.

And, remember, the deficit we inherited back in May was actually forecast to be bigger than that of Ireland or Greece – or any other developed country for that matter.

But we have pulled Britain out of that danger zone.

Through the Budget and the Spending Review we’ve taken some really tough decisions to rescue our public finances and fundamentally change the direction of our economy.

The new independent Office for Budget Responsibility forecasts the economy will grow continuing into 2011 and growth will rise further in 2012.

So we have a credible plan for restoring confidence in our economy.

But we have to see it through.

A lot of the heavy lifting will happen in 2011.

Each and every Minister in this Government is acutely aware that the plans we have in place are tough, in fact incredibly difficult, but we are clear that the alternative – indecision and delay – would mean taking unacceptable risks with our economy, our country and our people.

I didn’t come into politics to make cuts.

Neither did Nick Clegg.

But in the end politics is about national interest, not personal political agendas.

We’re tackling the deficit because we have to – not out of some ideological zeal.

This is a government led by people with a practical desire to sort out this country’s problems, not by ideology.

When we talk of building a bigger, stronger society, we mean it.

These debts are not the Government’s debts, they are the country’s debts.

We are all in this together.

As we deal with the deficit we are protecting the things people cherish the most – like the National Health Service and the old age pension that we are re-linking to earnings.

We want to take people with us.

The Coalition – two distinct political parties, working together to tackle a national economic emergency – is the embodiment of that spirit.

Now of course Coalition politics is not always straightforward. We don’t agree on everything. We never said we would.

But I believe we are bringing a new style of government.

A more collegiate approach. One where we’re prepared to argue things out and then act to do what we both believe is in the national interest.

The political risks are greater this way. But so too are the rewards.

As a Coalition government we are governing to the needs of the country.

And, in the last eight months, I believe that the government has been decisive, bold and determined.

We must maintain that drive in the months and years ahead.

As we start 2011, our priorities should be about enterprise, aspiration, the modernisation of our public services and the security of our people.

First, enterprise.

Uppermost in my mind as we enter the New Year is jobs.

Now ultimately it’s not government that creates jobs – it’s businesses, entrepreneurs, wealth creators.

And that is particularly true when governments are so deeply in debt that they have to cut back their own spending programmes.

So small and growing businesses will be our most important job creators.

And I want us to look at all the reasons why people find it so hard to start a business and all the barriers that stop a small business growing and really get tough with ourselves in addressing them.

I want us to create a new economic dynamism in our country.

I want to see more bank lending, particularly for small businesses. More deregulation. More investment in the sectors of the future – like with our reform of the electricity markets which will help to create tens of thousands of new sustainable green jobs.

From the start of the year right through to the Budget and beyond, we are resolved to be relentlessly focused on supporting growth and driving job creation across our economy.

Second, aspiration.

In spite of some good measures in recent years – Sure Start and the Academy programme for instance – social mobility in Britain has stalled.

Bright children from poor backgrounds do much better in other countries than they do here in the UK.

That shames us.

It’s in the very earliest years of a child’s life that disadvantage really takes hold.

That’s why we are protecting schools spending and enhancing it for the least well-off, offering free nursery education for disadvantaged two-year-olds and introducing a pupil premium, worth hundreds of pounds for each disadvantaged pupil.

But unless we modernise our public services, like education, we will never build a country of real opportunity.

Nor will we ever sustainably live within our means with outdated public services, pensions and welfare.

So our third priority must be to modernize those public services.

We will shift power away from central bureaucracy and give choice to the parents, patients and local citizens who use public services.

This will mean more open public services, more innovative, more responsive to what people want, and better value for money.

Fourth and finally, I want to say something about our national security.

For many years now we have been aware of the threat we face from international terrorism.

Recent arrests show that that threat is still very much with us.

And it is as serious today as it ever has been.

As we enter the New Year our police officers, together with their colleagues in the security and intelligence agencies, are working around the clock to foil plots that would do terrible harm to our people and our economy.

This government will be unstinting in the support it gives them.

But they also depend on the support of the public as they go about their work: together we will defend our values and way of life and defeat those who threaten them.

But we must ask ourselves as a country how we are allowing the radicalisation and poisoning of the minds of some young British Muslims who then contemplate and sometimes carry out acts of sickening barbarity.

And the overwhelming majority of British Muslims who detest this extremism must help us to find the answers together.

But in the fight against terrorism we cannot just protect ourselves at home.

We also need to take action with our international partners abroad.

Just before Christmas, the Prince of Wales and I visited service personnel being treated at the Royal Centre for Defence Medicine in Birmingham.

It was a stark reminder of the incredible bravery and sacrifice being made by all our servicemen and women who put their lives on the line to keep us safe.

For those serving in Afghanistan, 2011 is a crucial year in which we will start to transfer security responsibility for districts and provinces to Afghan control.

As the Afghans become steadily more capable of looking after their own security, so we will be able to start to bring our own forces home.

Enterprise, aspiration, public service reform and national security: these are the things that will determine whether in 2011 we take the steps towards the better, stronger, safer Britain that is within our grasp.

I am determined that we will.

That together, we have the right plan to pull through the tough times ahead.

And that if 2010 was the year we stopped the rot, we can make 2011 the year that Britain gets back on her feet.  (*)

South Korean Prime Minister leaves for trip to South America

South Korea's Prime Minister Kim Hwang-sik Photo : REUTERS/Jo Yong-Hak

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SEOUL, Dec. 30 (KATAKAMI / Yonhap) — South Korean Prime Minister Kim Hwang-sik left for Brazil’s capital city of Brasilia on Thursday to attend the inauguration of the South American nation’s new president.

Kim will represent South Korea at Dilma Rousseff’s inauguration on New Year’s Day. He will also meet with Brazilian officials to promote efforts by South Korean companies to win a bid for the construction of a high-speed railway in the country.  (*)

South Korea Again Describes North Korea as 'Enemy'

South Korean protesters burn a placard showing the defaced portraits of North Korean leader Kim Jong-il (L) and his youngest son and successor-in-waiting Kim Jong-un (R) during an anti-North Korea rally in Seoul, 28 Dec 2010

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December 29, 2010 (KATAKAMI / VOA) —North Korea is again the “enemy” of South Korea, a designation that has not been used for six years.

The designation is given to the North in South Korea’s latest defense white paper. But the document does not revive the designation of the communist state as the “main enemy.” The paper also delves into details about North Korea’s military capabilities.

The deputy defense minister for policy, Chang Kwang-il, explains why the label is again being applied.

Chang says this is to inform the South Korean public of the reality of North Korea and it sends a strong warning to Pyongyang.

The government, however, refrained from calling Pyongyang its “main enemy”, a designation used in the 1990s.

The defense ministry review, released on Thursday, details North Korea’s military capabilities. It says the North has deployed large artillery guns and new, more powerful tanks near the border with the South. It also has added new elite forces trained to infiltrate the South and disrupt critical facilities.

The document says North Korea’s plans to rely on its nuclear weapons, its long-range artillery, submarines, cyber-warfare and special forces to counter the South’s high-technology military.

The deputy defense minister says since the last assessment, in 2008, North Korea has added 20,000 special forces troops.

Chang estimates North Korea now has 200,000 special forces soldiers, installed in light infantry units and placed on the front lines.

The report says North Korea’s total force remains unchanged at 1,190,000 troops.

By comparison, South Korea has an active-duty force of 650,000. About 28,000 American troops are also stationed in the country.

The updated assessment of North Korea’s military comes at the end of a year that saw tensions on the peninsula rise to their highest level in decades.

North Korea is blamed for the sinking of a South Korean navy ship in the Yellow Sea, in March. Pyongyang denies responsibility for the incident, in which 46 sailors died.

In November, North Korea shelled a South Korean island in the same waters, killing four people.

The two Koreas fought a devastating three-year war to a stalemate in the early 1950’s. A truce, but no peace treaty, has been in place since then.  (*)

Abbas Heads to Brazil to Launch New Palestinian Embassy

Palestinian President Mamoud Abbas (L) attends Christmas midnight mass at the Church of the Nativity in the West Bank town of Bethlehem December 25, 2010. REUTERS/Fadi Arouri/Pool

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December 29, 2010 (KATAKAMI / VOA) — Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is traveling to Brazil, where he will preside over a cornerstone-laying ceremony for a new Palestinian embassy in the capital, Brasilia.

The ceremony will take place Friday, and comes after Brazil announced earlier this month that it had recognized Palestine as an independent state within its pre-1967 borders.

On Saturday, Mr. Abbas is due to attend the inauguration of Brazil’s president-elect, Dilma Rousseff.  He is also expected to hold meetings with other Latin American leaders.

Argentina, Bolivia and Ecuador issued similar recognition of Palestinian statehood this month.  Uruguay says it may do the same next year.  Israel and the United States have criticized those declarations, saying the borders of a future Palestinian state must be determined in direct negotiations between Israeli and Palestinian leaders.

The diplomatic drive is part of Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad’s two-year plan to establish all institutions and attributes of statehood by mid-2011.  Analysts say the aim is to create momentum for a diplomatic domino effect leading to a possible bid for recognition at the United Nations General Assembly next September.

The late Palestinian president, Yasser Arafat, unilaterally declared statehood in 1988, winning recognition from about 100 mainly Arab, communist and non-aligned states.  But it had no direct impact on efforts to resolve the Middle East conflict.

Direct peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians were revived by the U.S. in September after a year’s suspension.  The negotiations collapsed within weeks when Israel refused to extend a partial freeze on West Bank settlement construction.

Palestinian leaders say they will not negotiate while Israel builds homes for Jews in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, areas the Palestinians claim for a future state.  (*)

Palestinian PM Salam Fayyad : Palestinians seek more than a 'Facebook state'

Palestinian Prime Minister said Palestinians expect wider recognition of their statehood in 2011. -- PHOTO: AP

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RAMALLAH, December 30, 2010 (KATAKAMI / THE STRAITS TIMES) — PALESTINIANS expect wider recognition of their statehood in the coming year and it will mean more than the mere ‘Facebook state’ predicted by an Israeli official, Prime Minister Salam Fayyad said on Wednesday.

Mr Fayyad said recognition by many countries would ‘enshrine’ the Palestinians’ right to a state in all of the West Bank and Gaza Strip, which Israel captured along with East Jerusalem in a 1967 war.

Seventeen years of peace efforts had failed to deliver this promise, he told reporters. The current Israeli coalition’s stated commitment to a two-state solution could not be relied on ‘given the erosion that has taken place’, he said.

Jewish settlement of the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem has doubled since the interim Oslo accords of 1993.

Direct peace talks revived by Washington in September after a year’s suspension collapsed within weeks. A US drive to keep the process alive via third-party talks is in limbo.

The Palestinians reject further negotiation with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu until Jewish settlement of West Bank land is frozen and Mr Netanyahu states clearly what size and shape of state he envisages agreeing to eventually. ‘It is very important for that to be defined,’ Mr Fayyad said.   (*)

Source : THE STRAITS TIMES & REUTERS

Russian PM Putin cancels officials' holiday after travel chaos

Russia Prime Minister Vladimir Putin banned Moscow aviation officials from going on holiday in the wake of travel chaos at Moscow's 2 major airports -- PHOTO: AP

 

MOSCOW, December 30, 2010  (KATAKAMI / THE STRAIT TIMES) – PRIME Minister Vladimir Putin banned Moscow aviation officials on Wednesday from going on their New Year holiday – a Russian national institution – after two of the city’s major airports descended into chaos.

Angry holidaymakers beat up staff of the national carrier Aeroflot at Sheremetyevo airport on Tuesday as thousands were stranded with little food or information, after icy rain and blackouts disrupted traffic for a third day.

‘We had to bring some of our colleagues back from holiday. No holidays from now on. Everyone should stay at work,’ Mr Putin told a government meeting attended by airport and airline executives.

Most Russians take a 10-day holiday from Jan 1 and the country is virtually coming to a standstill during this period.

A blackout also hit Moscow’s biggest airport, Domodedovo, underlining for a second time this year authorities’ inability to handle the consequences of extreme weather.

The slow response from airports administrations and authorities resembled their reaction to a heatwave and deadly forest fires that struck Russia in the summer, denting the popularity of the country’s leadership. —

 

 

Source : THE STRAITS TIMES & REUTERS

Putin hails Medvedev over New START treaty

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, right, and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin shake hands before a Security Council meeting in the Gorki residence outside Moscow, Tuesday, Dec. 28, 2010. (AP Photo/RIA Novosti, Dmitry Astakhov, Presidential Press Service)

 

Dec 29, 2010 (KATAKAMI / RIA NOVOSTI) — Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin called on Wednesday a new strategic arms reduction treaty with the United States a foreign policy victory for President Dmitry Medvedev.

“The New START is the indisputable success of President Medvedev as head of state in the foreign policy sphere,” Putin told journalists.

The United States Senate ratified the new arms deal with Russia on December 22, with a vote of 71 for and 26 against. The agreement will come into force after ratification by both houses of the Russian parliament, which is likely to be completed by the end of January after deputies have studied the U.S. Senate’s resolution on the pact.

Russia’s lower house, the State Duma, approved the agreement in its first reading on December 24.

FILE : Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and U.S. President Barack Obama

The new treaty replacing the START 1 agreement that expired in December 2009 was signed in Prague in April by Medvedev and U.S. President Barack Obama.

The document slashes the Russian and U.S. nuclear arsenals to a maximum of 1,550 nuclear warheads, down from the current ceiling of 2,200.

Putin also said Russia’s confidence in American partners is “constantly strengthening, but has not conclusively strengthened yet,” even after Obama’s painstaking efforts to convince the Senate to eventually ratify the treaty before the end of the year.

Republican senators made several attempts to drag out the process of reviewing the new pact, and even attempted to have the enormous amount of text, including the appendices, read out loud on the Senate floor.

Had the U.S. leader failed to persuade the senators to approve the deal, the final vote would have been put off until the beginning of 2011 when the number of Republicans in the Senate would significantly increase, giving them more muscle. The reset in Russia-U.S. ties would have been jeopardized in this event. (*)

MOSCOW, December 29

Indonesian President Highly Appreciates "Garuda" Squad's Struggle

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YOUTUBE : Malaysia using laser to cheat Indonesian football player on final AFF cup (Dec 26, 2010)


December 30, 2010 (KATAKAMI / KOMPAS/ ANTARA ) — Despite Indonesia’s failure to grab the AFF Suzuki Cup’s championship title, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono highly appreciated the Garuda (eagle) squad’s spectacular struggle in the second leg of the cup’s final match here Wednesday evening.

The “Red and White” soccer players won the second legs by scoring 2-1 but the Malaysian team still managed to grab the championship trophy due to its aggregate 4-2 victory.

In the first leg, the Malayan tiger squad defeated Indonesia with 3-0. President Yudhoyono,  who directly watched the final match along with First Lady Ani Yudhoyono and over a hundred thousand Indonesian fans at Gelora Bung Karno stadium, was quoted by his spokesperson, Julian Aldrin Pasha, as saying that the Garuda squad had done its best.

Indonesian national team ( TIMNAS GARUDA ) : Kami mencintai dan sangat bangga pada kalian !

“The head of state does appreciate the spectacular struggle of our national team. He thanks all players and coaches,” Julian quoted the president as saying.   Despite the Garuda squad’s failure to grab the 2010 AFF Suzuki Cup’s championship title, the players’ spectacular struggle won public appreciation, including Vice President Boediono.

Boediono highly appreciated the spectacular struggle of Indonesian soccer team against Malaysia in the final match on TV but good luck did not belong to the Garuda squad. After watching the final match, Boediono said the good luck did not belong to Indonesia in this Wednesday night’s match.

“The good luck has yet to be with us tonight despite a number of good chances that our players have made and their so high fighting spirit,” he said.   Vice President Boediono watched the final match on TV at his official residence here with his staff members, security guards, and a number of journalists.

He said the “Red and White” players had done their best in the 90-minute match. “I pray for our national team’s success in the future,” he said.

Malaysia Cheat Laser in Final Suzuki AFF Cup 2010. Indonesia Vs Malaysia in Bukit Jalil (December 26, 2010).


In the first leg of the AFF Suzuki Cup’s final in Kuala Lumpur on December 26, the Malaysian tiger crushed Garuda (eagle) 3-0. Actually Indonesia had beaten Malaysia in the cup’s preliminary competition  5-1 in Jakarta.

But the performance of the Malayan tiger squad successfully improved and beat Vietnam in the cup’s semifinal. Indonesia itself could get the final ticket after beating the Philippines in the first and second legs of the cup’s semifinal at Gelora Bung Karno stadium.

Indonesia’s victory against the Philippines team in the 2010 AFF Suzuki Cup’s semifinal last Sunday evening had revived  the nation’s pride but the “Red and White” squad was not successful in grabbing the AFF Suzuki Cup’s trophy.  (*)

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