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.   (*)

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

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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.  (*)

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