PARIS: A deadly explosion at a Russian testing site has focused attention on President Vladimir Putin's bid to build a nuclear-powered missile that the Kremlin hopes would give Moscow the edge in a new arms race.Western experts have linked the blast at the Nyonoksa test site on Aug 8, which caused a sharp spike in local radiation levels, to the 9M730 Burevestnik nuclear-powered cruise missile first revealed by Putin in 2018.The Kremlin has, however, not confirmed that the accident was linked to the Burevestnik project and the identity of the missile that exploded remains uncertain.But while a nuclear-powered missile with the theoretical ability to strike any target on planet earth may seem attractive, analysts warn the technical difficulties and risks could outweigh any strategic gain.Russia's nuclear agency Rosatom said that its staff, five of whom were killed in the blast, were providing engineering and technical support for the "isotope power source" of a missile.WHY SEEK … [Read more...] about Secret Russia weapon project: Gamechanger or PR stunt?
Local councils under russias provisional government
MOSCOW: Russia called outgoing US Ambassador to Russia Jon Huntsman a professional diplomat late on Tuesday (Aug 7), but said he had been unable to improve battered Russia-US ties because he had been hamstrung by domestic US politics, TASS news agency reported.Huntsman, who was appointed by US President Donald Trump in 2017, said in a resignation letter circulated by US media that he was stepping down after a two-year tenure overshadowed by US sanctions on Moscow and tit-for-tat diplomatic expulsions.His stint in Russia came at a time when relations between Washington and Moscow hit a post-Cold War low and were strained over everything from Syria to arms control and allegations, denied by Russia, that Moscow meddled in the 2016 US presidential election to help Trump win."Huntsman is a professional," TASS cited the foreign ministry as saying."Unfortunately, the domestic political situation in the United States did not make it possible to realise … [Read more...] about Russia says outgoing US envoy failed to improve poor ties
PEOPLE are fed up with their local authorities. The inertia and non-accountability of local councils have resulted in bottlenecks, discontentment and environmental disasters. Looking at successful councils in developed countries, we find that they are elected; council meetings are open; accountability is demanded; there is participation by ratepayers; and there are mechanisms to manage change. Only a complacent unelected local government can get away with having allowed the lax conditions in which toxic pollution of the air and water in Pasir Gudang occurred not once but twice and elsewhere in Malaysia. Just three months after the Sungai Kim Kim incident where toxic fumes from chemical waste affected some 6,000 residents, we witness another case in Pasir Gudang where many schoolchildren have fallen ill due to suspected air pollution. To date, the source of the air pollution has yet to be identified. Any elected local government would have been forced to resign over such a scandal. … [Read more...] about Local elections long overdue
COLOMBO: Sri Lanka's police on Tuesday (Jun 25) stepped in to prevent a local council from banning Muslim traders from a weekly fair in another backlash from the devastating Easter attacks blamed on Islamic extremists.The local government body had ordered minority Muslims not to participate in the farmer's market in the town of Dankotuwa, 47km north of the capital."We got a court order against the Wennappuwa Pradeshiya Saba (council) because we can't allow this Islamophobia," local police Superintendent K A B Kumarapeli told AFP by telephone.He said the local council chairman representing a political party affiliated to former president Mahinda Rajapakse ordered Muslims to stay away, saying their presence could trigger violence in the region.The region has a high concentration of Christians who suffered the most in the Apr 21 suicide bombings that targeted three churches and three hotels. At least 258 people were killed and nearly 500 wounded in the … [Read more...] about Sri Lanka police overturn local council ban on Muslims
UNITED NATIONS, United States: Russia's UN ambassador charged Friday (May 17) that the UN's chemical weapons watchdog had been hijacked by politics and its mandate derailed after Moscow put forward a draft Security Council resolution on the OPCW.Western diplomats fear the proposed Russian measure is aimed at weakening the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), which has been at the forefront of efforts to shed light on chemical attacks in Syria."We are trying to get the OPCW back on track because it (has) slided off the track and now it is so politicized," Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia told reporters."It was always a technical organ where consensus prevailed, and now we see that it is completely politicized, with politicized agenda from various parties.""We want the OPCW to get back to where it was before," he said.The draft text, seen by AFP, notes "with concern the continuing politicization of the work of the OPCW" which "significantly reduces the efficiency of … [Read more...] about Russia says UN chemical weapons watchog is ‘off track’