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Winners and losers of a cashless economy

Wed, 2017-12-06 05:51
With every year, new payment methods come out, ever more convenient, ever more modern. Now, the question is: do we really need cash altogether, anymore? Many players on the market argue that we don’t. For the general public, the question isn’t really relevant, as they are excluded from the debate. Should hard currency disappear, who would win and who would lose? Since the 1980s, businesses and individuals have been offered ever more solutions to conduct their payments and make their purchases in every possible way. Ranging from debit cards to credit cards, and from wire transfers to IOUs, contactless payments are everywhere on the rise, to the extent that many wonder if we still need cash at all! The disappearance of cash has been a social fantasy for many decades, but that doesn’t mean it couldn’t occur. In fact, some of the boldest reforms in modern history sometimes took over a century in the brewing. While supporters of the war on cash claim it would bring nothing but benefits for all involved, civil rights activists warn that only some categories would be on the long end of the stick - and citizens would draw the short straw. Banks are the most diligent champions of the war on cash. Actually, some banks have already implemented it, making their agencies cashless. In 2016, Australian bank Citi decided to stop managing cash in its agencies. Head of retail banking Janine Copelin announced (1): “This move to cashless branches reflects Citi's commitment to digital banking and we are investing in the channels our customers prefer to use". Part of these banks’ strategy is to explain that it is in the customer’s interest and at their behest. Janine Copelin therefore added that “4 per cent of the bank's customers had made cash transactions through a branch in the last year.” Many other banks are tempted to drop cash altogether, because it doesn’t represent a source of revenue, and look keenly on the trend, as Susan Edmonds reported (2): “Banks said they were adjusting their systems to cater for a world where consumers wanted less physical cash in their pockets. ASB executive general manager retail Russell Jones said branches in New Zealand had already noticed a drop in the requirement for cash to be handled over the counter. Increasingly the sorts of volumes of cash handling people are doing can be handled by ATMs to get cash out and by ATMs to put deposits back into the system. The amount of cash that is going through branches over the counter is reducing." And banks can count on a sizable ally to help them increase their profits. Governments are opposing very feeble resistance to the banks’ lobbying pressure, as they also have something to gain in the dissolution of hard currency. Central banks see in the production and management of cash an unnecessary expense. And law enforcement agencies tend to frown upon cash, as their investigations regularly lead them to arrest individuals who have stashed their illegitimate earnings in high piles of banknotes. Their professional misperception often lead investigators and law enforcer to associate cash with crime. Lastly, fiscal agencies loathe the banknotes they so often fail to recoup in taxes. With the advent of the cashless and computerized era, governments could more easily track wrongdoers, investigate criminal networks and increase their tax revenues and bases by shedding light on every single corner of the economy. Economist Kenneth Rogoff assures (3): “Law-abiding citizens rarely have need for $100 bills, yet there are 34 of them in circulation for every woman, man, and child in the U.S. That suggests the bills are circulating mainly in the underground economy.” Bloomberg editorialist Peter Coy adds: “Law enforcement officials are among Rogoff's biggest allies in the war on cash, he says, and some central bankers are also interested. The front of his book carries a blurb from former Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke, who calls the book "fascinating and important" and the argument "compelling and wide-ranging." Former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers and Citigroup Chief Economist Willem Buiter have also endorsed the idea, which Rogoff first broached in a scholarly paper in 1998.” But when there are winners in a change of setting, there are also losers. What civil rights activists are worried about is not economic performance, tax revenues or police efficiency. They are worried about how much power a State would have, if it could monitor every single citizen on a screen. Glenn Beck, a civil rights watchdog, warns (4): ”You want to talk about true power? True power comes from everyone knowing exactly where you’ve spent your money, every penny, you not having the ability to make any transaction at all in cash. So, somebody wants to stop you, all they have to do is freeze your funds. All they have to do is wipe out your bank account”. Because computerized transactions are logged in with details, amounts, location, time, and parties involved, a cashless world would amount to a society where citizens would always feel the threatening eye of their government watching over their shoulder as they conduct their business. Additionally, the deletion of hard currency would amount to a significant transfer risk, from the banks to the citizens. For example, the current European economy is marked with particularly low interest rates, dictated by the European Central Bank, which have sometimes even gone below zero. As a result, citizens can be tempted to withdraw their holdings from the bank, where they earn nothing or even lose some of their value - something the banks fear. In a cashless society, every citizen’s savings would be trapped in the banking system, no matter what. Individual citizens and companies would therefore bear the brunt of whatever economic turbulence occurred, so that banks could remain out of harm’s way. As former IMF president and economist D. Strauss-Kahn summarized, “when there is a loss, the question is simply: who will suffer it?” In a cashless society, it would necessarily be citizens. One could consider the ongoing debate to be roaring with its silence. How is it that such an important aspect of our society is in jeopardy, while none of it is being discussed on prime television talk shows, where experts are usually so keen to express themselves? One may also wonder why banks and governments are so keen and eager to take care of their citizens’ and customers’ interests for them. A social heist may be afoot. (1) (2) (3) (4)

Deutsche Bank subpoena: Latest plot in the soap opera.

Tue, 2017-12-05 19:55
The ongoing attempt to bring President Trump in guilty for “colluding with Russia to win the United States presidency took another dimension with the news that the special counsel Robert Mueller has subpoenaed transaction data of a very legal business deal which then business man Donald Trump struck with Deutsche Bank. The transaction data of […]

Moscow threats to wreck the Minsk peace negotiations

Mon, 2017-11-27 07:47
The recent developments in Luhansk are represented for the international community as a conflict between “legally elected” head of the separatist LPR, Igor Plotnitsky, and its Deep State represented by the minister of internal affairs, Igor Kornet, and the minister of state security LPR Leonid Pasechnik. Without going into the chronology and details of the events, as it has already been said enough in the media reports, it is possible to note a certain choreographed character of all that had happened. Yes, the conflict between the mentioned persons did not arise suddenly and not today, but existed long ago. But, generally speaking, both forces are nothing but two sleeves of the same Kremlin jacket, a kind of weights providing the Kremlin with control over its proteges in the region. And there was an explosion of emotions, a putsch and a threat of change in the leadership of the LPR. This alone wouldn't be a problem - one bandit and a thief would replace another - but there is one very essential detail. Moscow understands that Plotnitsky's signature, even as a private person, stands under the Minsk agreements. LPR without him will not have any relations to the Minsk agreements in any way. But who is Plotnitsky? He is a private person whose signature without his position is under the Minsk documents and on whose behalf now someone is going to Minsk and is holding negotiations and consultations. But without these individuals - the whole process, the legality of which is already under a big question, will completely lose its legitimacy. I'm not mention about the possible forceful union of two pseudo-republics - LРR and DPR. This scenario has been actively considered in light of the events in Luhansk. Then, in general, a new “agency” arises and you can forget about the Minsk agreements. Now we can ask, if developments in Luhansk are not a clear signal towards the US and the EU, that the Kremlin is not satisfied with the situation around the implementation of the Minsk agreements? We can see the option how it is possible to create a situation when the existing agreements will not correspond to a potentially new format of separatist entities and there will be an occasion to insist on the drawing up of new agreements, for example, under the name “Minsk 3”. And the settlement of the conflict will formally be postponed under a plausible pretext. As it is Moscow will hush up this internal blow-up and will take an operational pause so that Plotnitsky’s and Kornet’s people could “calm down”.

Luhansk rebellion: Moscow derails the Minsk peace process

Sat, 2017-11-25 02:37
A wide circle of observers for the conflict between the authority of Luhansk pseudo-republic, which consists in Igor Cornet dismissal from the position of the “Minister of the Internal Affairs” of so-called LPR by Igor Plotnitsky and the disavowal of the latter to recognize it (resulting in a military confrontation in the center of Luhansk), seeks to find out some explanation for these events, to determine their causes and to predict results, more precisely, to predict who of the two Igor will win. But in fact all this does not matter. The events, steps and statements of the main and secondary players accompanying the said conflict (especially the Luhansk militants appeal to Alexander Zakharchenko to unite the LPR and the DPR under his leadership, and Mr. Zatulin statement that such union is absolutely logical) may indicate that Russia could orchestrate this situation, or at least predicted it (the probability of such situation has been boiling up all these years) and had long ago developed scenarios of its actions, as well as it was in winter 2014. That was the case of Viktor Yanukovych's failure to manage the crisis on Ukrainian Maidan. The truth is that, due to the diplomatic efforts of Kiеv and Western Allies, the resolution of the Donbass problem in a format related to the Minsk agreements implementation and possible deployment of non-Russian peacekeepers and return of control over the border area in no way satisfies Moscow. So it is necessary either to leave apart the Minsk peace process, or to “reshape” it. That's why a crisis at the LPR top brass was so needed. Now in conditions when all necessary steps have been taken under the plan developed by Lubyanka, and in the absence of radio and television for some period, the situation will “freeze up” to allow analyzing the external reaction that in turn will allow deciding on the scenario of further development. The name of winner (among two Igor) depends on it. In the case of I. Plotnitsky retirement from the stage as one of the signatories of the Minsk agreements, they (the agreements) will lose their legitimacy and, therefore it is necessary to choose new formats. If within the framework of new formats the ways of solution of the Donbass problem do not again satisfy the Russian side, the separate districts of Donetsk and Luhansk regions can be united under the leadership of A. Zakharchenko, who is also a signatory of the Minsk agreements, and therefore it is possible to return to this format. Although the subject is different (not separate LPR and DPR, but the united Novorossiya), the agreements should be different – and you will receive Minsk III. And then they possibly will insist on conditions, which Kiev will never agree. The agreements will fail, which means the Kremlin will try to push the separate districts of Donetsk and Luhansk regions into Ukraine in its present condition (and even worse) and will talk to its Western partners on its peacekeeping mission for ungrateful Ukrainians.

The faces of Russian terrorism

Thu, 2017-11-23 09:47
The armed conflict at the East of Ukraine has not become less relevant for international community, but all attempts to stop conflict by Minsk negotiations have no result yet. It is worth mentioning that the lack of progress in de-escalation is based on denial of so-called DPR and LPR to follow Minsk agreements and the destructive position of Russian Federation, which is the party of the negotiations. Let us be honest: so-called “Donbas militia” would be unable to resist Armed Forces of Ukraine without the external financing, without the deliveries of weapons and ammunition, without specific intelligence backup, without propaganda support etc. Only Russia could provide that support to the terrorists from Donetsk and Luhansk. Russia does not recognize itself as the party of conflict though Russian citizens take direct part in war actions of so-called DPR and LPR against Ukrainian enforcement bodies. Russia controls the part of Ukrainian state border and provide illegal and uncontrolled deliveries of commodities for illegal units, allow its citizens to enter Ukrainian territory without permission of Ukrainian government. There is large network of organizations, charity funds and associations which raise money and ammunition for illegal units, active on Ukrainian territory. Ukraine has brought a landmark case in The Hague court, accusing Russia in violation of UN convention for the suppression of financing terrorism. This accusation is extremely important as it may be the first case the UN country - member accusation of financing terrorism, of intended failure to prevent supporting terrorism by domestic legal persons and individuals, concealment of that persons etc. Particular researches in the Russian segment of Internet have confirmed the facts Ukraine charges Russia with. Now we are going to show faces of Russian terrorism. Face №1 Gleb Kornilov Russian citizen, the resident of Moscow Due to the Kornilov’s accounts in social networks, he supports monarchy, so-called Novorussia and is greatly interested in movie production. Though, Gleb does not produce movies, he rather prefers to take part in real war actions at the east of Ukraine. Likewise, his admin access to the group called “Fund of support for Novorussia” in social network “VKontakte” proves Kornilov’s involvement in raising money for terrorists. Here you can see Kornilov at the battlefront near Donetsk international airport, alongside with the members of illegal armed unit “Reconnaissance batallion SPARTA”. Pay attention to the Russian chevron on Kornilov’s chest. At the same day, Kornilov visited members of other illegal units near Donetsk airport and delivered them ammunition and other goods. But the contacts with ordinary terrorists are not the peak of Gleb’s activity in Donbas. This picture shows us Kornilov hugging leader of illegal armed unit “Reconnaissance battalion “SPARTA” Arsenii Pavlov, also known as Motorolla. Now we can see the “true novoross” Kornilov with so-called “head of DPR” Mr. Zakharchenko. So it can tell us a lot about how influential Gleb Kornilov is indeed. He is also told to be admin of official web page of “Fund of support for Novorussia”. According to the logs of social pages, Kornilov’s organization is situated in Moscow. There is the list of branch offices of the fund, they all are around the Russian Federation. The number of branch offices is so large that it seems to be the local government offices, not the charity fund. Making the reports of his “travel”, Kornilov mentioned that he had already delivered 1000 tonnes of ammunition and other commodities for so-called DPR and LPR. We have to add that even very well-known and successful charity fund can hardly find the money for regular deliveries and full supply of such large illegal armed unit as “Reconnaissance battalion SPARTA”. For such deliveries, the benefactor must operate the federal budget of Russian Federation. Face №2 Irina Bednova Russian citizen, the resident of Moscow We have to say that Irina Bednova is a widow of leader of illegal armed unit “Batmen” Aleksandr Bednov, killed in Luhansk 2 years ago. After the assassination of her husband, Irina moved to Moscow and created the fund «We do not abandon our people» (Своих не бросаем). The main aim of this fund is raising money for members of illegal armed units, reception of them in Moscow and paying of their expenses while staying in Moscow. The fund’s details are openly published in the Internet, as it shows us the picture below. Irina Bednova has also published a lot of reports of her trips to Luhansk, with the pictures of truck full of different ammunition attached. Irina posts the details for raising money for injured member of illegal armed unit on her Facebook page. It is extremely significant that the widow of murdered leader of pro-russian illegal armed unit has moved to Russia, and admitted citizenship of Russia. Living in Russia she kept up raising money for pro-russian terrorists with no reaction of Russian official bodies. Face №3 Angela Kugueiko Angela Kugueiko is a volunteer, poet and lawyer from Ufa, the republic of Bashkortostan, Russia. The law education did not prevent Angela from illegal cross the frontier of Ukraine, and taking picture in Ukrainian village Shirokino, being armed and staying on the Ukrainian flag. Angela Kugueiko has created “volunteer organization” called “Wolf Brotherhood” (Волчье Братство), its main aim is raising money, ammunition and other commodities for members of illegal armed units of so-called DPR. Angela’s arrival in Kominternovo village of Donetsk region of Ukraine and delivering commodities for members of illegal armed units are confirmed by the other sources of information. Terrorist Maksim Drozdov posted the story of Ufa residents’s arrival and added some photos of their meeting. Pay attention to the great number of notes of thanks, signed by the leaders of many illegal units and addressed to Angela Kugueiko. The notes of thanks and pictures of the goods, bought and prepared for delivery, make us think that legal practice is just her hobby, but her work is just below. It is worth noting that the landmark case Ukraine vs. Russian Federation is based on the International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism adopted by the GA of the UN 54/109 of 9 December 1999. Article 18 of this convention includes large list of measures that must be undertaken by the Countries Parties to prevent financing terrorism: detection of suspicious transactions, immediate criminal prosecution of the persons, involved in financing terrorism, providing reports to Interpol about all such cases etc. Which of these measures were undertaken by Russia against the 3 persons, we have mentioned above? Zero. Nothing was done. That is why the term “state-terrorist” is not metaphor anymore.

Korean trap for Kremlin

Thu, 2017-11-23 09:32
In November, 2018 the USA is going to hold elections to the lower chamber of the Congress which can essentially change political map in the country. For this reason in the run-up to election campaign the nuclear program of Democratic People's Republic of Korea becomes not a simple question of strategic safety of the United States, but also a political card which both democrats and republicans will try to play on. In fact the following situation is developing: two Congressmen - Josh Gottheimer and Francis Rooney - have introduced a bill to the lower chamber of the Congress “The North Korea Ballistic Missile Investigations Act”. It is a question of deliveries of rocket engines for the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. In their bill the American congressmen refer to the report of an expert from the International institute of strategic researches (IISS), Michael Elleman, on which base on July, 14th The New York Times published a material that rocket engines could be supplied to Pyongyang “from a foreign source, possibly, from Ukraine”. Russian political engineers have actively grasped this topic. In Moscow they assumed, that Pyongyang’s rocket & nuclear program actively developing and worrying Washington could help with attempts of the international isolation of Ukraine. The stake has been made that the information on sale of rocket components to North Korean regime at least will push the USA to refuse to support Kiev and as a maximum to impose sanctions against. Moscow and Kiev hereby would be in equal conditions, to be exact, one to one. However Kremlin has not considered some important details. First, Moscow leaders did not expect the Ukrainian party could so quickly present proofs of its non-implication. And even on the contrary, Ukraine proved Russia’s involvement in successes of the North Korean program. Secondly, Russia obviously did not expect, that the Ukrainian party would suggest the White House to conduct a comprehensive investigation related to “Yuzhmash” and its capacities of engines sale to the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. It’s necessary to note the Congress committee will consider the given initiative, making a start not from The New York Times’s article, but directly from results of Elleman’s research where it is stated, that engines RD-250 could be received by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea not only at the Ukrainian “Yuzhmash”, but also at Russian enterprise “Energomash”. And after all it is the Russian plant where drawings of these engines have been developed, and these are the ware houses of this object where the specified details are being stored in a considerable quantity. It’s necessary to remind, that already the following day after publication of his material Elleman stated that he did not trust in Ukraine’s guilty and even hinted at Russian’s involvement. Authors of the bill also stated that the North Korea at first could get rocket fuel in China or in Russia. In other words, Congressmen will come to conclusion that the supplier of rocket technologies for the North Korea is the Russian Federation, but not Ukraine. Already now the Russian news agencies are spreading false information that the USA will prove Ukrainian participation in the ill-fated deliveries. Their sites are full with similar headings. But the Russian mass-media have fed the anti-western and anti-Ukrainian propagation not the first year. But what about the Congress’s investigation? One of its initiators, Josh Gottheimer, who has recently occupied a congressman post from New Jersey, worked as the speech writer for Bill Clinton, and after a long pause left business for politics. He is the co-author of “Protecting Our Democracy Act” which helped to generate the commission in the Congress on investigation of Russian cyber-attacks against the USA. He also supported creation the law on sanctions against the Russian Federation, Iran and the North Korea. Every day more and more new proofs of direct or indirect participation of Russia in the international terror acts are appearing. For example, we could recall the New York terrorist from ISIL, the native of Uzbekistan, Sayfullo Saipov. It was found, that before his departure in the USA he had lived in Vologda, Russia. It is one more episode which the American Office of Public Prosecutor will not disregard. If all charges against Russia are proved, there will be not simply new sanctions, but the international isolation. Kremlin is continuing an old practice of tension creation in the world to take away blow from itself, but it hereby only accelerates its death. Thus, things in common between the USA and Russia become less and less. Putin’s maniacal idea about joint struggle against ISIL from Syria to Afghanistan and normalization of relations to the level of 2013 becomes more and more delusive.

Putin’s “humanism” and FIFA World Cup 2018

Wed, 2017-11-22 09:52
After 14 long months of suppression to the release process of the Ukrainian hostages in Donbas, Kremlin has suddenly set about its continuation. Acting in a manner of the long-standing gangland tradition – making a problem first to simulate the assistance in its resolution thereafter – Putin has yet again illustrated extreme cynicism of the Russian aggressive policy. Well, that is Russia that hit Ukraine, launched the war and occupied Ukrainian territories. Naturally, military aggression was accompanied by prisoner snatch, both military and civil. And now Russian leader broke into humanism. Why then just now? It seems that after all, sanction mechanism affects on aggressor, showing signs of inevitability of considerable and even completely unacceptable financial and economic, reputational and diplomatic, political and humanitarian damage. That’s exactly why Putin has organized pacifist performance to bring himself gentle and humane politician before the world, doing his best in behalf of peace in Ukraine and, therefore, in no way being an aggressor. He expresses commitment to exchange prisoners, accepts peacemakers, and personally coerces Zakharchenko and Plotnitskiy (leaders of separatist movements in Donbas) to humanism; he even settled almost everything with USA. Well, elections are coming soon… Yet, if the motto ‘Krymnash’ (‘Crimea is ours’) has already become trivial and Novorossiya project got bogged down in war of positions, then Putin may become ‘a great peacemaker’ instead of ‘a gatherer of Russian lands’, which is also by no means bad. What is more, the final part of the FIFA World Cup is coming, which starts just after the anticipated inauguration (who then still doubts?) of Vladimir Putin. Considering exceptional reputational importance of this event to demonstrate the whole world the mightiness and majesty of modern Russia and particularly of its leader, the risk of changing the hosting country shall be treated as unacceptable damage. However, too many problems accompanies Russian championship, from quite doubtful story of awarding hosting rights for the World Cup by Russia and a range of doping scandals in Russian sport to their intervention in elections of other states. No wonder Putin attempts to present himself progressive, democratic leader and simply a good guy. That reminds situation before Sochi Olympic Games in 2014. At that time shortly before the Games Putin granted a pardon to Khodorkovsky and decriminalized PussyRiot. Though, following the Games closure, one by one Russia occupied and annexed Crimea and initiated massacre in Donbas. Human lives are of utmost importance. Every chance shall be used for their rescue. If Putin’s declarations may help hostages come home, it should be welcomed. Yet, let’s wait till the next negotiations in Minsk on November 20th. They may clarify shall the change take place and what will be its terms.

The Genius of the Electoral College, and why it must not be changed.

Tue, 2017-11-21 17:12
As has almost become customary of late, the Electoral College has come under attack once again by the the losing side in a presidential election. Though the election happened quite some time ago, the argument has yet to end about what could have been if the Electoral College votes were not a factor. It keeps […]

Why will prosecuting Hillary Clinton be “setting a dangerous precedent” as claimed by the MSM?

Thu, 2017-11-16 23:49
The push back has been furious as it has been stridently consistent. From the din which is being cooked up over this, it is clear that a major vein has been touched – nay, more like karate chopped on the collective psyche of the establishment.  A major news network, CNN, to be precise, has said […]

Russia and Hungary – beneficial friendship

Thu, 2017-11-16 01:59
In the midst of increasing political and economic pressure on Russia due to its aggressive expansionist policy the position of some European states, the leaders of which declare unequivocally their dissent from such Brussels’s policy, seems to be quite strange. Hungary takes active part in lobbying lifting sanctions against Russia, which not only maintains top-level close ties with Russia, but also works for extending cooperation. Specific relationships between Budapest and Moscow are proven by the fact that Hungary became the only European state visited by Putin twice for the last half-a-year. Frankly pro-Russian position of the Hungarian authorities has quite prosaic reasoning. Hungary depends heavily on supply of Russian energy products. In addition, Moscow peps up quite effectively (through financial means) the interest of Hungary in maintaining close friendly relations. Kremlin’s decision to provide Budapest with credit in the amount of 12 billion euro for construction of the Paks II Nuclear Power Plant serves as the striking example. The amount is quite impressive, isn’t it? The start of the construction with direct involvement of Russian companies is scheduled for January 2018. This scale project will afford Russia not only tie the operation of Hungary nuclear power plant to them and create additional workplaces for their citizens, but also market the technologies in the field of nuclear energy at European level. Obviously, in consideration of the economic support, Kremlin reckons on the Budapest’s loyalty in the issues of foreign policy and lobbying of Russia’s interests on the international scene, particularly in the issue of lifting sanctions. Moscow not only buys Budapest for credits, but also efficiently uses historical claims of Hungary and growing revanchist spirits inside the state. Current Hungarian authorities have repeatedly declared their intention to turn the lands inhabited by ethnic Hungarians to the “parent body”. This fact unites Hungary and Russia. Budapest does not transmit such ideas internationally, though they keep stirring up the idea of “Great Hungary” within the state attempting to attract the voters. Similarly to Moscow, in pursuing their aims they stake on strengthening the ties between Hungarians living abroad and their historical Motherland. Certainly, there’s nothing wrong that Hungarian authorities supports in every possible way and provide funds for public organisations, educational projects, infrastructure and medicine development, etc. at the areas of their compact settlement abroad. At the same time the fact that Hungary actively uses the ethnic factor not only for inviting workforce to the state, but also as one of the Budapest’s impact tools on bordering states competes attention. In this context the dual citizenship policy promoted by Hungarian authorities (it happens sometimes that issue of Hungarian passports rises to 100 thousand per month) cannot but cause concern of the authorities of neighboring states. Setting the pension registration mechanism for those citizens living abroad, Budapest gave an impetus to this process which resulted in aggressive growth of the number of ethnic Hungarians who have dual citizenship in Romania, Slovakia, Ukraine and Serbia. All this happens amidst the growth of extreme right, pro-Russian and Euro-skeptic spirits as well as the government’s support of nationalistic Hungarian organisations abroad. Hungarian nationalists are the primary driving force for the implementation of the idea of “Great Hungary”. Particularly, they are actively committed to granting Hungarians the autonomy within the areas of their compact settlement in Ukrainian Zakarpattia, Székelyföld in Romanian Transylvania, Danube regions of Slovakia, Vojvodina in Serbia. Hungarian imperial ambitions stirring up by Kremlin, as well as growing autonomist aspirations among the Hungarian minority aggravate the outlined negative trends in the EU (British Brexit, reinforcement of the Rights in France and recent Catalonian demarche). With due account for these conditions, as well as for Kremlin’s involvement into the destructive actions focused on disruption of the EU and NATO unity, the friendship between Budapest and Moscow does not seem to be so harmless.

Crimea – Russian Federation: Assault on Faith

Wed, 2017-11-15 09:11
Having captured Ukrainian Crimea, Russia accomplished its century dream - to gain control over sea channels and, in fact, full control over Black Sea. The most powerful fleet among Black Sea countries - the Turkish one - lost its weight at once. Killing zone of missiles launched from Crimean ground fully "seals" the channels, turning Black Sea into Russian internal lake. Only one move left for Russia to gain full domination on the occupied territory - homeland for Muslims and Crimean Tatars - to subdue native people, to break their faith, to trample their honor and dignity. Moscow always persecuted our brothers in faith in Chechnya, now it does the same in Crimea and Syria, where it tears apart Turkmen Muslims. Putin is a pro in flagellating whole nations as criminals. Once he already spinned this method on Chechens: if you are Chechen - you are criminal. Now, after peninsula annexation, Putin took on Crimean Tatars, who denied him love and loyalty. He left-handedly uses nice words as "depoliticization of Crimean Tatar People" to conceal his doings. He does it step-by-step. First, all efforts was directed towards termination of national leaders in Quriltai-Mejlis system. As all attempts to force Mustapha Dzhemilev and Mejlis Head Refat Chubarov to switch sides failed, they simply were denied to enter Crimea. Being unable to crush in prison the will of Mejlis Head deputies Ilmi Umerov and Akhtem Chyigoz, occupants freed them under pressure of international community and thanks to personal efforts of Turkish president, and also exiled them from Crimea. Of course, Kremlin would like all Tatars to leave. However, they did not. Then aggressors started the next phase - to oust all who do not fall within "depoliticized" term. Those are clerisy, public and religious figures, lawyers, human rights defenders, journalists. To turn the trick they use both devious methods - they close schools and classes with Crimean Tatar language of study, liquidate Crimean Tatar linguistic faculty in Simferopol University, put pressure on Crimean Tatar channel on Crimean TV - and rude ones - bullying, beating, repressions, prosecution under false charges, pressure on relatives. It has to be said that occupation authorities and their local proxies succeeded in this. Now they want to finally frighten those, who remained. That is the third phase of so-called "depoliticization". Namely, very dangerous phenomenon can be observed on this phase: after politics (prohibition of Mejlis), the whip is used on religion. All Muslims of Crimea, the majority of who are Tatars, undergo repressions, which already became of mass character. The occupants do not even bother to look for evidences - one religious book from "forbidden list" is enough to become "extremist" and to be imprisoned. If political processes in Crimea are used to give a fright, then prosecution for faith - is a far more serious thing. All in all, political preferences can be different. However, when the issue is about ethnicity or faith - it is a low blow, because now any Muslim or Crimean Tatar can be named "extremist" or "terrorist". Crimean Tatars could not leave these actions by Russian authorities without response. On October 14, more than 100 people went to the roadsides to protest against police abuse and groundless accusations of Crimean Muslims in terrorism and extremism. "We are not terrorists! Our children are not terrorists!" - read the signs held by young and old people, who are tired to live in constant fear and waiting for Kremlin's powerbrokers. According to Russian legislation, one-man protest is not forbidden. However, this did not stop "police" and gray men from arresting several dozens of people. Very emotional, but absolutely just and clearly reflecting the situation in Crimea was the address to Russian president by mother of arrested Abdullaiyev brothers - Diyara Abdullaiyeva: "Stop this violation, humiliation of our people. What are you getting at? Everybody knows - there are no terrorists in Crimea, no such organizations. All organizations are fake, criminal cases and sentences are cooked up. If it is not 1937, our vision is that Crimean Tatars, Muslims are simply put away in such a manner. They can be accused, they can be eliminated, if you are Muslim - you are terrorist. Closed court hearings violate the principles of publicity. It means that they are afraid of truth. We demand to stop persecution of Muslims, to stop repressions of Crimean Tatars, to free Muslims from jails". Hardly anything could be added to these words.

Romania and Ukraine: from mutual suspicions to fight against common enemy

Tue, 2017-11-14 08:26
Last week the upcoming visit of Romanian president Klaus Iohannis to Ukraine was officially announced. Thus, another potential conflict in clouded relationships between two neighboring states concerning the cancellation of scheduled September visit of Romanian president to Kiev due to the education act adopted by the Ukrainian parliament was successfully overcome. Bucharest and Kiev have always perceived each other suspiciously. In order to comprehend the background for such suspicion, one should analyze the development of relations between two states for the last period. For the recent couple of decades Ukraine was positioned in Romanian public medium as unfriendly state and agent of Russian interests. Ukrainian authorities in their turn suspected Bucharest in its intention to implement the “Great Romania” project. Amidst mutual suspicions in insincerity, the problems concerning the protection of the rights of Romanian minority in Ukraine and vice versa, continental shelf delimitation in the Black Sea, construing of deep navigable Danube – Black Sea channel on the Ukrainian side of the river estuary as well as situation with Krivoy Rog Ore-Dressing and Processing Enterprise have sharply aggravated. Currently the state of things has been gradually improving influenced by the new geopolitical reality. Romania takes active steps to rethink its strategy towards neighboring Ukraine. Unlawful Crimea annexation by Russia, as well as initiating full-scale conflict in the east of Ukraine have significantly influenced this process as directly affect the issue of national security and national interests of Romania. If until recently Romania did not have a faith to pro-western orientation of Ukraine assuming dependence of its leading circles from Russia, then after the Crimea annexation and military actions in Donbas Bucharest has rethought the challenges. Militarization of Crimea situated a mere 300 km from the Romanian coast became the principal problem for Romania as well as for other Black sea countries. New Romanian leader Klaus Iohannis as opposed to his predecessors has no historical burden in his approach and his declamations as for Ukraine making it possible to take steps representing the final end of the times of mutual distrust in relations between two neighboring states. Few knows that Romania was among the first EU states which ratified the Association Agreement between the EU and Ukraine and shall be one of five EU states which insist not merely on prolongation but on reinforcement of sanctions against Russia. The fact of Romanian support to Ukrainian army in getting the hang of counteracting cyber threats and lobby of Ukrainian interests in NATO is also of little notice. As NATO member, Romania is a leader in developing countermeasures in respect of Russian provocative actions in the Black sea such as creation NATO Black Sea Fleet in partnership with Romania, Bulgaria and Turkey. Ukraine also declared its wish to attach to this initiative. Thus, Romania, as well as NATO and EU in its face need Ukraine as interlink in promotion of regional safety. Pro-European Ukraine today has the same purposes as formerly Romania had: NATO and EU membership. Romania proves able and must share experience and help avoiding sad mistakes on this difficult way. Primarily the question is military and technical cooperation and sharing experience in military field: Romania may teach Ukraine by NATO standards and Ukraine in turn may share valuable experience achieved in Donbas. The forthcoming visit of Romanian president Klaus Iohannis to Ukraine will fuel the development of bilateral relations between Bucharest and Kiev and will work as a clear sign for Kremlin which persevere attempts to force a wedge between Romania and Ukraine and use Romania-Ukraine outstanding problems for implementation of aggressive foreign policy.

The Russia inquisition is nothing but the establishment’s plot to take back information control.

Thu, 2017-11-02 13:54
The establishment’s exclusive powers to brainwash the populace via total control of information flow through the mainstream media they own is being usurped by social media, and they don’t like it, one bit. Now they’re working to bring censorship to social media, and control what users can post and see. This is what I consider […]

Old friends are better than new ones, or whom will Belarus favour?

Thu, 2017-11-02 10:02
In 1991, as a result of the fall of the Soviet Union and following declaration of its independence, Belarus became a new independent state in Europe. Neighbouring states, and primarily the Russian Federation, became the main vectors of its foreign policy. At the same time Belarus realized that the European Union is definitely important for cooperation in trade and economic issues. Moreover, EU is a promising source of investment resources. One cannot fall into line with the fact that Belarus – EU relationships until recently resembled a rollercoaster. Despite the fact that the EU and Belarus have signed the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement as early as in 1995, still it is not ratified by the EU. In addition, the European Union has excluded Belarus from its European neighbourhood policy (which was initially developed in order to define the “friend circle” in geographic proximity to the EU), making it a direct response to authoritarian Lukashenko’s regime. In their attempts to affect the Belorussian dictator the European Union has introduced sanctions against a number of Belarusian enterprises and individuals, however, at the end of 2015 the better part of them was terminated and on February 28, 2016 the EU decision on lifting sanctions against Belarus came into effect. It seems that amid the aggressive Russian foreign policy the EU has softened its stand towards Belarus seeking to gain an ally. In the meantime, Russia-Belarus relationships experience crisis, which has a number of causes. Border zone The Russian Federation and Belarus apply different visa rules. However, both states still have not developed a unified approach in this regard. The problem aggravated in 2017, when Minsk has repealed visas for nationals of 80 states at once, including the US and EU states. As for Russia, they still have visa regime with all of these states. Obviously, this decision strikes Moscow’s fancy, as the Russian part started from passport inspections on the flights from Minsk, and then the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation demanded to organize proper border control on the land boundaries. That was not adjusted with Belarus and Lukashenko has already accused Russia in violation of free border treaty. Black gold Belarus has oil refinery plants which critically need Russian oil for operation. The Russian Federation also benefits from oil supply to Belarus: primarily, that is sales market; secondly, that is the source of relatively cheap petrol and other oil products. In order to streamline the scheme, Russia agreed on abolishing export duties for the oil supplied to Belarus (furthermore, part of this oil turn back as petrol to Russia). However, Belarus exports petrol to the West and takes export duty in return. As the result, oil products come to Europe, Belorussian budget gain profits while Russia stays empty-handed being unsatisfied with such situation. Over the years, gas disputes between these two states obtained permanent nature: Belarus supposes Gazprom should supply gas to the allied state at the Russian domestic prices though gas monopolist does not agree with such position. Due to this early in 2017 Minsk declared the need to reduce oil supplies from Russia and set about finding alternative options. Food war Belarus is actively involved in exportation of the agricultural products to the Russian market taking significant fraction of the market which provokes dissatisfaction of Russian agrarians. Situation has been complicated after introduction of anti-sanctions by Russia as among other goods those under sanctions get on Russian market through the Belorussian territory. However, Minsk refused to introduce prohibition of importation similar to Russian. Late in January, 2017 the Federal Service for Veterinary and Phytosanitary Surveillance restrained the supplies from two Belorussian meat-packing factories: Moscow believes that prohibited Ukrainian beef gets on market under the pretence of Belorussian. In this regard this year on February 3 Lukashenko required initiation of a criminal case in relation to head of the Federal Service for Veterinary and Phytosanitary Surveillance Sergey Dankvert “for inflicting damage to the state”. What is next? It was repeatedly noticed that Belorussian foreign policy for the last decade is a shadow of former self. That is affirmed by the messages of Aleksandr Lukashenko which was usually pro-Russian and anti-Western; however, since 2014 Belorussian leader fell back on making overtures to Europe. Lukashenko did not support Russia in respect of Ukrainian issue. Moreover, he tried to appear an arbiter by organizing meeting on a peaceful settlement of the military conflict in Ukraine, for execution of Minsk agreements. According to many political analysts, the possible purpose of his regular visit was desire to use Ukraine to build the “bridge of friendship” with the EU and gather support for the occasion of aggravation of conflict with Russia. Meanwhile the Belarus leader has allowed Putin to organise the military manoeuvres “Zapad - 2017” (14-20 September 2017) with numeric Russian military commitment involved. However numerous observers from international organisations, particularly NATO, have been invited to warn negative reaction from EU on this military manoeuvres. It seems that Belarus leader continues to walk a delicate line between the East and the West and attempts gathering Europe’s support by all means. However, he is still not ready to make a full stop in relationships with a “big brother” (Russia). How long he will manage to keep this balance - time will show.

Mainstream Media trying to rope Trump into Manafort’s indictment with misleading headlines.

Mon, 2017-10-30 16:16
Paul Manafort, one time Trump presidential campaign chairman, was indicted on money laundering charges Monday October 30, 2017, and the whole of the mainstream media is splashing that story all over their headlines. Of course, the indictment was over acts committed by Manafort long before his brief work as Trump’s campaign manager, but that has […]

The Liar lies again: Hillary Clinton claims not to know the DNC funded the Russia Dossier.

Sun, 2017-10-29 11:00
Hillary Clinton said that she has no idea that the Democratic National Committee funded the hit job that connived with Russians and an ex British intelligence agent to discredit President Trump during the last presidential election. The hit job, which has come to be known as the Russian dossier, is the source of the Russiagate […]

Russia keeps destabilizing situation in Ukraine

Fri, 2017-10-27 09:09
On October 17, 2017 several hundred Ukrainians came out to the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine to support the protest action organized by the public organizations and opposition political parties. Participants of the action claimed the establishment of the anti-corruption court, the abolishment of deputies’ immunity as well as adoption of the law on elections by public party lists. By all means, all this demands are reasonable. Respective draft laws are pending their hearing in the parliament. Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine Andrey Parubiy assured the protesters that the draft laws on the restriction of deputies’ immunity and reformation of electoral system will be put to the vote in the parliament in the nearest future. Therefore, that is unclear, why the protests continue, given that the adoption of the respective laws is an issue of a short term? Possibly, the purpose of the action lies beyond the implementation of the demands which has been put forward by the protesters? The assumption about Russian intrusion into Ukrainian internal affairs through organizational, financial, methodological and other support to certain political forces pursuing the aim to put the heat on the state authorities through this protest action in front of the Ukrainian parliament is growing increasingly stronger. Minister of Internal Affairs of Ukraine Arsen Avakov stated that former deputies of the Ukrainian parliament from the Viktor Yanukovich’s team, who presently reside in Russia, stand behind the financing of the tent camp in front of the Ukrainian parliament. In his arguments he refers to the fragment of radio program of “Govorit Moskva” radio station, where former deputy from the Party of Regions Vladimir Oleynik admitted that he personally finances one of such tent, which means he makes money contributions for “maintenance of the tent, procurement of foodstuff and support of protesters’ families.” Various international experts and observers also believe that organisation of such protest actions pursues quite certain purpose: to aggravate social and political tension in society, undermine the creditability of the acting government and destabilize the situation in the country which has already lost the part of its territory and appears weakened by the war at the east. According to them, that is political forces financed by Moscow who most probably stay behind the incitement of protest moods. Let alone the only fact that, as is commonly known, committing such actions is usual for Moscow. There is a lot of evidence in support of the fact that Kremlin actively supports and funds extreme right organisations and opposition forces not only in Ukraine, but also in many European states. Reputable international editions have published a great number of materials about Moscow’s involvement into the bribery of voters in France, inspiration of Dutch referendum, intrusion into presidential election campaign in the USA, attempt of rebellion in Montenegro, support of evidently pro-Russian forces in Moldova, funding of separatist movements in the EU states, etc. And now here is an attempt to organise fake Maidan in front of Ukrainian parliament.


Wed, 2017-10-25 04:38
After signing of Helsinki Accords that stated the inviolability of borders, it seemed Europe had reached peace, security and stability. However, after spring 2014, when Russian Federation using separatist sentiments annexed the Crimean Peninsula and unleashed bloody conflict in the East of Ukraine, the confidence in inviolacy and stability of the Old Continent disappeared. Historically, in the process of constant borders redrawing some nationalities became a part of another country nation. Along with that majority of ethnic groups, living on the territory of other states never lost connections with their historic motherland and never mentally became the part of resident country nation. That can be explained by numerous reasons, such as language, cultural and religious differences. Those groups were committed to preserve their national identity, often through demands to protect cultural distinctness and widen ethnic minority rights that led to provision of autonomous status or complete independence. It is true to say that separatism always existed in Europe, it just had different faces. If Corsicans mainly declared their unlikeness with the French after several glasses of wine, Basques from ETA organization or Irish from IRA did not hesitate to use the tactics of terror, sometimes passing into banal gangsterism. Luckily, modern separatists refused from those radical methods, preferring political discussions and peaceful demonstrations. It may sound like paradox, but after the final breakup of Yugoslavia Hungary appeared to be one of the countries, where authorities favour secessionist ideas. Situated in the center of Europe, this country has common borders with many states that include territories mainly populated by ethnic Hungarians. Of course, official Budapest denies its involvement in support of separatist moods in neighbouring states and condemn them in all ways. However, ideas of Greater Hungary are in the air in Budapest government quarters. Notice that ideas of Hungary “from sea to sea” are advocated on the highest level, including Hungarian prime-minister Viktor Orban, who in 2014 called to grant autonomy to Hungarians of Ukrainian Transcarpathia. Moreover, that was right at the time, when Russia, using the idea of protection of Russian-speaking population, annexed Crimea and triggered a war in Donbas. In this matter, one can recall Alliance of Vojvodina Hungarians, the Autonomous Province of Serbia, which stands for republican status for Vojvodina with further secession referendum and confederation with Hungary. Similar situation can be observed in Romanian Transylvania, where local Hungarians demands maximum autonomy and independent relations with historic motherland. Let alone Hungarians from radical nationalist party Jobbik who declare their readiness to take “ethnic lands” by force. But let’s turn our heads back to Hungarian government. It is highly unlikely that it has such a desire to see all ethnic Hungarians within one big country or sustains the idea of annexation of foreign lands. Today Hungary goes through tough period of its recent history: cutback of economic activity, corruption scandals, uprise of protest moods in society. Pan-European problems of Hungary are also worth mentioning: difference of economic potential with EU countries, migration crisis and much, much more. Competent use of all these inner and outer problems adds popularity to marginal and nationalistic movements of all sorts that criticize state authorities and doubt viability of EU membership. To gain points in political struggle and attract nationalists on their side, current Hungarian government declares adherence to the idea of Greater Hungary. However, Hungarians were not the first to invent such methods of gaining popularity and distraction of voters from inner problems. It is obvious that Mr. Orban learned the lessons of his Russian friend – Vladimir Putin – quite well. It is worth saying that Russian president likes to try on the wreath of the “Collector of Russian lands” and utilize the idea of protection of fellow nationals abroad to justify aggressive foreign policy, distract nation from economic woes and corruption chaos in its own country. For that he gathered support of Russian nationalists of different kinds, who are committed to reborn of “empire” within boundaries of Tsarist Russia, USSR or something even bigger. Using secessionist moods in neighbouring countries Putin many times recoursed to military intervention and annexation. First in 2008 in Georgia, then in 2014 in Ukraine, which, like Georgia, lost part of its territory and where violent conflict is still underway. Of course, it is vain to wait for mass protests of Hungarians somewhere in Serbia or Romania and for Hungarian flags above government buildings like it happened with Russian flags in Ukrainian Simferopol and Donetsk. Further the loud statements of Hungarian authorities the matter does not come yet. However, one fool makes many and Europe in its modern history already underwent periods, when aggression against other countries was justified be desire to “put the historical record straight” and to “reunite the nation”, which led to catastrophic consequences for the continent and for the whole world. And the ground for nationalistic views, especially in Central Europe, today is fruitful like never before.

Ukrainian Education Act: myth and reality

Fri, 2017-10-20 10:01
Ukrainian Education Act, adopted by Ukrainian parliament on Sept.5 2017, has become the matter of great discussion not only in Ukraine, but the near abroad. It is also an item of the agenda of EU foreign ministers meeting in Luxembourg. Hungary and Russia are among active critics, Poland, Bulgaria and Greece are not indifferent. Romania is not standing aside. In particular, Romanian parliament has recently adopted declaration containing the hope that European standards regarding the rights of national minorities, residing in Ukraine, will be observed. The most debatable clause of this act is imperative usage of Ukrainian language as obligatory language at all stages of education, except for the pre-school and elementary school education. It is obvious that such determined decision has provoked rough reaction of Ukraine’s neighbours. Russia has already called this law act as “ethnocide” of Russian-speaking citizens of Ukraine. Hungary has also expressed hard-line response, accusing Ukraine of ousting Hungarian language from Ukraine in general and from Carpathian Ruthenia region in particular. Hungarian foreign minister Peter Szijjarto called new Ukrainian Education Act as “a stab in the back” and said Hungary would block all euro-integration initiatives of Ukraine. But is that negative reaction of international community as unanimous as it is stated? Not all European officials and international experts are so peremptory with the new Ukrainian Education Act. Thorbjorn Jagland, the Secretary of Europe council, dedicated the article to this topic, admitting that minorities must be fluent in the official language of country they are residents of and the country is obliged to bring them opportunity to learn official language. According to Jagland, app. 400.000 of students of national minorities are studying in their native languages, so there is no reasons to accuse Ukraine of violations of minorities’ rights. Also, Mr. Jagland hailed the decision of Ukrainian government to send the text of the Education Act to the Venice Commission for detailed analysis. The minister of education and science of Latvia Karlis Sadurskis expressed even more pro-Ukrainian opinion in this regard. During the meeting with the minister of foreign affairs of Ukraine Pavlo Klimkin, Mr. Sadurskis said it was absolutely understandable decision of Ukrainian government to persuade students to learn official language. It is worth mentioning the opinion of European experts in this regard. Gwendolynn Sass, senior partner in Carnegie Europe and the Director of “Center for Eastern Europe and International Studies”, believes that the new Education Act is a great opportunity for Ukrainian language and for Ukrainian citizens who can become more competitive in the national labour market. As the thesis of abuse of national minorities’ rights, committed by Ukraine, is very doubtful and it needs more serious researches, let’s take into account those reasons which could have provoked Hungary and Russia to make such flat statements on Ukraine. The reasons for such rough and inadequate reaction of Hungary can be divided on internal and external ones. One of internal reason is parliamentary elections in Hungary coming soon, which Orban’s team can win only having the external threat. The problems of providing internal policy force Hungarian government to use nationalist rhetoric, though it completely discords with the principles and law of European Union. Another internal reason for Hungary to escalate conflict with Ukraine is the issue of Carpathian Ruthenia region, which was separated from Hungary as a result of World War II. This reason is a part of the reason above, just because the idea of “recollection of territories” is the good mobilization instrument and it can distract the attention of Hungarian citizens from the government’s fails in economy and finances. The main external reason of such hard-line position of Hungary is Russian influence. For Russian Federation, it is extremely important to reduce the power of Ukraine and the lift of sanctions, which were established by the world community because of annexation of Crimea and constant support of pro-Russian terrorists in the particular districts of Donetsk and Lugansk regions of Ukraine. The obligatory Ukrainian language education is the good ground to show Ukraine as undemocratic, authoritarian state which cannot be the partner of EU because of permanent violation of the rights of national minorities. It is the reason why we have to make clear the issue of alleged violations of the rights of Hungarian minority in Ukraine. With reference to Hungarian minority in Carpathian Ruthenia region we can use network search and we can find that there are such education institutions in Ukraine with only Hungarian language of education as Ferenc Rakoczi II Transcarpathian Hungarian Institute, Department of Hungarian Philology in Uzhgorod National University etc. We don’t list the hundreds of Hungarian high schools, Hungarian education programs etc. The statements of Hungarian politicians about the violations of the rights of Hungarian minority in Ukraine seem to be very doubtful. Likewise, the problem is that most part of students of Hungarian minority doesn’t know Ukrainian language at all, so they cannot use their civil freedoms and rights of Ukrainian citizens. At the same time the situation of the rights of more than 13 minorities in Hungary remains to be quite hard. The Hungarian government has not admitted the existence of these minorities for a long time. The Act of the Rights of National and Ethnic Minorities № 77 of 1993 was adopted only because of the international pressure and it is often violated because of increasing nationalist rhetoric of Hungarian politicians. Maybe such abnormal situation encouraged Ukrainian government to establish the Ukrainian language as the obligatory language for education. Ukraine is on the way to integrate into EU and it seems to be impossible that Ukraine would violate the rights of national minorities to use their national languages.

“He knew what he signed up for.” How truth has become anathema to Americans.

Wed, 2017-10-18 16:30
“He knew what he signed up for.” With that one sentence which he is alleged to have delivered during a phone call to the widow of a fallen soldier, the United States President Donald Trump is once again in the news as a subject of ridicule and infamy. The mainstream media led by CNN, of […]