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Putin panic: ‘From hero to zero’
Dec 16th, 2014 by Warren Swil

Economy in free fall

as Russian leader’s

popularity peaks

President Vladimir Putin is trashed by global money managers as Russians applaud.

President Vladimir Putin is trashed by global money managers as Russians applaud.

As the Russian economy was slammed on global financial markets, the man at the center of the storm had a big smile on his face.
The Moscow Times reported Tuesday that Russians had just named President Vladimir Putin the ‘politician of the year’ for the 15th consecutive time.
As investors ran for the exits and the currency collapsed, a whiff of panic swept financial markets from east to west after the failure of a dramatic, midnight attempt by the Russian central bank to stem the flood with a massive interest rate hike.
The irony is rich. As his political popularity at home reaches new heights, Putin is getting trashed by money managers everywhere.


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SNAFU AT SOCHI: Russian Olympic stadium ‘a disaster,’ media say

DID ANTI-GAY LAWS SABOTAGE GIANT CONSTRUCTION PROJECT?
With just a few months left until the Opening Ceremonies at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Russian media over the weekend called the main venue “a disaster.”
The entire Sochi event, however, has been clouded with controversy since the summer enactment of anti-gay laws by the Russian parliament.
Homophobic President Vladimir Putin may be a strong man and a strongman, but not even his superhuman “strength” can ensure the construction is complete.
There may be no need for a boycott after all. The world may just decide to stay away rather than risk attending in an unsafe and half-finished Fisht Stadium.


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INESCAPABLE CONCLUSION: U.S. influence in Middle East wanes

COVERAGE OF SYRIA DEAL HIGHLIGHTS AMERICA’S SECOND-FIDDLE STATUS
As Americans try to assess the short- and long-term implications of the deal on Syria, those most affected by the crisis (excluding the Syrians themselves) seem to have already made up their minds.
Russia won. The U.S. lost.
The influence of the United States is at its lowest ebb in generations here.
The Russian-initiated deal that leaves Syria’s president intact after he gassed his own people is just another nail in the coffin of waning U.S. ability to influence events in this troubled region.


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President Obama makes a convincing case for Syria strike

GIVING DIPLOMACY A CHANCE STRENGTHENS HIS HAND
It was not a fireside chat, but President Barack Obama was at his best Tuesday evening when he laid out his case for a military strike against Syria.
He also demonstrated his wisdom: he realized the Congress and a skeptical public needs more time to get with the program.
The president was right on every point he presented.
Let us hope the message gets through to those who need to hear it loudest.


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Russian homophobia: don’t boycott – protest at the Games

GAY RAINBOW FLAG SHOULD BE CARRIED BY EACH COUNTRY’S DELEGATION
Calls for an international boycott of the Russian Winter Olympics over the country’s anti-gay law seem to be losing steam.
Flagrant civil disobedience might be far more effective in getting the message across to the Russian people that hatred and bigotry is unacceptable.
When the athletes parade at the traditional opening and closing ceremonies, along with their national flags each delegation could carry the Rainbow flag in support of the cause of gay rights in Russia.
Let’s see if they’re all thrown in jail.


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SPY VS SPY: Snowden saga shows limits of US power

SEARCH FOR WHISTLEBLOWER A WASTE OF TAPXPAYER MONEY
Surely there are other things the president should be focusing on than the dramatic disappearance and supposed transcontinental journey of fugitive Edward Snowden, charged with espionage by the Obama Administrtation.
The media circus that accompanied Snowden’s supposed global travels made for riveting drama, and lead the news cycle on Monday.
The fruitless battle to keep government secrets secret may provide dramatic television but it is a waste of taxpayers money – and won’t be worth a dime anyway.


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