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In rouble crisis, Putin gets a helping hand from state TV MOSCOW: As the head of Russia's biggest state bank and a favourite of President Vladimir Putin, German Gref has long been a loyal supporter of state economic policy.But with the rouble sliding and the economy stagnating, he delivered a diatribe this month against government inefficiencies, which he compared to the Soviet era, and warned that "we can't motivate people by using the Gulag".The outburst brought a stinging rebuke from a state television presenter, who portrayed him as a fifth columnist whose remarks could help an alleged U.S. plan to encourage conflicts in Russia."When can we expect an end to such declarations by the liberal reformers whose efforts directly led to the imbalance in the economy today?" said Konstantin Syomin, host of Rossiya 24's programme AgitProp - a Soviet term for propaganda.Although Gref appears in no danger of losing his job as Sberbank chairman, the rebuff shows there are limits even ...

Hungary's Orban gets free rein for 'illiberal democracy' BUDAPEST: Fresh from a third electoral win this year, Hungary's controversial Premier Viktor Orban will have a free rein in his second term to build what he terms an "illiberal democracy," analysts say. After four years in office, Orban's right-wing Fidesz party continues to ride a wave of support, winning general elections in April, European elections in May and local elections last weekend.The prime minister has made no qualms about his agenda and has cited ...
Ukraine-Russia peace hopes rise as gas deal edges closer MILAN: Ukraine and Russia both signalled progress towards settling their festering row over gas Friday, raising hopes of an EU-backed resolution of the broader conflict embroiling the Soviet-era allies.Russian President Vladimir Putin met his Ukrainian counterpart three times in the space of ten hours in Milan Friday, twice in the company of various European Union leaders then, finally, in their first private meeting since late August."We have some certain progress (on the gas issue) but ...
IAEA urges long-term plan on Malaysia plant's waste KUALA LUMPUR: The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on Friday gave a passing safety grade to a controversial Malaysia rare earths plant, but raised concerns that there was no long-term plan for properly disposing of the plant's potentially radioactive waste.The rare earths processing plant in the Malaysian state of Pahang has generated opposition from green groups who fear radioactive contamination and have accused authorities and Lynas of overriding public concern.In a report, the IAEA said ...
Renzi says 'really positive' after Putin, Poroshenko Ukraine talks MILAN: Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi said he was "really positive" on the prospects for a solution to the Ukraine conflict after talks between Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Ukrainian counterpart Petro Poroshenko."In general, I am really positive after this meeting," Renzi said after the talks in Milan which were also attended by the leaders of Britain, France and Germany."I hope this spirit (of dialogue) ... will continue," he said, citing a sense of ...
Putin meets Poroshenko, EU leaders in Milan MILAN: Russian President Vladimir Putin met his Ukrainian counterpart Petro Poroshenko in Milan on Friday in the latest attempt to ease tensions over the simmering conflict in eastern Ukraine.EU leaders also attended the breakfast meeting at the Milan prefecture building, held amid very sharp differences with Moscow over implementation of a ceasefire and peace accord agreed last month between Kiev and pro-Russian rebels. Copyright AFP (Agence France-Presse), 2014 ...
Putin and Merkel have 'serious differences' over Ukraine: Kremlin MOSCOW: German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Russian President Vladimir Putin have major differences over the origin and causes of the conflict in Ukraine, the Kremlin said following talks between the two leaders."There are still serious differences concerning the origin of Ukraine's internal conflict, as well as the root causes of what is currently happening," Russian news agencies quoted Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov as saying early Friday.His comments came after the two leaders held what Peskov ...


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Foreign Debt $61.805bn
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