Let Us Talk

April 1, 2009

President Obama Meets With Russian President Medvedev – Agree To Reduce Nuclear Count

APTOPIX BRITAIN US RUSSIA OBAMA G20 The United States and Russia have reached a deal to reopen nuclear disarmament talks, to “pursue” a reduction in the number of warheads held by both countries. The two countries will embark on the first major arms discussions since 1997. Both countries want to reduce the number of warheads, but no firm number has been reached.

“We agreed to pursue new and verifiable reductions in our strategic offensive arsenals in a step-by-step process, beginning by replacing the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty with a new, legally-binding treaty,” said a joint U.S.-Russian statement released by the White House.

“We are instructing our negotiators to start talks immediately on this new treaty and to report on results achieved in working out the new agreement by July.”

APTOPIX BRITAIN US RUSSIA OBAMA G20 The leaders agreed to craft a replacement for the expiring 1991 Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, which limited the world’s two largest nuclear arsenals to between 1,700 and 2,200 warheads, known as START before it expires on December 5, 2009. It seems that a formal USA/Russia summit may take place as early as this July since Obama accepted an invitation from Medvedev to visit Moscow in July.

president-obama-president-medvedev-4-1-09-c  President Obama said that a new arms control treaty push “is a good place to start” in rebuilding a partnership with Russia.

I love President Obama’s body language at this meeting.  🙂

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March 15, 2009

Russia’s Richest Oligarchs Losing Billions and Billions

Moscow has lost the title of billionaire capital of the world.  New York is now the billionaire capital with London coming in second.  Russian billionaires lost more than $250B and approximately two thirds of its billionaires due to the world financial crisis.

In 2008 there were 87 Russians billionaires with a total estimated wealth of $471.4B.  Today there are 32 Russian billionaires with an estimated wealth of $102.1B.

In 2008 there were 1,125 billionaires worldwide; today there are only 793.

Russia’s descent into its economic predicament began when the heavily oil-dependent economy was hit by falling crude prices. Russia’s stock market is down by 67% over the past year and their currency, the ruble, has depreciated 29% against the dollar.

Russia’s government has already spent $250 billion to prop up its currency so that it can avoid a sharp devaluation of the ruble. Russia has even helped private businesses refinance their foreign debt so that foreigners don’t take over several Russian businesses. Even with help from the government dozens of Russians fell from billionaire ranks, including the very wealthy investment banker Ruben Vardanian who owns Troika Dialog.  He allegedly got a substantial cash injection from the state owned Sberbank.

Even Russia’s richest woman Yelena Baturina has financial problems.  Baturina had a vision of building one of the most outrageous buildings in Moscow called ‘Project Orange’an avant garde complex shaped like slices of fruit, with a tinted facade that would cast an orange glow over the Moscow River.  Last week Ms. Baturina applied for about $1.4 billion in government loan guarantees for her construction company. In 2008 Ms. Baturina’s wealth was estimated at $4.2 billion.

The credit crunch has brought Russian real estate to a halt. Russian’s Donald Trump — Kirill Pisarev — and his partner, Yuri Zhukov each lost 90% of their wealth as shares of their real estate firm lost nearly all of its value. Russian analysts say that real estate is expected to remain the worst part of the Russian market, impacted by the dramatic slowdown in property sales and construction.

December 21, 2008

2008 – An Unforgettable Year!

michael-phelps-8-medals Recently our 2008 eight-medal winning Olympic swimming champion smoked pot for the first time at a Michigan hotel.  His reaction was a bit boisterous – the stoned Phelps broke all the televisions in his room, but later bought exact replicas so he could replace them before anybody at the hotel was the wiser.  But we have to forgive Mr. Phelps since he’s been in training for most of his 23 years and this is the first time he has let loose.

Not too long ago we learned that Martha Stewart used a hand model for close-up shots in her latest book since she deemed her own hands too wrinkled. 

susan-sarandon-and-daughter Last week the still very, very sexy Susan Sarandon had her first face-lift. Susan is the mother of the statuesque and stunning 23 year old Eva Amurri.

We can’t speak of 2008 without talking politics, politics and more politics.  This year was filled with characters, clichés and catchphrases!

governor-eliot-spitzer-and-prostitute-kristen It started early when Governor Spitzer of New York was identified as ‘Client # 9’ and ended in November when Jesse Jackson Jr. was identified as ‘Candidate # 5’ in the Governor Blagojevich investigation – you can’t make this stuff up!

rahm-emanuel-fist The year also started with a no drama Obama campaign and came full circle with an all drama Rahm Emanuel for Obama’s White House Chief-of-Staff.  Rahm gets the job done and that’s huge. It will be good to have a little ‘safe’ drama in the White House.  It’s only fair since Obama doesn’t give the late shows and comedians food for fodder – Rahm will.

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August 13, 2008

Russia to America: “Pick Sides”. Georgia to McCain: “Action Not A Bunch Of Words “.

 Relations between Russia and the U.S. have become exceptionally tense. Russia has thrown out a challenge to the United States, daring President George W Bush to “choose” between Washington’s relationship with Georgia and its future ties with Moscow.
 
In what appeared to be calculated defiance of the United States and the European Union, which mediated a ceasefire deal struck less than 24 hours earlier, early Wednesday, Moscow sent its forces to occupy the Georgian town of Gori, just 50 miles from the capital Tbilisi.

President George W Bush said the move had “damaged relations” between America and Russia and demanded that Moscow “keep its word” over the ceasefire. 

“To begin to repair the damage to its relations with the United States, Europe and other nations, and to begin restoring its place in the world, Russia must keep its word and act to end this crisis,” Bush said.

But Russia retorted that America, which has a staunch ally of Tbilisi’s pro-western government, would have “to choose” between building a relationship with Georgia or Russia.

“We understand that this current Georgian leadership is a special project of the United States, but one day the United States will have to choose,” said the Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov.

Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili earlier Wednesday called for John McCain and other American leaders to do more for Georgia in their response to the conflict in his country.

“Yesterday, I heard Sen. McCain say, ‘We are all Georgians now,’ ” Saakashvili said on CNN’s American Morning. “Well, very nice, you know, very cheering for us to hear that, but OK, it’s time to pass from this – from words to deeds.”

 

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August 10, 2008

Russia/Georgia War: How America Has Lost Its World Influence

 Imperialistic Russia has been looking for a way to get into a war for many months.  One of the problems the world now faces is that America cannot stand-up and tell Russia to back-down.  Why?  Because America started the war in Iraq without agreement by the rest of world powers; since America did what it wanted to do, Russia feels it can do what it wants to do.  We went into Iraq with excessive force so now Russia will not listen to anything America has to say about them using overwhelming force in this war.  This is another legacy of George Bush – he has taken the ‘peace-keeper’ role from America.

 Russia and Georgia, a U.S. ally whose troops have been trained by American soldiers, heads toward a wider war as Russian tanks rumbled into the contested province of South Ossetia and Russian aircraft bombed a Georgian town, escalating a conflict that already has left hundreds dead.

Georgia’s Foreign Ministry said the country was “in a state of war” and accused Russia of beginning a “massive military aggression.” The Georgian parliament approved a state of martial law, mobilizing reservists and ordering government authorities to work round-the-clock.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said that Moscow sent troops into South Ossetia to force Georgia into a cease-fire and prevent Georgia from retaking control of its breakaway region after it launched a major offensive there overnight Friday.

 Ukraine said on Sunday it reserved the right to temporarily bar Russian warships dispatched to the Georgian coast from returning to their Ukrainian base of Sevastopol.

“Ukraine … reserves the right to bar warships and vessels which could take part in the action (conflict with Georgia) from returning to Ukrainian territory until the conflict is solved,” a Ukrainian Foreign Ministry statement.

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August 2, 2008

Olympics – Track and Field: Russians Banned For Alleged Doping

 As a sports lover, I think it’s disingenuous that after a year-long investigation, that 8 days before the Olympics, results of the ‘investigation’ are announced that eliminate athletes from any country. I want to see the best compete against the best. 

The athletes now have 14 days to appeal which is not enough time because of all the red tape and bureaucracy involved.  Plus most of their events will take place within the 14 day time frame so the athletes would miss their events while they appeal.  Athletes spend a life time training and sacrificing just so that they can become eligible for the ‘big race’.  If the athletes are truly doping then they should be banned but there should be enough time allocated before the Olympics for them to appeal their cases so that the expulsion looks legitimate and not contrived.

The Russian track and field officials will wait until after the Beijing Olympics to respond to the suspension of seven female athletes, including five Olympians, after accusations that they violated international anti-doping rules. Yet the officials provided little clarity Friday on the status of the athletes, even as the Russian news media tossed about conspiracy theories.

The Russian Track and Field Federation have decided “to take no action until after the end of the Olympics,” said Dmitry Tugarin, a spokesman for Rossport, the government agency that oversees major athletics in Russia.

“They understand that the chances of these athletes participating are impossible and that there would be a lot of irritation and few results,” he said.

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