Prayer zone for a better, empowering, inspiring, promoting, prospering, progressing and more successful life through Christ Jesus

Posts tagged ‘Poland’

Biden Arrives in Poland to Send Signal to Russia.


Stepping into a region on edge, Vice President Joe Biden came to Poland on Tuesday to reassure anxious allies that the U.S. will stand up to Russia’s aggression in neighboring Ukraine, even as Moscow brushes aside sanctions and stern warnings from the West.

Biden arrived in Warsaw on Tuesday morning for consultations with Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk and President Bronislaw Komorowski, a few hours after Russian President Vladimir Putin approved a draft bill for the annexation of Crimea, one of a flurry of steps to formally take over the Black Sea peninsula. Crimea on Sunday voted overwhelmingly to secede from Ukraine and try to join Russia.

On Monday, the U.S. and the European Union levied the toughest sanctions on Russia since the Cold War.

In further meetings in the Polish capital and later in Lithuania’s capital, Vilnius, Biden was to discuss the crisis with the leaders of Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia — three Baltic nations that are deeply concerned about what Russia’s military intervention in Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula might portend for the region. All four countries share borders with Russia; Poland also borders Ukraine.

Biden’s two-day trip is part of a broader U.S. campaign to step up pressure on Putin after Sunday’s referendum, dismissed by the U.S. as illegal. In coordination with Europe, the Obama administration has frozen the U.S. assets of nearly a dozen Russian and Ukrainian officials, although critics contend that amounts to a slap on the wrist that Moscow will blithely overlook.

In Warsaw and Vilnius, Biden will affirm the U.S. commitment to defending its NATO allies, which includes Poland and the three Baltic states but not Ukraine. A senior administration official said the vice president will discuss ways to strengthen the alliance so NATO emerges even stronger from the crisis, and will echo Obama by insisting that if Russia continues to flout international law, the costs will only increase.

Biden will also discuss what additional steps the U.S. can take to shore up security for Poland and the Baltics, such as increased training, said the official, who wasn’t authorized to comment by name and demanded anonymity.

Also on the agenda: long-term energy security in Europe, a key factor that has confounded the West’s attempts to display a united front in punishing Russia. Much of Europe is heavily dependent on Russian natural gas, and European countries have major economic interests in Russia that could be in jeopardy if Moscow retaliates with sanctions of its own.

Biden plans to address energy diversification within Europe, but will also discuss how the U.S. can help, said the official, declining to offer more details

Republican lawmakers and a handful of European countries, including Poland, have urged the White House to accelerate approval of U.S. natural gas exports to help Europe wean itself off its dependence on Russia. The White House has insisted that would take too long to help the current crisis and says Russia is too dependent on gas revenues to cut off supplies to Europe.

One option that doesn’t appear to be on the table: rethinking the U.S. posture on missile defense in the region. Poland is still bruised from Obama’s 2009 decision to cancel the final phase of a defense system sorely desired by Poland as a hedge against Russian missiles. The official said Biden will reassure Poland that the smaller, phased-in system Obama chose instead is on schedule, but won’t be discussing potential changes.

 

© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Source: Newsmax.com

Russian Forces Push Beyond Crimea Before Referendum.


Ukraine said Russian forces tried to push deeper into its territory and the Kremlin strengthened its rhetoric, threatening to escalate the worst diplomatic standoff between Moscow and the West since the Cold War.

By Saturday afternoon, The New York Times reports, Russian troops moved beyond the Crimean border and overtook a gas plant just beyond the regional border of Crimea.

Meanwhile, Russian troops entered the Kherson region on the Azov Sea from the Crimea peninsula they already occupy, Ukraine’s ambassador to the United Nations, Yuriy Sergeyev, told reporters Saturday at the United Nations in New York. The Foreign Ministry in Kiev issued a statement protesting the seizure by Russian soldiers of the village of Strilkove.

The incursion raises tensions before the Black Sea Crimean region holds a referendum Sunday on joining Russia. While the European Union and the U.S. are threatening to tighten sanctions against Russia if it doesn’t pull back, President Vladimir Putin has said ethnic Russians in the region need protection from “extremists.”

“Russia now takes it as a fact that they’ve picked off Crimea and is sending more soldiers and provocateurs into Ukraine to test the waters and see how much further they can go,” Joerg Forbrig, a senior program officer at the Berlin bureau of the German Marshall Fund of the U.S., said in a phone interview.

As many as 130 Russian soldiers are in Strilkove, digging trenches and doing “other engineering work,” said Oleh Slobodyan, a spokesman for Border Guard Service. They have three armored personnel carriers and are in control of a Ukrainian natural gas pumping station, he said. There have been no military confrontations between Ukraine and Russia so far, he said.

The UN Security Council met Saturday in New York where Russia vetoed a resolution proposed by the U.S. that stressed the need for political dialogue. Thirteen members of the Security Council backed the resolution and China abstained.

U.S. Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power said the vote shows Russia is “isolated, alone, wrong.” Chinese Ambassador to UN Liu Jieyi said the resolution would have resulted “in confrontation and further complicate the situation.” He said respecting “sovereignty and territorial integrity of all states” is a “fundamental” in China’s foreign policy.

U.S. officials who monitor social media say the number of posts on Twitter, Facebook and other public Internet sites about possible Russian incursions into eastern Ukraine and a growing number of unidentified men who appear to be Russians with military or police training is rising sharply Saturday.

The officials were quick to add that the trend doesn’t mean any Russian action is imminent and that the accuracy and origin of such posts are difficult to verify quickly. Nevertheless, one of the officials called the trend worrisome.

Clashes erupted Friday in Ukraine’s second-biggest city, Kharkiv, near Russia’s border, where a shootout left two dead and a policeman injured. Russian troops massed just inside Russia’s border nearby for exercises, stirring concerns of a Kremlin move to annex eastern Ukraine. Russia said it’s examining numerous requests for protection received from people living in Ukraine.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, who met Friday with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov without a breakthrough, warned Russia would face consequences if it failed to change course.

Russia moved more forces into Crimea, bringing the total to about 22,000 soldiers as of Friday evening, Ukrainian Defense Minister Ihor Tenyukh said in a website statement. The troops “may be used for an offensive,” he said.

Lavrov expressed outrage over March 13 clashes in the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk in which one person was killed and 17 injured, according to the regional government.

“Militants came to Donetsk from other regions and started fighting with demonstrators,” Lavrov said.

Putin is driven by deep geopolitical goals and isn’t likely to fear the consequences of sanctions by Western nations, Eugene Rumer, director of the Russia and Eurasia program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, a Washington policy group, said in a telephone interview.

After watching the North Atlantic Treaty Organization expand and the U.S. build ties with former Soviet Union countries, Russians feel they “have every reason to push back and expand their ‘sphere of privileged interests,’” Rumer said.

“The confrontation has reached a new level,” acting Ukrainian President Oleksandr Turchynov said in a website statement late Friday. “Either the new young democracy wins, or a totalitarian curtain falls on Ukraine.”

Putin’s government contends ethnic Russians in Crimea are at risk after the ouster of President Viktor Yanukovych, an assertion that Ukraine’s new leaders deny. The Kremlin supports Crimea’s recently appointed administration, which organized Sunday’s referendum.

Crimean Premier Sergei Aksenov told reporters in the region’s capital, Simferopol, that the peninsula may become part of Russia next week, though full integration may take a year. Turnout is expected to be more than 80 percent, he said.

“Preparations are already under way to incorporate Crimea into Russia,” Sergei Markov, a Kremlin adviser and vice rector of the Plekhanov Russian University of Economics in Moscow, said in a telephone interview from Sevastopol on Saturday.

Russian lawmakers are scheduled to consider legislation March 21 that would allow Russia to incorporate parts of countries where the central authority isn’t functioning and local residents want to secede, he said.

The bill isn’t needed to make Crimea part of Russia because the region already declared independence from Kiev, according to Markov. It would allow for the annexation of parts of eastern Ukraine, though Russia would only want to do that if it’s sure “we are welcomed with flowers,” he said.

Russian stocks posted the biggest weekly drop since May 2012, with the Micex Index sliding 7.6 percent to 1,237.43 Friday, the lowest level since May 2012. Russia’s 10-year bond fell for a sixth day, driving up the yield by 38 basis points to 9.79 percent, the highest level since 2009. The ruble weakened 0.2 percent to 43.0570 against Bank Rossii’s target basket of dollars and euros Friday in Moscow. Gold climbed to the highest in sixth months.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index of U.S. stocks fell 2 percent this week to 1,841.13, erasing its gains for the year. The UX index of Ukrainian stocks was down 7.1 percent for the week. Even so, Ukrainian Eurobonds and the hryvnia rebounded after Lavrov said Russia had no invasion plans.

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden will travel to NATO members Poland and Lithuania on March 17, the day after the Crimea vote, for talks on Ukraine, according to a White House statement. The Pentagon said this week that it would send 12 F-16 aircraft to Poland as a sign of U.S. commitment to defend allies in the region, and the U.S. sent six fighter jets to Lithuania last week.

EU foreign ministers, who meet March 17, the day after the Crimea vote, are poised to impose asset freezes and visa bans on people and “entities” involved in Russia’s seizure of the peninsula, an EU official said. The next stage of sanctions would be weighed at a summit at the end of next week.

Forbrig said that visa bans and other political moves aimed at Russia won’t deter Putin.

“If Putin sees the EU sanctions as not strong enough, he may view them as a green light to go further,” Forbrig said.

“We have to get to the material base of Putin’s regime through economic and trade measures that both target his revenue directly and have a snowball effect of scaring off investors and fueling capital flight out of Russia,” he said.

Bloomberg contributed to this report. 

© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.
By Newsmax Wires

Clinton Slams Putin, a Day after Her Hitler Remark.


Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says Russian President Vladimir Putin is a tough but thin-skinned leader who is squandering his country’s potential.

Clinton’s comments came Wednesday, a day after she likened his actions on the Crimean peninsula of Ukraine to those of Adolf Hitler in the 1930s.

The potential 2016 presidential contender warned during her speech at the University of California, Los Angeles, that “all parties should avoid steps that could be misinterpreted or lead to miscalculation at this delicate time.”

Putin has said he was protecting ethnic Russians by moving troops into Crimea.

Clinton said Tuesday at a closed fundraising luncheon in Long Beach that Putin’s actions are similar what happened in the Nazi era in Czechoslovakia and Romania.

“Now if this sounds familiar, it’s what Hitler did back in the ’30s,” Clinton said, according to the Press-Telegram of Long Beach. “Hitler kept saying, ‘They’re not being treated right. I must go and protect my people.’ And that’s what’s gotten everybody so nervous.”

Responding to a question submitted at the UCLA talk, Clinton said she was not making a comparison although Russia’s actions were “reminiscent” of claims Germany made in the 1930s, when the Nazis said they needed to protect German minorities in Poland and elsewhere in Europe.

“The claims by President Putin and other Russians that they had to go into Crimea and maybe further into eastern Ukraine because they had to protect the Russian minorities, that is reminiscent of claims that were made back in the 1930s when Germany under the Nazis kept talking about how they had to protect German minorities in Poland and Czechoslovakia and elsewhere throughout Europe,” she said.

“I just want everybody to have a little historic perspective. I am not making a comparison, certainly. But I am recommending that we perhaps can learn from this tactic that has been used before,” she said.

Clinton said Putin is trying to “re-Sovietize” the periphery of Russia but is actually squandering the potential of his nation and “threatening instability and even the peace of Europe.”

In recent days, some Republicans, including Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., have criticized the Obama administration’s policy in Ukraine. Clinton echoed President Barack Obama’s assessment that Russia’s intervention was a violation of international law, and she said she supported the administration’s call for Russia “to refrain from the threat or use of force.”

Kathryn Stoner, a Russia expert at Stanford University’s Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies, said she considered Clinton’s comparison between Putin and the tactics of Nazi-era Germany “a bit of a stretch,” in part because Putin “doesn’t look like he is intent on spreading across the Ukraine and permanently occupying this area.”

In a delicate diplomatic situation “I don’t think it’s helpful on either side to say things like this, but in these crises it happens,” Stoner added.

© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Source: Newsmax.com

Eric Holder to Lecture Swedish Lawmakers on Gay Rights.


Attorney General Eric Holder is set to give a speech to the Swedish Parliament on Tuesday on gay rights.

According to a Department of Justice press release obtained by Newsmax, Holder will “discuss the global struggle for LGBT equality as well as other civil rights challenges shared by the United States and Sweden.”

The speech is titled, “A More Just and Inclusive World: Confronting the Civil Rights Challenges of Our Time,” according to the Swedish blog, Professorsblogg.

Holder is visiting Sweden as part of a European trip to attend a G6 ministerial conference in Poland. Professorsblogg claims the main reason for his visit to Stockholm is to discuss the case of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, with his Swedish counterpart Beatrice Ask.

Assange, who has been holed up in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London for the past 18 months, is wanted in Sweden on allegations of sexual assault. Assange has claimed that is a front to allow him to be extradited to the United States to face charges for releasing thousands of classified documents.

According to Professorsblogg, Holder may be hoping to receive assurances from Swedish authorities that they will follow any such U.S. extradition request, as the Scandinavian country has always done in the past.

Assange went on TV last month to attack President Barack Obama, after the president had announced plans to reform the U.S. government’s surveillance programs. “It is embarrassing for a head of state to go on like that for 45 minutes and say almost nothing,” he said during an interview with CNN.

Related Stories:

 

© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

By Drew MacKenzie

Lech Walesa: Obama Has Failed, ‘America no Longer Leads the World’.


Image: Lech Walesa: Obama Has Failed, 'America no Longer Leads the World'

By Cathy Burke

The Nobel Peace Prize-winning former president of Poland, Lech Walesa, says President Obama has failed to reclaim America’s role as a world leader.

In an interview with CNN aired Wednesday, the 70-year-old Walesa — who supported Republican Mitt Romney in the 2012 election — said the Obama administration has been a dangerous disappointment.

“When he was elected… there was great hope,” Walesa said. “…. we were hoping Obama would reclaim moral leadership for America,” adding: “That failed.”

“…. in terms of politics and morality, America no longer leads the world,” he said. “…America did not regain its leadership status. We were just lucky there were no big conflicts in the world,” saying the world has relied on a strong America to maintain the balance of power around the globe.

“… It’s a dangerous situation so we are awaiting a president who will understand that,” he said.

Walesa went from a shipyard electrician to a union leader who helped overthrow the communist government in Poland, winning the Nobel Peace Prize in 1983, and seven years later, becoming the first democratically elected president in Poland.

“I managed to destroy a bad system,” he told CNN in the interview in Washington. “…. now we must be excellent at building new things. It doesn’t take that much.”

In 2012, Walesa effectively endorsed Romney in his bid for president.

“I wish you to be successful because this success is needed to the United States, of course, but to Europe and the rest of the world, too,” Walesa was heard after meeting Romney in Poland, the Weekly Standard reported at the time.

“Gov. Romney, get your success — be successful!”

Walesa is the subject of a documentary that will be considered for an Academy Award this year, “Walesa, Man of Hope.”

Related Stories:

© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Obama’s War on Coal Will Harm Economy, Do Little for Environment.


Image: Obama's War on Coal Will Harm Economy, Do Little for EnvironmentA billboard carries a message for the coal industry near Wheeling, West Virginia.

By Andrea Billups

Coal-mining states like West Virginia and Kentucky are facing huge job losses and many Americans will see a rise in electricity costs due to Environmental Protection Agency regulations that critics call President Obama’s “war on coal.”

Specifics on the stringent new regulations on coal are expected to be finalized sometime next year, and existing coal-fired power plants will likely be shuttered around the country in an effort to appease environmental concerns.

Economist Nicolas Loris, who studies energy, environmental and regulatory policy at The Heritage Foundation in Washington, said the regulations will deliver a blow to the economy and raise costs for consumers, while doing little to improve the environment or reduce carbon emissions.

“It’s going to significantly cripple our economy,” Loris said. “It will reduce household income as people are forced to spend more money on their energy bills. Anyway you shake this it’s a no-win for our economy.”

The proposed regulations would put limits on carbon dioxide emissions from existing coal-fired power plants, limit emissions from new plants, and set rules that would force those plants to use “commercially feasible” clean-energy technologies — standards that West Virginia Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin described as “impossible” to achieve.

The goal, according to Obama, would be to reduce emissions by 17 percent by 2020 and end what the president has described as “limitless dumping of carbon pollution.”

“Sadly, instead of moving our country forward like he once promised, the president has decided to turn the lights off in states like West Virginia,” Republican Rep. Shelley Moore Capito said in a statement blasting the proposal.

Loris said once the regulations are published, the opposition will likely grow.

“Now that it’s starting to become a reality and the war on coal is really coming, I do think you’ll see more opposition,” Loris told Newsmax.

Kentucky’s two senators and five Republican congressmen last week filed a friend-of-the-court brief to a challenge in the Supreme Court to the EPA’s authority to regulate coal plants.

The brief, filed in Utility Air Regulatory Group v. Environmental Protection Agency, asserts that the EPA overstepped its authority in its application of a 2007 Supreme Court decision that allowed it to regulate greenhouse gases as hazardous pollutants under the Clean Air Act.

Calling the EPA move a “power grab,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell from Kentucky said, “The president and the EPA have been misusing the 2007 ruling and subsequent regulations on automobiles to overregulate new and existing coal-fired power plants out of business, thus escalating their war on coal and Kentucky jobs.”

Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky went further, saying the case was “an egregious example of the EPA’s violation of the law in pursuit of its overzealous, anti-coal agenda. The ability to create laws is the purview of Congress and the EPA has clearly overstepped its authority.

“In doing so, accountability has been thrown out the window and Kentucky families are left with nothing but frustration and the likelihood of even higher energy costs and more job losses.”

The economic impact of a diminishing coal industry in the United States would be significant, Loris said, adding that employment in the industry is projected to fall by 600,000 jobs by 2023.

“The most immediate result of these regulations will all but put a de facto ban on new coal plants being built in this country,” Laura Sheehan, senior vice president for communications at the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity (ACCCE) in Washington, told Newsmax.

“It’s interesting that the administration is hell bent on stopping the use of coal here when we have the lowest emission rates when compared with other countries around the world,” she said.

Consumers should expect to pay more for electricity due to the regulations, according to Sheehan.

“With these closures, and new and incredibly stringent regulations proposed, we expect more people will be put out of work, more coal plants will be closed, and it will surely make electricity more expensive and cause great unreliability,” Sheehan said. “People can expect to see higher prices and also rolling brownouts and blackouts.”

The president’s environment base on the left continues to push for stronger regulations, but his crackdown on the coal industry does little to help the world’s pollution problems, Loris said.

“India and China are building so many coal-fired power plants, increasing greenhouse gas at such blistering clips. These regulations aren’t going to do anything and the amount we reduce in global emissions is going to be negligible,” Loris said.

Loris believes a battle is likely to play out in Congress and the states over what he calls EPA’s overreach.

Loris said members of the House Energy Committee have been strongly opposed to the rulemaking, including some Democrats who have joined Republicans to argue that it’s not the EPA’s purview.

“I think there is a bipartisan recognition that these regulations are going to come at a huge cost,” Loris told Newsmax.

The coal industry is already in dire straits. U.S. coal production declined in 2012 to the lowest level in almost two decades, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Appalachia was hit particularly hard with coal production decreasing by 13.1 percent.

States that feel the hardest blows are the ones likely to fight back to protect workers and revenues.

“I think the war will be fought on two fronts. You’re going to see a lot of legal challenges and I think a lot of state attorneys general bringing litigation forward to say it’s not the role of the EPA, questioning the legality of these regulations,” Loris said. “I think you’re also going to see a lot of grassroots movement once these EPA rules are finalized.

“It’s hard to motivate people because it’s a long and drawn out process, hard to mobilize a fight. But now that it’s starting to become a reality and the war on coal is really coming, I do think you’ll see more opposition, not only in places like Kentucky and West Virginia, but the Midwest. There are so many states where coal provides a majority of the electricity.”

Related stories:

© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Nobel Peace Prize Summit To Discuss Creating A One World Religion.


AFP – Polish Nobel peace laureate Lech Walesa on Monday called for a new “secular Ten Commandments” to underpin universal values, addressing a summit of Nobel Peace Prize winners in Warsaw.

one-world-religion-mental-illness

“We need to agree on common values for all religions as soon as possible, a kind of secular Ten Commandments on which we will build the world of tomorrow,” he said in an opening speech kicking off the three-day summit.

Walesa won the Nobel 30 years ago for leading Poland’s Solidarity trade union, which negotiated a peaceful end to communism in Poland in 1989.

Besides universal values, the international community nee.

ds to focus on the economy of tomorrow, he said.

“That’s definitely neither communism nor capitalism as we have it today,” said the former shipyard electrician, who became Poland’s first post-war democratic president.

The Dalai Lama, Iranian human rights advocate and 2003 Nobel winner Shirin Ebadi and Ireland’s 1976 laureate Betty Williams are taking part in the summit. Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, who launched the summits in 2000, said he could not attend.

Hollywood star Sharon Stone is to receive the gathering’s Peace Summit Award for her anti-AIDS campaigning. The first eight summits were held in Rome. Since 2008, they have taken place in Berlin, Paris, Hiroshima and Chicago. source – France 24.

by NTEB News Desk

Tag Cloud