Here We Go Again: Russia Has Announced That It Is Cutting Off Gas Supplies To Ukraine

December 31, 2008

Here We Go Again: Russia Has Announced That It Is Cutting Off Gas Supplies To Ukraine

Here we go again: Gazprom, the Russian state-owned gas and oil giant, has announced that it is cutting off gas supplies to Ukraine from 10 o’clock in the morning, Moscow time, on January 1, 2009. Happy New Year, Ukraine! Just like in the past, Moscow has been threatening Kiev for the last several weeks, saying that it owed Gazprom a lot of money, this time more than $2 billion for using good old Russian gas in November and December, plus the penalties that had been incurred for late payments. Around half a billion dollars of penalties, by the way. So determined was Moscow to punish Kiev that it had even announced some time ago that it was setting up a ‘special task force’ within Gazprom to oversee the implemention of sanctions against Ukraine. What exactly this task force was... 

Will 2009 See China Transformed?

December 30, 2008

Will 2009 See China Transformed?

Martin McCauley writes: Chinese citizens are being advised by their government not to splash out too much over the festive season which culminates in New Year celebrations in February. This is a stark reminder that Beijing expects 2009 to be a very harsh year in economic terms. In other words, the boom times are over and it is time to face stark reality. The Communist Party of China’s legitimacy has always rested on its ability to improve the living standards of the population. Political freedoms have been sacrificed for prosperity in an unwritten deal between the government and the people. The CPC, it has to be said, has been extraordinarily successful over the last thirty years. The problem for the Party is that everyone expects the good times to last eternally. They never do. History... 

Five Bishops Condemn The Government As Morally Corrupt. It Is In Effect A Vote Of No Confidence

December 30, 2008

Five Bishops Condemn The Government As Morally Corrupt. It Is In Effect A Vote Of No Confidence

Thomas Mathew writes: It is sad that it has taken more than eleven years for the Bishops of the Anglican Church to finally realise what many Christians have known for a long time: that the Labour government has been introducing policies that have nothing to do with morality and decency. Still, better late than never, as they say, so I can only welcome the decision of the five of the Anglican Church most senior leaders to speak out publicly against this government. In their sermons they have said that the government is now presiding over a country suffering from family breakdown, an unhealthy reliance on debt and a growing divide between the rich and the poor. The Bishop of Manchester, the Right Reverend Nigel McCulloch, was blunt in his words, saying that Gordon Brown’s government was... 

Barack Obama Is Already Being Hailed As A Hero And A Saviour. Isn’t It A Bit Too Early?

December 29, 2008

Barack Obama Is Already Being Hailed As A Hero And A Saviour. Isn’t It A Bit Too Early?

I find it quite remarkable that US President-elect Barack Obama has already been voted personality of the year by several publications, including the American Time magazine and the British The Times newspaper. Hacks are saying that the United States would be revived under Obama’s leadership. Let the good times roll, they write. Let the party begin. I am sorry, but what is it exactly that Obama has done to deserve this accolade? Win the presidential election in November in the US? But he did not exactly win it by himself, did he? There was the might of the Democratic Party machine behind him, not to mention over $1 billion in donations that went into his election war chest. And it was not like he was standing against a strong Republican presidential candidate, who could rely on the backing... 

Serbia Has Sold Its State Owned Company To Gazprom For A Song. What Is Going On?

December 28, 2008

Serbia Has Sold Its State Owned Company To Gazprom For A Song. What Is Going On?

Martin McCauley writes: President Boris Tadic of Serbia and his Russian counterpart, Dmitry Medvedev, have just signed a deal in Moscow. It passes 51 per cent of the Serbian state owned company, NIS, to Gazprom Neft, a subsidiary of the Russian state gas and oil giant, Gazprom. The latter has promised to build a gas pipeline through Serbia and a gas storage facility there. It is hard to imagine what could be worse for Serbia. So why has Belgrade agreed to a deal with Gazprom? Framework agreements were signed in Moscow in January 2008 by President Tadic, Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica (a Russophile opponent of Tadic) and the then Russian President Vladimir Putin. At that time sky high oil and gas prices placed Russia in an impregnable position. Russia backed Serbia against the West and opposed... 

Certain People Are Just Not Cut Out To Do Certain Jobs. Like Editing Magazines

December 28, 2008

Certain People Are Just Not Cut Out To Do Certain Jobs. Like Editing Magazines

I believe that certain people are just not cut out to doing certain jobs. Like running the country, for example, or adopting new laws in parliament, or presenting shows on TV and radio, or practicing law, or designing buildings, or sitting on local planning committees, or editing newspapers and magazines and writing for them. Yes, that last category is very important because editors and journalists shape public opinion and influence the way people see the world. And if they are not very good as editors and reporters and are easily susceptible to delusions of grandeur they should be doing other things. Like writing books that nobody would read, for example. Although, come to think of it, that would not be a great idea, considering all those trees that would be cut to make the paper to publish... 

All Is Not Well In The Kingdom Of English Premiership Football. And It’s All About Money

December 28, 2008

All Is Not Well In The Kingdom Of English Premiership Football. And It’s All About Money

Alex Nekrassov writes: It took Jorgan Klinsmann, the former star of German and English football and former manager of the German national team, to actually say what many people have been thinking: that the fate of the English Premiership was hanging in the balance as the world financial crisis wiped out vast personal fortunes and left the once mighty sponsors of football struggling for their survival. Klinsmann said that he anticipated leading English clubs, Chelsea and Liverpool, in particular, taking hits as a result of this financial meltdown. He also hinted that the whole of the Premiership would be going through a dramatic transformation, having to cope with a combined debt of around £3 billion. While Klinsmann did not go as far as saying that Chelsea and Liverpool would collapse, his... 

Six Months Ago We Predicted That Labour Wouldn’t Dare Oust Brown. And He’s Still Around

December 28, 2008

Six Months Ago We Predicted That Labour Wouldn’t Dare Oust Brown. And He’s Still Around

It is amazing how we, at StirringTouble, often predict things correctly. Back in the summer of 2008 many commentators were saying that Prime Minister Gordon Brown was about to be ousted by his own people. You may not remember this, but many seasoned observers were claiming that Brown was finished and that it was just a matter of time before he would go. Foreign Secretary David Milliband was touted as the most likely contender for the top job. But we, at StirringTrouble, would have none of this nonsense. We were saying then that Brown would stay on because there was no one in the Labour party leadership, who could challenge him, and that Labour had other problems on its collective mind to worry about the change of leadership. Anyway, today we would like to remind our readers what we wrote in... 

China Developing New Cruise Missiles. The Implications For The US Can Be Disastrous

December 27, 2008

China Developing New Cruise Missiles. The Implications For The US Can Be Disastrous

Martin McCauley writes: The United States have had ample opportunities to deploy and test new weapons during the conflicts in the Gulf, in the former Yugoslavia and in Afghanistan. One of the systems in question, the cruise missile, has proven to have a devastating effect on the enemy. And it has the advantage of being launched from the air, sea or land. The first air-to-surface missile was actually used on August 27, 1943 by the German Luftwaffe against the British warship HMS Egret. The HS (Henschel) 293 missile proved devastatingly effective. Egret became the first ship to be sunk by a missile. Air-to-surface missiles sank many other British and Allied ships until a means was found to jam the guidance system and ensure that the missiles did not reach their targets. It was a shock for the... 

Looking Back On Articles On StirringTrouble: How We Came Up With New Categories For The Baftas

December 27, 2008

Looking Back On Articles On StirringTrouble: How We Came Up With New Categories For The Baftas

As we look back on the articles that we have been posting on our website during the past year we find some pieces that were not only funny and entertaining but contained some constructive proposals in them. As talk about who is going to win the British Academy Television Awards (Baftas) in 2009 has already started, we thought we might join the debate, in our own, peculiar sort of way, and post an article that we had written all the way back in March about the then forthcoming Baftas 2008. We would like to point out that no TV actors or actresses, TV producers or TV directors had been harmed or in any way mistreated during the writing of this piece. Any offence that may be taken would be ignored. In a good, proper way, that is. Here is the article itself: The Baftas: Why Not Reward The People... 

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