Russian GM Dreev main attraction of upcoming Capablanca tournament

Russian Alexei Dreev will be the major attraction in the Elite Group of the Capablanca Memorial Chess Tournament to take place in Havana from May 8-20 next.

Dreev currently owns 2,653 ELO points and although he no longer appears among the best players of his country, his curriculum includes five Chess Olympics, attendances to world championships and victories in famous contests.

He will undoubtedly bring prestige to the six-player-round-robin event that will also feature famous players such as American Samuel Shankland (2,668) and Russian Alexander Rakhmanov (2,655).

Shankland finished second last year when the winner was Indian Krishnan Sasikiran, only one able of "stealing" a crown from Ukrainian Vassily Ivanchuk in all his attendances to this competition, but he won´t come this time.

Carlos Rivero, Cuba´s national commissioner, told JIT sports publication that the 2018 Capablanca Memorial Chess Tournament will also include an Open Group to be attended by about 150 players, mainly locals, and an U16 Poole.

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Cuban leader congratulates Putin on winning presidential election

Cuban leader Raul Castro has congratulated Vladimir Putin on winning the presidential election, Cuba’s Ambassador to Russia Gerardo Penalver Portal said.

"Raul Castro has conveyed his warm congratulations to Russia’s President-elect Vladimir Putin on his convincing election win on Sunday," the ambassador wrote on Twitter.

According to Russia’s Central Election Commission, incumbent head of state Vladimir Putin has garnered 76.56% of the vote with 95% of the ballots counted.

Director of the Lenin State Farm Pavel Grudinin, nominated by the Communist Party of Russia, is second with 11.92%, while leader of the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia (LDPR) Vladimir Zhirinovsky is third with 5.77%.

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Militant groups split & clash in E. Ghouta, civilians seek shelter – Russian MoD

Militants groups holding Eastern Ghouta have begun fighting each other after one faction attempted to separate from the terrorists, the Russian military said. Civilians are seeking shelter and trying to escape street fighting.

The confrontations broke out a day after the Russian Defense Ministry demanded that the Failak Ar-Rahman group separated from Jabhat Al-Nusra terrorists, currently known as Jabhat Fateh Al-Sham. In exchange, the militants were offered safe passage out of the embattled suburb of Damascus.

“Open fighting between the members of illegal armed units is underway in the streets, civilians are forced to seek shelter not to accidentally become victims of hostilities," Major General Vladimir Zolotukhin told reporters on Monday.

© Ruptly

A Russia-backed ceasefire came into effect in Syria’s Eastern Ghouta around two weeks ago, in order to allow humanitarian aid deliveries and the evacuation of civilians. Two humanitarian corridors were established in the areas of Muhayam al-Wafideen and Mlekha to provide for the safe passage of local civilians. Both passages have been constantly shelled by the militants, injuring and killing those who were trying to escape, according to Russian MoD and eyewitnesses.

The first group of 52 civilians, half of whom were children, managed to flee the militant-held Eastern Ghouta on Sunday. Their safe passage was secured by the Russian and the Syrian forces after they had held talks with the armed groups controlling the area.

The situation in the militant-held enclave remains “tense,” according to Zolotukhin. They also continued the bombardment of Damascus and its suburbs, firing seven mortar shells on Sunday, the official added. No one was injured in the attacks.

Despite the provocations, the humanitarian operations went on, the Russian military said. The spokesman reiterated that the safe routes in Eastern Ghouta remain open to both civilians and militants who are willing to flee.

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‘Urgently engage with Russia’: US senators call for dialogue after new nuclear arsenal unveiled

A group of US lawmakers have called for strategic dialogue with Moscow. They feel that the matter is “more urgent” following Russian President Vladimir Putin’s unveiling of a number of cutting-edge weapons systems.

“A US-Russia Strategic Dialogue is more urgent following President Putin’s public address on March 1st when he referred to several new nuclear weapons Russia is reportedly developing, including a cruise missile and a nuclear underwater drone,” a letter signed by US Senators Edward J. Markey (D-MA), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), and Bernie Sanders (I-VT) reads.


Russian President Vladimir Putin delivers his annual Presidential Address to the Federal Assembly at the Manezh Central Exhibition Hall © Grigoriy Sisoev

The letter, addressed to US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, was published on Thursday. The senators stressed that while the countries have many “significant” disagreements, including alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 US elections and the “annexation” of Crimea, Moscow and Washington need to come to the negotiation table.

“Due to these policy rifts, not in spite of them… the United States should urgently engage with Russia to avoid miscalculation and reduce the likelihood of conflict.”

The lawmakers are concerned that some of the brand-new Russian nuclear weapons are not covered by the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, commonly known as the New START, and thus call for the agreement to be extended. The weapons in question include a cruise missile with virtually no range limit and a nuclear-powered underwater drone.

However, the letter did not miss a chance to accuse Russia of non-compliance with the 1982 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF), and called on the State Department to address the alleged violation. Moscow and Washington have traded accusations of INF-Treaty violations for several years. The US constantly accuses Russia of developing missile systems with ranges prohibited by the agreement, without providing any specific information to support such allegations.

Moscow has its own list of complaints regarding US shortcomings in relation to the INF Treaty. These include the US drone program, and the ground placement of a naval vertical-launch system in Europe as part of the Aegis Ashore program. Russia contends that these constitute violations of the treaty. In December 2017, Putin said that Washington was apparently creating conditions to leave the accord, and said that the process of its withdrawal has actually already begun.


Two US soldiers standing outside the base for the Nato protective shield in Deveselu, Romania, 12 May 2016. The Aegis system, developed by the US Navy, is stationed in Deveselu © KAY NIETFELD

There had been rumors that the Russian and American top diplomats, Sergey Lavrov and Rex Tillerson respectively, may meet while they are both in Africa. However, the US State Department denied that there had been any discussion of possible bilateral talks. When asked about it, the Russian Foreign Minister said the claims that such discussions never happened are “untrue.”

On March 1, the Russian leader presented a set of advanced Russian nuclear weapons, some of which are not yet named. During his state of the nation address, Putin stressed that Russia would not need all these new weapons had its legitimate concerns been heeded by the US and its allies. “Nobody wanted to talk to us about the root of the problem. Nobody listened to us; so listen to us now!” he said.

The speech drew a hysterical reaction from the Western media and accusations of saber-rattling and starting “a new arms race,” Putin told NBC Washington was in fact to blame for it. The Russian president referred to the US decision to withdraw from the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty (ABM Treaty) back in 2002.

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Russia Participates in Modernizing Cuba's Textile Industry

Russia will participate in modernizing Cuba's textile industry, said Russia's Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade, Gueorgui Kalamanov.

The Russian official is participating in bilateral talks with the objective of signing agreements with the Caribbean island, according to Cubadebate website.

The Cuban partners, he said, made proposals for the modernization of a series of textile factories and now we need to define the exact amount and if the information of the required supplies are established.

Gueorgui indicated that the major part of the machinery will be of Russian production and these projects are expected to materialize with the support of the Russian Export Center.

Regarding the Russian-Cuban cooperation perspectives in other areas, the Vice Minister of Industry highlighted that both countries are carrying out intense work in several directions.

He highlighted energy cooperation with the modernization of the Maximo Gomez and Habana del Este thermoelectric centers and the Antillana de Acero Steel Plant.

We also expect to continue developing cooperation in cargo and light transportation supplying Kamaz trucks and Lada cars that has prestige in Cuba.

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US pumps billions into meddling in affairs of foreign states – Russian senator

Billions of dollars from the US budget are spent on interfering in the internal affairs of foreign countries, with Russia being the prime target, Andrey Klimov, a top Russian senator, said.

“According to open sources, billions of dollars from the US budget were allocated” on interference in other states, Klimov, who heads a temporary Federal Council committee tasked with protecting Russia’s sovereignty, reported.

And it is Russia that gets a “special treatment” from the Americans, he added. “We are the only country in the world that is capable of giving the US an immediate tangible response, therefore meddling into our affairs will continue.”


FILE PHOTO © Alexei Druzhinin / Global Look Press

“At the moment, the battlefield is the election,” the Senator said, referring to the presidential vote in Russia on March 18.

The US is accusing “a dozen people,” who have no connections to the Russian authorities, as part of the so-called “Russiagate” probe, Klimov pointed out. Meanwhile, “from 500 to 700 employees at the CIA headquarters, and thousands – in the State Department, the Pentagon and Congress are working on the Russian issue,” he said.

The Senator also ridiculed attempts by Washington to support its own accusations of Russian meddling into the US 2016 election, by citing RT’s spending on advertising in the US “which amounted to no more than several dozen of thousands dollars.” This is “laughable” compared to the sums spent by Washington on meddling into other states, he said.

The Federal Council member also said that the “score isn’t in their [US] favor” when it comes to cyberattacks carried out from the territory of either country. Hacking attempts from Russia constituted just two or three percent of the total amount of cyberattacks on the US in 2017, while "cyberattacks from the US towards Russia amounted to 25-27 percent.” Every year the number of American hacking attempts increases multi-fold, Klimov added.

Another commission member, Senator Oleg Morozov, said that the US meddling into Russia’s internal affairs has been growing exponentially in recent years and is now affecting almost all fields of life.

READ MORE: Putin: US interferes in other countries’ affairs, should expect mirror reply

He singled out non-governmental organizations as a “very interesting subject,” saying that the US has provided 72 billion rubles (over $1.2 billion) to NGOs in Russia in 2016.

“One state is actively infusing money into the life of another state under the pretext of creating a proper civil society here (in Russia), despite nobody asking it to do it. And it’s the American taxpayers who are paying for the creation of civil society institutions in our country,” Morozov said.

READ MORE: Foreign sponsors boost funding of Russia’s opposition, upper house commission claims

According to Russian law on NGOs, organizations that receive money from abroad can be classified as foreign agents, which makes it obligatory for them to file regular reports on their funding and activities. Late last year, the Russian Justice Ministry put similar restrictions on six media outlets, including US-funded Voice of America and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, in response to RT and Sputnik news agency being forced to register as foreign agents in the US.

  • Published in World

FIFA Broadcasts Special Video 100 Days Before Russia-2018 World Cup

The 100-day countdown to the Russia-2018 world Cup started today with a special video broadcast by FIFA, in which legend players from the countries classified appear touching a ball.

Figures like the Argentine Diego Maradona, Brazilian Ronaldo, Uruguayan Diego Forlan and Colombian Carlos Valderrama excel among the Latin stars who play with their own Tesla, the ball that will roll on the Russian fields.

Likewise, other universal stars such as the Spanish Carles Puyol, the Englishman Wayne Rooney, the Danish Peter Schmeichel and the Japanese Hidetoshi Nakata combine to reach the final sequence, in which FIFA President Gianni Infantino exchanges several passes with the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, until getting 100 contacts.

The governing body of world football cup does not specify the filming date of each segment, although press reports indicate that the last meeting between the two leaders took place on February 12.

Russia has planned numerous events throughout the country to start the countdown to the inaugural match between the hosts and Saudi Arabia on June 14.

  • Published in Sports
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