Russian motorcyclist travelling round the world visits Che Guevara Mausoleum in Cuba

Moscow resident Oleg Kharitonov who is travelling around the world on his motorbike has visited the sculptural complex in Cuba’s city of Santa Clara where legendary Latin American revolutionary Che Guevara is buried.

"Members of the local motorbike club, who accorded me a very warm welcome, visited the mausoleum with me. I also met with Russian compatriots living in Santa Clara and Cubans who studied in the Soviet Union," the 46-year-old traveler told TASS.

Che Guevara was Fidel Castro’s closest associate and one of the leaders of the Cuban Revolution in 1959. In 1967, he was captured and shot dead in Bolivia, where he was trying to organize a revolutionary movement with a group of guerrillas. Only 30 years later the remains of Che and his comrades-in-arms were uncovered near the community of Vallegrande. They were transported from Bolivia to Cuba and buried in Santa Clara on October 17, 1997.

"Here, in Santa Clara, it becomes clear why Cubans consider Che Guevara their national hero. He was a great romantic who fought for the freedom and justice," Kharitonov noted.
Almost like in the motherland

Kharitonov admitted that he feels "almost like in the motherland" in Cuba. "Cubans are very close to us in spirit and mentality. Everyone is very happy when they learn that I came from Russia," the motorcyclist said.

Before coming to Santa Clara, the Russian had spent several days in Havana. There he met with the Russian Ambassador to Cuba Mikhail Kamynin and the Russian diplomatic staff. The meeting that was held in the embassy was also attended by Ernesto Guevara, the younger son of Che Guevara who is a motorcyclist as well.

In the coming days, Kharitonov will be travelling through the island. From Santa Clara he will head to Camaguey and then to Santiago de Cuba where he will visit Fidel Castro’s grave. In late January, the traveler will return to Havana.

In early February the Russian will "rush" to Mexico, then to the United States and Canada, after which he will return to Russia through Alaska. Kharitonov says he has no clear route plan: he has to correct it all the time for various reasons.
Trip route

Kharitonov started off from Moscow on August 20, 2014. He crossed Russia from west to east, drove around Southeastern Asia and the Middle East, travelled the whole of Europe, then went down along the African west coast, starting from Morocco and reaching South Africa, and then moved to the New World.

Kharitonov has visited 70 countries so far. During his round-the-world trip, he ascended to an altitude of 5,360 meters in the Himalayan Mountains, travelled in 44-degree-Centigrade heat in Pakistan and covered more than 1,850 kilometers in 24 hours while travelling in Russia. The biker spends nights in his own tent, cheap hotels or at the homes of other Russians. He is supported, in particular, by the Russian Motorcycle Tourism Federation. The biker intends to return to Moscow in August 2018 in order to be able to accompany his daughter on her first day at school.

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Putin: New US national security strategy is offensive & aggressive, Russia must take note

Washington's new national security strategy is "aggressive," Russian President Vladimir Putin has said, adding that Moscow will take the US stance into consideration.

Both the US and NATO have been "accelerating build-up of infrastructure in Europe," the Russian leader said Friday. Referring to the "defense strategy recently put out" by Washington, Putin said it was "definitely offensive... speaking in diplomatic language."

 
US tanks arrive at an air base in Romania

"And if we switch to military language, then its character is definitely aggressive," the president added, speaking at a Russian Defense Ministry meeting.

With NATO's build-up in Europe, the US has violated the 1987 treaty on the elimination of intermediate-range and shorter-range missiles, Putin pointed out.

"Formally," America's missile-defense launchers now based in Poland are meant to counter threats, he said. "The point is, and specialists know about it very well, those launchers are all-purpose. They can also be used with existing sea-launched cruise missiles with the flight range of up to 2,500 km [1,550 miles]. And in this case, these missiles are no longer sea-launched missiles, they can be easily moved to land," Putin added.

Russia's Defense Ministry "should take into account" Western military strategies, Putin said, adding that "Russia has a sovereign right and all possibilities to adequately and in due time react to such potential threats."

READ MORE: US to spend $214mn on Europe air bases on pretext of 'Russian aggression'

There are efforts to disrupt strategic parity through deployment of global anti-missile defense system and other strike systems "equatable to nuclear weapons," the Russian leader told military officials. At the moment, Russia's strategic nuclear forces are a reliable deterrent to such a military build-up, he added. However, it is necessary to develop them further, Putin said. "I'm talking about missile systems fit to steadily counter not only existing, but also future ABMs."

  • Published in World

Syria fully liberated from ISIS terrorists – Russian MoD

The Russian General Staff has declared the liberation of Syria from Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS), stating that all territories previously under terrorist control were liberated in the final push by the Syrian Army.

“All terrorist units of ISIS on Syrian soil have been destroyed, and the territory is liberated,” Armed Forces Chief of Staff General Valery Gerasimov said.

 

© YPG

“Therefore, as of today, there’s no territory controlled by ISIS in Syria,” he added. Gerasimov made the announcement during an annual briefing for foreign military attachés.

After being briefed on the successful military operation on both banks of the Euphrates River in Syria by Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu, President Vladimir Putin said that the political process and organization of the Syrian people’s congress in Sochi, agreed upon by Russia, Iran, and Turkey last month, must now become the focus. Among other goals, Putin named the drafting of a new constitution, and, eventually, parliamentary and presidential elections.

“Naturally, there might be some spots of resistance, but the military work has been largely completed in the area and at the time. Completed with a full victory, I repeat, with a victory and defeat of the terrorists,” Russian leader said.

The peace process, however, will be “a very big and lengthy job,” Putin cautioned. For this to happen though, the bloodshed in Syria must stop completely, he said. Securing the recent achievements and reinforcing the fragile de-escalation zones should be the first steps to that end, Russia’s president added.

Russia began providing support to Syria following an official request from Damascus in 2015 to prevent the terrorists from overrunning the country completely. Russia’s help allowed the Syrian Arab Army to turn the tide and liberate large areas of the country previously occupied by the jihadists. Smashing the blockade of Deir ez-Zor, an IS stronghold in eastern Syria, represented a turning point in this year’s campaign against the terrorists, ultimately leading to their demise.

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Reconciliation Process Instituted by Syrian Gov't Makes Progress

In the presence of the government authorities of the central province of Homs and the Russian Center for Reconciliation, about 27 cities and towns of that territory have joined to the reconciliation deal, media outlets from this country reported today.

After recognizing Russia's efforts to achieve peace in the areas in conflict, representatives of local organizations agreed that the momentum of the national reconciliation process contributes to the unity of the Syrian people.

It also enables the safe return home of thousands of displaced and Syrian refugees to this territory.


Tadmur, in Palmyra; al-Amriya, Jandar and USh al-Warwar are among the cities that took refuge in the occasion to the reconciliation deal.


As part of the reconciliation plan itself, more than 110 opposition elements laid down their weapons in front of the authorities in the city of Qamishli, Hassakeh province, about 710 kilometers north of Damascus.


The unarmed elements signed an official document in which they pledge not to commit illegal acts that disturb citizen security, Hassakeh governor, Jaez Al-Musa, said.

More than a hundred opponents received last weekend a pardon from the authorities in the southern province of Deraa, shortly after they vowed to comply with the laws of this Levant state.

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Alien life? Bacteria ‘that had not been there’ found on ISS hull, Russian cosmonaut says

Living bacteria were found on the surface of the International Space Station (ISS), and they might have extraterrestrial origins, Russian cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov said. The microorganisms will be studied further on Earth.

Shkaplerov, an ISS expedition flight engineer who will take his third trip to the ISS in December as part of the Expedition 54 crew, said that scientists found living bacteria while they were taking samples from the surface of the station. Speaking to TASS, he said that the microorganisms might have come from outer space.

“Bacteria that had not been there during the launch of the ISS module were found on the swabs,” Shkaplerov said. “So they have flew from somewhere in space and settled on the outside hull.” The cosmonaut added that the samples are currently being studied and seem to be safe.

 
© NASA

Shkaplerov said that some microorganisms from Earth also survived in a vacuum and differences in temperature from -150C to 150C.

These bacteria accidentally entered outer space during the ‘Test’ and ‘Biorisk’ experiments, in which special pads are installed on the ISS hull and left there for several years to determine how the material is affected by the conditions in space. 

However, traces of bacteria originating on Earth – from Madagascar – and plankton from the Barents Sea were earlier found during a ‘Test’ experiment in May. Scientists explained that they got there due to the ionosphere lift phenomenon, in which substances from our planet’s surface rise to the upper atmospheric layer. Following the discovery, Russian space agency Roscosmos along with other scientists suggested raising the upper border of the biosphere to 400 kilometers from the current altitude of 20 kilometers.

No more ‘fighting ISIS?’ US to stay in Syria to prevent ‘win’ for Assad and Iran – report

The US plans to keep its troops in Syria long after the defeat of ISIS – the goal used to justify their illegal presence in the first place – because the Syrian government and its ally Iran would “win” if they were withdrawn, the Washington Post reported.

The Trump administration is “expanding its goals” in Syria to include a “potentially open-ended commitment” to support the Kurd-dominated Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), the newspaper reported on Wednesday, citing several anonymous US officials. The change comes as the defeat of the Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) terrorist group in Syria seems imminent.

 
US Secretary of Defense James Mattis © Aaron P. Bernstein 

Washington has been justifying its deployment of ground troops in Syria, which violates the embattled nation’s sovereignty, by citing the need to fight IS. US Defense Secretary James Mattis last week went so far as to erroneously claim that the US had been given a mandate to be in Syria, stating: “You know, the UN said that … basically we can go after ISIS. And we're there to take them out.”

While Washington has a history of skipping UN approval for its military interventions, be it in Syria or in other sovereign states, it appears that the semblance of legitimacy for keeping hundreds of troops in Syria is about to be dispelled. WaPo sources say that Washington actually sees its boots on the ground as a source of leverage in dealing with the government of President Bashar Assad and his allies.

“An abrupt US withdrawal could complete Assad’s sweep of Syrian territory and help guarantee his political survival – an outcome that would constitute a win for Iran, his close ally. To avoid that outcome, US officials say they plan to maintain a US troop presence in northern Syria… and establish new local governance, apart from the Assad government, in those areas,” the newspaper said.

If true, it means Washington will be actively promoting Kurdish separatism to spite Damascus and Tehran, while paying lip service to preserving Syria’s territorial integrity.

“The conditions are there for the counter-ISIS campaign to morph into a counter-Iran campaign,” Nicholas Heras of the Washington-based Center for a New American Security told WaPo. “By placing no timeline on the end of the US mission… the Pentagon is creating a framework for keeping the US engaged in Syria for years to come.”

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'Syria chemical weapons probe poisoned by new Russia-US Cold War'

The way the OPCW-UN's investigated the chemical incident in Syria is clearly not what the world expects when it sets up an agency to investigate events like this, and wants to be able to rely on it, says Nicolas J. S. Davies, author of Blood On Our Hands.

Russia on Thursday vetoed a US draft resolution at the UN Security Council to extend the work of a joint inquiry into the Khan Shaykhun chemical attack in Syria earlier this year.

RT:  Why do you think the US and Russia failed to agree on this issue?

Nicolas Davies: It’s very hard to understand what has gone wrong with the OPCW investigation here. I mean the inspectors didn’t go within a 100 kilometer of the site, presumably because it’s too dangerous for them because that area is controlled by rebels linked to Al-Qaeda. Yet, they trusted the same rebels to gather samples and have custody of all the physical evidence they then examined, which is a complete violation of the OPCW’s rules for handling materials like that and for conducting an investigation.

@RT_com Russia blocks US-drafted resolution to renew inquiry into chemical weapons attacks in https://on.rt.com/8sfv pic.twitter.com/gYyWfmlQoz

@RT_com Russian resolution on international inquiry into chemical attacks in has failed at UN Security Council https://on.rt.com/8sfv pic.twitter.com/SgBOthDb0t

Then in the report, they issued they seemingly ignored all the contrary evidence that suggested there might have been some other cause for these deaths of 82 people – possibly a bomb hitting another building nearby that was that was storing pesticides – that is one of the theories. But clearly that is not what the world expects of the OPCW or of the UNSC. When the world signs an international treaty and establishes an agency to investigate an incident like this, we expect to be able to rely on it, to conduct its investigations with integrity and to hear from experts from all sides and all points of view. This clearly didn’t happen. There are American experts challenging this … John Gilbert, who used to work for the Defense Department, I believe. So we haven’t had the kind of thorough investigation of this incident that all those ambassadors sitting on the UNSC should be demanding and should expect.

RT:  Do you think we’ll ever get to the bottom of what actually happened in Syria following this latest disagreement at the UNSC?

ND: I don’t know. This just seems to be poisoned by what people are calling a new Cold War between the US and Russia. Frankly, the hostility seems to becoming much more from the American side then the Russian side. But it really threatens the whole world. We’ve got the two countries with more of 90 percent of the nuclear weapons in the world that seem to be on a collision course. At the same time, we have a crisis on the Korean peninsula, where essentially the North Koreans have come to believe that the only way they can keep their own people safe is to develop weapons that threaten the lives of millions of Americans.

We have to acknowledge that this is just a breakdown in the rule of international law, in the world, and this has really developed for the most part since 9/11, and since the US invasions of Afghanistan, and Iraq and serial US acts of aggression against country after country, for which there has been no legal or political accountability whatsoever…

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October Revolution: Pills against oblivion

On the centennial of the October Socialist Revolution left-wing forces in the world celebrate the onset of a new era and throw pills against oblivion for those who seek to ignore an event that changed history on the planet.

When commenting the meaning of that event, the member of the Bureau of the Central Committee of the Russian Federation’s Communist Party (RFCP by its English initials), Valery Razhkin, highlights its importance and validity in exclusive for Orbe weekly.

“I think everybody celebrates the centennial of the Great October Revolution. 100 years ago, mankind first decided to live with socialism”, commented the also first secretary of the RFCP in this capital and deputy of the State Duma (Lower House of the Russian parliament).

“The Revolution found a path to lift Russia out of backwardness, where barely 27 percent of the population had some educational level and could read and write. In a short period illiteracy was eliminated”, he recalled.

“There was no other plan in the world like Goelro, applied by the young Soviet Union for the electrification of the whole country, villages and cities, whose work allowed to bring out all reserves, to concentrate and make them available according to development”, he asserted.

“The force that came to power in 1917 put everything according to man, to open up his potential, to live with his head held high and free”, commented the deputy amidst the preparations to mark the date with activities in St. Petersburg and Moscow.  

“That’s why, this date is celebrated all over the world, people would like to apply in their countries all the good things, all the wonderful things that were done after the 1917 events”, he considered.

“The October Revolution opened an era of the transition of capitalism to a system without exploiters or exploited, without division between rich and poor, of equal access to natural resources and with the right to fair work”, Razhkin highlighted.

“All that allows us to say that this date has a global nature, it is a date for those who fight for justice”, he remarked.

“History and time proved it is fair to consider the 1917 October Revolution the catalyst of the collapse of the colonial system. It dealt a very strong blow and showed people they can live differently”, the Russian deputy asserted

“In addition, with the victory of the Socialist Revolution, the capital immediately thought: ’that could happen to us’, and understood they could lose factories, banks, roads, air, land and maritime transport if they did not follow the path of social guarantees”, he pointed out.

That became more evident after WWII, when everyone saw and understood that the main factor of the victory over fascism as an ideology fell upon the shoulders, material, financial and human expenses of the Soviet Union”, he remembered.

“We, of course, defend historical justice, the truth, we oppose and condemn those who simply rewrite history and lie about the Soviet period”, he stated.

The deputy declared that a survey carried out several times among the population of his country asked about who and what is considered the symbol of Russia, and those surveyed did not choose a military, a scientist, a writer or a poet, but Lenin or Stalin.

“Despite what happened in the 1990s, the Russian people positively assess the period in which our grandparents and great-grandparents lived, and we too, that is, the Soviet period”, he pointed out.

Translated by Jorge Mesa Benjamin / Cubasi Translation Staff

  • Published in Specials
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