Strange “Nuclear-Shaped” Clouds Seen Over Tyumen, Russia

A giant mushroom-shaped cloud appeared over the city of Tyumen in south central Russia was spotted and shot by amateur photographers across the area, with images quickly going viral online.  Similar “supercell” thuderstorm clouds appeared near Lubbock, Texas, in April.

(https://reasonablyliberal.wordpress.com/2015/04/19/photo-blog-strange-nuclear-shaped-clouds-in-texas-on-saturday/)

There has been no official word on what caused the cloud in Tyumen, writes the Irish Mirror.  The huge cloud stopped motorists on roads around the town, who took pictures. The Irish Mirror reported that the appearance of the mushroom-type cloud generated panic, with social media in a tizzy about whether World War III is starting.

Unusual cloud in Tyumen

Unusual cloud in Tyumen

https://reasonablyliberal.wordpress.com/2015/04/19/photo-blog-strange-nuclear-shaped-clouds-in-texas-on-saturday/

http://www.irishmirror.ie/news/weird-news/world-war-3-begun-mystery-5869375

http://www.dailystar.co.uk/news/latest-news/446911/nuclear-bomb-Russia-explosion-panic-mushroom-cloud

MSNBC: The Ukrainian Front Line

MSNBC

According to MSNBC, Pro-Russian separatists are threatening to break the cease-fire in Ukraine.

The news site Vocativ traveled to the town of Mariupol to find out what’s happening on the front lines.

Wikipedia states that Mariupol is in southeastern Ukraine, situated on the north coast of the Sea if Aziv at the mouth of the Kalmius river.

It is the tenth-largest city in Ukraine and the second largest in the Donetsk region.  The population is 461,810 (2013 est.).  Mariupol was founded on the site of a former Cossack encampment named Kalmius.

John Oliver Interview With Edward Snowden

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver

A huge T.V. event on Easter Sunday came and went without any fanfare whatsoever.

John Oliver, HBO’s comedy newscaster, aired a lengthy interview with none other than N.S.A. whistleblower Edward Snowden. The interview starts in the video above around the 13:45 mark.

CNN:

“The comedian surprised viewers on Sunday night by revealing that he visited Russia last week and met with Snowden, who leaked a trove of documents about the American government’s mass surveillance programs to journalists in 2013.”

Malta and Azerbaijan To Develop LNG, Oil Hub: More Energy Independence For The Region?

File Image: Azerbaijan-Georgia-Romania-Hungary (AGRI) Project

Malta and Azerbaijan have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to collaborate on the development of a LNG (Liquified Natural Gas) hub which would serve for local and international markets, reports the Times of Malta.

The MOU targets “strategic collaboration” in the oil and gas sector as part of the government’s vision to transform energy and petroleum sectors into key value added economic activities, and both sides identified a number of key areas, according to MarineLink.com.

The European Union is also looking southwards to develop a “southern gas corridor” for natural gas from Azerbaijan to fuel the European mainland.

More here

Washington Times Writer ‘Would Have Bombed Iran Years Ago’


Secular Talk

Why are some people so eager to go to war with countries that did not attack us? Isn’t that what Hitler did against Poland and Russia?

Monica Crowley, who writes for the right-wing publication The Washington Times recently debated on Fox News Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech.  Crowley is also a Fox News contributor.  (Isn’t it interesting how one right-wing media outlet “borrows” from the other?)

Bill O’Reilly claimed that nobody can trust Iran to honor any deal and contributor Kirsten Powers commented that Netanyahu should never had been invited to the US to make the speech because it was all about bashing president Obama since we’re doing everything we can do.

Crowley came out with her real opinion, which is that she “would have bombed Iran years ago.”

Talks Produce Ukraine Peace Deal: Will The U.S. Scuttle The Agreement?

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko gestures as he …

In exchange for a ceasefire and pullback of heavy weapons, Ukraine would trade broad autonomy in the east in a new agreement worked out in Minsk Thursday.  Kiev would get back control of its Russian border by the end of 2015 under a the peace deal worked out in all-night negotiations between Russia, Ukraine, France and Germany, according to the AP.

The deal was full of issues that could derail its implementation, however.

When they announced the plan, Russia and Ukraine differed over what exactly they had agreed to in the talks, including the status of Debaltseve, a key town now under rebel siege.  Putin said the rebels consider the Ukrainian forces there surrounded and expect them to surrender, while Ukraine says its troops have not been blocked.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said there was no agreement on full autonomy or federalization for eastern Ukraine, a longtime demand of Russia, which wants that to maintain its leverage over Ukraine and prevent its neighbor from ever joining NATO.

The deal also requires the Ukrainian parliament to give wide powers to the eastern regions as a condition for restoring Ukraine’s full control over its border with Russia — a provision certain to trigger heated debate in Kiev.

Uncertainty remained even on the cease-fire, as Putin admitted he and Poroshenko disagreed on the situation at the government-held town of Debaltseve, Debaltseve is a key transport hub between the rebels’ two main cities of Donetsk and Luhansk.

The new deal envisions a 50- to 140-kilometer (31- to 87-mile) wide buffer zone as both parties pull back heavy artillery and rocket systems from the front line, depending on their caliber.

The withdrawal should begin no later than the second day after the cease-fire becomes effective and should be completed within two weeks.

The rebel regions, which held their own elections last fall that Ukraine and the West declared a sham, are obliged to hold a new local vote under the Ukrainian law.

In a key concession to Russia, the deal says the restoration of Ukrainian control over its eastern border with Russia could be completed only by the end of 2015 and on the condition that Ukraine conducts constitutional reform granting wide powers to the eastern regions, including the right to form their own police and to trade freely with Russia.

“It was not the best night in my life. But the morning, I think, is good, because we have managed to agree on the main things despite all the difficulties of the negotiations,” Putin told reporters.

Hollande said he and Merkel are committed to helping verify the cease-fire in Ukraine, hailing the deal as a “relief to Europe.”

In Kiev, Ukrainian military spokesman Andriy Lysenko said despite the peace talks, Russia sent 50 tanks and a dozen heavy weapons overnight into Ukraine.

“We will see whether there will be a cease-fire or not,” Tatyana Griedzheva said in Donetsk. “You have seen it with your own eyes, the kind of cease-fire that we have already had.”

Poroshenko stressed that the agreement contains “a clear commitment to withdraw all foreign troops, all mercenaries from the territory of Ukraine,” a reference to the Russian soldiers and weapons that Ukraine and the West say Russia has sent into eastern Ukraine to back the rebels.

Moscow has denied the accusations, saying any Russia fighters were volunteers, but the sheer number of sophisticated heavy weapons in the rebels’ possession belies the denial.

Merkel said Putin had exerted pressure on the separatists to get them to agree to the cease-fire.

In Brussels, European Union President Donald Tusk said the test of the Minsk agreement will be whether the weekend cease-fire holds in eastern Ukraine.

The French-German diplomatic offensive came as President Barack Obama considered sending U.S. lethal weapons to Ukraine, a move that European nations feared would only widen the hostilities.

The move could potentially scuttle the agreement.

Obama met German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Monday but announced no decision on weapons, despite several senior officials in his administration coming out last week in favor of sending arms.

European countries have opposed sending arms to Kiev, arguing that would escalate the war, according to Al Jazeera.

The Russian leader said the peace deal also determines a division line from which heavy weapons will be pulled back. The line of division and other key provisions were in a document endorsed by rebel chiefs and the representatives of Russia, Ukraine and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. That agreement was endorsed by the four European leaders, who issued a separate declaration.

“We were presented with various unacceptable conditions of withdrawal and surrender,” Poroshenko said. “We did not agree to any ultimatums and stated firmly that the cease-fire that is announced is unconditional.”

Rebel leaders lauded the agreement and said they’re willing to give Kiev another chance.

Snowden’s Lawyer: ‘Whistleblowers Are Persecuted & Prosecuted For Exposing Illegality’

RT (Russia Today) talks with Jesselyn Radack, 2011 Sam Adams Award winner & the attorney of Edward Snowden & Bill Binney.

Wekipedia states that Jesselyn Radack is a former ethics adviser to the United States Department of Justice who came to prominence as a whistleblower after she disclosed that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) committed what she believed to be an ethics violation in their interrogation of John Walker Lindh (the “American Taliban” captured during the 2001 invasion of Afghanistan) without an attorney present, and alleged that the Department of Justice attempted to suppress that information. The Lindh case was the first major terrorism prosecution after 9/11.

Her experience is chronicled in her memoir, TRAITOR: The Whistleblower and the “American Taliban”.

She is a national security and human rights attorney, known for her defense of whistleblowers, journalists, and hacktivists.

William Binney is a former highly placed intelligence official with the United States National Security Agency (NSA) turned whistleblower who resigned on October 31, 2001, after more than 30 years with the agency.

He was a high-profile critic of his former employers during the George W. Bush administration.

Binney continues to speak out during Barack Obama’s presidency about the NSA’s data collection policies, and continues interviews in the media regarding his experiences and his views on communication intercepts by governmental agencies of American citizens. In a legal case, Binney has testified in an affidavit that the NSA is in deliberate violation of the U.S. Constitution.

RT

Russia To Build High Speed Rail

David Pakman

According to the Moscow Times, in mid-October, Russia and China signed a memorandum of cooperation to develop a high-speed rail network that included construction of a high-speed rail line from Moscow to Beijing.

“Trains are expected to hurtle along the new line at an average speed of 400 kilometers per hour, cutting the travel time between the two cities from the current six or more days to about 33 hours.”

More:

http://www.themoscowtimes.com/business/article/russia-eyes-chinese-cash-for-150-moscow-beijing-high-speed-railway/511644.html

Right Wing Talk Show Host Bryan Fischer: Russia Has Been A Communist Country ‘Since 1917’

Bryan Fischer claims Russia has been a Communist country ‘since 1917.’  He seems unaware of the fall of the Soviet Union in December 1991.

Fischer also refers to the president as a Communist and claims that Obama wants to be a dictator like Fidel Castro (whose brother Raul is now in power in Cuba).

Right Wing Watch video.

Russia: Politics, Energy and the Fragile World Economy…

Thom Hartmann talks with Stephen Cohen, Contributing Editor-The Nation / Professor Emeritus of Russian Studies & Politics at NYU and Princeton (FYI..Stephen’s book, Soviet Fates and Lost Alternatives, which examines the “New Cold War,” is available in paperback)

Thom Hartmann video.