Russia, Belarus Hold Joint War Games

By Daniel J. Graeber,Guest blogger / September 26, 2013 Russia’s President Vladimir Putin arrives to attend the Enniskillen G8 summit, at Belfast International Airport, Northern Ireland in June. Peter Muhly/Reuters/File Enlarge The head of the World Bank in Russia saidWednesdayhe was alarmed by the slowdown in the Russian economy. The bank said the Russian economy was slow to emerge from a recession still gripping parts of the eurozone despite recovery elsewhere in the world. It said the government’s investment activities slowed down in part because of the completion of the Nord Stream natural gas pipeline through the Baltic Sea. Its dependence on oil and natural gas exports, meanwhile, exposed the Russian economy to additional risks. With Europe finding new sources of natural gas, and Asian economies looking at Canadian markets, the Russian economy is starting to retreat behind the former Iron Curtain. offers extensive coverage of all energy sectors from crude oil and natural gas to solar energy and environmental issues. To see more opinion pieces and news analysis that cover energy technology, finance and trading, geopolitics, and sector news, please visit . Recent posts The Christian Science Monitor Weekly Digital Edition The World Bank said it revised its growth projection for the Russian economy from its May estimate of 2.3 percent to 1.8 percent for 2013. “The economy appears to be growing close to its capacity, constrained by feeble investment activities and a tight labor market,” Birgit Hansl, World Bank coordinator for economic policy in Russia, said in a statement. (Related article: Why Canada’s Oil Future isn’t Going South ) RECOMMENDED: Fracking. Tight oil. Do you know your energy vocabulary?

Russia missing at UN meeting on LGBT rights

Crude dropped 0.4 percent to $102.59 in New York as the five permanent members of the UN Security Council agreed on a resolution to eliminate Syrias chemical weapons. Russia receives about half of its budget revenue from the oil and natural-gas industries. OAO Pharmstandard, Russias biggest drugmaker, dropped 2.2 percent to 1,641.70 rubles. The companys shareholders are scheduled to vote on the spin-off of its over-the-counter unit today. OAO Uralkali, the worlds largest potash producer, fell 1.8 percent to 173.50 rubles. The stock declined 2.5 percent to $26.72 in London. Suleiman Kerimov, who controls 33 percent in Uralkali with two business partners, began receiving offers from potential buyers for the company after its chief executive was arrested by Belarus on Aug. 26. Trading volumes on the Micex were 6.4 percent below the 30-day average today, data compiled by Bloomberg show. Ten-day price swings tumbled to 12.947, the lowest since Sept. 4. The dollar-denominated RTS Index (RTSI$) retreated 1.2 percent to 1,434.47. Even after this months rally, Russian equities have the cheapest valuations among 21 emerging economies tracked by Bloomberg.

Russia Stocks Curb Biggest Monthly Jump Since 2011 on Sberbank

In an unprecedented ministerial-level meeting at the United Nations, representatives from Argentina, Brazil, Croatia, El Salvador, France, the Netherlands, New Zealand, and Norway, joined Secretary of State John Kerry, the U.N. high commissioner of human rights, gay rights advocates, and other high level representatives of the European Union to discuss violence and discrimination against LGBT individuals. Cognizant of the urgent need to take action, we therefore call on all United Nations Member States to repeal discriminatory laws, improve responses to hate-motivated violence, and ensure adequate and appropriate legal protection from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, participating members of the group said in its declaration. Organized by and for this cross regional groupknown as the LGBT Core Group at the U.N.Russia was not explicitly invited. Neither the Russian Embassy, nor the Russian Mission to the U.N. claimed to have known about the meeting. While it was limited to this core group, however, the meeting was announced, said Charles Radcliffe, head of the global issues section at the UN human rights office in New York. The fact that it was happening was not secret, he said. Any country could have requested to join. Russias absence underscores a wave of criticism engulfing the country for its anti-gay policies, the most contentious of which bans propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations among minors. That law, along with two othersone banning the adoption of Russian-born children to gay couples and to individuals in countries that allow gays to marry, and another classifying homosexual propaganda as pornographyhave sparked worldwide protests, as well as calls to boycott the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. Over the summer, President Obama criticized Russias anti-gay posture, saying such discrimination violated basic morality. But on Thursday, the International Olympic Committee declared the propaganda law was not in violation of the Olympic charters anti-discrimination clause. Participants at Thursdays ministerial meeting adopted a declaration stating their countries strong and determined commitment to eliminating violence and discrimination against individuals based on their sexual orientation and gender identity. Many countries have embarked on historic reformsstrengthening anti-discrimination laws, combating hate crimes against LGBT people and sensitizing public opinion, said U.N.

Sent! A link has been sent to your friend’s email address. Join the Nation’s Conversation To find out more about Facebook commenting please read the Conversation Guidelines and FAQs Russia, Belarus hold joint war games AP 1:21 p.m. EDT September 26, 2013 Story Highlights Massive joint military exercise involved more than 22,000 troops Russia and Belarus are allies and have close ties Thursday’s joint exercise was their biggest so far SHARE 1 CONNECT 17 TWEET COMMENTEMAILMORE MINSK, Belarus (AP) Russia’s President Vladimir Putin and his Belarusian counterpart have watched a massive joint military exercise of the two ex-Soviet neighbors that involved more than 22,000 troops. The West 2013 exercise conducted Thursday near the city of Grodno in western Belarus and in Russia’s westernmost Kaliningrad region also involved more than 500 armored vehicles and about 90 aircraft along with ships of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet. Russia and Belarus are allies and have close economic, political and military ties. Russia has several military facilities in Belarus, and the two nations operate a joint air defense system. The two armies have regularly conducted joint maneuvers, Thursday’s exercise being the biggest so far. Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko attended the exercise along with his nine-year old son, who donned full combat fatigues. Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.