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daily 02/23/2014

    • to the complete disinterest of his teammates, the media, and the American public. The event is parallel slalom snowboarding.
    • Reiter should be followed around everywhere he goes in Sochi by a guy playing a sad trombone. During the opening ceremony, most of the other skiers and snowboarders apparently thought Reiter was a coach.
    • “Everyone’s talking about stray dogs in Sochi,” Reiter recently told Al-Jazeera. “I feel like one of those stray dogs.” This is a sad, sad man.
    • But the crisis in Ukraine is far from over. The day’s events mark not its resolution but the start of its political phase. And what’s going on isn’t a clash of democracy versus dictatorship—or, it’s not only that. It is, fundamentally, a struggle for power—not only within Ukraine but also between Russia and the West.
    • Yanukovych fled, and politicians in the eastern, more pro-Russia region of Ukraine declared parliament’s measures to be illegal. These developments throw Friday’s settlement—as well as the future of the country and its relation to Russia and Europe—into grave uncertainty.
    • Take a closer look at the genesis of this crisis. It was Yanukovych’s decision in November to back out of a thickening association with the European Union and instead get back in bed with Russia, lured by Vladimir Putin’s offer of a $15 billion bailout. The first protesters came to Independence Square because they wanted to become Europeans, and not just economically; they were protesting their president’s retreat from the Western future to the Eastern past.
    • This point is sharpened by the fact that the protesters who occupied the presidential palace Saturday morning are from one of these radical nationalist groups. It’s clear that, to them, Friday’s accord did not go far enough—or change things quickly enough.
    • The initial protesters live mainly in the western part of the country, which does have European leanings as well as borders. But the eastern and southern parts of the country have deep roots in Russia, dating back not just to Soviet times but to Peter the Great. Their land borders Russia, their factories and farms are intertwined with Russian markets.
    • has announced plans to create a Eurasian Union (as a fanciful counterweight to the European Union), consisting of Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, and Kazakhstan: the heart of the old USSR.
    • Putin may nonetheless have felt some pressure to abide by Friday’s transitional accord, but now that the radical protesters have upended the agreement, with parliament’s consent, he may feel no such restraints—and the European Union leaders are placed in an awkward spot themselves: If Putin intervenes with force, on what basis can they resist him?
    • “not to see this as some Cold War chessboard in which we are in competition with Russia” but rather to ensure that the Ukrainian people can “make decisions for themselves about their future.”
    • Ukraine is a basket case: If Russia backs off, perhaps to penalize the surrendering Yanukovych (and Russia has halted the next $2 billion progress payment on its bailout), then someone has to step in. Are the EU and the United States up to it? If
    • No doubt pro-Russian parties will run in the upcoming elections. Maybe one of them will win; if not, their party or parties will surely have a strong voice in the revived parliament.
    • “Ukraine should again be a halfway functioning state” that “should have signed an association agreement with the EU but also have close ties with Russia.”
    • One reporter brought up the subject of the Cleveland Browns drafting Manziel, an idea that first received significant national attention last September. “Any circumstances, any situations thrown my way, that’s part of being a quarterback. You have to handle what’s thrown your way, whether it’s cold weather, rain…it’s football. It’s a man’s game,” Manziel said with a slight smile on his face.
    • No one knows how many people work for Sinaloa, and the range of  estimates is comically broad. Malcolm Beith, the author of a recent book  about Chapo, posits that at any given moment, the drug lord may have  150,000 people working for him.

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

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