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Bridge connecting mainland Russia to Crimea hours away from opening

The bridge will join mainland Russia, to Russian Crimea, which was previously connected by land only with Ukraine

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The Crimean Bridge, which will finally join mainland Russia from Krasnodarsky Krai, to the Kerch region of Crimea is about to be finished. The bridge spans the Kerch Strait, not far from the beautiful pink salt lakes.

According to RT:

Construction of the bridge, the longest in Russia with a span of 19 kilometers, has been carried out since February 2016, and it is opening for cars more than half a year ahead of schedule.

The bridge capacity is 40,000 cars and 47 pairs of trains per day, 14 million passengers and 13 million tons of cargo per year. The railway section is scheduled to open in early 2019, the bridge will be opened for trucks starting from October of this year.

RT also notes that:

“Each pillar of the bridge needs about 400 tons of metal structures, which means that all pillars need as much iron as 32 Eiffel towers. The bridge’s piles are installed at least 90 meters under water.”

In 2014, the people of Crimea exercised their right to self-determination, and voted to rejoin Russia, which Ukraine too, was once a part of. This was heavily motivated by the events in Ukraine, after the Maidan coup. The people of Crimea saw the dangerous rise of Nazism in the Ukraine, such as when innocent people were burned alive in Odessa, by neo-Nazis. We covered this extensively in this article, which is highly recommended for those that wish to understand what happened, and what was one of the many motivations for the Crimean return to Russia.

A Brief History of Crimea and Russia

It is worth saying that Crimeans did not betray Ukraine, nor their homeland, as all of Ukraine was once a key part of Russia. Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus are descended from Kievan Rus’, the first East Slavic state. Russia is the largest successor of Kievan Rus’, so if anything, Crimeans simply returned to their own people – Russians – while brother Ukrainians were tearing each other apart.

The three peoples were divided after the Mongol invasion of 1240, into feudal principalities, and much of Ukraine fell under the control of Lithuania and Poland after 1360.

Crimea and southern Ukraine, however, were part of the Wild Fields, where Tatars ruled, and Crimea was once the capital of a Tatar Khanate, and before that, a Greek city.

By 1654, Cossacks of Hetman Bogdan Khmelnitsky lead a successful uprising against Poland, and reunited Ukraine with Russia.

These Cossacks mostly lived in what has been called in varying times, Hetmanshina, or the area around the Dnipro River, from as far north as Kiev, down to their fortress in Zhaporozhia, meaning “Beyond the Rapids (of the Dnipro). Many fled from Polish rule to these “Wild Fields Beyond the Rapids”, leaving Little Russia, and going into a new land, not unlike the American or Canadian frontier.

Traditional Little Russia in yellow, note how it excludes southern Ukraine and Crimea (New Russia), as well as Western Ukraine (Galicia and Volyn)

The area around Kiev, Poltava, and Chernigov, however, was the former heartland of Rus’. It was located south of the heartland of the Russian Empire, but north of the Wild Fields. It was called Little Russia, and the people, Little Russians. The term Ukraine, originally simply meaning borderland, was popularized by the Austro-Hungarian Empire as a means of dividing the Rus’ people, however, generally speaking, Little Russian=Ukrainian.

After the reunification of Little Russia, the Cossacks would help the Russian Empire liberate all of modern-day southern Ukraine, from Turkish and Tatar forces. The Cossacks (Little Russians) settled this new land, together with standard Russians. They called the land in the Wild Fields “New Russia” – Novorossia, to distinguish it from Little Russia, and because it was a newly liberated Russian land, not strongly connected to Old Rus’, or Little Russia.

It was in New Russia, that the major cities were built by Empress Catherine the Great, including Odessa, Mikolaiv, (New) Kherson, and the Crimean cities of Sevastopol (built beside ancient Greek Old Kherson) and Simferopol.

As a result of the fact, that New Russia was previously occupied by the Turkic forces, and had no major Slavic cities prior to the Great Russian liberation, the area was settled by many Russians coming directly from Russia, as opposed to Little Russians (Ukrainians) who had developed their own sub-culture to the north and west.

This is not to say Ukrainian people never lived in New Russia, but the area has always had a strong Ethnic Russian presence. This is reflected by the linguistic and ethnic divide in Ukraine; South-Eastern Ukraine is very Russian. While Ukrainians themselves, can be considered a sub-ethnos of the broader Rus’ people, the inhabitants of New Russia are more directly, and recently tied to modern Russia, than other parts of Ukraine.

While Little Russia was developing a slightly different local culture, like that between Sicily and Italy, New Russia was immediately settled by standard Russians, who spoke the standard Russian language.

Crimea especially, is extremely Russian, as the peninsula was given to Soviet Ukraine by Khruschyov in 1954, though it’s worth noting that all Ukraine save for the west, was part of Russia as 37 years prior to that. Still, Crimea was closer to Russia, than to Ukraine in almost every way, save for physical connection.

It is hard to speak of Ukraine as a nation, it is rather a combination of different historical lands

The peninsula is only joined by land via Ukraine, and since the Crisis, travel could be difficult. The Ukrainian SBY in neighboring Kherson, even put up billboards saying they would “cure” people of Russophilia.

Crimeans were, therefore, after their vote to join Russia, cut off from rest of mainland Russia, and forced to travel directly to their own country by boat or plain. With this new bridge, a permanent physical bond will join the Crimean peninsula to the Russian Federation, just as the people were always joined in their hearts.

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New Satellite Images Reveal Aftermath Of Israeli Strikes On Syria; Putin Accepts Offer to Probe Downed Jet

The images reveal the extent of destruction in the port city of Latakia, as well as the aftermath of a prior strike on Damascus International Airport.

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Via Zerohedge


An Israeli satellite imaging company has released satellite photographs that reveal the extent of Monday night’s attack on multiple locations inside Syria.

ImageSat International released them as part of an intelligence report on a series of Israeli air strikes which lasted for over an hour and resulted in Syrian missile defense accidentally downing a Russian surveillance plane that had 15 personnel on board.

The images reveal the extent of destruction on one location struck early in attack in the port city of Latakia, as well as the aftermath of a prior strike on Damascus International Airport. On Tuesday Israel owned up to carrying out the attack in a rare admission.

Syrian official SANA news agency reported ten people injured in the attacks carried out of military targets near three major cities in Syria’s north.

The Times of Israel, which first reported the release of the new satellite images, underscores the rarity of Israeli strikes happening that far north and along the coast, dangerously near Russian positions:

The attack near Latakia was especially unusual because the port city is located near a Russian military base, the Khmeimim Air Force base. The base is home to Russian jet planes and an S-400 aerial defense system. According to Arab media reports, Israel has rarely struck that area since the Russians arrived there.

The Russian S-400 system was reportedly active during the attack, but it’s difficult to confirm or assess the extent to which Russian missiles responded during the strikes.

Three of the released satellite images show what’s described as an “ammunition warehouse” that appears to have been completely destroyed.

The IDF has stated their airstrikes targeted a Syrian army facility “from which weapons-manufacturing systems were supposed to be transferred to Iran and Hezbollah.” This statement came after the IDF expressed “sorrow” for the deaths of Russian airmen, but also said responsibility lies with the “Assad regime.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also phoned Russian President Vladimir Putin to express regret over the incident while offering to send his air force chief to Russia with a detailed report — something which Putin agreed to.

According to Russia’s RT News, “Major-General Amikam Norkin will arrive in Moscow on Thursday, and will present the situation report on the incident, including the findings of the IDF inquiry regarding the event and the pre-mission information the Israeli military was so reluctant to share in advance.”

Russia’s Defense Ministry condemned the “provocative actions by Israel as hostile” and said Russia reserves “the right to an adequate response” while Putin has described the downing of the Il-20 recon plane as likely the result of a “chain of tragic accidental circumstances” and downplayed the idea of a deliberate provocation, in contradiction of the initial statement issued by his own defense ministry.

Pro-government Syrians have reportedly expressed frustration this week that Russia hasn’t done more to respond militarily to Israeli aggression; however, it appears Putin may be sidestepping yet another trap as it’s looking increasingly likely that Israel’s aims are precisely geared toward provoking a response in order to allow its western allies to join a broader attack on Damascus that could result in regime change.

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“Transphobic” Swedish Professor May Lose Job After Noting Biological Differences Between Sexes

A university professor in Sweden is under investigation after he said that there are fundamental differences between men and women which are “biologically founded”

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Via Zerohedge


A university professor in Sweden is under investigation for “anti-feminism” and “transphobia” after he said that there are fundamental differences between men and women which are “biologically founded” and that genders cannot be regarded as “social constructs alone,” reports Academic Rights Watch.

For his transgression, Germund Hesslow – a professor of neuroscience at Lund University – who holds dual PhDs in philosophy and neurophysiology, may lose his job – telling RT that a “full investigation” has been ordered, and that there “have been discussions about trying to stop the lecture or get rid of me, or have someone else give the lecture or not give the lecture at all.”

“If you answer such a question you are under severe time pressure, you have to be extremely brief — and I used wording which I think was completely innocuous, and that apparently the student didn’t,” Hesslow said.

Hesslow was ordered to attend a meeting by Christer Larsson, chairman of the program board for medical education, after a female student complained that Hesslow had a “personal anti-feminist agenda.” He was asked to distance himself from two specific comments; that gay women have a “male sexual orientation” and that the sexual orientation of transsexuals is “a matter of definition.”

The student’s complaint reads in part (translated):

I have also heard from senior lecturers that Germund Hesslow at the last lecture expressed himself transfobically. In response to a question of transexuallism, he said something like “sex change is a fly”. Secondly, it is outrageous because there may be students during the lecture who are themselves exposed to transfobin, but also because it may affect how later students in their professional lives meet transgender people. Transpersonals already have a high level of overrepresentation in suicide statistics and there are already major shortcomings in the treatment of transgender in care, should not it be countered? How does this kind of statement coincide with the university’s equal treatment plan? What has this statement given for consequences? What has been done for this to not be repeated? –Academic Rights Watch

After being admonished, Hesslow refused to distance himself from his comments, saying that he had “done enough” already and didn’t have to explain and defend his choice of words.

At some point, one must ask for a sense of proportion among those involved. If it were to become acceptable for students to record lectures in order to find compromising formulations and then involve faculty staff with meetings and long letters, we should let go of the medical education altogether,” Hesslow said in a written reply to Larsson.

He also rejected the accusation that he had a political agenda – stating that his only agenda was to let scientific factnot new social conventions, dictate how he teaches his courses.

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Despite Pledge Not to, Germany Approves Sale of Arms to Saudi Arabia

Germany is the latest to renege on promises to ban weapons sales for use in the Yemen War.

The Duran

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Authored by Jason Ditz via AntiWar.com:


With Saudi Arabia forever escalating their war in Yemen, the growing calls by human rights groups to stop selling them arms with which to commit war crimes are struggling to compete with the vast sums of money the Saudis are offering for those arms.

Germany is the latest to renege on promises to ban weapons sales for use in the Yemen War, announcing Wednesday that the Economy Minister has greenlit a new round of artillery systems for sale to the Saudis.

The systems are designed for precise counterattack, and are clearly being bought explicitly to use in Yemen. Yet the Merkel government, as part of its coalition deal, announced a full export ban to “any sides fighting in Yemen,” including the Saudis.

While this was at the time supposed to be a condition of the Social Democrats joining the government. So far, Merkel has not explained why the sale was approved over the putative ban, and the Social Democrats have not complained either.

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