MOSCOW — On Dec. 14, President Vladimir Putin flew by helicopter to personally inspect Russia’s first Strategic Missile Forces (SMF) unit equipped with the new mobile Topol-M intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs). Three mobile Topol-Ms entered into operational deployment with the SMF division based in the town of Teikovo, about 250 kilometers northeast of Moscow, on Dec. 10. Russia’s political and military leaders have long awaited the coming of the road-mobile Topol-M. The Votkinsk Machine-Building Plant manufactures both silo-based and road-mobile versions of the missile. Russia began deploying silo-based versions of the Topol-Ms in 1997 and now has about 45 of [...]
British Reaction to Murder Suspect’s Burqa-Clad Escape Dampened by Season
BRADFORD, England — Fogbound airports, a Christmas shopping frenzy and sordid headlines about a serial prostitute strangler conspired to blur the disclosure in Britain that a Somali man wanted over the murder of a police officer escaped the country disguised as a veiled Muslim woman. To the comfort of the London government and immigration authorities, national preoccupation with seasonal festivities has failed to trigger the level of controversy that ensued when a Muslim woman recently lost her job for refusing to remove her veil while working in a junior school. And yet the improbable masked escape of the wanted man [...]
On Dec. 22, the Russian government succeeded in its long-standing campaign to wrest control of the country’s largest single foreign investment project — the $22 billion natural gas development on the Russian Pacific island of Sakhalin. The project includes the first liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant and related export facilities built in Russia. According to the deal, Royal Dutch Shell, Mitsui & Co., Ltd., and Mitsubishi Corp. will each surrender half of their shares in the Sakhalin Energy consortium. In their place, OAO Gazprom, Russia’s state-controlled natural gas monopoly, has taken a majority (50 percent plus one share) stake in [...]
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