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Madonna might not be allowed to visit Russia again anytime soon after officials ruled the singer violated the terms of her visa during last trip to Moscow and St Petersburg.
According to Russian daily Izvestia, the nation’s foreign ministry has ruled Madonna failed to get a work permit that would have allowed her for-profit shows in Moscow and St. Petersburg last summer.
That, in turn, might make it harder for her to get back into the country later.
Madonna’s visa reportedly limited her trip to “cultural ties,” as quoted by The Moscow News.
Madonna might not be allowed to visit Russia again anytime soon after officials ruled the singer violated the terms of her visa
The Russian Foreign Ministry is quoted as saying in a statement: “If a foreign national’s activity in Russia is aimed at making a profit, including through commercial performances, the said national must receive a work permit from the Federal Migration Service, and therefore must be issued a normal work visa, with the purpose of the visit stated as work for hire.”
Foreign Ministry officials were asked to look into Madonna’s visa situation by St. Petersburg lawmaker Vitaly Milonov, who tells Russian newspaper Izvestia: “Those who applied for a visa for Louise Ciccone [Madonna] face a fine of 500,000 rubles [$15,885.00]. It has to be determined whether [Madonna] filed the documents herself.”
“The question of the legality of Madonna’s visit to our country will also come up, and next time it will be a lot more difficult to get a visa.”
Vitaly Milonov had challenged whether Madonna’s visit was legal after she advocated gay rights and defended jailed feminist punk group Pussy Riot.
A lawsuit by anti-gay groups claiming Madonna broke Vitaly Milonov’s law was dismissed by a Russian judge last November.
Now, Vitaly Milonov reportedly wants to see Madonna fined $16.7 million. Last December he also accused Lady Gaga of breaking the law at her St. Petersburg concert.
Russia has warned of tensions in North Korea slipping out of control, after Pyongyang announced it was placing its rockets on stand-by.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov warned the situation could slip “toward the spiral of a vicious circle”.
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un made the missile order after talks responding to US stealth bomber flights over the Korean peninsula, state news agency KCNA said.
The time had come to “settle accounts” with the US, KCNA quoted him as saying.
Annual military drills and fresh UN sanctions have angered North Korea.
Russia has warned of tensions in North Korea slipping out of control, after Pyongyang announced it was placing its rockets on stand-by
After a late-night meeting with the army’s strategic rocket force, Kim Jong-un “judged the time has come to settle accounts with the US imperialists”, KCNA reported.
Kim Jong-un was said to have condemned US B-2 bomber sorties over South Korea as a “reckless phase” that represented an “ultimatum that they will ignite a nuclear war at any cost on the Korean Peninsula”.
US mainland and bases in Hawaii, Guam and South Korea were all named as potential targets.
The US – which flew two stealth bombers over the peninsula on Thursday as part of the ongoing annual US-South Korea military drills – has said it is ready for “any eventuality” on the peninsula.
Thousands of North Korean soldiers and students later took part in a mass rally in the centre of Pyongyang in support of Kim Jong-un’s announcement, beneath large portraits of his father Kim Jong-il and grandfather Kim Il-sung.
A South Korean defence ministry spokesman described the North Korean decision as a “continuing measure”, after its announcement to adopt “combat posture”.
China, North Korea’s biggest trading partner, immediately reiterated its call for all sides to ease tensions.
But Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov went further, voicing concern that “we may simply let the situation slip out of our control and it will slide into a spiral of a vicious circle”.
While condemning Pyongyang’s actions as “unacceptable”, Sergei Lavrov gave a more general warning that “unilateral steps being taken around North Korea that manifest themselves in a build-up of military activity”.
Sergei Lavrov added what was needed was not a build-up of military muscle and a pretext for using military means to achieve “geopolitical objectives”, in remarks seen as an implicit criticism of US bomber flights.
Russian officials say horsemeat has been detected in sausages advertised as pork and imported from Austria.
The Russian agriculture watchdog Rosselkhoznadzor said the sausages contained both horse and poultry DNA.
A spokesman said the company that supplied the meat had been struck off a list of approved suppliers.
Horsemeat was first found in meals and burgers in the UK and Ireland last month, and traces have since been found in meat products across Europe.
“Tests on a shipment of Frankfurter sausages found the DNA of horses, chicken, cattle and soya,” Rosselkhoznadzor said in a statement.
Earlier, Rosselkhoznadzor spokesman Alexei Alexeyenko told AFP news agency that the shipment of more than 20 tonnes of sausages had been imported from the Austrian city of Linz. He did not name the supplier.
Russian officials say horsemeat has been detected in sausages advertised as pork and imported from Austria
Horsemeat is considered a traditional delicacy in Russia and is available in many restaurants and stores.
Alexei Alexeyenko said the problem with the contaminated meat was that it was not clear what it was made of and that old or ill animals could have been used.
The meat will either be destroyed or returned to the supplier, he added.
Russian media originally reported the sausages being documented as 100% beef, but later reports said they were labelled as having 80% pork as well as other non-meat ingredients.
At least a dozen countries are involved in the horsemeat affair, which implicates some of the biggest meat processors and food producers.
On Monday, Swedish company Ikea withdrew meatballs from sale in 14 European countries after tests in the Czech Republic found traces of horsemeat in a batch made in Sweden.
EU agricultural officials are looking at ways of tightening up procedures and ensuring greater traceability in the wake of the scandal.
Astronomers have traced the origin of a meteor that injured about 1,000 people after breaking up over Ural mountains region in central Russia earlier this month.
Using amateur video footage, they were able to plot the meteor’s trajectory through Earth’s atmosphere and then reconstruct its orbit around the Sun.
As the space rock burned up over the city of Chelyabinsk, the shockwave blew out windows and rocked buildings.
The team, from Colombia, has published details on the Arxiv website.
Numerous videos of the fireball were taken with camera phones, CCTV and car-dashboard cameras and subsequently shared widely on the web. Furthermore, traffic camera footage of the fireball had precise time and date stamps.
Early estimates of the meteor’s mass put it at ten tonnes; US space agency NASA later estimated it to be between 7,000 and 10,000 tonnes. NASA estimates the size of the object was about 17m (55ft).
Using the footage and the location of an impact into Lake Chebarkul, Jorge Zuluaga and Ignacio Ferrin, from the University of Antioquia in Medellin were able to use simple trigonometry to calculate the height, speed and position of the rock as it fell to Earth.
Astronomers have traced the origin of a meteor that injured about 1,000 people after breaking up over Ural mountains region in central Russia earlier this month
To reconstruct the meteor’s original orbit around the Sun, they used six different properties of its trajectory through Earth’s atmosphere. Most of these are related to the point at which the meteor becomes bright enough to cast a noticeable shadow in the videos.
The researchers then plugged their figures into astronomy software developed by the US Naval Observatory.
The results suggest the meteor belongs to a well known family of space rocks – known as the Apollo asteroids – that cross Earth’s orbit.
Of about 9,700 near-Earth asteroids discovered so far, about 5,200 are thought to be Apollos. Asteroids are divided into different groups such as Apollo, Aten, or Amor, based on the type of orbit they have.
Russian government has decided to abandon an agreement with the US on fighting crime and the drugs trade, in an apparent sign of worsening relations.
Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said the decade-long agreement no longer addressed “realities” and had “exhausted its potential”.
The agreement saw the US funding anti-crime projects in Russia.
Meanwhile, two US pro-democracy groups have helped staff who were reportedly threatened with arrest to flee Russia.
The National Democratic Institute and the International Republican Institute closed their Moscow offices last year after laws were passed cracking down on organizations which receive foreign funding.
Unnamed sources in the non-governmental organizations said six Russian staff members and their families had arrived in Lithuania at the end of December or early in January on tourist visas.
Staff had been approached by Russia’s domestic security service, the FSB, and other law enforcement agencies who warned them they could face prosecution for treason, one of the sources said.
There was no immediate confirmation of the report from the two NGOs.
News that the anti-drugs-trade agreement was being scrapped appeared in a decree on the Russian government’s website.
It came a few days after the US government pulled out of a joint working group with the Russians on civil society.
Russian government has decided to abandon an agreement with the US on fighting crime and the drugs trade, in an apparent sign of worsening relations
Russia has been grappling for years with a huge heroin abuse problem, exacerbated by its proximity to drug-trafficking routes from Afghanistan.
It has accused the US of failing to use its influence in Afghanistan to tackle the trade effectively.
Ever since Vladimir Putin returned to the presidency last May, a chill has returned to US-Russian relations.
The two countries seem locked into a spiral of deteriorating ties.
Underlying it is US concern at the state of democracy and human rights under President Vladimir Putin, and Moscow’s anger at being lectured by the Americans.
The US Magnitsky bill adopted late last year sparked particular fury in Moscow as the law bars Russian officials suspected of human rights violations from entering America and freezes any US assets they may have.
In response Moscow has not only barred US officials it suspects of rights abuses, it has banned American families from adopting Russian children.
A Russian little girl cracks after receiving a lengthy telling-off by her bullying teacher and gives him a powerful kick in the groin.
The hilarious incident was captured on a mobile phone camera by one of her fellow pupils during an English lesson at the school at an undisclosed location somewhere in Russia.
A Russian little girl cracks after receiving a lengthy telling-off by her bullying teacher and gives him a powerful kick in the groin
The poor girl, with long blonde plaited hair, is hauled up to the front of the classroom, where she is screamed at by her furious teacher.
She bows her head and endures a torrent of abuse but to the surprise of the teacher and the delight of her classmates she strikes back before racing out the room.
UEFA gives a suspended six-point deduction to Russia because of the behaviour of their fans during their 4-1 win against Czech Republic at Euro 2012.
Action was taken due to the use of fireworks and far-right banners.
The incident, in which Russian fans attacked stewards, leaving four needing hospital treatment, is being investigated by UEFA and police.
The penalty will apply to the Euro 2016 qualifying campaign, and also includes a fine of 120,000 Euros ($147,000).
Russia, who will host the 2018 World Cup, could face further sanctions after their supporters were involved in violence before their game against Poland, which was drawn 1-1, on Tuesday.
UEFA gives a suspended six-point deduction to Russia because of the behaviour of their fans during their 4-1 win against Czech Republic at Euro 2012
A march by thousands of Russian fans to mark their national day had to be halted and some missiles were thrown as supporters clashed with their Polish rivals.
Police say they arrested at least 120 people and that 10 people were injured.
Inside the ground, Russian fans also displayed a provocative banner.
At least four people are dead and about 50 are missing after a Russian oil drilling rig sank in freezing seas in the Sea of Okhotsk.
The Kolskaya rig was being towed some 200km (125 miles) off Sakhalin island when it capsized in a fierce storm.
14 people have been rescued alive but it is feared the rig overturned before the rest of the 67 people on board could escape on to life rafts.
Rescue efforts have been hampered by poor weather conditions.
Helicopters and a plane helped scour the area amid high winds and waves of up to 12 ft (4 m) but the search was halted as night fell.
“According to reports from the scene of the rescue operation, the Kolskaya platform has sunk completely,” the regional head of the emergencies ministry, Taimuraz Kasayev, told a news briefing.
The Kolskaya rig was being towed some 200km (125 miles) off Sakhalin island when it capsized in a fierce storm
The accident happened at around 14:00 local time (02:00 GMT) in the Sea of Okhotsk, at temperatures of -17C, as the rig was being towed from the eastern peninsula of Kamchatka to Sakhalin by an icebreaker and a tug.
An unnamed regional emergencies ministry spokesman told the AFP news agency that the rig’s portholes had been “damaged by ice and waves, and water began going into the vessel”.
The crew had been waiting to be evacuated by helicopter but the platform capsized and sank before they could get to their rescue rafts, he said.
Two out of the four life rafts were reportedly found with nobody on board.
An investigation has been launched to decide whether any safety regulations were violated transporting the Kolskaya in bad weather.
Phobos-Ground, the $170 million Russian probe, is now heading back to Earth and will crash between January 6 and January 19, but it’s not possible to predict where until a few days beforehand.
The Phobos-Ground craft, which was supposed to travel to Phobos, one of Mars’s two moons, became stuck in Earth orbit after its thrusters failed.
What’s more, one of the probe’s gauges has a small amount of radioactive Cobalt-57 and it is carrying seven tons of toxic fuel in the form of nitrogen teroxide and hydrazine.
Phobos-Ground craft is expected to plummet to Earth between January 6 and January 19
Russia’s space agency says the fuel should burn up upon re-entry and the Cobalt-57 won’t pose any threat of radioactive contamination.
However, several dozen fragments with a total weight of up to 200 kilograms (440 pounds) will fall on the Earth’s surface.
The space agency says that the rough area where the probe’s fragments will fall could only be calculated a few days ahead of its plunge.
James Oberg, a NASA veteran who now works as a space consultant said: “What was billed as the heaviest interplanetary probe ever may become one of the heaviest space derelicts to ever fall back to Earth out of control, an unenviable record.”
The Phobos-Grunt craft was successfully launched by a Zenit-2 booster rocket from the Russian-leased Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on November 9.
The craft separated from the booster about 11 minutes later, and was to fire its engines twice to set out on its path to Mars.
Russia’s Federal Space Agency chief Vladimir Popovkin said neither of the two engine burns worked, probably due to the failure of the craft’s orientation system.
Embarrassingly, the effort to restore control over the probe was hampered by a limited earth-to-space communications network that forced Russian flight controllers to ask the general public in South America to help locate the craft.
Amateur astronomers were the first to spot the trouble when they detected that the craft was stuck in Earth orbit.
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