Deputy Finance Minister Sergey Storchak said JP Morgan will act as a liaison between the Ministry of Finance and rating agencies, RIA Novosti reported. Storchak also hinted that Russia will be reviewed by one of the major international rating agencies in the near future.The government expects that by 2016 Russia will have the highest rating from international agencies.At present, Russia is rated “BBB” by Fitch and S & P, and “Baa1″ by Moody’s. Fitch and S&P both downgraded Russia following the 2008 financial crisis prompting then Prime Minister Putin to call it an ‘outrage’.Last week, the Russian rating agency ‘Expert RA’ gave Russia an ‘A-‘ grade, higher than any international rating agency.Though the Ministry of Finance is hiring outside help to improve their rating, its head, Anton Siluanov, doesn’t foresee the rating changing any time in the near future.”I do not think that there will be any changes in terms of Russia’s rating,” Siluanov said on Wednesday.First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov sees a positive change in the near future. ”Now the situation in the economy is changing. I can’t say that it is much better, but there are some changes. If you look at fundamental economic indicators- the budget, and employer sentiment- I think that the situation is slightly better now,” said Shuvalov.According to the Ministry of Finance statement, JP Morgan was selected over other unnamed investment banks for its quality of proposal, ability to achieve results and experience and reputation of the bank.The document neither outlines the length of the contract or payment details.In late January, the Russian government agreed a three year $500,000 contract with Goldman Sachs to improve its investment bank image as well as credit ratings.JP Morgan is the largest U.S. bank in terms of assets. JP Morgan opened a representative office in Moscow in 1973, but doesn’t offer any retail banking, only investment banking and related services. …
US criticises Russia over missiles to Damascus 18/05/2013 10:34 CET
Russia evacuates nationals from Syria 23/01/2013 06:05 CET
Syrian rebels claim helicopter base near Damascus 26/11/2012 09:15 CET
Russia wants Iran involved over Syrian conflict 09/06/2012 17:34 CET
Lebanon: Spillover of violence from Syria 22/05/2013 18:25 CET
Russia says the Syrian government has agreed in principle to attend a peace conference in Geneva next month.
The talks are being set up by Russia and the US with the aim of bringing Syria’s government and opposition together.
Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad met with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Wednesday.
Moscow is continuing to stress any insistence from the opposition that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad go is not helpful.
Referring to this stipulation, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said: “The meetings in Madrid and Istanbul were not promising. They (the opposition) put forward a pre-condition of resignation of the President and shaping a “government” under the UN supervision.”
The opposition are questioning the effect of any government presence in Geneva.
“We would like to know whether this delegation is empowered to make decisions including the transfer of power to this interim government, the transitional government, that is fully powered to make decisions. That is not clear,” said Louay Safi, a member of the Syrian National Coalition.
For the moment, the majority of the fighting is taking place in the strategic town of Qusayr near the border with Lebanon.
The UN has warned there could be three million Syrian refugees by 2014.
Copyright © 2013 euronews
Negative Flash PMI data from China along with uncertainty about the US Federal Reserve’s bond-buying program saw Russian stocks slump on Thursday: The MICEX closed 3.56 percent lower at 1396.90 and the RTS fell 4.18 percent to close at 1400.84.Markets worldwide reacted sharply to negative news in China and the US. Weak manufacturing data from China indicated that its manufacturing sector may be contracting, meaning the world’s second-largest economy may not be growing at as fast a pace as predicted.Japanese stocks suffered major losses on Tuesday: The Nikkei 225 saw its biggest one-day drop – 7.3 percent – since Japan was hit by a devastating tsunami more than two years ago. Other major indices in Asia fell as well, with Hong Kong’s Hang Seng shedding 2.5 percent and South Korea’s Kospi dropping 1.2 percent. Markets in Australia, Thailand, Taiwan and Singapore also fell.European markets also posted sharp losses on Thursday. The Stoxx Europe 600 index slumped 2.1 percent to 303.99, the FTSE 100 dropped 2.1 percent, Germany’s benchmark DAX 30 – which has been posting all-time highs recently – lost 2.5 percent, and the French CAC-40 slid 2.7 percent.On Friday, the Ifo Institute will publish a report on the business climate in Germany. Revised data will also be released on Germany’s first-quarter economic growth and the Gfk consumer climate index. Also, the UK will release industry data on mortgage approvals, an important indicator of demand in the housing market.Major US indices rebounded during the day Thursday, but still closed slightly lower. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 0.08 percent to close at 15294.50, the S&P 500 slipped 0.29 percent to close at 1650.52, and the Nasdaq Composite was down 0.11 percent to close at 3459.42.Concerns are mounting about whether the US Fed intends to pull out of its $85-billion-a-month bond-buying program, which has been largely responsible for the multi-year highs witnessed in global markets in recent weeks.Data released Thursday showed that the number of American who filed for jobless claims last week dropped by 23,000 to 340,000, slightly beating expectations. The US flash PMI index fell to 51.9 in May from 52.1 in April, its lowest reading since last October. On Friday, the US will wrap up the week with an update on durable goods orders, a key production indicator.Asian stocks are seeing further losses on Friday after being struck by unexpectedly weak Chinese manufacturing data and news from the US Fed. Japan’s Nikkei is still vulnerable: After a massive gain in the wake of yesterday’s session, it reversed later in the day, falling 0.7 percent to 14,391.74. South Korea’s Kospi rose 0.1 percent to 1,971.23, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng fell 0.5 percent to 22,553.60 and Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 lost 1.7 percent to 4,976. Benchmarks in the Philippines, Taiwan and New Zealand also fell.Oil is currently trading lower, with Brent down 0.09 percent to $102.30 and WTI down 0.3 percent t0 $93.90. …
Russian court rejects Pussy Riot appeal 16/01/2013 17:45 CET
Russia’s jailed Pussy Riot members sent to prison… 22/10/2012 16:20 CET
Russian court upholds jail for two Pussy Riot… 10/10/2012 11:14 CET
One Pussy Riot member freed, two jail terms upheld 10/10/2012 15:28 CET
Freed Pussy Riot member reunited with father 10/10/2012 16:33 CET
A Russian court has refused to grant parole to a jailed member of the Pussy Riot punk band.
According to supporters, the judge ruled against Maria Alyokhina because she had broken prison rules.
The breaches included not making her bed and writing letters during meal times.
She was jailed after performing a so-called punk prayer in a Moscow cathedral against Vladimir Putin, during his reelection campaign.
Alyokhina said on Wednesday that she had gone on hunger strike because she was not allowed to attend the parole proceedings in person.
Copyright © 2013 euronews
The Nikkei turned out to be Thursday’s negative trendsetter leading the downward tendency in Asia. Weak Flash China PMI released on Thursday by HSBC and indicating a contraction in China’s manufacturing as well as late Wednesday’s remarks from the Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke on the US bond buying program disappointed not just the Asian markets.Other major indicators in Asia fell as well with Hong Kong’s Hang Seng losing 2.5 percent, and South Korea’s Kospi dropping 1.2 percent. Markets in Australia, Thailand, Taiwan and Singapore also fell.European stocks traded significantly lower on Thursday, also reacting to the disappointing data from China and comments from the US Federal Reserve. The Stoxx Europe 600 index slid 1.9 percent to 304.65, deflecting down after closing at the highest level in five years on Wednesday.Russian markets are also sharply in the red on Thursday. MICEX is losing as much as 2.93 percent, while RTS is down more than 3.5 percent. This is also due to the steep fall in the oil prices. Chinese government’s attempts to boost domestic consumption in the world’s second biggest economy has finally caught up with recession-hit Europe, uncertainty in the US and deflation-driven Japan.HSBC said its Purchasing Managers Index fell to its lowest level since October slipping below analysts’ expectations to 49.6 in May from 50.4 in April. Figures below 50 points indicate that activity is contracting. Analysts forecast a decline to 50.3.”It’s no secret. The true picture is that China’s export sector is slowing down, and its manufacturing sector is also slowing down. That means the trade surplus is almost gone,” Francis Lun, chief economist at GE Oriental Financial Group told the BBC.Wednesday’s testimony by the Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke added to the negative sentiment after the US central bank chief said the Fed could decide on pulling out of its bond buying program over the next few meetings should the US job market shows “real and sustainable progress”.The minutes of the Fed’s last meeting revealed that “a number” of officials’ support pulling out of the Quantitative Easing efforts as early as June. The Federal Reseve will hold its next meeting on June 18-19. …
Sociologists asked Russians about their attitude towards 20th-century leaders. Some 56 percent of respondents have positive feelings about Brezhnev, who led the USSR from 1964 till 1982. A target of countless Soviet jokes and anecdotes, he is now disliked by 29 percent of people, Levada revealed.The first ruler of the Soviet Union, Lenin, is seen in a good light by 55 percent of Russians, while exactly one-half of Russians favor Stalin. However, over one-third of respondents do not approve of the leader, who is often described as “bloody tyrant.” Nikita Khruschev – who was Soviet premier during the Cuban missile crisis – is liked by 45 percent of Russians. That figure is slightly less than modern-day supporters of Tsar Nicholas II, who was overthrown in 1917; he got kind reviews from 48 percent of respondents. And at the bottom of the list, two-thirds of respondents gave negative evaluations to the first and only Soviet President, Mikhail Gorbachev, and the first Russian President Boris, Yeltsin.The late Yeltsin is viewed positively by only 22 percent of Russians, while his predecessor Gorbachev is seen as Russia’s worst leader ever, according to the poll. The architect of perestroika is now disliked by 66 percent of Russians, and only one-fifth of the population has warm feelings about the Soviet president.Experts link Brezhnev’s popularity among the population to financial well-being during his epoch, which was the “peak of Soviet socialism.” Stalin is associated with victory in World War II, which explains why he is favored by modern Russians.“No one would want to live in Stalin’s era, but he personifies what now is in shortage: Justice and equality in fear,” Professor Valery Solovei told Kommersant daily. Gorbachev and Yeltsin’s time brought “only defeats” and no material prosperity, political analyst Sergey Chernyakhovsky explained.“Gorbachev’s rule ended up with the dissolution of the USSR, which is still considered by Russians as the 20th-century catastrophe,” said Aleksey Grazhdankin, deputy head of the Levada Center. Attitudes towards Yeltsin worsened following his 1992 reforms, which lead to inflation and the closure of many businesses, he added.Harsh politicians are always perceived better than liberal ones, Grazhdankin said: “Freedom brings uncertainty, while people prefer certainty and clear perspectives… Rights and freedoms are too abstract, and the majority of people don’t need them. First of all, people appreciate the right to social guarantees and labor.” …
Following the announcement, the court ruled to postpone the parole hearing till May 23. “I’m declaring a hunger strike and order my defense lawyers not to take part in this court trial,” Alekhina stated.She participated in the hearing via videoconference from the penal colony in the Perm region in Russia’s Urals, where she is serving her two-year sentence for hooliganism over the Pussy Riot’s ‘punk-prayer’ in Moscow’s main Russian Orthodox cathedral. “Given that the Bereznikovsky city court [considering Alekhina’s parole release] is just across the road from the colony, the decision to deny her to attend the hearing can only be explained as humiliation,” tweeted Pavel Chikov, head of Agora, an association of human rights organizations.Prosecutor Lev Tashnikov said there was no need for Alekhina’s presence in the courtroom. The judge also said that there were no grounds for her to attend the hearing, as she could talk with her defense lawyer via the video link, Rossiyskaya Gazeta reported.During the Wednesday hearing, Alekhina also demanded that the judge – who refused to let her personally participate in the hearing – and the prosecutor recuse themselves from the trial. Prosecutor Tashkinov has personal enmity towards her, she argued. The court rejected both requests.Alekhina, 24, appealed for parole in April, seven months after the court sentenced her and two other Pussy Riot members to jail. Her fellow band member Nadezhda Tolokonnikova – who is also serving a two-year sentence – was denied parole last month. The third convicted activist, Ekaterina Samutsevich, was released on probation in October last year.It is yet unclear whether Alekhina will participate in tomorrow’s court hearing. …