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VISUAL REPORTS

Macedonia Signs Pact To Begin Road To NATO Membership

Representatives from NATO's 29 member states meeting in Brussels on February 6 signed an accession agreement with Macedonia, starting the formal process for membership of the Western military alliance.

'Cursed Be The Foes!': Witches Cast Spells For Putin

Russian President Vladimir Putin is getting some paranormal support from a coven of Moscow witches looking to cash in on his popularity.

The Tragic Death Of Tomsk's Beloved Puppet Master

Tomsk's beloved puppeteer, Vladimir Zakharov, built and ran his own theater in the Siberian city after switching from robotics to puppetry in the 1990s. He died tragically in early February while trying to save his puppets after his workshop caught fire.

Down But Not Out: Boxing Legend Fights On In Freezing Van

He went 12 rounds in the ring with Muhammad Ali, but now he’s fighting poverty. Dutch boxing legend Rudie Lubbers is living in a freezing van in Bulgaria.

OTHER NEWS

Russia Turns Attention To New START

Another U.S.-Russian nuclear treaty could soon expire without renewal following Washington's withdrawal from a Cold War-era arms-control pact, a senior Russian diplomat has said. Talks to renew the 2011 New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) agreement on nuclear-missile reduction must begin this year, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov told the TASS news agency on February 7.

Russia Budgets Billions To Construct Sovereign Internet

Russian media reports that over 1.8 billion rubles ($27 million) have been allocated in the federation’s 2019-2021 budget to build a separate Russian internet. In discussions over the initiative earlier this week, Russia’s cabinet of ministers warned that additional financing would be required to enable telecom companies to install the necessary equipment. (Russian Service)

Roskomnadzor Praises Cooperation With Google

Russian media regulator Roskomnadzor has announced that it is pleased with its cooperation with Google. After being fined for posting search results that ignored the regulator’s registry of banned websites, the tech giant is now reportedly filtering such results, although it has not connected to the official Russian registry. (in Russian, Current Time TV)

France's Macron Declares April 24 Commemoration Of Armenian Genocide

French President Emmanuel Macron has declared April 24 as a "national day of commemoration of the Armenian genocide," honoring a campaign promise from his 2017 election campaign.

More Jehovah's Witnesses Detained In Russia

Police in two Russian regions have detained more members of the Jehovah's Witnesses, a day after a Russian court convicted a Danish adherent of the religious group and sentenced him to six years in prison.

Less Keynes, More Love: Russian Economics Textbook Pulled For Not Praising The Motherland

An economics textbook has been banned from use in Russian schools after reviewers deemed it lacking in patriotism. Igor Lipsits, a professor at Moscow's Higher School of Economics, told RFE/RL that he received an e-mail from his publisher Vita-Press with instructions to edit the book in line with a review ordered by the Russian Education Academy, a government body.

Jailed Former Intelligence Officer Kvachkov To Be Released

A jailed former Russian intelligence officer's conviction for incitement of hatred has been annulled in light of a modification to the law on extremism made in December that removes the possibility of a prison sentence for first-time offenders.

Friend Of Russia's Butina Indicted

Paul Erickson, a conservative U.S. political activist who has been identified as the boyfriend of admitted Russian agent Maria Butina, has been indicted by a federal grand jury in South Dakota on 11 counts of wire fraud and money laundering.

Ukrainian Parliament Passes Constitutional Amendment Affirming NATO, EU

The Ukrainian parliament, the Verkhovna Rada, has overwhelmingly approved in its final reading a constitutional amendment that reflects the country's strategic goal of becoming a member of NATO and the European Union. In other legislative action, the parliament approved a ban preventing Russian citizens from observing the March 31 presidential elections.

Kyiv Opens Treason Probe Against Pro-Russian Medvedchuk

Authorities in Ukraine say they are investigating allegations that Viktor Medvedchuk, a shadowy Ukrainian political operative with close personal ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin, has committed high treason and sought to undermine the country's territorial integrity. Who is Ukraine’s “Gray Cardinal,” Viktor Medvedchuk?

Ukrainian Ex-President Yanukovych Slams Europe For Betrayal

Speaking at the Moscow headquarters of Russia's state-run Rossiya Segodnya media agency on February 6, former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych again rejected his conviction by a Ukrainian court on charges of high treason for his role during the country’s Maidan protests, and said that European leaders "double-crossed me, betrayed me" and "were and remain responsible" for what happened in Ukraine in 2014.

Tajikistan Mulls Reopening Of Mosques

Tajikistan has set up a special commission to assess whether the country needs to build new mosques and reopen others that had been closed down by authorities in recent years. The State Committee for Religious Affairs says that dozens of mosques across the country have been reopened in recent months, including some 100 mosques in the southern district of Bokhtar.

Taliban, Afghan Delegations Hail 'Successful' Moscow Meeting

Taliban representatives and an Afghan delegation led by former President Hamid Karzai have said that after two days of negotiations in Russia, they aim to continue their "intra-Afghan" dialogue in Qatar "as soon as possible."

AFPAK FILE PODCAST: The U.S. - Taliban Talks: Significance And Next Steps

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