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Slovak Relives Epic Balloon Flight To Freedom
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Slovak Relives Epic Balloon Flight To Freedom

VISUAL REPORTS

Ukrainians Protesting Land Reform Clash With Police

Protesters opposing the government’s plans to lift the moratorium on the sale of agricultural land clashed with police in front of Ukraine’s parliament on December 17. Police have detained 26 people; 19 people have requested medical help, including 17 police officers. (Ukrainian Service)

Kyrgyz Protesters Demand 'Punishment' For Those Involved In Corruption Scandal

Hundreds of protesters have gathered in the Kyrgyz capital to urge the government to respect media freedom and investigate allegations of corruption in the customs service following reporting by RFE/RL and other media last month about a massive smuggling ring.

Russian Ambulance Doctors: Low-Paid, Overworked Lifesavers

Night shifts for ambulance crews can range from the mundane to the miraculous. For poorly paid and exhausted Russian doctors northeast of Moscow, it's a calling that goes beyond their low-paid jobs.

PHOTOGALLERY: Forty Days Of Darkness: Winter In Russia’s Arctic Capital

RFE/RL photographer Amos Chapple took a "night-mode" enabled smartphone camera to document life in Russia’s north through the polar night.

OTHER NEWS

U.S. Set To Approve $1 Billion For Eastern Europe Energy Independence

The U.S. House of Representatives has passed a bill that will set aside $1 billion to support energy projects in Eastern Europe and Eurasia to wean the region off Russian oil and gas.

U.S. Senate Approves Nord Stream 2 Gas Pipeline Sanctions

The U.S. Senate on December 17 voted overwhelmingly to impose sanctions on companies working on the $10.6 billion Nord Stream 2 pipeline being built under the Baltic Sea and set to double shipments of Russian natural gas to Germany.

Russia To Invest Nearly $700 Million To Restore Syria’s Infrastructure

Russian Deputy Prime Minister for the Military-Industrial Complex Yuri Borisov told Russian media that Moscow is investing $200 million as part of a 40-year regional development contract to restore a chemical fertilizer plant in Homs, and $500 million to modernize the Syrian port of Tartus, which is leased by Russia for 49 years. (in Russian, Current Time TV)

Huawei Makes Headway In Russia

While the West suspects Huawei of spying, the company is actively cooperating with post-Soviet countries. Huawei has regional offices in Russia in Moscow, St. Petersburg, Nizhny Novgorod, Krasnodar, Yekaterinburg, Novosibirsk, Vladivostok, and other cities, and may open a research center in Kazan. More than 1,500 students, teachers, and heads of scientific laboratories from Russia’s nine largest universities recently took part in Huawei’s 5G Level Up Russia training program. (Russian Service/Idel.Realities)

Can Russia And The U.S. Agree To Keep A Lid On Their Nuclear Arsenals?

Last month, something unusual happened: U.S. inspectors traveled to Russia to examine a new missile that Moscow says is super-fast. The demonstration was "aimed at facilitating efforts to ensure the viability and efficiency of New START," the Russian Defense Ministry said.

Swiss Court Orders Russia To Pay $44 Million To Ukrainian Oil Company

The Federal Supreme Court of Switzerland has upheld a decision to recover $44 million from Moscow to compensate the Ukrainian state-owned oil company Ukrnafta for the loss of investment in Crimea after Russia forcibly annexed the peninsula in 2014. Ukrnafta is the largest oil producer in Ukraine. (Russian Service)

Russian Businessman Lebedev Owns Hotels In Crimea Despite Sanctions

A Current Time investigation has disclosed that Alexander Lebedev, owner of the British newspaper The Independent, and a shareholder of the Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta, owns several luxury hotels in Russia-annexed Crimea. Lebedev has made casual reference to the properties in interviews. The investigation found that the hotels were registered in Russia or re-purchased after annexation, and belong to companies registered in Cyprus. EU sanctions prohibit European companies from opening and expanding existing businesses on the peninsula. (Current Time TV)

Putin Poster Pun No Laughing Matter For Russian Police

Student activists calling themselves "the brigade" say they were just looking to have some fun in Petrozavodsk, the capital of the Karelia region in northwestern Russia, when they plastered buildings and bus stops with posters depicting President Vladimir Putin looking like Big Brother. The students said the police knew their mobile phone numbers and were able to track them down quickly and call them with chilling messages.

Uzbekistan Said To Be Toughening Punishments For Internet Users Who Call For Protests

Uzbekistan plans to toughen punishments for people using media outlets, social networks, or other Internet tools to organize or call for unsanctioned gatherings, rallies, or mass demonstrations, according to a source close to the Uzbek government. New legislation allegedly prescribes prison terms for offenders of up to 10 years.

Nine People Reported Wounded In Fresh Clashes On Kyrgyz-Tajik Border

Six Kyrgyz nationals and three Tajik nationals were wounded after clashes broke out along a section of the border in the southern Batken region between the two countries.

PAKISTAN: Taliban Gunmen Kill Two Pakistani Police Escorting Polio Team

PRESSROOM: Current Time Correspondent Gets Top Prize In Tajikistan

Muza Kazakov, a correspondent with Current Time’s Asia unit, was recognized by the International Human Rights Center in Tajikistan for his unparalleled reporting on Tajik migrants, particularly the problems they face in Russia. (in Russian, Current Time)

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