Russian space movie crew set for blast-off

MOSCOW – A Russian crew of two cosmonauts and two cinema professionals is set to take off for the International Space Station (ISS) early next month to shoot the first movie in outer space, filmmakers said on Thursday. The four are scheduled to be launched on a Soyuz MS-19 craft on Oct. 5 to be delivered to the station, which orbits Earth at an altitude of around 220 miles (354 km). Their launch will come…

"Russian space movie crew set for blast-off"

Russia ramps up pressure on foreign tech firms on eve of election

MOSCOW – Russia on Thursday threatened U.S. social media firms with sizeable fines if they fail to delete content Moscow deems illegal and demanded Apple and Google stop allegedly meddling in its internal affairs on the eve of parliamentary elections. Internet services are coming under increasing pressure ahead of Russia’s Sept. 17-19 parliamentary vote. Russia’s authorities have said foreign firms are hampering their efforts to block virtual private networks (VPNs) and online resources linked to…

"Russia ramps up pressure on foreign tech firms on eve of election"

Stability trumps growth for government as Russians prepare to vote -economists

MOSCOW – Low wages and rising prices are crucial issues for Russians at parliamentary elections this week, but maintaining financial stability matters more to the Kremlin than driving growth, economists say, with inflation a lingering concern. The Sept. 17-19 election, the last major vote before a presidential poll in 2024, comes as Russia is recovering from its worst economic downturn in more than a decade, the result of the COVID-19 pandemic and low prices for…

"Stability trumps growth for government as Russians prepare to vote -economists"

Kremlin critic Navalny’s allies say vote Communist to hurt ruling party

MOSCOW – Allies of jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny urged Russians on Wednesday to vote for the Communist Party at a parliamentary election this week, part of a tactical voting campaign meant to hurt the ruling United Russia party. Navalny’s “smart voting” campaign is designed to consolidate the votes of those who oppose United Russia, which currently holds three-quarters of the seats in the lower house of parliament and dominates Russian political life. The initiative…

"Kremlin critic Navalny’s allies say vote Communist to hurt ruling party"

France criticises deal bringing Russian mercenaries into Mali

PARIS – France’s foreign minister on Tuesday criticised plans that would bring Russian mercenaries into Mali, saying such a move was “incompatible” with the French military presence in its former colony. Diplomatic and security sources have told that a deal is close between the Russian private military contractor the Wagner Group and Mali’s ruling junta for the mercenaries to train the Malian military and provide protection for senior officials. Asked by lawmakers about the report,…

"France criticises deal bringing Russian mercenaries into Mali"

Exclusive-S.Korea’s GL Rapha to ship out 10 million Sputnik Light COVID-19 shots this month

SEOUL – South Korean biotech firm GL Rapha expects to win regulatory approval from Russia to export Sputnik Light coronavirus vaccines this month, its chairman said, paving the way for the first overseas production of the shot to ease a supply shortage. The Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), which markets Sputnik V and single-dose version Sputnik Light abroad, plans to produce around 700 million doses overseas this year. But production got off to a slow…

"Exclusive-S.Korea’s GL Rapha to ship out 10 million Sputnik Light COVID-19 shots this month"

Russian mobile users struggle to make AppStore downloads before election

MOSCOW – Some Russian mobile users were unable to download updates from the AppStore on Monday and Apple reported an outage, as the authorities sought to block a banned tactical voting app ahead of parliamentary elections this week. The Kremlin is cracking down on online resources linked to jailed opposition politician Alexei Navalny and on technology used to evade online bans, which has caused major internet outages for the Russian public in the run-up to…

"Russian mobile users struggle to make AppStore downloads before election"

IMF to launch virtual mission to Belarus to gather data on economy

WASHINGTON – The International Monetary Fund on Friday said it would begin a virtual mission to Belarus, amid concerns raised about the global lender’s disbursement of new emergency reserves to the government of president Alexander Lukashenko. The staff mission is part of the IMF’s economic surveillance and monitoring mandate and aims to gather more information about the economic developments in Belarus and its response to the COVID-19 pandemic, an IMF spokesperson said. The mission will…

"IMF to launch virtual mission to Belarus to gather data on economy"

Kremlin internet crackdown causing major outages as election looms

MOSCOW – The Kremlin’s crackdown on websites linked to jailed opposition politician Alexei Navalny and on technology used to evade online bans are causing major internet outages for the Russian public, say web monitors, online gaming firms and government critics. The disruption shows how new tools that state communications regulator Roskomnadzor is deploying to exert greater control over the internet are causing unintended collateral damage. GlobalCheck, a group that monitors websites’ accessibility in Russia, said…

"Kremlin internet crackdown causing major outages as election looms"

‘Like a fairy-tale’ – Ukrainian filmmaker’s journey from Russian jail to Venice festival

KYIV – Two years after his release from a Russian jail, Ukrainian filmmaker Oleg Sentsov will premiere his movie “Rhino” at the Venice Film Festival on Friday, a journey he said was “like a fairy tale”. “I never thought that I would be released so soon and would be able to finally make my film and be here,” he said on a video call with from Venice. “For me, it is not simply a dream…

"‘Like a fairy-tale’ – Ukrainian filmmaker’s journey from Russian jail to Venice festival"