Your choice in many countries is the way it is: recognition of same-sex marriage, adoption, etc. But let us make our own choice the way we see it for our country. On the corruption of Western values: We can see how many of the Euro-Atlantic countries are actually rejecting their roots, including the Christian values that constitute the basis of Western civilization. They are denying moral principles and all traditional identities: national, cultural, religious and even sexual. They are implementing policies that equate large families with same-sex partnerships, belief in God with the belief in Satan. On the Aug. 21 chemical weapons attack in a Damascus suburb that most Western governments and independent analysts believe was committed by Syrian government forces: We have every reason to believe that this was a provocation. You know, it was clever and smart, but at the same time, the execution was primitive. They used an ancient, Soviet-made projectile, taken from the Syrian armys armaments from a long time ago it even had Made in the USSR printed on it. But this was not the first time chemical weapons were used in Syria. Why didnt they investigate the previous instances? On his good friend Silvio Berlusconi , the disgraced former Italian prime minister convicted for, among other things, paying underage prostitutes during wild sex parties . Berlusconi faces trial for living with women. If he was a homosexual, no one would ever lay a finger on him. In the 12 plus years since Putin has reigned, either as prime minister or president, he has cut a wide swath at home and abroad. His public persona as a muzhik basically, a regular, ol guy has been finely chiseled by the Kremlin (with help from the US public relations giant, Ketchum ), burnished by well publicized adventures as a long-range bomber aviator , large-animal conservationist , migrating bird guide , and bare-chested Siberian angler . His annual news conference with the Russian press corps routinely stretches hours in length , and his annual call-in show attracts tens of thousands of viewers and listeners across Russia, as he scolds officials, comforts the poor and responds to requests like a king and his subjects. He has also acquired a well-deserved reputation for his prickly wit and sharp tongue, with acerbic comments about circumcision , rape , and the best way to go about fighting terrorism in Russias long troubled North Caucasus. Putin is in his third six-year term as president (the interim period between his second and third terms were spent swapping places with the now-prime minister, Dmitry Medvedev , and waiting for the constitution to be amended so Putin could return to the presidency). Assumptions are always dangerous to make, particularly where Russia concerned, but most believe he will seek a fourth term , meaning he could remain Russias predominant political personality, and a force on the world stage, until 2024, well beyond when US President Obama is out of office.

Russia Opens North Korean Rail Link for ‘Iron Silk Road’

I toured buildings with gently sloping ramps and elevators to make entrances easily accessible; lowered shower knobs and clothing hooks in the athletes’ dressing rooms; contrasting paint lining doorways for people with low vision; and elevator buttons with Braille. All in all it felt like a lot of effort had gone into making sure Paralympic athletes and other visitors with disabilities would feel welcome in the Olympic Park. The government has also made efforts to extend this hospitality in the city of Sochi itself, promising hundreds of accessible buildings, buses and transportation hubs. In a February 2013 meeting with Human Rights Watch, one official told us that “Sochi can be a model city for Russia” in its efforts to promote social inclusion for people with disabilities. Seeing the Olympic venues and learning about Russia’s ambitious accessibility plans left strong impressions, but Maria’s experience is telling of how Russia treats people with disabilities removed from the public eye. The number of retrofitted buildings and accessible buses are not meaningful if people living with disabilities in Sochi cannot use these services, in the absence of basic rights such as accessible housing. Maria’s situation is unfortunately not unusual in Russia, which is home to at least 13 million people with disabilities. Many people with disabilities Human Rights Watch interviewed in Sochi and other cities said that they aren’t able to get out of their homes or use public transportation. As a result, they find themselves unable to do many or all of the most fundamental tasks of daily life that most people take for granted: getting an education, going to work, visiting the doctor, or socializing with friends. When people we met have sought assistance in being relocated or getting the physical accommodations they need for their homes, as mandated by their state medical documents, the government failed to act on their requests. Maria, for her part, has appealed to the Sochi administration several times to be relocated, but was told no apartments are available. Important progress has been made in Russia. When hosting the Summer Olympics in 1980, the Soviet Union refused to host a Paralympics, claiming at the time, “There are no disabled people in the USSR.” The Russian government’s decision to host the Paralympics builds on its national and international commitments to ensure the rights of people with disabilities. Federal law guarantees that physical infrastructure be accessible to people with disabilities, though it lacks concrete enforcement mechanisms.

Russia’s Hurdles for People with Disabilities

The top executives of both countries state train operators inaugurated a route today that links the North Korean port city of Rajin with the Russian border town of Khasan. Initially, the 54-kilometer (33-mile) line will transport Russian coal to markets in the Asia-Pacific region, OAO Russian Railways Chief Executive Officer Vladimir Yakunin said at the ceremony in Rajin. The second phase of the project will involve the construction of a container-handling facility and potentially an oil terminal at the North Korean site, he said. Our common objective is for this link and port to be a pilot scheme for the restoration of a single transport system in North and South Korea that would link the peninsula to countries that gravitate to this region, to Europe via Russia, Yakunin said. The CEO said he hopes the plan will help promote peace between the two Koreas, which remain technically at war following the conflict 1950-53 that divided the countries. The route is part of a larger project, dubbed the Iron Silk Road, that would connect Russia s Trans-Siberian Railway to South Korea via the North for an overland route cutting transportation costs to Europe. Success depends on improved ties between South Korea and its isolated Communist neighbor. Reunions Scrapped North Korea canceled plans today for reunions this week of families separated by the division of the peninsula, and accused South Korean leaders of throwing obstacles in the way of reconciliation. The North also put off talks on resuming tours by South Koreans to its Mount Geumgang resort after recent weeks of improved relations between the two sides. Kim Jong Uns regime accused the South of seeking confrontation, and threatened strong and decisive retaliation against any military provocation. The Khasan-Rajin rail link will carry 100,000 freight containers a year, the Norths official Korean Central News Agency reported in April 2012. The freight terminal at Rajin will be able to handle 4 million tons a year of coal, Yakunin said today, including shipments for OAO Mechel , Russias biggest supplier of the material for steelmakers. The new rail connection will promote the joint economic and transport development of the two countries and welfare of their peoples, North Korean Railways Minister Chon Kil-su said. To contact the reporter on this story: Ekaterina Shatalova in Rajin, North Korea , via eshatalova@bloomberg.net To contact the editor responsible for this story: Stephen Voss at sev@bloomberg.net More News: