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Entries in Dmitri Medvedev (9)


Syria Live Coverage: "Chances of Assad's Preservation Are Smaller and Smaller"

2123 GMT: Death Toll Rising. The LCC now reports that 114 have died so far today:

31 martyrs were reported in Damascus and its Suburbs, 24 in Idlib (most of them in Ariha), 18 in Hama (most of them in Hawejah), 17 in Aleppo, 11 in Homs, 7 in Daraa, and 6 in Deir Ezzor.

However, this number will very likely rise further. Heavy fires are raging in Jdeidet Artouz, less than 15 kilometers west of the capital, as a explosion has trapped residents inside some of the burning buildings.

Furthermore, heavy fighting is reported across Hama province. According to the LCC's latest reports, many were killed in Baridij, 35 kilometers northwest of Hama, and "dozens" were killed in the nearby village of Magher after intense shelling.

2054 GMT: Rebels Attack Near Damascus Airport. Earlier we reported that there was fighting near the Damascus International Airport. Now, this video, shared on Facebook, reportedly shows an infantry-supported tank of the Ansar al Islam brigade attacking a "shabiha" location near the airport:

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Syria Live Coverage: Deaths from Shelling Near Aleppo

Devastation and casualties after Saturday's aerial shelling of Al-Bab near Aleppo (Warning: Graphic Images)

See also Syria 1st-Hand: Spectre of War Reaches "Coastal Retreat" of Latakia
Egypt (and Beyond) Live Coverage: At Least 30 Killed in Port Said Fighting
Saturday's Syria Live Coverage: Insurgents Storm The Prison in Idlib

2150 GMT: Casualties. The Local Coordination Committees report that 103 people have been killed today, including six women and 11 children. Forty-one of the deaths were in Damascus and its suburbs, 18 in Homs Province, and 16 in Aleppo Province.

1650 GMT: A Russian Criticism. In unexpectedly critical remarks, Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev has said, "It seems to me that [President Assad's] chances of staying (in power) are shrinking day by day."

Medvedev said Assad had made a mistake early in the two-year conflict, "He should have acted much more quickly and reached out to the peaceful opposition, which was ready to sit at the negotiating table with him. It's a grave error on his part, perhaps fatal."

Medvedev maintained Russia's position against foreign intervention, "I repeat once again: It is for the Syrian people to decide. Not Russia or the United States or any other country."

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Russia Feature: The White-Ribbon Protests Return

See also Russia Feature: Renewed Protests Against Putin... But Will the "Dear" Leader Hang On?

Saturday saw peaceful, large protests across Russia. In Moscow, the central site of the demonstrations, estimates of crowd size vary. Whilst government figures suggest around 30,000, some protest organisers have claimed upwards of 120,000 attended the rally.

Russia now enters a 10-day national holiday, which will likely keep protests low, but we can expect to see renewed demonstrations in January, carried forward by the momentum of today's events.

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Russia Feature: The White-Ribbon Protests Return to Russia

This entry is now re-titled and re-posted above.


The Latest from Iran (8 October): Declaring an Awakening

Mehdi Karroubi & His Granddaughter1920 GMT: Environment Watch. Minister of Energy Majid Namjoo has said basic studies for construction of a dam near Lake Urmia (Oroumiyeh) have been halted.

Activists have claimed that Iran's dams have contributed to the drying-up of Lake Urmia, which has lost more than half of its volume in recent years, but Namjoo said around 85% of problems in the lake's problems are from the "natural, inevitable phenomenon" of drought.

After widespread protests this summer over the situation, the Iranian Government finally agreed to allocate $900 million to measures to protect the lake, and Namjoo said recently that Iran had agreed with its northern neighbors to transfer water from its sector of the Araz River.

1910 GMT: Karroubi Watch. Radio Zamaneh sets out the story of the visit of opposition figure Mehdi Karroubi, held under strict house arrest since mid-February, with his son Hossein's family.

Hossein Karroubi wrote on his Facebook page that, while his family was celebrating his daughter’s entry into university, which coincided with Mehdi Karroubi’s birthday, six security officials brought his father to their home and allowed him to stay with the family for an hour.

Hossein Karroubi said his father’s morale was high but he appeared thinner. Mehdi Karrobui said he had lost weight from pacing up and down in the small apartment where he is being held.

Radio Zamaneh also posts an undated photograph of Mehdi Karroubi with his granddaughter (see inset picture).

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Libya, Yemen (and Beyond) LiveBlog: Just Another Day of Many Thousand Protesters

2020 GMT: Der Spiegel reports on a possible shift in the German position on Libya, with Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle saying military support of humanitarian action, such as relief operations, is possible.

Germany abstained on the UN Security Council resolution for a no-fly zone and measures to protect civilians.

1755 GMT: Four journalists --- James Foley of Global Post, Claire Morgana Gillis, an American freelance journalist; Manu Brabo, a Spanish photographer, and Anton Hammerl, a South African photographer -- have been seized by regime forces near Brega in east Libya.

1750 GMT: Turkey's Prime Minister Erdogan has said Ankara is holding talks with both sides in Libya, seeking a "roadmap" to achieve a cease-fire.

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Afghanistan Latest: US and NATO Move Towards Perpetual Commitment 

Success/withdrawal is dead. Long live the new date for success/non-withdrawal.

The amnesia in most of the reporting on this week's NATO summit on Afghanistan is quite remarkable. No one mentions that, only weeks ago, President Obama's policy was for a total pull-out of US combat forces by July 2011. Instead the assumption --- pushed by the US military --- was now established: troops would remain until 2014.

And now, even more remarkably, the media is pulled along with yet another narrative: "NATO and American officials also warned that if Afghanistan had not made sufficient progress in managing its own security, 2014 was not a hard and fast deadline for the end of combat operations."

It will be a perpetual transition.

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The Latest from Iran (19 November): Politics and Human Rights

1225 GMT: Your Friday Prayer Summary. Hojatoleslam Kazem Seddiqi taking the pulpit today, and he has an interesting call to economic arms for the faithful: the Government's subsidy cuts plan deserves the "efforts and sacrfices" of the people.

In case you think that message is a sign of regime nerves, Seddiqi got back to safer ground with declaration that the people had unitied to defeat sedition after the 2009 Presidential election. He also praised the formation of a government in Iraq.

0915 GMT: Diversion Alert. The editors of The Washington Post, meanwhile, would be much happier if we could all just keep our eyes focused on bombs: "Why Give Iran a Reason Not to Fear a Military Attack?"

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The Latest from Iran (18 November): Friends Again?

1750 GMT: No Hypocrisy at All Alert. Shayan Ghajar, writing for insideIRAN, summarised what we have been noting for weeks: "Iran Begins Media Campaign to Highlight West’s “Human Rights Abuses".

Press TV's latest contribution is an on-line poll:

About the human rights situation in the United States, do you think………

A) There is the largest number of human rights violation cases in this country?

B) There is the least number of human rights violation cases in this country?

C) There are as many human rights violation cases in this country as in any other country but the international body should exercise constant supervision over it?

(Current position: A --- 50%; B --- 24%; C --- 26%)

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