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The Nile crocodile and some species of hedgehog and tortoise take a break and sleep through the peak of the summer season. It’s usually called aestivation, and this bear is taking a leaf out of the other animals’ book.

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By John Helmer, Moscow It’s in the nature of arbitrage transactions that if you are buying an asset cheap, you try to avoid the risk of failing to find someone to buy dear. Naturally, noone really enjoys gambling if the risk can be avoided. The knack of Russian arbitrage is to cover that risk by […]

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By John Helmer, Moscow The sanctions programme adopted against Russia to date aims, according to this week’s declaration by US President Barack Obama, at curtailing the capabilities of the Russian government to field men and arms on or across Russian borders; and to penalize individuals and corporations for sustaining the Russian economy while the war […]

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By John Helmer, Moscow Interpipe, the steel and pipemaking group owned by Victor Pinchuk (lead image, centre) and based in Dniepropetrovsk, is high and dry, according to the latest financial report signed by the auditors on June 30, 2014. That is despite having suffered a 14% downturn of sales revenues for the year to $1.5 […]

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By John Helmer, Moscow A combination of American and British commodity traders, aided by George Soros (lead image, left), is planning to oust United Company Rusal, the Russian aluminium monopoly, from its Friguia bauxite and alumina concession in the west African Republic of Guinea. The plan, according to sources in London and Conakry, the Guinean […]

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By John Helmer, Moscow The British Court of Appeal has issued a ruling to deny the Sovcomflot group and its Novoship subsidiary the right to appeal a corruption judgement to the Supreme Court, the highest of the British courts. The judgement puts an end to nine years of attempts by Sovcomflot group chief executive Sergei […]

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By John Helmer, Moscow Rinat Akhmetov (lead image, above left and right) is still the Ukraine’s richest man. If you believe the financial reports just issued by his Metinvest group, Ukraine’s largest steel, iron-ore, coal and coke maker, it’s a case of his singing all the way to the bank in Switzerland — without the […]

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By John Helmer, Moscow The Russian and US intelligence versions of what preceded the destruction of Malaysian Airlines MH17 on July 17 have come close to agreement on the same set of facts. Their disagreements and conflicts of evidence are much smaller, by comparison. The Russians and Americans concur that a Buk-M1 missile battery (lead […]

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By John Helmer, Moscow In a few days’ time, on August 1, Gerda Taro would have turned 104. The encomiums would have been bound to describe her as the oldest, possibly the first, woman photojournalist. But Taro hasn’t made it. Instead, on July 26, 1937, she died after being crushed by a Spanish Republican tank […]

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By John Helmer, Moscow The International Monetary Fund (IMF) decided on Thursday, July 17, that the Ukrainian government should not receive a new transfer of $1.4 billion, as previously scheduled on July 25. Instead, the IMF agreed with officials in the government of President Petro Poroshenko and Prime Minister Arseny Yatseniuk that they should spend […]