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By John Helmer, Moscow

Double, double toil and trouble, fire burn and cauldron bubble. For a charm of powerful trouble, like a hell-broth boil and bubble. Nose of Turk, and Tartar’s lips. Cool it with a baboon’s blood, then the charm is firm and good.

Dear readers, as you peer carefully into the picture of the year ahead, you can recite the charm of Shakespeare’s witches or you can rely on the Bear – what’s it to be?

See him taking notes as he eavesdrops on President Vladimir Putin and his spokesman, Dmitry Peskov.  Who is the soldier with the umbrella weapon? What devils stand their ground falsely; stamp on thin air? 

In the time ahead, who, we are bound to ask, will prove to be the less convincing,  the more unerring? Until Old New Year’s Day dawns, there’s time to open the Bear’s surprise and with his best wishes, rest your mind

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