Konstantin (aka Leon Brookhill) was born in Moscow's Vystavka Dostizheniy Narodnogo Khozyaystva (VDNKh) district on 23 February 1961 the second son of a School master. Educated at Kazan National Research Technical University Казанский национальный исследовательский технический университет имени А. Н. Туполева he graduated in Economics in 1982. He was recruited to the Soviet 40th Army serving as a Сержант in Aghanistan,later transferring to 1008th Flak Artillery Regiment, before being struck in the shoulder by a stray shell fragment. Konstantin invalided out of the Army started up as Soviet blogger 'Maaxmann', later becoming a guard for a Moscow ballet company and it was there accompanying them in the West, that he had his first taste of the 'High Life'. Failing to return to Russia he resided first in Reutlingen, where he became a correspondent for Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung...later he moved to London to write for the Telegraph,where he now resides with his wife and 2 children.
US to send troops to Saudi Arabia after oil strike
US President Donald Trump has approved sending troops to Saudi Arabia to aid the country’s air defenses. The move comes after a strike that damaged key Saudi oil facilities.
The United States will deploy additional troops to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, Defense Secretary Mark Esper said on Friday.
The exact numbers of military personnel and equipment are yet to be decided, but would be part of a “moderate deployment” to the region, said Marine General Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
“In response to the kingdom’s request, the president has approved the deployment of US forces, which will be defensive in nature and primarily focused on air and missile defense,” Esper told reporters.
The announcement comes after the September 14 attack on key Saudi oil infrastructure, which knocked out half the country’s supply. Yemen’s Houthi rebels have claimed responsibility, but the US and Saudi Arabia suspect Iran is behind the strike. Iran, which backs the Houthis, has denied blame.
Oktoberfest: Tens of thousands storm gates as Munich beer festival opens
Tens of thousands of people were on hand at the start of Munich’s Oktoberfest, the world’s largest beer festival. An hour ahead of the official opening, several tents had already closed their doors due to overcrowding.
Tens of thousands of people ran through the entrance of the Oktoberfest beer festival grounds on Saturday, racing to get a seat in one of the festival’s massive beer tents after organizers opened the gates in the Bavarian city of Munich.
An hour ahead of the official opening, several tents had already closed their doors due to overcrowding. Even those on the tents’ guest lists were not being admitted, organizers said.
Munich Mayor Dieter Reiter tapped the first keg on Saturday with two blows of a hammer and the cry of “O’zapft is” — “it’s tapped.” As tradition demands, he handed the first mug to the state’s premier, Markus Söder, and the pair drank to a peaceful festival.
Munich Mayor Dieter Reiter (l) and Bavarian Premier Markus Söder (r) drink beer at this year’s Oktoberfest
Beer isn’t cheap
The number of visitors to Oktoberfest will likely be high this year, with around 6 million people from around the world expected at the festival before it ends on October 6. Attendance in 2018 increased by 14% compared to the previous year, with 6.3 million people attending the festival.
Even though it attracts millions of visitors every year, the beer isn’t cheap: One liter can cost up to €11.80 ($13). As in previous years, backpacks and large bags are banned for security reasons.
The first Oktoberfest, in 1810, was actually held in October. Although it’s still known as Oktoberfest, it now opens each year in September. The reason for that is Bavaria’s bad weather. It’s even been known to snow in October, which would be a problem for the festival. The world-famous beer celebration was moved up to September in 1904.
DO’S AND DON’TS AT THE OKTOBERFEST
Dancing – yes, please!Having a beer in a tent is a must for every Wiesn visitor. Once you’re inside, you’ll be carried away by the music and the fun. People sway and dance. The rule is quite clear: on benches yes, but not on tables. Whoever tries to dance on a table risks being ordered out. And it would be a shame if the first visit to the Oktoberfest ended like this. So better to dance one level down on the bench.
Vladimir Zhirinovsky is the Western media’s favorite Russian politician to hate. He is known for his many outspoken opinions.
In the context of the following story, it is interesting to note that Zhirinovsky specialized in Turkish language and literature at Moscow State University’s Institute of Oriental Studies.
– Mr. Zhirinovsky, it seems to me that about a year ago you said that Turkey would leave NATO and we’d have to invite it to the SCO. It seems that you were right.
Vladimir Zhirinovsky, head of the LDPR party:
– I actually suggested that many years ago. But our cooperation has enhanced over the past three years, following the conflict in Syria. Our cooperation is mutually beneficial. During the revolution, when the Whites asked foreign countries for asylum, all of them refused, except for Turkey. And Turkey accepted our White Army, even though we were enemies in WWI. So, cooperation is long-standing. Then, when Kemal Atatürk came to office, we provided help, signed a treaty, supplied weapons back then, 100 years ago, gave money, gold. Our officers went there. So, the cooperation started long ago.
I met with President Gül. And I met twice with President Erdogan and had a face-to-face discussion with him. And he told me that Turkey could leave NATO and that he’s ready for it. That would be a terrible blow to NATO as Turkey protected the southern flank of NATO. Without Turkey…
– Mr. Zhirinovsky, I hate to interrupt you, but did he really say that? That Turkey is ready to leave NATO?
– He received me, it was a face-to-face conversation. He’s got a splendid new palace, like a sultan. Then I was invited to his inauguration after his latest re-election. So, he said that to me personally. Actually, I could understand his Turkish, but we had an interpreter. Not only did he want to leave NATO shortly, but also join to SCO. I’m sure that…
– Mr. Zhirinovsky, aren’t you revealing a state secret now?
– It’s not a secret. Turkey has waited for over 30 years to be admitted to the EU. It wanted to join the EU. But it isn’t admitted. Every time, it faces new requirements to be met and to not be admitted again, even though Turkey was one of the first countries to join NATO. They need Turkish soldiers, a meat shield. But, as the saying goes…
– They need Incirlik!
– And there’s also a radar station.
– Yes. So, it’s not only about leaving NATO. It’s also about the use of Turkey’s best airbases. Now, it’s Incirlik with NATO and American aircraft and instructors. But Turkey can abrogate the agreement. We’ll get the most powerful airbase in the Middle East. Perhaps a naval base and a ground base. So, we can develop very powerful defense cooperation. Erdogan is interested in this, he wants to produce the S-400 or the S-500. We’ll supply tanks and aircraft.
He’s ready to recognize the ruble. The ruble could be in Turkish circulation as well as the lira.
– Mir cards are accepted in Turkey.
– Yes, they are. Turkey is ready to let our citizens in only with Russian passports. Russians won’t need a foreign passport. In the future, Russia-Turkey relations may be better than Russia-Belarus relations, Russia-Georgia relations, Russia-Kyrgyzstan relations, and many others.
– Maybe, we’ll just have good relations with everybody?
– Thank you very much! I wonder how we managed to outmaneuver the Americans. That was Mr. Zhirinovsky.
On September 20, the Houthis stormed and captured the key al-Suytat hilltop in the southern part of the Saudi province of Jizan.
The Yemeni group’s media wing released a video of the operation, showing Houthi fighters attacking the hilltop, which is located east of mount Jahfan. The attack forced Saudi-backed fighters to abandon their positions and withdraw.
In the course of the attack, Houthi fighters killed several Saudi-backed fighters. Other fighters were injured too. Several weapons were also seized by the Houthis.
Such successful cross-border raids, demonstrate the high-experience of Houthi fighters and their better understanding of the rough terrain in southern Saudi Arabia. The Saudi-led coalition has been failing to secure the border with Yemen for more than four years now.
Riot police officers stand next to a burning barricade during a protest urging authorities to take emergency measures against climate change, in Paris, France. -CopyrightREUTERS/Pascal Rossignol
French riot police fought running battles with protesters on Saturday in Paris, after a climate march was disrupted by masked demonstrators and representatives of the “gilet jaunes” movement.
More than 7,500 police officers had been deployed to stop any violence, amid fears the protesters and the radical “black blocs” would infiltrate a climate change march in the capital.ADVERTISINGinRead invented by Teads
By mid-afternoon, police had made 137 arrests and pushed back a group of around 100 protesters that had gathered on the Champs-Elysees shopping avenue, the Paris police prefecture said.
Groups wearing black clothing associated with the so-called black bloc anarchist movement formed barricades, set fire to bins and a motorbike, and threw paint over the front of a bank.
Similar skirmishes occurred later in the march with the prefecture again attributing violence to black blocs. Police responded with tear gas.
The violence tarnished an otherwise peaceful march that brought thousands of people, including some yellow vests, onto the streets, a day after marches in Paris and other cities worldwide to demand government action against climate change.
Demonstrators carried slogans like “End oil now” and “End of the world” while some held carnival effigies, including one of President Emmanuel Macron wearing a crown marked: “King of bla-bla”.
The “gilets jaunes” movement started on November 17 on social media as a response to hikes in fuel prices and has since become a wider protest of social inequalities.
However, it remains to be seen whether the movement will be able to regain its winter and spring momentum after tapering off over the summer.
Macron called for “calm” on Friday, saying that while “it’s good that people express themselves”, they should not disrupt a climate protest and the yearly European Heritage Days event also due to go ahead on Saturday.
After attracting 282,000 people nationwide on the first day of protests last November, “gilets jaunes” protest participation had fallen sharply by the spring, and only sporadic protests were seen over the summer.
Macron said in an interview with Time magazine published Thursday that the movement had been “very good for me” as it had made him listen and communicate better.
“My challenge is to listen to people much better than I did at the very beginning,” the president said.
There is also a planned pensions reform protest organised by France’s Force Ouvriere (Worker’s Force) union in Paris this Saturday.