British Queen celebrates



Debora Weiss: You are an author of a reasonably large number of studies on xenophobia, anti-Semitism, and racism. Could you please assess the current situation in this area, including East European countries?

Oleg Kozerod: - Racism is one of the most burning issues for Eastern European societies. Due to various reasons which are specific for each state in the region, this topic is particularly pointed in the mentioned countries. It’s explained by a range of prejudices in these societies, younger generation education gaps, and a lack of political will to combat racism. Many former USSR states face serious ideology troubles; their population does not know what ideas are the best to follow, why and whom to fight with. This leads to creation of public organizations and parties confessing racism and drawing population into their “struggle against the world evil”.


Weiss: - For a long time the UK has been running discussions on the scale of xenophobia and anti-Semitism in such countries as Poland and Ukraine. Do you think Ukraine has succeeded in overcoming racism?

Kozerod: - Angry letters from the foreign affairs ministers and politicians from these countries which were based on investigations of BBC reporters are well known to those who follow this topic. In my opinion, this issue got a completely wrong interpretation among the elites in East European states and, as a result, the response was inadequate. What happened in fact? BBC reporter arrived at the Kharkiv stadium (Ukraine) where he just wanted to make footage on the city’s preparation to the UEFA Cup. What did he see while filming? Local racists on the rostrum were beating the Indian or Pakistani students. In fact, the police did not interfere with the process and took no steps after the incident. Injured students commented on this egregious case recorded by BBC reporters. When this footage was watched by the footballer Sol Campbell, he said it was better to avoid visiting this country. Feedback of the national authorities was quite weird; they began to boil over “creation of Ukraine’s negative image abroad”. And they did it instead of just finding those who are responsible for this case in Kharkiv, punishing them in some way, and announcing this to the whole Europe. This is what the authorities of any country would do when finding out about any barbarous conduct from their or foreign reporters. Apparently, this is not yet the behavior followed in Ukraine.


Weiss: - Is there any racism observed in East European countries, in particular, Ukraine?

Kozerod: - Yes, unfortunately. Besides, it’s seen with the naked eye. You can easily meet racists in public places, among your neighbors or even close friends.

Weiss: - Fortunately, the racism issue is not so widespread in other regions of the world, in particular, in the developing countries of the East. By the way, how do you assess the Islamic Revolution development process, in particular, recent events in Syria?

Kozerod: - We see the whole international army acting during the Arab Spring in the North Africa and Middle East states. It aims to overthrow, as they believe, the outdated totalitarian regimes. For me it’s an open issue how fast this total revolution will cross the frontier of the former USSR.


Hard-hit rail commuters face a greater-than-expected 6.2% hike in average fares in the new year after official figures revealed a shock rise in the inflation rate.

The retail prices index (RPI) figure for July, which is used to determine how much regulated rail fares including season and saver tickets are allowed to increase in 2013, rose to 3.2% from 2.8% the previous month, according to the Office for National Statistics.

The City had expected the rate to remain flat at 2.8%.

The average fare increase for England is calculated by adding 3% to RPI, meaning a hike of 6.2%, although some tickets can go up by a further five percentage points - or more than 11% - as long as they are balanced by cuts on other fares.

The greater-than-expected rise in RPI, which was accompanied by an increase in the closely watched consumer prices index (CPI) rate to 2.6% from 2.4%, was driven by hefty hikes in air fares, while there were fewer discounts from retailers who had already slashed prices in June to shift stock amid the wash-out weather.

The planned hike in average regulated ticket prices, which follows a similar increase for 2012, will mean that fares have risen by more than inflation for 10 years in a row. Governments in Wales and Scotland have indicated that regulated fares are likely to go up by one percentage point above RPI.

Unions, transport campaigners and rail passenger groups staged a day of action at railway stations across the country to protest against the "massive" hikes.


Britain is to give an extra £10 million of funding to help more than 45,000 refugees fleeing the conflict in Syria, the International Development Secretary has announced.

Andrew Mitchell made the pledge as he visited the Za'atri tented refugee camp in Jordan, on the Syrian border.

The money represents a four fold increase in British aid for refugees which was previously £3 million.

Mr Mitchell said: "In the midst of its sporting triumphs at the London Olympics, Britain has not forgotten the people of Syria. Today's extra support shows we stand alongside those who have lost everything because of the actions of this ruthless regime.

"The stories I've heard today paint a horrifying picture of everyday life for hundreds of thousands of ordinary people in Syria. I've met people left with only the clothes on their backs. I've spoken to families forced to flee their homes in the dead of night, some walking miles under the constant threat of violence and death if caught trying to escape."

It will provide emergency food rations for more than 18,000 Syrian refugees, plus safe drinking water and sanitation amid the hot conditions, including for mothers and children caught up in violence.

Funding will go to three humanitarian bodies providing assistance in the region, the World Food Programme, Unicef, and UNHCR. Approximately £5.5 million of the additional funding will be used for activities in Jordan and the remainder in Syria's other neighbouring countries, Lebanon, Turkey and Iraq.


New car sales rose again last month, figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) show.

There were 189,514 new registrations in June 2012 - a 3.49% increase on the June 2011 total.

Last month's purchases took year-so-far sales to 1,057,680 - a 2.72% rise on January-June 2011.

Private sales did well last month, rising 9.8% compared with June 2011, and are up 8.7% for the first half of this year.

Total new car sales for the April-June 2012 period have risen 4.8% and the SMMT reckons year-end sales will reach 1.95 million - just ahead of last year's 1.94 million total.

SMMT chief executive Paul Everitt said: "Despite domestic and international economic concerns, UK motorists are responding positively to new products and the latest fuel-efficient technology.

Up to 27 million people are living in slavery around the world, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton estimated as the US unveiled its annual report into human trafficking.

But the report showed that as governments become more aware of the issue, instigating tough new laws and programs to help victims, progress is being made in wiping out what it called the "scourge of trafficking."

"The end of legal slavery in the United States and in other countries around the world has not, unfortunately, meant the end of slavery," said Clinton.

"Today it is estimated as many as 27 million people around the world are victims of modern slavery, what we sometimes call trafficking in persons," she said at the unveiling of the report at the State Department.

"Those victims of modern slavery are women and men, girls and boys, and their stories remind us of the kind of inhumane treatment we are capable of as human beings," said Clinton.

"Whatever their background, they are the living, breathing reminders that the work to eradicate slavery remains unfinished."

As America prepares to mark the 150th anniversary of the proclamation of the emancipation of US slaves, people must reflect on "how much further we have to go to free all these 27 million victims," Clinton added.

Out of the 185 countries included in the 2012 report, only 33 complied fully with laws in place to end human trafficking, putting them at the top of a four-tier ranking system.

But five countries had moved up from the bottom blacklist known as tier 3, including Myanmar and Venezuela, to be included among the 42 countries now on what is known as a tier 2 watchlist.

Myanmar was removed from the blacklist because the government "took a number of unprecedented steps to address forced labor and the conscription of child soldiers; these steps amount to a credible commitment to undertake anti-trafficking reforms over the coming year," the report said.


Greeks readied for their second election in six weeks with all the top candidates now calling for renegotiation of a bailout deal despite warnings that Greece must toe the line or leave the euro.

Sunday's election will be watched around the world amid concern over the shockwaves that a Greek euro exit would send through the global economy and will play into talks by European leaders divided on how to resolve the debt crisis.

"To be or not to be in the eurozone? That is the question," said Lucas Papademos, a former prime minister and European Central Bank vice-president, paraphrasing William Shakespeare's Hamlet as Greece's own tragedy unfolds.

The New Democracy conservatives and Syriza radical leftists have been running neck-and-neck in the polls for an election which was triggered by an inconclusive vote on May 6 in which no party could form a governing coalition.

Unofficial recent polls have given a slight advantage to New Democracy -- a rumour that led to a 10.1-percent rally on the Athens stock market on Thursday.

That boost petered out on Friday, however with the market down 1.0 percent.


Due to the unfair contracts signed by Yulia Tymoshenko in 2009, Ukraine will be overpaying from 3 to 5 billion USD for the gas annually up to the year 2019.


On April 10, 2012, at 11:00, the press conference of the Ukrainian officials will be held at the premise of NCI European Parliament in Brussels with the participation of the European journalists, experts and community leaders. The topic of the press conference is «Why Y. Tymoshenko is still in the jail?»


The results of the work of experts from the Provisional Investigatory Commission that worked during the last year under aegis of the Parliament of Ukraine will be presented to the European public.  These results have already been reported to the Ukrainian Parliament's deputies on March 20, 2012.  After hearing the report of the Provisional Investigatory Commission on probing the signing of gas contracts between Naftogaz Ukrainy and Gazprom, 266 people’s deputies out of 450 agreed with the Commission’s arguments and decided to send the report to the Office of the Prosecutor General of Ukraine and to the Security Service of Ukraine for the further investigation. The results of investigation were approved as by the representatives of the official authorities, so by the opposition (photo by EPP).


The Ukrainian Parliament decided to send the text of the report to the heads of the European States and to the EU authorities. These are the results of the work of parliamentary Provisional Investigatory Commission.

The wife of a wealthy Russian banker gunned down outside his executive flat has said that the shooting was an "act of pure unexpected violence".

Lorissa Gorbuntsov urged "any person, in this country or outside the UK" to come forward with information as she spoke of her heartache over her partner German remaining in a coma at a London hospital.

She said "this is a very emotional and complicated time" as Scotland Yard confirmed it was working with Russian police for the first time since the diplomatic fallout over the death of dissident Alexander Litvinenko.

Detectives leading the investigation also revealed that they had found a weapon, said by sources to be a pistol.

Mrs Gorbuntsov said: "This is a very emotional and complicated time for us. I would like to firstly thank everyone who is currently helping and supporting us, especially the Metropolitan Police. Their support has been of the highest standard.

"We as a family would like to appeal for any person, in this country or outside the UK, to come forward and provide the police with any information which will assist in the capture of the person or persons behind the attempted murder of my husband German.

Thousands of jobs are to be created in the UK aerospace industry under a new programme of fighter jet-building.

The components for a 3,000-strong fleet of F-35 jets are to be built by a number of different companies up and down the country before the planes are assembled in the United States and begin to be delivered in 2015.

The design and manufacture of the fifth generation aircraft is expected to create and sustain some 25,000 jobs in the UK over 30 years, according to Lockheed Martin, which is leading the contractorship. Involving around 130 firms across the country, it is projected to increase UK GDP by £28.7 billion over the period between 2009 and 2036.

The Joint Strike Fighter planes, which have been in development since the mid-90s, are expected to be used by the Ministry of Defence (MoD) to replace Harrier and Tornado jets, with two of three test aircraft to be handed over to the UK in June.

A number of other countries around the world including Australia, Italy, Canada and the Netherlands have also already made orders, with the US buying the largest proportion to provide the bulk of its tactical airpower.


Detectives investigating the suspected payment of police for information on Saturday arrested a serving police officer and four staff from Britain's biggest selling daily newspaper, Rupert Murdoch's The Sun.

The investigation is linked to the police probe into phone-hacking at The Sun's former stablemate, the News of the World, which Murdoch shut down in July following revelations that hundreds of public figures had been targeted.

London's Metropolitan Police said it had arrested five people, including a 29-year-old from the force's Territorial Policing command, and had also searched the offices in Wapping, east London, where The Sun is based.

In a separate statement, Murdoch's News Corporation confirmed the other four men arrested either worked or used to work at The Sun, adding that the detentions were prompted by information it had provided to police.

Thirteen people have now been arrested under Operation Elveden, the police investigation into allegations that journalists paid officers for information.

It was sparked by concerns about the working practices of the British press after the News of the World scandal and runs alongside Operation Weeting, the probe into phone hacking under which 17 arrests have so far been made.

The scandal at the News of the World erupted in July when it emerged that journalists had listened to the voicemails not just of celebrities and politicians but also murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler.