tip off

George W. Bush turns his hand to painting, but is he any good?

George W. Bush, one of America’s most polarising presidents, has opened a new art exhibition of his work. Freelance journalist Doyle Rader visits the exhibition in Dallas to find out if Dubya has any artistic ability.

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The new tri-polar world: why Russia can do whatever it likes

The United States is effectively powerless in the empire-building of Russia. There’s three sherifs in the world right now, and America might not even be the most influential.

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Australia’s moral duty to slap down US aggression

The United States is guilty of war crimes, human rights violations and extreme violence. As its ally, Australia’ silence on morally reprehensible behaviour constitutes complicity, writes Dr Scott Burchill, senior lecturer in international relations at Deakin University.

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Don’t overthink Russia, we’re all Transnistrians now

Vladimir Putin invaded Crimea because Kosovo. Because Mom jeans. Because shirt off. The neocon Right projects its own failed fantasies onto cautious Russian realpolitik.

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Companies will be glad to scrap animal testing

Crikey readers talk animal testing, the situation in Crimea and what Andrew Bolt really wants.

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European Union to Ukraine: sorry, you’re on your own

Through a lack of military might and political will, the European Union is not going to intervene in the Ukraine-Russia dispute, writes international affairs expert Donnacha Ó Beacháin.

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In Russian-speaking Odessa, a call for calm as Putin advances

The Ukrainian town of Odessa has traditionally continued with business as usual even during times of war. But Ukrainian journalist (and chess grandmaster) Mikhail Golubev says Russian aggression has spurred the town into action.

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Age of empires: Ukraine high-stakes chess game against Russian grandmaster

Russia and Ukraine are on the brink of war, but few in the West have any concept of Russia’s end game. The Russians saw this coming and are strategically placed for any eventuality.

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The president is gone, but Ukraine’s democracy hopes in tatters

Don’t think that Ukraine’s social unrest will usher in a golden era of social democracy. Unfortunately for the former Eastern bloc state, its future is likely to be more of the same.

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Vladimir v Vladimir: meet the Italian transgender ex-MP who took on Putin

An Italian gay rights activist went to Sochi — and got thrown in jail. Crikey intern Luca Zuccaro profiles the former MP, who has had a colourful life — and more than one brush with Russian homophobes.

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Follow Friday: @MarkGaleotti, explaining Russia and the Games

Mark Galeotti is an important voice on the Sochi Olympics, Vladimir Putin’s overarching ambition and all things Russian. Crikey’s Follow Friday series explains why you should add him to your feed.

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Media briefs: Bolt works overtime … Mail on Aboriginals … Putin in tights …

We think Andrew Bolt might need another holiday, at the rate he’s putting nonsense up on his blog. Plus other media tidbits.

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Tips and rumours

Rise Up Australia’s musical campaign … PUP spamming you? … childcare name still in the business …

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Richard Farmer’s chunky bits

Labor has skillfully painted itself as the moderate party on climate change. Plus other political views noted along the way.

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Forbes | LINKS|

Think Vladimir Putin is bad? Yeltsin was far, far worse

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Oh, those propagandising Russians …

Crikey readers are talking Russian propaganda, asylum seekers and whether Guy Rundle gets it wrong.

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The Age and SMH’s latest byline: Vladimir Putin?

Why are stories sponsored by the Russian government running in supplements in Fairfax newspapers? Melbourne freelance journalist Sasha Petrova, who speaks Russian, asks some questions.

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Crikey says: how to exhaust dissent

RU486 — back to befuddle Canberra. Who’ll pay the bills — and defend press freedom — as newsrooms shrink? A Crikey survey of what teachers really earn. Bernard Keane on the “lazy” population debate. And Guy Rundle watches snooker (it’s more entertaining than it sounds).

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Exiled punk rockers are just the beginning in Putin’s Russia

Terrible conditions inside Russian prison colonies and a bust-up with lawyers. Russian-born freelance journalist Sasha Petrova discovers that things aren’t looking so good for punk band Pussy Riot.

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What life in a Siberian gulag will mean for Pussy Riot

The lawyer for two jailed Pussy Riot singers speaks to Crikey as her clients are transported to a Siberian penal colony. Russian-born journalist Sasha Petrova finds out what conditions the women will face.

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World Championship Chess: Gelfand walks the walk

Although he has always been a front runner, Viswanathan Anand trails 3-4 with only five games remaining, writes Australia’s first Grandmaster Ian Rogers from Moscow.

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Will Wayne Swan’s budget be enough for Labor?

Wayne Swan has done his best to stop the rot of declining support for Labor. I very much doubt that it will be enough.

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The Province | EUROPE|

Gracing the red carpet, Putin returns with all the bells and whistles

Six Russian TV stations televised the spectacular return to the Kremlin of Vladimir Putin, whose ceremony equalled the ‘pomp and swagger’ of a Hollywood gala event, writes Anna Malpas.

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Civil disobedience turns violent in latest Russian uprisings

In Russia the latest round of civil disobedience verged on violence. Some 400 protesters — including Alexey Navalny, Sergei Udaltsov and Boris Nemtsov — were arrested.

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Desperate hunger for political fairness in Russia

In fact, Astrakhan does have its fair share of such tragic, near-death figures, and Oleg Shein is first among them.

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