Keep up with the latest news from Russia and the United States with our weekly blog post.
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Russia, once again, has made headlines this week as tensions between the two countries continue to rise. The US has accused Russia of meddling in the 2016 presidential election, and now it seems that Russia may be behind the recent hack of the Democratic National Committee’s emails. This week’s top story comes from Russia, and it’s sure to have everyone talking.
Putin’s annual address to the Federal Assembly
In his annual address to the Federal Assembly, Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke about the need for reform in the country and announced a number of initiatives aimed at improving the economy and living standards. He also announced plans to run for re-election in 2018.
Putin began his speech by talking about the current state of the economy, which he said was showing signs of improvement. He attributed this to the measures taken by the government over the past year, including the introduction of a new tax system and the creation of a new development bank.
He then went on to talk about social issues, such as healthcare and education. He announced plans to increase spending on healthcare and education by 50% over the next six years. He also promised to raise pensions and salaries for teachers and doctors.
Turning to foreign policy, Putin said that Russia’s relations with other countries were progressing “on the whole.” He praised the recent joint military exercises with China and India, and said that Russia was working constructively with NATO on issues such as counterterrorism.
In conclusion, Putin addressed corruption, which he said was “one of the most serious problems facing our country.” He announced a number of measures aimed at combating corruption, including restrictions on foreign ownership of media outlets and stricter controls on public procurement.
Russia’s military build-up on the Ukrainian border
worries that the intention may be to intimidate Ukraine, rather than simply be a defensive measure.
Russia has been carrying out large-scale military exercises in the region, involving tanks, fighter jets and paratroopers.
In March, Moscow completed a partial withdrawal of troops from the border region – but Western countries say it has kept a significant force in place.
Last week, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky warned that his country was “ready for war” with Russia.
Russia’s new ‘Sovereign Internet’ law
Russia’s new internet law, which went into effect this week, aims to increase the country’s control over the web by essentially isolating it from the rest of the world. The law, signed by President Vladimir Putin in May, requires internet service providers to route all traffic through state-controlled infrastructure and to be able to block certain content at the government’s request. It also requires them to store all data on Russian users within the country.
The stated goal of the law is to protect Russia from “internet disruptions” and “ensure the country’s stable operation in case of external pressure.” But critics say it will give the Kremlin greater control over what Russians can see and do online, and could lead to more internet censorship.
The law has been compared to China’s “Great Firewall,” which aggressive filters and blocks large swathes of content deemed undesirable by the government. And like China, Russia has been working on its own indigenous internet — dubbed the “Runet” — that would be cut off from the rest of the world in case of a major spat with Western powers.
But while China is far ahead in terms of internet development and control, Russia is still playing catch-up. And experts say its latest law is more about posturing than actual protection.
United States of America
The United States of America is a federal republic composed of 50 states, a federal district, five major territories, and various possessions. The USA is the world’s third largest country by total area and is one of the most ethnically diverse and multicultural nations in the world. In this section, we’ll take a look at some of the top stories coming out of the USA this week.
Trump’s acquittal in the Senate impeachment trial
On Wednesday, President Donald Trump was acquitted by the Senate in his impeachment trial, with all Republicans voting to acquit and all Democrats voting to convict.
This acquittal comes after a five-month long investigation by House Democrats into whether Trump abused his power by asking the Ukrainian government to investigate his political rival, Joe Biden, and whether he obstructed Congress by refusing to cooperate with their investigation.
The acquittal allows Trump to remain in office and ends the impeachment process against him.
The United States of America has been greatly affected by the outbreak of the coronavirus. The virus, which originated in China, has now spread to over 60 countries, including the US. As of February 28th, 2020, there have been over 60 confirmed cases of the virus in the US, and one death. The majority of cases have been in Washington state, California, and New York.
The outbreak in the US has caused a great deal of panic and anxiety among Americans. Many people have been stockpiling supplies such as food and medical supplies, in case they become sick or have to self-isolate. There have also been a number of schools and businesses that have closed temporarily in order to prevent the spread of the virus.
The US government is taking a number of measures to try and control the outbreak. President Trump has declared a national emergency, which will allow for additional funding to be made available to fight the virus. He has also banned travel from a number of countries, including China and Italy.
The US-China trade war
The US-China trade war is one of the defining issues of our time. It began in 2018 when President Donald Trump imposed tariffs on imported Chinese products in an attempt to reduce the US trade deficit with China. The Chinese government retaliated with tariffs of its own, and the two countries have been locked in a tit-for-tat trade conflict ever since.
The escalation of the trade war in 2019 led to both countries imposing tariffs on billions of dollars’ worth of each other’s goods, and caused global economic growth to slow down. 2020 started with a tentative truce, but the Covid-19 pandemic led to a new round of tensions, with both sides accusing the other of responsibility for the spread of the virus.
With no end in sight, the US-China trade war is having a major impact on both economies and businesses around the world. Here’s everything you need to know about the conflict.