Tag Archives: Russia

Biden wants Russia, China to take part in climate talks

U.S. President Joe Biden is including rivals Vladimir Putin of Russia and Xi Jinping of China among the invitees to the first big climate talks of his administration, an event the U.S. hopes will help shape, speed up and deepen global efforts to cut climate-wrecking fossil fuel pollution, administration officials told The Associated Press.

Biden is seeking to revive a U.S.-convened forum of the world’s major economies on climate that George W. Bush and Barack Obama both used and Donald Trump let languish.

Leaders of some of the world’s top climate-change sufferers, do-gooders and backsliders round out the rest of the 40 invitations being delivered Friday — including to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. It will be held virtually April 22 and 23.

WATCH | Environment minister on Canada’s ambitions for emissions reduction targets:

Environment Minister Jonathan Wilkinson says the federal government will announce more aggressive emissions reduction targets in April at the U.S. climate summit: “We need to ensure our targets are aligned with the science.” 2:26

Hosting the summit will fulfil a campaign pledge and executive order by Biden, and the administration is timing the event with its own upcoming announcement of what’s a much tougher U.S. target for revamping the U.S. economy to sharply cut emissions from coal, natural gas and oil.

The session — and whether it’s all talk, or some progress — will test Biden’s pledge to make climate change a priority among competing political, economic, policy and pandemic problems.

It also will pose a very public — and potentially embarrassing or empowering — test of whether U.S. leaders, and Biden in particular, can still drive global decision-making after the Trump administration withdrew globally and shook up longstanding alliances.

The Biden administration intentionally looked beyond its international partners for the summit, reaching out to key leaders for what it said would sometimes be tough talks on climate matters, an administration official said. The official spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss U.S. plans for the event.


Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is among a group of 40 world leaders the U.S. is inviting to participate in a virtually-hosted forum on climate issues next month. (Blair Gable/Reuters)

Leaving behind Trump’s approach

Trump mocked the science underlying urgent warnings on global warming and the resulting worsening of droughts, floods, hurricanes and other natural disasters. He pulled the United States out of the 2015 UN Paris climate accords as one of his first actions as president.

That makes next month’s summit the first major international climate discussions by a U.S. leader in more than four years, although leaders in Europe and elsewhere have kept up talks.

U.S. officials and some others give the Obama administration’s major-economies climate discussions some of the credit for laying the groundwork for the Paris accord. The United States and nearly 200 other governments at those talks each set targets for cutting their fossil-fuel emissions, and pledged to monitor and report their emissions.

Another Biden administration official said the U.S. is still deciding how far the administration will go in setting a more ambitious U.S. emissions target.

The Biden administration hopes the stage provided by next month’s Earth Day climate summit — planned to be all virtual due to COVID-19 and all publicly viewable on livestream, including breakout conversations — will encourage other international leaders to use it as a platform to announce their own countries’ tougher emission targets or other commitments, ahead of November’s UN global climate talks in Glasgow.

Showing commitment

The administration hopes more broadly that the session will demonstrate a commitment to cutting emissions at home and encouraging the same abroad, the official said.

That includes encouraging governments to get moving on specific, politically-bearable ways to retool their transportation and power sectors and overall economies now in order to meet those tougher future targets, something the Biden administration is just embarking on.

Like the major-economies climate forums held by Bush and Obama, Biden’s invite list includes leaders of the world’s biggest economies and European blocs.


Putin, seen listening during a meeting in Moscow this week, has been invited to participate. (Alexei Druzhinin/Sputnik/Kremlin/The Associated Press)

That includes two countries — Russia and China — that Biden and his diplomats are clashing with over election interference, cyberattacks, human rights and other issues. It’s not clear how those two countries in particular will respond to the U.S. invitations, or whether they are willing to co-operate with the U.S. on cutting emissions while sparring on other topics.

China is the world’s top emitter of climate-damaging pollution. The U.S. is No. 2. Russia is No. 4.

Climate scientists and climate policy experts largely welcomed Biden’s international overture on climate negotiations, especially the outreach to China.

“China is by far the world’s largest emitter. Russia needs to do more to reduce its emissions. Not including these countries because they aren’t doing enough would be like launching an anti-smoking campaign but not directing it at smokers,” said Nigel Purvis, who worked on climate diplomacy in past Democratic and Republican administrations.

Worthwhile outreach

Ideally, government leaders will be looking for opportunities to talk over specific matters, such as whether broad agreement is possible on setting any price on carbon emissions, said Bob Inglis, a former Republican lawmaker who works to involve conservatives and conservative approaches in climate efforts.

“That’s why this kind of outreach makes sense,” he said. 

Brazil is on the list as a major economy, but it’s also a major climate backslider under President Jair Bolsonaro, who derailed preservation efforts for the carbon-sucking Amazon and joined Trump in trampling international climate commitments.

The 40 invitees also include leaders of countries facing some of the gravest immediate threats, including low-lying Bangladesh and the Marshall islands, countries seen as modelling some good climate behaviour, including Bhutan and some Scandanavian countries, and African nations with variously big carbon sink forests or big oil reserves.

Poland and some other countries on the list are seen as possibly open to moving away from dirty coal power faster. 

As a candidate, Biden pledged $ 2 trillion in investment to help transform the U.S. into a zero-emission economy by 2050 while building clean-energy and technology jobs.

Biden and other administration officials have been stressing U.S. climate intentions during early one-on-one talks with foreign leaders, and Biden climate envoy John Kerry has focused on diplomacy abroad to galvanize climate efforts.

Biden discussed the summit in a conversation Friday with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, with both leaders agreeing on the need to keep emissions-cutting targets ambitious, the White House said.

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Canada’s Reece Howden wins World Cup ski cross gold in Russia

Canada’s Reece Howden had already clinched the men’s ski cross overall World Cup title, but he put another exclamation point on his season with a gold-medal win in Sunny Valley, Russia, on Saturday.

The Cultus Lake, B.C. native finished first in the big final, ahead of Ryo Sugai of Japan, who took silver, and bronze-medal winner Joos Berry, of Switzerland.

Kris Mahler of Canmore, Alta., finished 12th, Chris del Bosco, of Montreal, was 26th, Ottawa’s Jared Schmidt was 33rd and Edmonton’s Carson Cook was 36th.

WATCH | Howden takes gold in Sunny Valley:

Reece Howden of Cultus Lake, BC claimed his fourth World Cup ski cross victory of the season Saturday in Sunny Valley, Russia. 4:28

On the women’s side, Fanny Smith of Switzerland took the title in Sunny Valley, followed by Sweden’s Sandra Naeslund and Katrin Ofner of Austria.

Courtney Hoffos, from Windermere, B.C., finished just off the podium in fourth, while teammate Tiana Gairns, of Prince George, B.C., won the small final to finish fifth.

Other Canadian results in included Ottawa’s Hannah Schmidt in 13th, Whistler, B.C.’s Marielle Thompson in 14th, and Zoe Chore, of Cranbrook, B.C., in 17th.

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CBC | Sports News

China, Russia agree to build lunar research station together

China and Russia said they will build a lunar research station, possibly on the moon’s surface, marking the start of a new era in space co-operation between the two countries.

A statement posted on the website of the China National Space Administration Wednesday said the International Lunar Research Station would also be open to use by other countries, but gave no timeline for its construction.

It described the project as a “comprehensive scientific experiment base with the capability of long-term autonomous operation.”


The moon’s surface was captured by the lander-ascender of the Chang’e-5 spacecraft on Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2020 as it landed on the moon. The proposed moon research station is described as a ‘comprehensive scientific experiment base with the capability of long-term autonomous operation.’ (China National Space Administration/Xinhua via AP)

The station would be “built on the lunar surface and/or on the lunar orbit that will carry out … scientific research activities such as the lunar exploration and utilization, lunar-based observation, basic scientific experiment and technical verification,” the statement said.

It said a memorandum of understanding on the project was signed Tuesday by Zhang Kejian, administrator of the China National Space Administration, and Russian space agency Roscosmos chief Dmitry Rogozin.

China’s space program has worked with Russia, but not NASA

China drew heavily on Russian expertise in the early years of its space program, but has largely forged its own path since launching its first crewed mission in 2003. Despite that, China’s Shenzhou spaceships closely resemble Russia’s Soyuz capsules and the CNSA has worked with countries around the world, apart from the U.S.

Congress bans almost all contacts between NASA and China over concerns about technology theft and the secretive, military-backed nature of China’s space program.

WATCH | A look at China’s recent moon mission:

China says the lander-ascender of its Chang’e-5 probe separated from the orbiter-returner and landed on the moon to collect samples, as this animated video shows. 1:03

Russia and China will “adhere to the principle of ‘co-consultation, joint construction, and shared benefits,’ facilitate extensive co-operation in the ILRS, open to all interested countries and international partners, strengthen scientific research exchanges, and promote humanity’s exploration and use of outer space for peaceful purpose,” the Chinese statement said.

Russia is a participant in the International Space Station but its space program has been somewhat eclipsed by those of China, the U.S., India and others. In its most recent development, Russia successfully test-launched its heavy lift Angara A5 space rocket for the second time in December after lengthy delays and technical problems.

China has planned four crewed missions this year to work on its first permanent orbiting space station, the core module of which could be launched as soon as next month.

China has already launched two smaller experimental space stations, placed a rover on the little-explored far side of the moon in 2019 and has a spacecraft, the Tianwen-1, in a parking orbit around Mars in anticipation of landing a rover on the surface in the coming months. If it succeeds, China would become only the second country after the U.S. to put a spacecraft on Mars.

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Thousands rally in Russia to demand Alexei Navalny’s release

Thousands of people took to the streets Sunday across Russia to demand the release of jailed opposition leader Alexei Navalny, keeping up the wave of nationwide protests that have rattled the Kremlin. Hundreds were detained by police.

The authorities mounted a massive effort to stem the tide of demonstrations after tens of thousands of people rallied across the country the previous weekend in the largest and most widespread show of discontent the country has seen in years.

Police so far have detained over 260 participants in protests held in many cities across Russia’s 11 time zones, according to the OVD-Info, a group that monitors arrests.

In Moscow, introduced unprecedented security measures in the city centre, closing several subway stations near the Kremlin, cutting bus traffic and ordering restaurants and stores to stay closed.

The 44-year-old Navalny, an anti-corruption investigator who is the best-known critic of President Vladimir Putin, was arrested on Jan. 17 upon returning from Germany, where he spent five months recovering from nerve-agent poisoning that he blames on the Kremlin. Russian authorities have rejected the accusations.


Police detain another participant of Sunday’s rally in Moscow. (Maxim Shemetov/Reuters)

Navalny’s team called for Sunday’s protest to be held on Moscow’s Lubyanka Square, home to the main headquarters of the Federal Security Service, which Navalny claims was responsible for his poisoning.

As part of a multipronged effort by the authorities to block the protests, courts have jailed Navalny’s associates and activists across the country. His brother Oleg, top aide Lyubov Sobol and three other people were put under two-month house arrest Friday on charges of alleged violations of coronavirus restrictions during last weekend’s protests.

Prosecutors also demanded that social platforms block the calls for joining the protests on the internet.

The Interior Ministry has issued stern warnings to the public not to join the protests, saying participants could be charged with taking part in mass riots, which carries a prison sentence of up to eight years. Those engaging in violence against police could face up to 15 years.

Nearly 4,000 people were reportedly detained at demonstrations on Jan. 23 calling for Navalny’s release took place in more than 100 Russian cities, and some were given fines and jail terms. About 20 were accused of assaulting police and faced criminal charges.

Just after Navalny’s arrest, his team released a two-hour video on his YouTube channel about an opulent Black Sea residence purportedly built for Putin. The video has been viewed over 100 million times, helping fuel discontent and inspiring a stream of sarcastic jokes on the internet.

Putin has said that neither he nor any of his close relatives own the property, and on Saturday, construction magnate Arkady Rotenberg, a longtime Putin confidant and his occasional judo sparring partner, claimed he owned the property.

Navalny fell into a coma on Aug. 20 while on a domestic flight from Siberia to Moscow. He was transferred to a Berlin hospital two days later. Labs in Germany, France and Sweden, and tests by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, established that he was exposed to the Novichok nerve agent. Russian authorities have refused to open a full-fledged criminal inquiry, citing a lack of evidence that he was poisoned.

WATCH | Putin touts stability amid protests over Nalvany’s arrest:

Russian authorities are bracing for another round of protests amid outrage over the arrest of opposition leader Alexei Navalny. Despite that, President Vladimir Putin made a rare appearance at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, saying it was business as usual in Russia. 2:06

When he returned to Russia in January, Navalny was jailed for 30 days after Russia’s prison service alleged he had violated the probation terms of his suspended sentence from a 2014 money-laundering conviction that he has rejected as political revenge.

On Thursday, a Moscow court rejected his appeal to be released, and another hearing next week could turn his 3½-year suspended sentence into one he must serve in prison.

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Alexei Navalny’s return to Russia solidifies opposition leader’s role as ‘anti-Putin’

Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny returned home from Germany to challenge President Vladimir Putin and now faces the possibility of years of hard labour because of it.

His supporters are also confronting the existential question of how his political movement will survive with him sidelined, in all likelihood for a very long time after he was detained in Moscow on Sunday.

“Russia will continue with our struggle for freedom, becoming the Russia we are all dreaming of,” said a 33-year-old woman who called herself by the nickname Hotaru.   

She went to meet Navalny at the airport where he was originally scheduled to land dressed in a traditional red and blue Russian folk dress. 

She said using her last name would make her a target as Russian police are using any excuse to arrest Navalny’s supporters and smother his political influence. Indeed, at the airport that day, more than 70 people were taken into custody.

In St. Petersburg on Tuesday, one supporter claimed he was arrested for the simple act of clapping his hands in support of Navalny.

WATCH | Navalny is arrested after he returns to Moscow:

Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny was arrested upon his return to Moscow from Germany, where he had been recovering from an apparent assassination attempt. Navalny maintains he did nothing wrong and several countries are demanding he be released. 1:57

Russian media reports also say flight attendants who posed for selfies with Navalny on his flight back to Moscow are being investigated by police.

The young woman in the colourful dress also shared a basket filled with Russian blini, or pancakes.

“Pancakes for our president,” she said, insisting that the vision of a “new life for Russia” with Navalny in charge will continue to energize his supporters whether he’s in jail or not. 

Navalny, 44, is a lawyer who has built up a countrywide political organization fighting corruption in Russia’s government.  

Banned from running for office

His videos focusing on the extravagant spending and lifestyles of Russia’s most prominent figures, including former president Dmitry Medvedev, have been viewed by tens of millions of people.   

Even today, with Navlany behind bars, his anti-corruption foundation released a nearly two-hour video billed as an investigation into Putin, which focused on what it claims is the president’s $ 1.35-billion US mansion on the Black Sea.

The Kremlin has repeatedly banned Navalny and his candidates from running for elected office.  

Still, opinion polls suggest he has only single-digit support and the notion of Navalny replacing Putin has rarely seemed more fanciful than it does now, with the Kremlin pulling out vast resources to try to mute his influence.


A still image taken from video footage shows law enforcement officers speaking with Russian opposition leader Navalny before leading him away at Sheremetyevo airport in Moscow on Sunday. (Reuters)

Navalny had been recuperating in Germany after an assassination attempt while he was campaigning in Siberia last August.

He accuses Putin of ordering the hit using the Soviet-era Novichok nerve agent and having it carried out by members of Russia’s secret police. 

An extensive investigation by journalists with the collective Bellingcat uncovered flight manifests, addresses and phone logs that all pointed to the existence of a secret nerve agent program run by the FSB (Russian Federal Security Service) designed to eliminate the Kremlin’s enemies.


People, including supporters of Navalny, gather outside a police station where the Russian opposition leader is being held following his detention in Khimki, outside Moscow, on Monday. (Maxim Shemetov/Reuters)

Russian authorities have repeatedly denied any such program exists and warned Navalny that he could be arrested for treason just for accusing Putin of the crime.

Navalny chose to board the plane Sunday in Berlin and return to Moscow anyway.

A few moments after stepping off the plane, he stopped and explained to the media that he never considered living the life of a political exile outside Russia.

“It was never a question, not for a single second. It shows that we need to fight here because, my God … some ugly thieves are in power.”

No intention of giving up his fight

In an earlier Instagram post, he said he only ended up in Germany because he arrived there in intensive care after “they tried to kill me.” He said he never had any intention of giving up his fight against Putin.

Russia’s prison service, however, clearly indicated that if he returned, Navalny should not expect to be a free man for long. 

It published an order for his detention, claiming he violated parole terms from a suspended sentence on a 2014 embezzlement conviction — a case that the European Court of Human Rights said was politically motivated. 


Riot police try to keep supporters of Navalny away from Vnukovo airport in Moscow on Sunday. (Chris Brown/CBC)

In anticipation of his arrival, police told his supporters not to come out to greet him and if they did, there would be mass arrests.  

Throngs of riot squad police were deployed at Vnukovo airport, where he was supposed to land, to drive home the point.

Nonetheless, hundreds if not thousands of people braved the –20 C temperatures and transportation officials finally diverted his aircraft north to Moscow’s main airport, Sheremetyevo.

As Navalny waited at passport control, police made their move, putting him under arrest. 

He kissed his wife, Yulia, goodbye, and was taken into custody, becoming what human rights group Amnesty International called a “prisoner of conscience.” 

Makeshift court

Less than 18 hours later, as he waited in a cell, Navalny was told he was going to meet with his lawyer, but instead was taken into a room in the police station that had been turned into a makeshift court.

With only invited Kremlin-friendly media present, he was ordered held for 30 days in jail for violating the terms of the probation, even as he reprimanded the judge for taking part in a sham proceeding.   

He will appear in court again Jan. 29 to deal with the alleged parole violation but his legal team has said they expect more charges will follow. Last month, Russian investigators opened a “fraud” investigation, claiming he misused money from his foundation.

‘No immediate threat of a mass revolt’

Political observers say there’s nothing to prevent Putin from treating his nemesis as harshly as he wants.

“There is no immediate threat of a mass revolt,” said Moscow-based political scientist Ekaterina Schulmann, noting that aside from Navalny’s followers, Russians en masse are unlikely to take to the streets in his cause.  

She said most people are indifferent or do not want to get involved.

“At the moment, Putin can get away with almost anything.”


Navalny and his wife, Yulia Navalnaya, are seen on board a plane during a flight from Berlin to Moscow on Sunday. (Maria Vasilyeva/Reuters)

Putin and senior Russian officials contort their language to avoid uttering Navalny’s name, using terms such as “the Berlin patient” instead. State TV rarely makes mention of him.   

As Navany’s plane was landing, more than five million people were watching Russian-language live feeds of the event on the internet, whereas Kremlin-controlled television news ignored his arrival completely.

Nonetheless, Schulmann said the Kremlin has been only partially successful at marginalizing Navalny and his decision to return to Russia has cemented his status as the second-most important political figure in the country.

“There is Putin, and there is the anti-Putin, which is him,” said Schulmann.  

“He has voluntarily returned to the country that will imprison him.

“This is a very brave action. He is acquiring a certain type of moral authority as a person who has demonstrated that he is a person who is ready to suffer for his convictions.” 


Law enforcement officers detain a participant of a rally Monday in St. Petersburg to protest Navalny’s detention. (Anton Vaganov/Reuters)

Navalny’s fate has been compared to that of former billionaire Mikhail Khodorkovsky.

Once one of Russia’s richest men, Khodorkovsky oversaw a vast oil empire but ran afoul of Putin in the early 2000s, lost his businesses and was sentenced to a hard labour camp before being pardoned.

Unlike Khodorkovsky, however, who now lives in the United Kingdom and wages his ongoing fight against Putin from London, Navalny left a safe life in the West to return to Moscow.

Moscow-based lawyer Vadim Klyuvgant was the lead counsel for Khodorkovsky during his trial almost two decades ago.

“It’s absolutely unfair,” he told CBC News of Navalny’s treatment by Russia’s judicial system, noting that his first “court” appearance at the converted police station broke every rule of jurisprudence.

“There is no rule of law — it’s just repression to delete the main opposition guy from public life.”

Klyuvgant said Navalny’s legal situation is worse than what he faced, but he said the only option for his lawyers is to build a case for his release that is grounded in law, even if the scales of justice are tilted against him.

“Don’t expect innocence — maybe parole or a pardon or a decrease in prison terms,” he said.

Even though he’s behind bars, Navalny has so far managed to stay connected with his supporters by recording short video blogs during breaks in the court proceedings.

He has called for mass protests in cities across the country on Saturday.

“There’s nothing these thieves in their bunkers fear more than people on the streets,” Navalny said in a video posted by his press secretary.

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Putin critic Alexei Navalny to return to Russia amid threat of arrest

Leading Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny plans to fly home to Russia on Sunday after recovering in Germany from his poisoning in August with a nerve agent.

Navalny announced Wednesday that he would return, despite Russian authorities’ threats to put him behind bars again. He is expected to fly from Berlin to Moscow. On Thursday, Russia’s prison service said that he faces immediate arrest once he returns.

Navalny, who has blamed his poisoning on the Kremlin, charged that Russian President Vladimir Putin was now trying to deter him from coming home with new legal motions. The Kremlin has repeatedly denied a role in the opposition leader’s poisoning.

At the end of December, the Federal Penitentiary Service, or FSIN, warned Navalny that he faced time in prison if he fails to immediately report to its office in line with the terms of a suspended sentence and probation he received for a 2014 conviction on charges of embezzlement and money laundering that he rejected as politically motivated. The European Court for Human Rights had ruled that his conviction was unlawful.

The FSIN said Thursday it issued an arrest warrant for Navalny after he failed to report to its office. The prison service, which has asked a Moscow court to turn Navalny’s 3 ½-year suspended sentence into a real one, said it’s “obliged to take all the necessary action to detain Navalny pending the court’s ruling.”

Navalny fell into a coma while aboard a domestic flight from Siberia to Moscow on Aug. 20. He was transferred from a hospital in Siberia to a Berlin hospital two days later.

Labs in Germany, France and Sweden, and tests by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, established that he was exposed to a Soviet-era Novichok nerve agent.

Russian authorities insisted that the doctors who treated Navalny in Siberia before he was airlifted to Germany found no traces of poison and have challenged German officials to provide proof of his poisoning. They refused to open a full-fledged criminal inquiry, citing a lack of evidence that Navalny was poisoned.

Last month, Navalny released the recording of a phone call he said he made to a man he described as an alleged member of a group of officers of the Federal Security Service, or FSB, who purportedly poisoned him in August and then tried to cover it up. The FSB dismissed the recording as fake.

WATCH | Navalny poisoning ignored by Russian state TV:

Russia Channel 1 political host Mikhail Akincheko explains why Russian state TV is ignoring the poisoning of Kremlin foe Alexei Navalny. 0:51

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Russia Might Issue Fines for Using SpaceX Starlink Internet Service

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SpaceX is busy ferrying astronauts to and from the International Space Station these days, but that’s not all Elon Musk’s aerospace firm is doing. It’s also gearing up for a Mars colonization effort and deploying a satellite internet constellation called Starlink. You can get Starlink internet in a few places, but Russia doesn’t want any of its citizens going through the SpaceX system as it expands. In fact, the country has floated the idea of fining people for using Starlink or other foreign satellite internet services. 

Starlink relies on the same basic premise as traditional satellite internet — the subscriber on the ground has an antenna which they point upward to communicate with the space-based network. Services like Hughes and ViaSat have been around for years, offering mediocre speeds for an exorbitant amount of money. You can’t blame them too much — launching satellites is expensive unless you’re SpaceX. 

The company is constantly launching batches of 60 Starlink satellites aboard its Falcon 9 rockets, which are much easier and cheaper to launch thanks to SpaceX’s reusable design. There are currently almost 1,000 nodes in the Starlink network, but the company is approved for 12,000 total satellites to provide faster speeds and cable-like latency. As it approaches that number, Starlink should be available globally, but Russian citizens might find their government discourages using Starlink. 

Russia is strongly invested in monitoring and controlling internet traffic among its people. In the Russian edition of Popular Mechanics, a report claims the government is looking at fines for anyone who uses Starlink or a similar “western” satellite internet service. The fines could range from 10,000 to 30,000 rubles ($ 135-$ 405) for individuals who use Starlink. Businesses could see fines of 500,000 to 1 million rubles ($ 6,750 to $ 13,500).

What a SpaceX Starlink satellite looks like in orbit.

Any traffic going through a satellite internet service will bypass any controls or monitoring programs active within Russia. Russia’s spaceflight chief, Dmitry Rogozin has also criticized the US government’s support of SpaceX, which he considers “predatory” and geared toward projecting American power across the globe. However, satellite internet might be inevitable as even those in rural areas have started expecting reliable connectivity. A recent survey found that more than half of Americans were at least willing to consider switching to Starlink when it’s available in their area — that’s how much we all hate our ISPs. 

Russia has started making plans for a national satellite internet platform called Sphere that could begin launching as soon as 2024. However, the cost of deploying such a system with Russia’s current launch assets could be prohibitively high.

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Canada cruises past Russia, advances to gold medal game at world juniors

One image served as goalie Devon Levi’s driving force as he and the other Canadian players waited out quarantine in their hotel rooms — playing for gold at the world junior hockey championship.

Now the image is coming into focus.

After beating Russia 5-0 in semifinal action on Monday, Canada will look to defend its title on Tuesday.

“The picture of [playing for gold] has been probably our driving force since we got here,” Levi said on a video call after Monday’s win. “We’ve put in a lot to this. It’s a great feeling that we’re here and that we got here. But the job’s not done yet.”

The tilt between Canada and Russia on Monday was a rematch of last year’s gold-medal game, which saw the Canadians claw their way back from a deficit for a dramatic 4-3 win.

WATCH | Canada captures shutout win over Russia in world junior semis:

Braden Schneider scored in the second period of Canada’s 5-0 semifinal win over Russia at the world junior hockey championship. 0:25

The tension was lower this year, however, with Canada dominating the Russians from the start.

Alex Newhook returned from injury to put the host country on the board just 59 seconds into the game.

There were fears that the Colorado Avalanche prospect from Corner Brook, N.L., would not return to the tournament after suffering an upper-body injury in Canada’s final preliminary-round game against Finland on New Year’s Eve.

He missed Saturday’s quarterfinal game against the Czech Republic but looked healthy on Monday when he scored his third goal of the tournament on his first shift of the game.

Newhook’s shot hit the back bar of the Russian net and popped back out before anyone registered the goal. Play continued until the goal horn was sounded and officials reviewed the video as Newhook’s teammates congratulated him on the bench.


“I had no idea. I thought it was straight crossbar and out,” Newhook said. “But seeing the video after was a good feeling, for sure.”

Connor McMichael, Cole Perfetti and Braden Schneider added goals for the defending champs, and Dylan Cozens sealed the result with an empty netter.

Cozens, the 19-year-old from Whitehorse, Yukon, also had two assists in the game. With 16 points (eight goals, eight assists), he leads the tournament in scoring.

Russian goaltender Yaroslav Askarov struggled to hang on to his stick at times and stopped 30-of-34 shots.

Levi ties tournament record

Levi had 28 saves to collect his third shutout of the tournament, tying a record set by Canada’s Justin Pogge in 2006.

But the young netminder isn’t focused on getting his name in the record books.

“It’s something to maybe look at after the tournament, but the job’s not done yet,” Levi said.

One shot did get past Levi on Monday.

Russia got on the board with less than three minutes to go in the second period only to have its goal disallowed.

Canadian defenceman Justin Barron got tangled with Levi on a Russian power play, preventing the goaltender from getting all the way across the net in time to stop a shot from Mikhail Abramov.

The Russians celebrated but Canada quickly challenged the call for an offside zone entry. Upon review, the officials agreed, waving off the goal.

Scoring on the opportunity could have changed the game, said Russia’s coach Igor Larionov.

“Nothing you can do. That’s the rule,” he said.

The Russians simply didn’t have enough energy and power to create the odd-man rushes they needed to topple the Canadians, Larionov said.

“Team Canada played a good, solid game. They were solid defensively and very efficient offensively, too,” he said.

The United States beat Finland 4-3 later Monday in the other semifinal game.

WATCH | Canada, U.S.S.R. clear benches during 1987 world juniors:

Junior hockey teams from Canada and the Soviet Union are ejected for fighting in an international tournament. 1:47

There’ll be pressure no matter who the team plays, said Canadian coach Andre Tourigny.

“There’s a lot of emotion in that tournament and you want to be in the last game,” he said. “You want to be part of something special and that last game will be something special.”

Since coming together for selection camp way back in mid-November, Tourigny has been telling his players that they need to be ready for adversity.

That mindset has helped them prepare for the challenge of fighting for gold, he said.

“The way the leaders and the player deal with adversity every time there’s adversity, that’s what’s made the difference to me,” Tourigny said.

“It’s a really tough tournament, there’s still a lot of hockey to be played here. Tomorrow will be a hell of a game.”

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Canada renews rivalry with Russia in world juniors semifinal

It seems like Canada’s road to gold at the world junior men’s hockey championship often runs through Russia, given each country’s hockey pedigree.

The two rivals square off in Monday’s semifinal in Edmonton for the right to play for gold Tuesday.

Canada has beaten Russia in a final three times over the last decade, but a semifinal clash has been rarer in that span.

The last time the two hockey powers met in a world junior semifinal was also in Alberta back in 2012, when Russia edged the host country 6-5 in Calgary before falling to Sweden in the championship game.

Finland and the United States meet in Monday’s other semifinal.

Half a dozen Canadians and three Russians on this year’s rosters faced each other in the 2020 gold medal game in Ostrava, Czech Republic.

Russia led 3-1 with just over 11 minutes to play in Ostrava. Canada scored three unanswered goals and held on for the win through a wild last three minutes.

Defenceman Jamie Drysdale, who is among Canada’s second-year players, expects some emotional carryover from last year’s final.

WATCH | Canada moves on to semis at world juniors: 

Bowen Byram, Dylan Cozens and Connor McMichael each scored in Canada’ 3-0 victory over the Czech Republic in quarter-final action at the world junior hockey championship. 0:30

“One hundred per cent I think there will be carryover,” Drysdale said. “We played each other in the final last year.

“We want to maintain where we’re at and we obviously want to come out on top. In saying that, they’re going to feel they have something to prove.”

The Canadian and Russian head coaches this year — Andre Tourigny and Igor Larionov respectively — were assistants in Ostrava.

Canada edged Russia 1-0 in a pre-tournament game Dec. 23.

Canada scoring first and early in every game has been the difference in the host country’s 5-0 record at this championship. Depth of talent and speed up front is its calling card.

Different style of play

Hockey Hall of Famer Larionov has Russia (3-1-1) playing a different style in Edmonton than it did under Valeri Bragin last year, according to Tourigny.

“It’s day and night. Different style, different philosophy, different objective in their game,” the Canadian coach said. “They like to possess the puck, they regroup a lot, they have a good stretch on their breakout.

“They’re still really stingy defensively. They are strong on pucks, they’re fast.”

Blanked 2-0 by the Czechs to start the preliminary round, Russia pulled out an overtime win over the Swedes in Pool B and put in a workmanlike effort to beat Germany 2-1 in the quarterfinal.

Toronto Maple Leafs prospect Mikhail Abramov returns to Russia’s lineup after serving a one-game suspension Saturday for slew-footing.

Canadian forward Alex Newhook of St. John’s, N.L., remains questionable for the semifinal after sitting out the quarterfinal with an upper-body injury.

Goaltender Yaroslav Askarov is one of Russia’s second-year players, but didn’t start the 2020 final.

The No. 11 pick in October’s NHL draft by the Nashville Predators has faced more rubber in the tournament than Canadian counterpart Devon Levi (110 shots to 90).

Levi sparkled more in his quarterfinal, however, with a 29-save shutout against the Czechs. Askarov stopped 18 of 19 shots from Germany.

Canada is attempting to win back-to-back world junior crowns for the first time since 2008-09, which capped a run of five straight titles.

“I think we all know what’s at stake,” returning forward Connor McMichael said. “We’re all excited.

“You’ve just got to keep control of your nerves and stay loose and play your own game. If we do that and stick to our systems, we’ll be fine. You don’t want to overthink about it too much.”

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Slovakia, Finland, Russia pick up wins to kick off world juniors from Edmonton

Vasili Ponomaryov scored twice for the Russians as they defeated the Americans 5-3 in their tournament opening game at the world junior hockey championship.

After both teams scored in the first period, the Russians scored three goals and ended the second with a 4-1 lead. The scoreline would lead to the Americans pulling goaltender Spencer Knight.

Knight, a first-round pick of the Florida Panthers in 2019, allowed four goals on 12 shots before making way for Dustin Wolf before period’s end.

The Americans attempted a comeback in the third period with goals from John Farinacci and Trevor Zegras to bring to deficit to one goal.

But an empty net goal from Yegor Chinakhov with 21 seconds to play put the game out of reach for the Americans.

The Americans will play Saturday against Austria, while the Russians will return to action Sunday evening against the Czech Republic.

Slovakia shuts out Swiss

Roman Faith scored late in the third period as Slovakia beat Switzerland 1-0 in the opening game of the world junior hockey championship on Friday.

Slovakia goaltender Simon Latkoczy registered the shutout, recording 28 saves. He made a highlight-reel glove save on Inaki Baragano on a Swiss power play late in the third period at Rogers Place.

Faith scored at 14:17 of the third, banging a loose puck from the slot past Thibault Fatton.


Slovakia returns to action Sunday against Canada. The Swiss play Finland the same day.

Slovakia and Switzerland lost in quarter-final action last year. Switzerland fell to Russia and Slovakia dropped a game against Canada.

Switzerland crushed Slovakia 7-2 in preliminary-round action last year.

Both teams will play their next games Sunday. The Swiss will play Finland while Slovakia will play Canada.

Balanced attack helps Finland past Germany

Ottawa Senators prospect Tim Stuetzle scored a goal and an assist for the Germans, but they fell short against Anton Lundell and the Finns as they lost 5-3.

Finland got goals from five different goal scorers, Anton Lundell, Aku Raty, Mikael Pyythia, Topi Niemela and Henrik Nikkanen in the victory.

The Germans were without nine players due to COVID-19 protocols. Three of their players will be in quarantine until Dec. 27, while five others will be quarantined until the 29th.

An additional German player tested positive yesterday and must be in quarantine until Jan. 4.

Germany will play Team Canada Saturday, while Finland will play Switzerland on Sunday.

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