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Russia paying attention to East for national interests: Putin

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Vladimir Putin

Moscow, Dec 1 :Russia has been turning its attention to eastern Asia not because of its cooling ties with the West but because of national interests, President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday.

In his annual state of the union address to the Federal Assembly, the Russian leader denied any “opportunistic reasons” behind the change, saying the country’s current policy was determined by the country’s long-term national interests and global tendencies, Xinhua news agency reported.

Moscow also attached importance to cooperation with India and hoped to improve ties with Japan, Putin said.

He praised the Russia-China partnership as one of the key factors for ensuring global and regional stability under the current difficult conditions, saying the two countries’ relations have served as an example of mutually beneficial interaction.

Commenting on future relations with the administration of US President-elect Donald Trump, Putin reiterated Moscow’s readiness to normalise ties with Washington, as both nations have “common responsibility to ensure international security and stability, and to strengthen non-proliferation regimes”.

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Protests over Putin’s plans to hike retirement age

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Russia protest over pension age

Moscow, Sep 22 (IANS) Members and supporters of Russia’s Communist Party took to the streets of the capital on Saturday to protest unpopular pension reforms planned by President Vladimir Putin.

Putin took measures to soften his proposed hike in retirement age in August by limiting the increase for women to 60 — up from 55 — instead of the initial suggestion of 63, Efe news reported.

But the change of plan has so far failed to quell protests against it. He stood by plans to raise men’s retirement age from 60 to 65.

Protesters held signs emblazoned with slogans such as “Putin Lies”. Communist Party leader Gennady Zyuganov also spoke at the rally.

The changes have been given a preliminary green-light by the State Duma, Russia’s lower parliament, but have provoked widespread outrage. An opinion poll showed that about 90 per cent of Russians were against increasing the retirement age.

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Ready to boost anti-terror cooperation with Iran: Putin

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Vladimir Putin

Moscow, Sep 23 (IANS) Russian President Vladimir Putin expressed condolences to his Iranian counterpart, Hassan Rouhani, over a deadly terrorist attack and reaffirmed readiness to intensify counter-terror cooperation, the Kremlin said on Saturday.

“We are outraged by this bloody crime. Hopefully, everyone involved will be held liable,” Putin said in his telegram to Rouhani, which was published by the Kremlin, Xinhua news agency.

At least 24 people were killed in a terror attack in a military parade in the southern Iranian Ahvaz city on Saturday, official IRNA news agency reported.

This incident is another proof of the need for “uncompromising war on any manifestations of terrorism,” Putin said.

“I would like to confirm our readiness to further enhance cooperation with our Iranian partners in the fight against this evil,” he said.

The President offered condolences to the relatives and friends of those killed in the attack and wished a speedy recovery to those injured, according to the Kremlin.

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BJP MLA Manvendra Singh quits party, says ‘Kamal Ka Phool, Badi Bhool’

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jaswant-singh manvendra-singh

Jaipur, Sep 22 : Former Union minister Jaswant Singh’s son and BJP MLA from Sheo constituency in Rajasthan, Manvendra Singh, on Saturday announced his decision to severe ties with the party.

He made the announcement while addressing a mammoth “Swabhimaan Rally” in Pachpadra of Barmer district.

The differences between Manvendra and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) surfaced in 2014 when his father Jaswant Singh was denied ticket from Barmer parliamentary seat, from where the party fielded Colonel Sonaram. Jaswant Singh still contested as an Independent and lost the election.

On Saturday, amid thousands of supporters, he raised a slogan “Kamal Ka Phool, Badi Bhool” in the rally. He said that he had been maintaining silence for the last four-and-a-half years obeying senior leaders of the party. “But, now I have lost all my patience.”

He also sought opinion on his decision from the people attending the rally, to which the crowd responded saying “BJP Chhodo” in unison.

The rally was attended by many senior leaders from the Rajput community.

Speaking on the occasion, he said: “My fight for self-respect will spread to the entire state and its impact will also echo at the central level. Pachpadra is the starting point of this storm and its impact will also reach Jaipur.”

However, Manvendra has not yet disclosed the course his political career will take from here on, but announced that he will contest the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

Meanwhile, speculations are rife that he would join the Congress party soon.

When contacted, Rajasthan Pradesh Congress Committee (RPCC) President Sachin Pilot told IANS that he would not make any comments on the matter now.

However, he said that the list of BJP leaders leaving the party is getting longer which shows that all is not well with the party.

“Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje should introspect on this issue,” he added.

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