Russia

3:39am

Thu January 10, 2013
Europe

Rubles For Minutes, Not Mochas, At Russian Cafe Chain

Originally published on Thu January 10, 2013 1:04 pm

Tsiferblat, or Clockface Cafe, in Moscow draws a young crowd, from students to entrepreneurs. The cafe provides Wi-Fi, printers, books and art supplies. Drinks, snacks, atmosphere and the space are free. All customers pay for is time.
Courtesy Of Diana Derby

Cafe life has taken hold in modern Russia. From Starbucks to local chains such as Kofe Khaus and Schokoladnitsia, there are lots of places to hang out, see and be seen.

It's a striking change in a country where, in Soviet times, the best an ordinary comrade could expect was a mug of tea in a workers canteen.

The world over, the basic contract between cafe and customer is this: You buy a drink or a snack, and you get to use the premises for as long as it takes to consume it.

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7:36am

Wed January 9, 2013
The Two-Way

'Zorbing' Death Brings Call For Safety Rules; Fatal Ride Captured On Video

Originally published on Wed January 9, 2013 8:02 am

A screen image from video of the "zorb" as it began rolling down a mountain in southern Russia last week. One of the two men inside would die from injuries received after it careened into a ravine.
YouTube

Video of two Russian men climbing into an inflatable ball and rolling down a Russian mountain on a ride that would take them over a cliff, into a ravine, on to a frozen lake and cause one of the men's death, is getting a lot of views today.

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9:25am

Thu January 3, 2013
The Two-Way

Putin Grants French Actor Depardieu Russian Citizenship

Originally published on Thu January 3, 2013 1:12 pm

French actor Gerard Depardieu (left) and Russian leader Vladimir Putin in St. Petersburg in December 2010.
Ria Novosti Reuters /Landov

If French actor Gerard Depardieu really does want to renounce his native land and evade its taxes, he's now got a home land in Russia if he wishes.

Russian President Vladimir Putin today ordered that Depardieu be granted Russian citizenship, the Kremlin announced.

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1:58pm

Wed January 2, 2013
Middle East

On Multiple Fronts, Russian Jews Reshape Israel

Originally published on Sun January 6, 2013 6:54 am

Russian-speaking Israelis mingle at the Soho nightclub in Tel Aviv. The club caters to the Russian-speaking immigrant community, featuring hired dancers and extravagant decorations rarely seen in informal Israel.
Oded Balilty AP

Many signs are in the Cyrillic alphabet. The men and women sitting in the cafes are speaking Russian. The shops sell vodka, black bread, pickled herring and Russian-brewed Baltika beer. You have to pinch yourself to remember where you are.

This scene, with all its echoes of the former Soviet Union, is not in St. Petersburg or Vladivostok, or anywhere else in that vast sweep of bleak northern lands. It is in Ashdod, Israel, a palm-lined, pastel-colored port city that sprawls along the mild shores of the Mediterranean.

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6:14am

Sun December 30, 2012
Europe

The Mysterious Disappearance Of The Russian Crown Jewels

Originally published on Wed January 2, 2013 12:49 am

This necklace appears in the 1922 album at the USGS library, but not in the 1925 book on the Russian crown jewels.
www.usgs.gov

The story of the missing Russian crown jewels begins, as so many great adventures do, in a library.

In this case, it was the U.S. Geological Survey Library in Reston, Va.

Richard Huffine, the director, was looking through the library's rare-book collection when he came upon an oversized volume.

"And there's no markings on the outside, there's no spine label or anything like that," he says. "This one caught our eye, and we pulled it aside to take a further look at it."

Researcher Jenna Nolt was one of those who took a look.

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