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Russia ready to regulate, not ban cryptocurrencies

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Thursday, January 25th, 2018

FILE PHOTO: A coin representing the bitcoin cryptocurrency is seen on computer circuit boards in this illustration picture, October 26, 2017. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/File Photo

MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russia’s Finance Ministry said on Thursday it was working on legislation to regulate cryptocurrency transactions without fully banning them or legalising digital FX as a means of payment in Russia.

Russia had initially said it would ban crypto-currencies as they could be used to launder money and finance terrorism. But as such currencies and particularly Bitcoin grew popular worldwide, Russian authorities have changed tack.

The ministry said it had prepared a bill that would permit trade in cryptocurrencies through digital exchanges which met certain conditions and would also cover initial coin offerings (ICOs).

Doing this, the ministry said, would reduce the risk of fraud and make it possible to tax cryptocurrency transactions to support the state budget.

The ministry highlighted that digital currencies and tokens would not be allowed to replace the Russian rouble.

“It should be noted, that the use of cryptocurrencies in the territory of the Russian Federation as a means of payment is not being suggested,” the ministry said in a statement.

Authorities around the world, particularly in Asia, have attempted to rein in the global boom in trading bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies – a form of digital money created and maintained by its users.

Chinese authorities have banned initial coin offerings and shut down local trading platforms, while South Korea – where speculation on cryptocurrencies is also rife – is working on plans to ban virtual coin exchanges.

The Russian ministry stopped short, however, of proposing a full ban.

“Trades with cryptocurrencies have become so widespread, a legal ban on such activity would lead to the creation of conditions for the use of cryptocurrencies as an instrument to service illegal businesses, launder criminal incomes, and finance terrorism,” the Russian ministry said.

Reporting by Andrey Ostroukh and Jack Stubbs; Editing by Toby Chopra

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Space crew survives plunge to Earth after Russian rocket fails

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Friday, October 12th, 2018

A plane carrying astronauts landing on the tarmac in Baikonur, Kazakhstan | NASA via REUTERS

A two-man U.S.-Russian crew of a Soyuz spacecraft bound for the International Space Station was safe following a dramatic emergency landing on Thursday (October 11) shortly after lift-off in Kazakhstan when their rocket failed in mid-air.

U.S. astronaut Nick Hague and Russian cosmonaut Alexei Ovchinin landed safely and rescue crews who raced to locate them on the Kazakh steppe quickly linked up with them, according to the U.S. space agency NASA and Russia’s space agency Roscosmos.

The emergency occurred as the first and second stages of a booster rocket separated shortly after launch from Kazakhstan’s Soviet-era cosmodrome of Baikonur.

“It just reemphasizes that this is a dangerous business,” NASA’s deputy chief assistant, Reid Wiseman, said during a briefing at the Johnson Space Center.

The Soyuz capsule carrying the two men separated from the malfunctioning rocket and made what NASA called a steep ballistic descent to Earth with parachutes helping to slow its speed. A cloud of sand billowed up as the capsule came down on the desert steppe.

The capsule took 34 minutes to reach the ground after it separated from the faulty rocket, NASA said.

Rescue crews then raced to the scene to retrieve them, including paratroopers parachuting to their landing spot, helicopters and all-terrain vehicles, NASA said.— Reuters

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PH Embassy in Russia reports rise in OFW voters registration for 2019 polls

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Friday, September 28th, 2018

RUSSIA — 500 more Filipinos working in Russia were added to the list of overseas absentee voters following a series of voters registration held in Moscow. An on-site registration is also being held in Yerevan, Armenia.

Philippine Ambassador to Russia Carlos Sorreta attributes the increase in registrants to rising population of Filipinos in the country, among other factors.

“Ang isang factor po ay dumami ho ang Filipino sa Russia. Lumaki po ang population natin dito mga Filipino, so galing sa Pilipinas at sa iba pang mga bansa tapos ang tingin ko rin nakikita ko ang mga Filipino talagang gustong magparticipate sa ating political process,” said Ambassador Sorreta.

(One factor is the rising population of Filipinos in Russia. I can also see how much the Filipinos want to participate in the political process.)

Earl Lynne Divinagracia, a Filipino migrant worker who just started working in Russia, is looking forward to the election.

“Ito ay mahalaga para mapalitan na yung mga naka upo sa pwesto na walang ginagawa (It is very important. It’s time to remove incumbent senators who are slacking off ,” Divinagracia said.

Overseas Filipino worker (OFW), Jenette Durante was unable to participate in past elections but this time she is ensuring that her vote will be counted.

“Narealize ko po na mahalaga po pala ang boto ko at makakapili po ako nang tamang kandidato para po sa ating bayan ( I realized how valuable my vote is and my right to choose the right people for our nation),”

The Philippine Embassy also reported that in 2016, nearly 3,000 OFW voters registered in Russia with 37 percent or 1,078 voters turnout.

According to Jeffrey Valdez, vice consul at the Philippine Embassy in Moscow, there are an estimated 8,000 OFWs in Russia and 80-85 percent of them are women.

Embassy officials also underscored the importance of the privilege to participate in the political process.

“Ang ating bayan ay isang demokratikong bayan na ang power po ng ating mga leaders ay nanggagaling po sa mga mamamayan po natin. So napakaimportante po na sumali po tayo sa pagpili sa mga taong magdedecide at maglead po sa atin into the future po,” said Sorreta.

(Our country is a democracy and the power of our leaders rests upon the people. This is why its very important to participate in the selection of our future leaders.)

Filipino voters in Russia only have until Sunday, September 30 from 12 to 4 in the afternoon to register for the 2019 mid-term elections. — Catherine Martinez |UNTV News & Rescue, Russia

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Russian military holds chemical attack drill

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Monday, September 17th, 2018

Man in chemical protection suit holding a red flag during the chemical attack drill in Russia | REUTERS

The Russian military held a chemical attack drill on Sunday (September 16) as part of major military exercises Vostok-2018.

The Russian defense ministry published a video showing servicemen in chemical protection suits and gas masks cleaning tanks.

Russia’s biggest war games since the fall of the Soviet Union, the Vostok-2018 (East-2018) drills, which run until Sept. 17, take place in eastern Siberia close to the border with China and involve 300,000 Russian troops.

The exercises involve over a thousand military aircraft as well as up to 36,000 tanks, come amid tense relations between Russia and the West. — Reuters

 

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