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Vladimir Putin accuses Hillary Clinton of encouraging Russian protests

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin accuses the United States of stirring up protests against his 12-year rule and says foreign countries are spending hundreds of millions of dollars to influence Russian elections.

(Reuters) Moscow - In his first public remarks about daily demonstrations over allegations that Sunday's election was slanted to favor his ruling party, Putin said U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had encouraged Kremlin opponents by criticizing the vote.

"She set the tone for some opposition activists, gave them a signal, they heard this signal and started active work," Putin told supporters as he laid out plans for his campaign to return to the presidency in a March election.

Citing the examples of Ukraine's 2004 Orange Revolution and the removal of governments in Kyrgyzstan -- also a fellow former Soviet republic -- that were accompanied by bloodshed, he said Western nations were spending heavily to foment political change in Russia.

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Coronavirus

Will China's Zero COVID Ever End?

Too much has been put in to the state-sponsored truth that minimal spread of the virus is the at-all-cost objective. But if the Chinese economy continues to suffer, Xi Jinping may have no choice but to second guess himself.

COVID testing in Guiyang, China

Cfoto/DDP via ZUMA
Deng Yuwen

The tragic bus accident in Guiyang last month — in which 27 people being sent to quarantine were killed — was one of the worst examples of collateral damage since the COVID-19 pandemic began in China nearly three years ago. While the crash can ultimately be traced back to bad government policy, the local authorities did not register it as a Zero COVID related casualty. It was, for them, a simple traffic accident.

The officials in the southern Chinese province of Guizhou, of course, had no alternative. Drawing a link between the deadly crash and the strict policy of Zero COVID, touted by President Xi Jinping, would have revealed the absurdity of the government's choices.

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