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Why A Chinese-Russian Trade Agreement Was Dead On Arrival

The often-tense relationship between Beijing and Moscow has not been helped by a 2009 regional trade pact. Expectations on both sides have never been met, as the dispute came to a head at a recent economic forum in Siberia. One problem: China would rather

Russian Pavillion at the 2010 Shanghai World Expo (KimonBerlin).
Russian Pavillion at the 2010 Shanghai World Expo (KimonBerlin).

Worldcrunch NEWSBITES

IRKUTSK - Russian and Chinese officials appear on the verge of scrapping a regional trade agreement that was once hailed as a boon to both commerce and good neighborly relations.

The agreement, signed in 2009, was supposed to attract Chinese investment to eastern Russia, and was meant as a model for Russia's increased cooperation with its East Asian neighbors. But the pact, which had not been living up to expectations, may now be rescinded after a dispute erupted at an economic forum that ended Tuesday in the Siberian city of Irkutsk.

While acknowledging that some of its own slated projects had been poorly planned, Russian leaders complained that China was not committed to economically investing in its western neighbor. Russian officials claimed that China commits eight times less investment in Russia than in Africa. Chinese officials responded by saying that the investment climate was simply better in China than Russia.

The two countries apparently signed on to the agreement with very different expectations. The Russians hoped to develop a high-tech industry in the eastern reaches of their country, with help from Chinese investment; while the Chinese see their cooperation with Russia as an opportunity to extract raw materials for their transportation industry.

The two sides traded insults during the meeting in Irkutsk, each one blaming the other for unfulfilled promises. Regardless of who's to blame, the regional partnership is clearly not working for either county, and will likely be a point of discussion during Russian President Dmitry Medvedev's visit next month to Shanghai.

Read the original article in full in Russian by Alexander Gabuev

Photo - KimonBerlin

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Is Disney's "Wish" Spreading A Subtle Anti-Christian Message To Kids?

Disney's new movie "Wish" is being touted as a new children's blockbuster to celebrate the company's 100th anniversary. But some Christians may see the portrayal of the villain as God-like and turning wishes into prayers as the ultimate denial of the true message of Christmas.

For the Christmas holiday season?

Joseph Holmes

Christians have always had a love-hate relationship with Disney since I can remember. Growing up in the Christian culture of the 1990s and early 2000s, all the Christian parents I knew loved watching Disney movies with their kids – but have always had an uncomfortable relationship with some of its messages. It was due to the constant Disney tropes of “follow your heart philosophy” and “junior knows best” disdain for authority figures like parents that angered so many. Even so, most Christians felt the benefits had outweighed the costs.

That all seems to have changed as of late, with Disney being hit more and more by claims from conservatives (including Christian conservatives) that Disney is pushing more and more radical progressive social agendas , This has coincided with a steep drop at the box office for Disney.

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