An extraordinary meeting of foreign ministers from the European Union – called because of a major intensification of fighting in Ukraine – ended with a small extension of the EU’s sanctions on Russia.Crucially, the new Greek government, which a day after taking office distanced itself from an EU statement that explicitly accused Russia of aiding separatists in eastern Ukraine, decided not to break ranks with other EU states.The foreign ministers agreed immediately to prolong by six months the EU’s existing restrictions on individual Russians involved in fighting in Ukraine or promoting separatism. The sanctions, which prevent the blacklisted Russians from travelling to the EU and oblige national authorities in the EU to seize their assets, were due for review in March. They will now continue until September. The most intense discussions involved men seated in two adjacent chairs, Lithuania’s Linas Linkevičius and Greece’s Nikos Kotzias.Lithuania has called consistently and publicly for a far tougher European response, in the form of wider and more painful sanctions on Russia and military support for Ukraine.As he entered the meeting today, Linkevičius invoked the solidarity shown by EU member states after the 7 January massacres in Paris by jihadists, and contrasted it with their response to the war in Ukraine.“I am asking sometimes some colleagues who are still considering what to do, how many more people should be killed in order to say ‘Je suis ukrainien’,” he said, referring to the ‘Je suis Charlie’ slogan that rallied protestors around the world after the slaughter of Charlie Hebdo journalists.The United Nations says that over 5,000 people have now been killed in fighting that began when Russia annexed the Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea last March. The ministers also promised to add new names to the blacklist when they meet next, on 9 February. Some countries had hoped that the blacklist would be added to today.The possibility of increasing the EU’s most significant sanctions on Russia – restrictions on business primarily in the financial, banking and defence sectors – were left, as expected, for EU national leaders to decide. The leaders of the EU’s 28 member states will meet on 12-13 February.In a second test of Greece’s alignment with the rest of the EU, the foreign ministers agreed on a description of events in Ukraine that made clear that Russia is fuelling the conflict.The final communique by the ministers noted “evidence of continued and growing support given to the separatists by Russia, which underlines Russia’s responsibility”.This exactly repeats the wording of the statement by EU national leaders on Tuesday from which the new Greek government had distanced itself.Federica Mogherini described the debate as “very constructive”.
Sugoi Performance Apparel, the performance apparel brand of (Cannondale owner) Dorel Industries, is showcasing the newest addition to its Performance Outerwear line-up. The Versa Jacket, available within Sugoi’s autumn/fall/winter 2010 collection, is named for its top-notch versatility.Featuring ‘magnetic action’, the removable raglan sleeve easily turns the jacket into a vest and vice ‘versa’! With a quick snap the Versa Jacket offers adaptability to the environment and excels in a wide range of temperatures.Getting warm after a few minutes into a run or ride – a gentle tug and both the sleeves and the connecting back piece come off. Stuff them into your rear pocket and on you go…Even better, instead of delicate zippers that won’t work the way you want them to, the 10 magnets bring the sleeves back into place almost instantly by themselves. Available in both male and female versions, the Versa Jacket is targeted at riding or running, or any activity where threatening weather looms.For best protection against wind and rain, the Versa boasts brand new lightweight Argon fabric treated with a weather resistant finish, which creates a woven rip-stop barrier between the wearer and the elements. The microfibre construction has a high air permeability rating, allowing for warm vapours to escape quickly and delivering an ideal body climate to the wearer.With vents, pockets and other details in all the right places, the Versa Jacket is billed as a truly functional essential. For safety, the Jacket features lots of Scotchlite reflective material to offer 360 degree visibility whether on the trail or weaving through traffic. The hemline on the Versa Jacket is finished with a dual adjustable shock cord, providing a snug fit for each individual.Further details include a full-length reverse coil zipper with guard, back ventilation and elasticized armhole binding. Two front zip pockets and a back zip pocket easily store ‘all the small things’ needed for cycling, running or leisure autumn walks – including the removable sleeves.On show at Eurobike 2010 in Germany, during the Eurobike Demo Day on 31 August and the main show during 1-4 September, the Versa Jacket has an MSRP of €99.90 / GBP 70.www.sugoi.com Related
The Guyana Rugby Football Union (GRFU) is “pleading” with the “powers that be” to give the National Park Commission the green light to make the Rugby field suitable once again for play and practice. During yesterday’s debriefing of Sunday’s 58-14 rout of the national team by host, Cayman Islands, Peter Green, President of the union used the same platform to vent his frustration at the unsuitable playing surface for the ‘home’ of rugby.Green pointed out that uneven surface which frequently causes sprained ankles and other injuries, is littered with steel rods, broken bottles and other debris.He then disclosed that upgraded work of the playing area inclusive of floodlights was promised almost two years ago by the National Sports Commission. But the debriefing which was held at the rugby field paints an ugly picture of what the country’s ambassadors are forced to use to prepare for international assignments. Green stated that the lack of facilities and support is stymying the progress of the sport that has brought international acclaim to the 592. He added that “We are struggling with the substandard playing surfaces and we need the corporation of all and sundry. We can’t have ponies and cricketers and christians planting crosses on our playing fields.”