The Raptors aren’t back. They never left

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We have that and more in Wednesday’s NBA newsletter.

If you thought the Raptors were toast when they went down 0-2 to the masterful Bucks in this Eastern Conference finals series, it’s time to recalibrate your sensors. Toronto blew Milwaukee out of the water on Tuesday to even up the series at 2-2 despite Kawhi Leonard being injured and tired and Pascal Siakam suffering from foul trouble.

Kawhi still did damage in 34 minutes, and Kyle Lowry (25 on 6-11 shooting) and Marc Gasol (17-7-5-2-1) were great. But the bench was the real story: Serge Ibaka, Norman Powell, and Fred VanVleet were all confident and good. Powell shot inefficiently to get his 18 points, and VanVleet made up for it (13 points on 5-6 shooting, 6 assists, 1 turnover). All of the above played really tough defense, which was the difference in this one.

After Game 2, it looked like Toronto had no cards left to play against a superior Bucks team. Game 3’s double overtime thriller didn’t really convince anyone Toronto had a chance, even though they won. Game 4 should change that.

This is a GREAT series and no one can reasonably know who will win. We have a best-of-3 series starring Kawhi and Giannis and, well, uh, Drake. Let’s go.

Scores

Bucks 102, Raptors 120
Series tied 2-2

Schedule

No games scheduled. Clean your fish tank.

Links

We talk about luck in the NBA Draft almost exclusively in terim of the NBA Draft lottery. I wrote that the Bucks are one example which proves that luck is embued throughout the entire draft process.

In appreciation of Blazers vs. Warriors, the most dumb, funny sweep in recent memory. Dan Devine on Steph Curry’s performance in the West finals.

Kristian Winfield on how the Blazers get better despite being capped out and in line to lose free agents. Time for a supermax deal for Damian Lillard.

Fascinating Chris Mannix look at how NBA front offices use draft prospects’ social media accounts to dig into players’ personalities and honesty.

LeBron moving to the Western Conference and then missing the playoffs is going to cause the NBA to … move up the start time of games on the West Coast? Are you kidding me?

All hail Pascal Siakam.

Sue Bird is having knee surgery. So this WNBA season will begin with the following players out of action: Maya Moore, Breanna Stewart, Sue Bird, Diana Taurasi. The upside is that this is an opportunity for more young stars to thrive and get noticed … right? Here are some candidates.

A breakdown of who is advising Jeanie Buss on Lakers matters.

How a three-team Anthony Davis for Lonzo Ball trade might look.

A perfect Onion headline.

And finally: Maitreyi Anantharaman on how League Pass was the best $199 he ever spent.

Be excellent to each other.


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Crashed Superjet’s pitch fluctuated before fatal touchdown

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Michael_Novakhov
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.

Russian investigators have disclosed that the Sukhoi Superjet 100 involved in a fatal accident at Moscow Sheremetyevo was 1.6t over its maximum landing weight, and experienced two impacts in excess of 5g as it bounced on landing.

The Interstate Aviation Committee says it has completed an initial analysis of information from the flight-data recorder retrieved from the Aeroflot jet after the 5 May event.

Investigators have revealed that the crew received windshear warnings on approach and that the aircraft experienced pitch fluctuations just before the fatal touchdown.

Federal air transport regulator Rosaviatsia, in a detailed outline of the flight, states that the aircraft suffered an electrical failure at 8,900ft – about 5min after take-off from runway 24C – while following the KN 24E standard departure pattern for a service to Murmansk.

The aircraft’s autopilot disengaged and the aircraft’s flight control system dropped into direct law.

Rosaviatsia does not specifically state that the aircraft was struck by lightning, but it does point out that the aircraft was flying within a “zone of thunderstorm activity”.

The flight recorder registered disengagement of the autothrottle, and Rosaviatsia says the captain manually controlled the aircraft for the remainder of the flight.

Unable to communicate on the approach frequency, the crew restored VHF radio links using the emergency frequency 121.5MHz, and was vectored back to Sheremetyevo while transmitting the squawk code ’7600’ for loss of communication.

The aircraft conducted an ILS approach, in manual mode, to runway 24L.

Rosaviatsia says the aircraft had departed with a take-off weight of just over 43.5t and that its weight upon entry to the glideslope was 42.6t – which, it says, exceeded the maximum landing weight by 1.6t.

As required for the overweight landing, and the direct-law control, the flaps were set to 25°. The crew also upgraded the squawk code to the emergency setting ‘7700’.

The aircraft remained largely stable on the approach – performed in a crosswind from the left of up to 30kt – with an airspeed of 155-160kt.

As the Superjet descended through 1,100-900ft above ground, the crew received five predictive windshear “go around” warnings.

The aircraft began to dip below the glideslope at about 260ft and, at 180ft, a glideslope alert sounded.

Thrust was subsequently increased, with the throttle levers alternately advanced and retarded between 18° and 24° as the aircraft descended to 40ft. This resulted in the airspeed increasing to 164kt as it crossed the threshold and 170kt at 16ft from touchdown.

As the captain retarded the throttle to idle, says Rosaviatsia, he made several alternating inputs to the side-stick with “large amplitudes” – up to the maximum – which resulted in the pitch varying between 6° nose-up and 2° nose-down.

While the aircraft had appeared close to touchdown at about 700m from the threshold, Rosaviatsia says the first three-point contact with the runway occurred at 900m from the threshold at 158kt, when the aircraft experienced an impact of more than 2.5g, and bounced to about 6ft.

Rosaviatsia says the aircraft’s spoilers did not deploy automatically. Aeroflot stresses that its procedures do not require the manual deployment of spoilers until thrust-reverse is activated and the aircraft is settled and stable on the runway.

“In the absence of a stable course the release of the spoilers was impossible,” the carrier adds.

Having bounced, the aircraft touched down 2s later on its nose-gear at 155kt, with a heavy impact of 5.85g, causing the Superjet to bounce a second time, to a height of 18ft. The third, and final, impact occurred at 140kt – reaching at least 5g – and was immediately followed by damage to the aircraft’s structure, a fuel spill and fire.

As the aircraft decelerated through 100kt, sliding along the runway, a fire alarm was triggered in the aft baggage and cargo compartment, followed by a fire alarm in the auxiliary power unit 16s later. The aircraft’s PowerJet SaM146 engines continued operating until the end of the flight-data recorder trace just after 18:31.

Rosaviatsia says the captain had logged 1,570h on type out of a total of 6,844h while the first officer had 623h on type.

The aircraft (RA-89098) had accumulated 2,710h over the course of 1,658 cycles.

Rosaviatsia says the fatalities comprised 40 of the 73 passengers and one of the five crew members, while six passengers and three crew were injured.

Aeroflot stresses that the preliminary information disclosed by Rosaviatsia does not reference errors by the crew or any violation of procedures, and that final conclusions have yet to be released by the investigating authorities.

latestnewsmainpage


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mikenov on Twitter: “#RaufArashukov Vs #Gazprom” – #Google #News – 5:08 AM 5/22/2019 – #Recent #Prosecutions of #Corrupt and #Criminal #Russian #Officials russia-news.org/2019/05/22/203…

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“#RaufArashukov Vs #Gazprom” – #Google #News – 5:08 AM 5/22/2019 – #Recent #Prosecutions of #Corrupt and #Criminal #Russian #Officials russia-news.org/2019/05/22/203…


Posted by

mikenov
on Wednesday, May 22nd, 2019 10:38am

mikenov on Twitter


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FSB detains former deputy head of Karachay-Cherkessia Investigative Committee and head of local anti-extremism dept

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Michael_Novakhov
shared this story
.

In February, both were searched in the case of Senator Rauf Arashukov.

The FSB and the National Guard detained General Kazbek Bulatov, the former First Deputy Head of the Directorate of the Investigative Committee for Karachay-Cherkessia, and Timur Betuganov, Head of the E Center of the republic (anti-extremism department), RBC
reports. In February, both were searched in the case of Senator Rauf Arashukov.

The detainees are suspected of involvement in illegal activities; the charges have not been specified yet.

“Colonel Betuganov was detained early in the morning at his workplace,” said a source close to the investigation.

“Betuganov is currently being held in the building of the Ministry of Internal Affairs for the Karachay-Cherkessia in the department of banditry and terrorism, charges are to be brought against him,” a source told RBC. “He was detained by officers of the federal Investigative Committee and the FSB. Bulatov has also been detained. Two more officers of the Investigative Committee for the Karachay-Cherkessia were detained.”

In early February, Kazbek Bulatov resigned from his post as the first deputy head of the Investigative Committee for Karachay-Cherkessia. As RBC reports, he was the acting head of the department.

Also in February, investigators carried out searches within the case of Senator Rauf Arashukov against the leadership of the republican Ministry of Internal Affairs and the administration of the Investigation Committee, including Bulatov and the head of the E Center, Betuganov.

On January 30, the senator from Karachay-Cherkessia, Rauf Arashukov, was detained in the Federation Council. On the same day, his father Raul Arashukov, an adviser to the general director of Gazprom Mezhregiongaz and a deputy of the National Assembly of the Karachay-Cherkessia, was arrested at a meeting of Gazprom in St. Petersburg.

Rauf Arashukov is charged with crimes under Part 3 of Art. 210 of the Criminal Code (participation in the criminal community), Part 4 of Art. 309 of the Criminal Code (pressure on the witness), Part 2 of Art. 105 of the Criminal Code (murder). According to investigators, Arashukov was involved in the assassinations of Ascha Zhukov, deputy chairman of the public youth movement Adyghe-Khase of the Karachay-Cherkess Republic, and adviser to the president of the Karachay-Cherkessia, Frall Shebzukhov, and pressure on the witness in the murder of Zhukov, as well as participation in the criminal community.

Raul Arashukov is accused of committing crimes under Part 3 of Art. 210 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (creation of a criminal community using its official position), Part 4 of Art. 159 of the Criminal Code (fraud). According to the materials of the criminal case, he was involved in the theft of natural gas from PJSC Gazprom for several years.

Rauf and Raul Arashukov have repeatedly became defendants in the investigations of The CrimeRussia.


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mikenov on Twitter: Russian MP arrested for double murder after he tried to flee senate scmp.com/news/world/rus… via @scmpnews

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Russian MP arrested for double murder after he tried to flee senate scmp.com/news/world/rus… via @scmpnews


Posted by

mikenov
on Wednesday, May 22nd, 2019 10:23am

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Gazprom’s Involvement in Arashukov Case

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Michael_Novakhov
shared this story
from Warsaw Institute.

Russian federal authorities recently detained a number of people who were reportedly linked to Gazprom’s regional subsidiaries, including leaders of an influential clan from Karachaevo-Cherkessiya. Russian Senator Rauf Arashukov was detained at a session of the Federation Council, the Russian parliament’s upper chamber, on January 30 while his father, Raul Arashukov, was taken into custody in St. Petersburg. This is just the beginning of a political purge that may lead to serious turmoil both in the Karachaevo-Cherkessiya region as well as in Russia’s state-run gas giant Gazprom.

The 32-year-old Rauf Arashukov has represented the Karachaevo-Cherkessiya region in the North Caucasus since 2016. Never before has Russian public opinion experienced such a show that included a lawmaker getting detained and handcuffed in front of members of the upper house. Interestingly, Attorney General Yuri Chaika and Federal Investigative Committee head Alexander Bastrykin addressed the senators to strip Arashukov of his immunity. It was only a few minutes before the detainment that the Federation Council closed the parliamentary session to the public while Federal Protective Service officers sealed the building hall’s entrances and exits. During a secret meeting, Russian senators voted to strip Arashukov of his legal immunity and agreed to detain him. The lawmaker was charged with orchestrating a criminal group while additionally being accused of killing two people.

Only an hour later, his father Raul Arashukov was detained at a meeting of Gazprom in St. Petersburg, accused of fraud amounting to 30 billion roubles. The illpractice was to last for many years while the younger Arashukov, who had previously worked in Gazprom’s structures in Stavropol and Karachaevo-Cherkessiya, was reportedly involved in such illegal practices. Rauf Arashukov has served as an adviser to the CEO of Gazprom Mezhregiongaz and a deputy of the republican parliament of Karachaevo-Cherkessiya. Since the late 1990s, he has headed many branches of Gazprom Mezhregiongaz, Gazprom’s subsidiary tasked with selling gas to Russian regions. Interestingly enough, a department in Gazprom Mezhregiongaz where the elder Arashukov worked as an adviser to the general direction should write off Chechnya’s debts, worth a total of 9 billion roubles, according to a statement of a court in Grozny.

The Arashukov family is an influential clan in the Russian republic of Karachaevo-Cherkessiya. Arashukov’s involvement in the contract killings has long been known for everyone yet both men managed to flee from responsibility due to their connections in regional security structures, including the republic’s Investigative Committee. This is probably why investigation against them is being carried out by central structures of Russian Investigative Committee and the Federal Security Service (FSB). So far, a series of searches and other investigative activities have been conducted in Moscow, St. Petersburg, Stavropol, Makhachkala, Astrakhan and other Russian cities. In an official statement issued on the evening of January 30, Russian Investigative Committee claimed that the elder Arashukov’s associates may have been involved in the theft of Gazprom’s resources, which is why they are also to be taken into custody. Raul Arashukov is also being investigated for the murder of Boris Khapsirokov, a businessman from the Donetsk region, which allegedly took place in the late 1990s. He may thus face up to 25 years in prison while his son – even life imprisonment.

How to interpret the intention to hit the Arashukov family then? According to one of many theories, Russian federal authorities sought to demonstrate their intention to fight against corrupt local elites. Such was the case of other Russian republics, including Tatarstan and Dagestan. Current detentions may indicate the beginning of a massive purge in the region. It is also said that recent events may fit into a struggle for taking over Gazprom’s financial profits. Once disclosed, a long-term criminal scheme in Gazprom’s regional subsidiaries may hit the company’s CEO Alexei Miller.

All texts (except images) published by the Warsaw Institute Foundation may be disseminated on condition that their origin is stated.


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Putin’s art of the purge | The Japan Times

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Michael_Novakhov
shared this story
from Japan Times latest articles.

High-level political purges are gathering pace in Russia. The latest evidence came in late March, with the arrests of Mikhail Abyzov, a former minister for open government affairs and — two days later — Viktor Ishayev, a former Far East minister and ex-governor of Russia’s Khabarovsk region. Unsurprisingly, the arrests of such senior figures is having a chilling effect among the country’s elites.

The authorities have arrested or imprisoned three former federal government ministers and a supporting cast of regional officials, all on corruption or fraud charges. A former economic development minister, Alexei Ulyukayev, is currently serving an eight-year prison sentence. The former head of Russia’s Komi Republic, Vyacheslav Gaizer, is on trial and faces up to 21 years in jail. Alexander Khoroshavin, previously governor of the Sakhalin region, was sentenced to 13 years, while his Kirov region counterpart Nikita Belykh — who led the now-defunct liberal political party SPS — got eight years. And Sen. Rauf Arashukov is under investigation for a range of serious crimes.

High-level purges were relatively rare in the Soviet Union following the death of Joseph Stalin in 1953. Until a few years ago, the same had been true of post-Soviet Russia, although several senior statistics officials were imprisoned for corruption in 2004, after a six-year trial. This brought back memories of an earlier era: From 1918 to 1941, there were eight heads of the statistics service, five of whom were shot between 1937 and 1939, under Stalin’s watch.

True, lower-level purges, dismissals and prosecutions are par for the course in Russia. According to the political analyst Nikolai Petrov, the authorities launch 18 to 20 criminal investigations per year into governors, deputy governors and mayors.

But in the post-Soviet era, former prime ministers, deputy premiers and ministers generally considered themselves more or less safe from this risk. They counted on crony solidarity and assumed that the system would not discredit itself by allowing the arrests of retired high-ranking officials. Even the opposition politician Boris Nemtsov, who was gunned down in central Moscow in 2015, believed that he was in no danger from the state because he was a former deputy prime minister.

Whether or not the state was involved in ordering Nemtsov’s murder, the recent arrests of Abyzov and Ishayev have shattered these assumptions. They signal that Putin’s purge now extends to former members of the federal government, who have appeared in numerous official photographs alongside Putin, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev and other members of Russia’s ruling class.

At first glance, these latest arrests would seem to discredit the authorities. After all, Russia’s law enforcement agencies were gathering evidence against Abyzov and Ishayev for years while they continued to serve as ministers. Furthermore, Abyzov’s last position in 2018 was as an adviser to Putin. Are we really to believe that the head of state knew nothing about the business shenanigans (if indeed there were any) of a high-ranking Kremlin official?

Yet public opinion remains indifferent. Most Russians do not see a connection between the prosecution of key figures and the credibility of the authorities. On the contrary, people seem to identify with Putin’s message that the establishment is finally tackling corruption.

But it is the message to Russia’s shaken elites that is more relevant. And that message is straightforward: No one is safe from prosecution, even if — like Abyzov and Ishayev — they have retired from public service and no longer have any influence.

Moreover, selective repression has become harsher. A few years ago, the guilty party would simply be disgraced — as the former head of the Federal Customs Service, Andrei Belyaninov, was when the authorities released a video of their search of his luxury mansion, complete with images of shoeboxes full of dollars. These days, suspects are arrested immediately, especially if Putin is entirely unconcerned about them. This was the case with Ulyukayev and Belykh, who belonged to the group of in-system liberals and Abyzov, who was considered to be a Medvedev man. And if Abyzov’s arrest keeps Medvedev on edge, all the better.

For Putin, reminding Russia’s elites that no one is untouchable is the best way to keep them on their toes. Any sensible people’s commissar serving under Stalin kept a bundle of essentials packed and ready in case of sudden arrest. Putin’s underlings would be well-advised to do the same. Moreover, they should understand that dismissal from their post, far from being the end of an unpleasant episode, may turn out to be just the start of something worse.

The current purges also send a message to Russia’s next generation of officials, namely that inappropriate political behavior or excessive focus on their own business interests will be punished. Purges played nearly the same role under Stalin. Back then, fresh-faced people’s commissars and their deputies knew that they had drawn a winning ticket when their former bosses were arrested (or worse). But the young commissars also understood that in this state-sanctioned lottery, their ticket might just as easily become an arrest warrant.

Similarly, Putin prefers to have new technocrats in ministerial and gubernatorial positions. They are loyal officials aged between 40 and 50, preferably unconnected to any local elites, driven to meet their targets and with no ambition to tackle political issues.

These newcomers are already scared by the continuing purges and will not undertake anything without the leadership’s approval. That will put any genuine modernization in Russia on hold — just as Putin intends.

Andrei Kolesnikov is a senior fellow and the chair of the Russian Domestic Politics and Political Institutions Program at the Carnegie Moscow Center. ©Project Syndicate, 2019


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mikenov on Twitter: #Contempt or #impeachment?: #Trump and #Democrats #locked in #ultimate #congressional #battle | #US #news | #TheGuardian theguardian.com/us-news/2019/m…

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#Contempt or #impeachment?: #Trump and #Democrats #locked in #ultimate #congressional #battle | #US #news | #TheGuardian theguardian.com/us-news/2019/m…


Posted by

mikenov
on Wednesday, May 22nd, 2019 9:47am

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mikenov on Twitter: RT @Franklin_E_T: Now that we know the FBI is corrupt and treasonous, it’s time to revisit the “official narrative” of 9/11 in search of th…

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Now that we know the FBI is corrupt and treasonous, it’s time to revisit the “official narrative” of 9/11 in search of the real truth newstarget.com/2019-05-19-fbi…


Posted by

Franklin_E_T
on Wednesday, May 22nd, 2019 8:45am
Retweeted by

mikenov
on Wednesday, May 22nd, 2019 9:33am

1 retweet

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mikenov on Twitter: 5:08 AM 5/22/2019 – #Recent #Prosecutions of #Corrupt and #Criminal #Russian #Officials russia-news.org/2019/05/22/203…

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5:08 AM 5/22/2019 – #Recent #Prosecutions of #Corrupt and #Criminal #Russian #Officials russia-news.org/2019/05/22/203…


Posted by

mikenov
on Wednesday, May 22nd, 2019 9:13am

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Donald Trump’s cocoon is all he has left

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Michael_Novakhov
shared this story
from Palmer Report.

“President” Donald Trump has a protective cocoon around him. For whatever reason, those around him tend to protect him. Nowhere has this been more readily apparent than in the lawyers who worked at the White House and the Department of Justice. Government attorneys owe their allegiance and dedication to the United States of America and are not hired by, or on the private payroll, of any president. That is how it has worked for 230 years, but it apparently has broken down.

Attorney General William “Fu” Barr is a good example of this cocoon of Trump. FuBarr has claimed that Trump was wrongly accused, and so his obstruction of justice is justified. And this week, Barr stated in an interview that he is defending Trump because he “felt the rules were being changed to hurt Trump, and I thought it was damaging for the presidency over the long haul.” 

FuBarr gives not a clue of what rules had been changed, but if he means the rule of law, it has not been changed. And make no mistake, he is not concerned with the office of president in general, at least not if it is occupied by a Democrat in the future. He is only cocooning Trump.

Another example is Don McGahn, who was White House Counsel. That position offers advice to the president in his official capacity and does not serve as the president’s personal attorney. In a letter from his attorney confirming his no show at the House Judiciary Committee, McGahn’s position was outlined: “Mr. McGahn remains obligated to maintain the status quo and respect the President’s instruction.” Reports are that Trump has suggested that the RNC stop using McGahn’s law firm if he agrees to testify. These government attorneys are all providing a cocoon around Trump. The rule of law is being cast asunder, and a constitutional crisis may be afoot.

Daniel is a lawyer writing and teaching about SCOTUS, and is the author of the book “The Chief Justices” about the SCOTUS as seen through the center seat.


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