Russia’s involvement in Africa over the last decade has attracted attention particularly when it has involved Moscow’s use of private military companies to support one or another side of civil conflicts there (see Jamestown.org, January 10, 2020; see EDM, January 20, 2021) or when it has sought to establish a longer-term military presence in the form of local bases or dual-use facilities (see EDM, November 25, 2020). But far less attention has been given to Russian diplomatic efforts, economic involvement, and use of soft power to gain allies, in large measure because Moscow has been able to act in these areas without the kind of opposition that the projection of military power almost inevitably generates (see EDM, February 12, 2020 and December 4, 2019).Two years ago, Moscow launched major campaigns in all these areas, and two weeks ago (February 16, 2021), Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov signaled, during a meeting with his Togolese counterpart, Robert Dussey, that the Kremlin has great expectations as a result. He said Moscow wants to build on the cooperation established by the 2019 Russian-African summit in Sochi and plans to use two institutions created as a result of that event—the Association for Economic Cooperation With the Countries of Africa and the Russia-Africa Partnership Forum—as the primary channels to achieve those goals. That will set the stage, Lavrov continued, for the convocation of the second Russia-Africa summit next year. He acknowledged Russia is “still a little behind other countries in dealing with Africa” but said it plans to make up the time it lost after 1991. Indeed, Lavrov assured his Togolese hosts Moscow will soon muster even more influence in Africa than it had in the Soviet past (Mid.ru, February 16).Exactly what Russia’s strategy in Africa looks like in this regard has now been outlined by Leonid Fituni, the deputy head of the Russian Academy of Sciences’ Center for Global and Strategic Research. According to him, Moscow seeks to avoid going head-to-head against other powers active in Africa and rather is focusing on the numerous situations in which neither the West nor China is yet active. There, Russia can achieve real progress because such heretofore neglected African countries welcome the attention and are far more ready to cooperate with Russia in ways that benefit both without setting off alarm bells. Moreover, Fituni told Svobodnaya Pressa, Moscow can operate there far more inexpensively than is the case where it must compete with Western or Chinese governments and companies. As a result, Russia can and is building alliances that can help it across the board, as it is currently doing in Sierra Leone (Svobodnaya Pressa, February 26).The time for such an approach, however, may pass quickly, the Russian Academy of Sciences expert warned, because although “the African continent is one of the zones where attitudes toward us [Russia] are not bad,” that could change quickly. Not only may the West and China become more active there, but also, in many African countries, “about 60 percent” of all media content comes from the outside, mostly from the West but also from China. That content is altering how many Africans view the world—and not in Russia’s favor. To counter this influence, Moscow must reaffirm its commitment to mutually profitable cooperation, something it can do not only by purchasing raw materials from Africa but also by selling it Russian pharmaceuticals and other goods Africa needs. Russians who think that such cooperation will open the way to Soviet-style “feeding of Africa” and thus work against them forget, Fituni said, that Russia lost many markets when the Soviet Union disintegrated. Today, it needs Africa as a marketplace to compensate for what it lost with the absorption of Eastern Europe and the Baltic States into the European Union (Svobodnaya Pressa, February 26).Moscow has the opportunity to move in that direction because United Nations and World Trade Organization (WTO) rules make it easier to trade with developing countries, Fituni asserted. But at the same time, he argued, Russians must drop their outdated, erroneous and prejudiced stereotypes about Africa. It is not “a land where wild and uneducated people live.” Instead, it is a center of industrial and scientific development. “In certain areas,” Fituni continued, some African countries are more advanced than Russia, which both they and Moscow can mutually take advantage of. The West and China, of course, can be counted on to interfere with Russia’s efforts, but Moscow can still achieve its goals by focusing on developing ties with countries they have ignored. To the extent it can succeed, Russia will come out a winner and at lower cost than anyone imagines.That approach—one emphasizing building relations with less prominent countries like Sierra Leone or Togo—has drawn criticism in Russia itself by those who believe the Kremlin is interested in showcasing easy victories even if they are so small as to be irrelevant. Such people point to the joint declaration of Lavrov and Dussey in which the two countries agreed to oppose any first use of force in space as essentially absurd given that Togo does not have any space program at all (APN, March 2). But that criticism ignores something that Moscow is not: By gaining support from such smaller countries, it adds to its leverage in the UN and other international bodies. Indeed, many of Russia’s biggest victories in such bodies, including the International Olympic Committee, have come about because of the support (including votes) of countries no one else took the trouble to cultivate.And at least some of these states are open to being cultivated. When Dussey was in Moscow, the media in his home country noted that in foreign relations of all kinds, “Moscow has several advantages” over the West and Beijing. Namely, Moscow lacks a colonial past in Africa, it supported the national liberation movements, and many current Togolese officials are products of Soviet and Russian universities (Republicoftogo.com, February 16). Such people and such countries can be expected to be responsive to Russia, especially if the West and China are not making similar economic, political and other “soft power” efforts.
AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterTwitterShare to EmailEmailEmailShare to RedditRedditRedditShare to MoreAddThisMoreMost of us love to be connected and surrounded by friends, but sometimes being pulled in a hundred different directions makes you forget about the interests you would pursue if you were by yourself. If you feel this way, you are not alone – but you may need to be.There are far more interactions and distractions in our daily lives than ever before, causing our brains to be on sensory overload. If meaningful, the interactions can make us feel connected. Being in a distracted state, however, can make us feel disconnected, which can lead to loneliness.Learning howto rejuvenate by enjoying your own company is a great first step to reducing loneliness. Spending quality alone time can fuel your creativity, help you focus, de-clutter your mind, decrease anxiety, improve your social interactions and actually make you feel less lonely.Here are a 10 tips to help you love, and long for, your alone time.1) Know the Difference between Loneliness, Being Alone and Quality Alone TimeThe ability to feel lonely is innate in all of us. As described in a study published in the Perspectives on Psychological Science and reported by Big Think exploring the origins of loneliness, we have physiological and psychological reactions pushing us to seek human interaction in order to survive. Because of this instinctive need to connect, we tend to measure our social success by how many friends we have online and offline and like to socialize with an entourage.RELATED: Learn How to Spend Time Alone So You Can Unlock Your CreativityThe volume of interactions we face today, however, means that even if we are not socializing and are physically alone, we are not necessarily getting the quality alone time our body and mind need in order to best function. Not turning “off” means we are still “on.”2) Take Space to “Space Out”Being “on” can be exhilarating but also exhausting. We need eight hours of sleep every night so our bodies can revitalize but when do our minds get refreshed? For every action, there is a reaction. While we are at work, in a conversation with friends, running errands, our mind and body are constantly reacting. If we allowed ourselves not to react, we would space out a lot more than is probably socially acceptable. Sometimes, it is good to be in full solitude to have the space to just space out.3) Make it a Want Even if it is a NeedIf you are an introvert or suffer from Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), quality alone time is not only something you seek but it is also essential to your health and happiness. Social interactions for introverts deplete energy whereas for extroverts, they boost energy. People with ADD tend to get overwhelmed by too many distractions and need more time alone than others do to give their busy brains a rest.POPULAR: Tearful Man Sees Bald Lady Alone in Car Returns to Buy Her Flowers (Watch)With ADD prevalence rising and the emergence of “introverted extroverts” who require a certain amount of solitude to offset social activities, the majority of us could benefit from making quality alone time a necessity.4) Stop Judging YourselfSociety tells us that there are situations that are acceptable to be alone, such as in a library, and there are those where a lack of companion by your side means a lack of companionship in your life, such as a concert or weekend getaway.Research shows that an important reason for people’s inhibitions from partaking in public, enjoyable activities alone is their concern that others will judge them if they do. Yet, we overestimate how many people will notice or care and anticipate significantly more negative reactions from others than we will actually receive.So stop judging yourself and go see that movie that you’ve been dying to see that your partner has no interest in and all of your friends have already seen.5) Focus on your Own ExperienceYou may be setting the bar too high to find friends or a partner that share every single same interest as you. Can’t find anyone to take a cooking lesson, join a volleyball league or take a dance class with you? Do it alone and you may enjoy it even more than doing it with someone who doesn’t share your same enthusiasm. Doing an activity you enjoy alone allows you to focus on your own experience instead of ensuring someone else is also having a good time.ALSO: Dog Hailed as Hero After Refusing to Leave Goats Alone in Wildfires6) Trust that Others May also be AloneChances are if you had the courage to go alone, someone else may have too. This is a great way to meet like-minded people that share a similar interest. We are more likely to meet new people when we are alone as we are more approachable and it seems more natural to strike up a conversation with a stranger. So in getting to know yourself you may, in the process, make a new friend that shares a similar interest.7) Create Mini Vacations in Mundane ActivitiesIn the same way that an employer encourages you to take your vacation days so that you come back to work refreshed, your family and friends need you to create mini vacations for yourself in your every day life. Turn your long commute home into a joy ride by using this built-in time alone. Allow yourself to reflect on your day without talking, emailing or texting anyone about it. “Taking time in solitude to reflect [on activities] is just as important as the activities themselves,” says Joseph Murray, an associate professor of education at Bucknell University who has studied development for more than 20 years. Your loved ones may miss you but they will be thankful for the state you are in once you reconnect.8) Talk to YourselfDon’t try this with others around, but we can get so lost in our thoughts that sometimes, it helps to say them out loud. Do this while driving and pretend like you’re on the phone. The good thoughts sound better and the bad ones sound worse. Just talk it out with yourself. Creativity flourishes in solitude so who knows, during this “self-therapy” you may actually come up with a few pretty great ideas.FAVORITES: Woman Reads to Shelter Dogs to Ease Their Loneliness—And Her Own9) Don’t Expect Too Much and Stick With ItHave you ever noticed how you need a few days into a vacation to unwind? We may need a few tries to actually enjoy alone time and to get its benefits. Expectations are a heavy thing. What I “should” be doing, what I “should” be thinking. It might take some time to remember what it is that you enjoy doing when no one is watching, when no one is expecting anything of you. Do that thing. It can be as little as catching up on your favorite show, getting your hair done or going for a bike ride.10) Become More SociableSometimes making social plans feels like an obligation if we’re running around from one thing to the next. Instead of wanting to be left alone, we start to long for social interaction if we’ve set quality time aside for ourselves. Social outings become something we choose, not something we have to do.Nurturing your independence can also give you more self-worth, make you feel more capable and less needy in a relationship. Once you have found satisfaction on your own and allowed time to explore your interests and your partner has done the same, it is fun to re-unite. You’ll have more to talk about and will have allowed space to miss each other.Once you have re-connected with yourself, you can connect with others in a more meaningful way.Share to Help a Friend… Or, (Photo by Hernán Piñera, CC)AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterTwitterShare to EmailEmailEmailShare to RedditRedditRedditShare to MoreAddThisMore
Emmanuel Adebayor insists he has no regrets about leaving Manchester City and described his time at the club as a “headache”.Adebayor joined Tottenham on a season-long loan in August after being frozen out of Roberto Mancini’s plans since last December.He told BBC Sport: “I wish them the best of luck, but do I wish to be part of that team right now? No.“Whenever I woke up last year to go into training it was a headache.”Mancini’s expensively-assembled side have moved to the top of the Premier League in Adebayor’s absence, but the former Arsenal striker said he is not missing life at City after quickly settling into his new surroundings in north London.“You want to be in a house where you feel comfortable,” added the former Togo striker. “Even if the house is a palace, you want to be loved and you want to be happy.”Adebayor declined to comment directly on Mancini but there was clearly a breakdown in relations between the pair. It is reflected in his unstinting praise for his new boss.“Harry Redknapp is a fantastic manager,” Adebayor added.“He knows how to talk to players. You need that belief from your own manager. He tells you just to go out there and do your thing. That is what Harry has got more than anyone else.”Adebayor has scored three goals in six games this season to help edge Tottenham closer to the top four and qualification for the Champions League. “We have to do everything it takes to go beyond that line,” he said. “Hopefully, we can achieve that as a goal.”Adebayor said he was impressed with the strength of Tottenham’s squad and it is not only Rafael Van der Vaart, Luka Modric and Gareth Bale who have caught his eye.“Every morning when you come in you see lots of lads working hard in the gym to be fit for the weekend which is a very good sign,” added Adebayor.Tottenham’s next game is against Queens Park Rangers on Sunday.
ABC/Craig Sjodin(LOS ANGELES) — Taraji P. Henson, who’s on the digital cover of the December issue of SELF magazine, opens up inside about her struggles with mental health and menopause.“Sometimes, the weight is just too much and to put on that facade like you are strong all the time is exactly what it is, a facade; that’s whack,” the actress told the magazine.In the feature Henson, revealed that she struggles with depression and anxiety, something she realized about two years ago when she would get mood swings.“I would get so low, really, really low, beaten, like never before,” she said. “You may have those days [when] you’re like, ‘Oh, I just don’t feel like getting out of bed. I just want to sleep in,’ but you don’t feel heavy. I was just starting to feel heavy a lot, [like] suffocating. …It just came out of nowhere.”Henson said at first she didn’t realize that some of those mood swings could be related to menopause, but after checking in with her therapist, she learned how to cope with and manage those highs and lows.“[That confirmation] made me feel better, but now I still have to manage it,” said Henson. “That just means talking to my therapist when I feel this way, doing things to get me out of the muck.”Now, Henson is working to help others struggling with mental health issues, especially young children, through her nonprofit, The Boris Lawrence Henson Foundation. Launched in 2018, it’s named after her father, who was thought to have suffered from bipolar disorder.“I think my mental health foundation picks up where my art leaves off,” Henson said.Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.
By Elisa ScartonWITH a touch of purple and a hint of yellow, 15-year-old Ella Buczak shaded her way to victory…[To read the rest of this story Subscribe or Login to the Gazette Access Pass] Thanks for reading the Pakenham Berwick Gazette. Subscribe or Login to read the rest of this content with the Gazette Digital Access Pass subscription.
By ANEEKA SIMONIS LAKESIDE residents whose backyard privacy was destroyed by a council pathway were disappointed to learn council will…[To read the rest of this story Subscribe or Login to the Gazette Access Pass] Thanks for reading the Pakenham Berwick Gazette. Subscribe or Login to read the rest of this content with the Gazette Digital Access Pass subscription.
By CAM LUCADOU-WELLS AN ICE-addicted man has been jailed for looting copper tubing during several commercial burglaries including at a…[To read the rest of this story Subscribe or Login to the Gazette Access Pass] Thanks for reading the Pakenham Berwick Gazette. Subscribe or Login to read the rest of this content with the Gazette Digital Access Pass subscription.
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Julien Locke of Nelson combined forces with three other Black Jack Ski Team members to capture the bronze medal in the men’s cross country team race Saturday on the final day of action at the 2015 BC Winter Games in Prince George.Locke, 21, combined with Rosslander Geoffrey Richards 22, David Palmer, 21 of Revelstoke along with Kimberley’s Colin Ferrie 21, to finish behind champion Team Ontario. Team Quebec won the silver medal.Team BC finished its final day of competition by winning another 12 medals including, two gold, six silver, and four bronze, bringing the host province’s total medal count to 88.Last Monday, Locke, who was hampered by a cold during the Cross Country competition, finished 22nd in the 10 kilometer classic race and sixth in the men’s 1.5 km classic sprint on Tuesday.Locke departs from the Canada Winter Games for a short training period before the National Championships in Thunder Bay and the US Super Tour Finals in Sun Valley, ID.His goal is for podium finishes in the sprints and finish top 10 in the distance races at those events.
“It was a very challenging weekend for us due to the number of players that we had missing with injuries or other commitments,” said coach Kerry Dyck.“Even though it was a small tournament, with only local teams, I was very proud of the effort and result, given the adversity the boys had to overcome to achieve it, and that we were playing up an age,” Dyck added.Dyck said this was the third tournament this season where we had to play up at U16, and in those three events we came away with one silver medal and two golds.Mallard’s Source for sports is a firm believer of giving its best at all times and would like to honour the Nelson Selects U15 Boys as Team of the Week.The team includes coach Kerry Dyck, Thomas Baxter, Ernesto Archambault, Liam Jones, Jacob Erickson, Blake Markin-Hellekson, Keanu Tromans, keeper Bradey Sookero, Ezra Foy, Jesse Thurston, Jahmal Truth-Verville, Aidan Mushumanski, Josh Yasek, and Jaden Dyck. It was a golden moment for the Nelson Selects U15 Boys at the inaugural Kootenay South Eye of the Storm tournament in Castlegar.Nelson Selects, playing up a division, outlasted their U16 rivals 5-3 to claim the gold medal in the U16 Boy’s Division Sunday in the Sunflower City.