Planet News Views

Friday, February 10, 2006

Russian President Putin Could Gain Popularity With Ice Cream Publicity

Last month Nestle became the global leader in ice cream after gaining full ownership of Dreyer's ice cream company, a Nestle press release announced.

Almost as impressive, Russian President Vladimir Putin gave Nestle ice cream some big time publicity just by eating the famous brand, a article shows.

At first glance and second glance too, it sounds like a stroke of marketing genius, but no matter how it came about, President Putin made points, softening his image.

Russia's goals of retaining membership in the G-8, an elite club of the eight most advanced countries, and entrance into the World Trade Organization depend on economic factors but also its leader's popularity.

The world seeing the softer, "sweeter" side of the Russian President was good publicity for him and the Nestle ice cream company.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Russian President Vladimir Putin Holds Annual Press Conference, As Reported By Pravda.Ru

The Russian President answered questions for more than three hours; Russia's policies, political issues and "Sovietologists" were among the topics, wrote the Russian newspaper

On the same day U.S. President Bush gave his nationally televised State of the Union Message, Russia's President Vladimir Putin held a press conference in the Kremlin. The speech and question and answer session were open to Russian and foreign journalists, reported in the English language version of its online newspaper.

Putin responded to one question that so-called specialists in history of the Soviet Union, which he referred to as "Sovietologists", were not going away even though the USSR no longer existed, according to Pravda.

The newspaper added, "As for the "Sovietologists" Putin was obviously talking about the US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice."

Pravda went on to quote Putin as saying some of these individuals don't understand processes in Russia and other countries.

Russia's membership in the G-8, the eight most industrialized nations that hold an annual meeting, was defended by Putin, and the Russian President also talked about energy issues and Russia's economy, according to the Russian newspaper article.

The full article on President Putin's press conference can be accessed at

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Lawsuit Attempts To Stop Telephone Company's Involvement in NSA Surveillance Program

By Scott McLean

Assuming a leading role in the fight against surveillance without court authorization, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) Tuesday filed a class-action lawsuit against AT&T.

The organization accused the US telephone company of "violating the law and privacy of its customers by collaborating with the National Security Agency (NSA) in its massive and illegal program to wiretap and data mine Americans' communications," EFF said in a press release.

The eavesdropping program was first reported by The New York Times in December and since that time President Bush and the NSA have heard criticisms from various organizations.

The controversial use of wiretaps without court approval amounts to a federal agency listening to conversations yet not getting a court warrant.

Last week the American Civil Liberties Union called for an thorough investigation of the wiretapping program. The President in a press conference called the wiretapping program "legal" and added that only terror suspects calls were being monitored.

Since the time the public became aware of the program, now it is believed that millions of American telephone and internet communications have been intercepted and analyzed, EFF stated.

"The NSA program is apparently the biggest fishing expedition ever devised, scanning millions of ordinary Americans' phone calls and emails for 'suspicious' patterns, and it's the collaboration of US telecom companies like AT&T that makes it possible," said EFF Staff Attorney Kevin Bankston.

An injunction to stop the telephone company from participation in the NSA program as well as billions of dollars in damages for violating federal privacy laws are being sought in the lawsuit, the EFF commented.