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Direct Line with Vladimir Putin: Some of his best hotline answers

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© Sputnik/ Evgeny Biyatov
As Russian President Vladimir Putin prepares to field questions from around Russia and beyond on Thursday, at his next large Q&A conference, we take a look at some of his most interesting and witty answers from his previous hotlines.

Putin's hotlines have become a well-established tradition throughout the years of his presidency. Since his first live session, in April 2001, people from all over Russia have had the chance to ask him whatever they want to, be it about politics, economics, global affairs or even the president's personal life.

Here are some highlights that we have selected for you.

To a pensioner who asked if Alaska could follow Crimea's example:
"Faina Ivanovna, dear, what would you need Alaska for? We're a northern country. 70 percent of our territory is in the North or Far North. Is Alaska in the southern hemisphere? It's cold there as well. Let's keep cool about it."

Comment: Gracious, adept, good humored and inspiring. These are the kind of qualities that should be seen in all world leaders.


Heart

Mother elephant is overcome with emotion when reunited with her daughter after three years apart

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After a 62-mile (100km) trek through the Thai jungle, Me-Bai, the small calf can be seen nuzzling her mother, Mae Yui, and joyfully flapping her ears in the Elephant Nature Park sanctuary in the north of the country
The old adage that an elephant never forgets appears to be true, based on a touching video showing an Asian elephant returning to her mother after years apart.

After a 62-mile (100km) trek through the Thai jungle, Me-Bai, the small elephant can be seen nuzzling her mother, Mae Yui, while the pair joyfully flap their ears and caress each other with their trunks in the Elephant Nature Park sanctuary, in the north of the country.

Me-Bai was sold to provide rides for tourists in Thailand when she was three-and-a-half years old, and didn't see her mother, who also worked in the trade, for three years.

It is particularly sad because females tend to stick together in herds until they die, sharing incredibly strong bonds. They are very rarely separated before the calf is five years of age.

The small elephant left the tourism trade 'because she [Me-Bai] was too young [and] began to lose weight and could not carry the tourists any longer,' according to Elephant News' YouTube page.

Me-Bai was recently rescued and brought to the sanctuary after a tiring 62 mile (100km) trek in the hot sun that lasted four days.


Mr. Potato

Hillary running for president in 2016 - God help us all

Well, let's be honest America. Our only real "choices" in the upcoming bread and circuses election 2016 are really going to be Jeb Bush (Establishment) or Hillary Clinton (a Bush offshoot, more Establishment).

Bad Guys

The pros and cons of body cameras for police

Following several high-profile civilian deaths at the hands of police officers, many Americans have called for the mandatory use of body cameras by law enforcement as a means of curbing the excessive use of force and providing clear accounts of officers' actions. Here are some of the pros and cons of body cameras for police officers:

PROS
  • Provides accurate record of where police were when they turned off their body camera
  • Helps to reinstate trust between Americans and surveillance
  • Unlimited footage of police officers breathing heavily during a foot chase
  • Turning camera askew allows officers to record beatings with stylish Dutch angles
  • More things to watch
  • Finally gives Americans glimpse at what it's like to turn on that siren and gun it straight through a red light
CONS
  • Major invasion of privacy for police officer and man he has in chokehold
  • Costs money that could be used on machine guns and armored vehicles
  • Police brutality might lose its mystique
  • Those could be anyone's arms bashing citizen with nightstick
  • Distracting to officers who must now shift focus to cinematography and mise en scène
  • Is still only going to be the irrefutable video evidence's word against the police officer's

Snowflake Cold

It's an icy cold spring in Germany - obviously, it's Putin's fault

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Funny. This ridiculing of hardline German media propaganda against Russia has gone completely mainstream in Germany. Very well done, it comes from a very popular German language news satire website called The Global Morning Post Observer. It's full of similar stuff.

This article originally appeared at Allgemeine Morgenpost Rundschau (The Global Morning Post Observer)
Translated by Tom Winter at Fort Russ.


Our sparrows are not singing from the rooftops, for the sparrows are frozen solid. The Russian president once again is dealing his devilish game in Deutschland.

Instead of springtime here in Germany, we have to undergo sleet and ice storms, such as never before have greeted the month of April. Whether it is an April Fool, or a serious provocation of Russian president Vladimir Putin awaits further investigation.

V

Ironic: Illicit Snowden statue removed in NYC park

Runners and dog-walkers in Brooklyn's Fort Greene Park were greeted with an unusual sight yesterday morning: a 4-foot tall bust of National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden.

The pair of anonymous artists responsible tapped arts and culture blog ANIMAL New York to film the guerrilla installation, which was covered and eventually taken down by the city parks officials by mid-day Monday. The artists' developed a contingency plan that involved 3-D printing "an army of mini-Snowden heads." Although, to-date, no such back-up forces have arrived, a group of locally-based political artists known collectively as The Illuminator projected a holographic image of Snowden in the place where the bust had briefly stood last night.

Before dawn, the small crew donning construction attire hauled the 100-pound statue, made by a sympathetic sculptor on the West Coast, into the Prison Ship Martyr's monument, built to commemorate the 11,000 American soldiers who died on British ships during the Revolutionary War. Snowden's likeness was placed atop an empty column. Rather than bronze, the statue was constructed out of hydrocal, a substance often used in Las Vegas casinos to replicate castles and Romanesque statues in gaudy displays. They spared no detail, ensuring that the color of the bust and Snowden's last name, spelled out at the column's base, fit perfectly into the rest of the monument.

Water

Report: Majority of Earth's potable water trapped in Coca-Cola products


Experts estimate that the average can of Coca-Cola contains nearly 12 ounces of potable but entirely inaccessible freshwater.
Corvallis, Oregon—Fueling humanitarian concerns over the vital resource's scarcity in many parts of the world, a report published Wednesday by researchers at Oregon State University has found that 68 percent of the earth's supply of potable water is trapped in Coca-Cola products.

According to top experts, the new report marks the first comprehensive attempt to measure the planet's freshwater reserves and determine exactly how much of it is currently locked inside sources such as Coke, Diet Coke, Caffeine-Free Coke, Dr. Pepper, Barq's root beer, and other Coca-Cola beverages, making it impossible to use as drinking water, or for bathing or cooking.

"Less than 3 percent of the earth's water is fresh, and of that, more than two-thirds exists in the form of Coke products incapable of serving any human need," said the report's lead author, Samer Ghosh, adding that the amount of freshwater that's not trapped in the brand's line of colas has been steadily declining for years. "There are vast, untapped quantities of potable water within these sodas, and they can be found in heavy concentrations throughout the world's grocery stores, vending machines, and home refrigerators. Unfortunately, though, we have no way of extracting it."

"Our own country has enough water in its Vanilla Coke Zero to fill Lake Michigan, but in its current state that water is useless to us," he added.

Comment: See also: Coca-Cola and Nestle are sucking us dry without our even knowing effectively privatizing water supplies


Bomb

Historic nuclear weapon talks end with the US agreeing to keep all of their bombs

© Waterford Whispers News
Following eight days of tense negotiations in Switzerland, America has increased fears by confirming it will keep almost all of its reported 1900 deployed nuclear warheads along with its over 5000 additional unarmed nuclear warheads.

Conversely the news that Iran's nuclear program would slow down significantly to the point where they will still have zero warheads was met with warm applause from citizens around the world.

Many citizens in the Middle East and its surrounding environs were pleased to hear that a country which regularly carries out questionable drone strikes in several sovereign nations has reaffirmed its commitment to owning nuclear weapons.

"I think if America was trying to be oppressive in any way they would hide their weapons away and out of sight," explained Yemeni national Aaban Abad, "but instead they take them on world tours on big aircraft carriers, showing them off. I think it's their way of saying 'look, don't listen to all that nonsense, here are our weapons you are free to have a look'".

Robot

Going Postal, by JoyCamp - Official Trailer

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© Joy Camp
Thanks for watching and subscribing! This is the opening video of a much larger piece - more coming soon!

Going Postal is about a disgruntled mailman who confronts the impending future as Amazon's drone delivery service takes over his route, and his life...


Donut

Jon Stewart slams Big Food for 'Death menu of artificial chemicals, antibiotics and cool ranch carcinogens'

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© alternet
"Making food slightly less bad for you craze is spreading," according to Jon Stewart in his "the Snacks of Life" segment on The Daily Show.

From sharing the announcement by McDonalds that it will only buy chicken raised without antibiotics within the next two years to Dunkin' Donuts eliminating the chemical that gives its powered donuts that bright, white look, Stewart hammers Big Food for turning our "food supply into an addictive, fattening, death menu of artificial chemicals, antibiotics and cool ranch carcinogens." He also exposes the new "KIDS eat right" label that Kraft is helping to financially support via the not so academy of Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.