Russia suspends nuclear arms treaty after US threatens the same

In response to the US threatening to withdraw from the long standing Nuclear Forces Treaty if Russia didn’t comply with it, Russia has responded by withdrawing from the treaty.

I don’t know if this signals the reigniting of another nuclear arms race, or if Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump are just playing some sort of brinkmanship.

Whatever it is, it looks like a sign of deteriorating relations between the US and Russia.

Reuters:  Russia suspends nuclear arms treaty after U.S. says to pull out

Russia has suspended the Cold War-era Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty, President Vladimir Putin said on Saturday, after the United States said it would withdraw from the arms control pact, accusing Moscow of violations.

The United States announced on Friday it will withdraw from the INF treaty in six months unless Moscow ends what it says are violations of the 1987 pact.

It would reconsider its withdrawal if Russia came into compliance with the agreement, which bans both nations from stationing short- and intermediate-range land-based missiles in Europe. Russia denies violating the treaty.

“The American partners have declared that they suspend their participation in the deal, we suspend it as well,” Putin said during a televised meeting with foreign and defense ministers.

Putin said Russia will start work on creating new missiles, including hypersonic ones, and told ministers not to initiate disarmament talks with Washington, accusing the United States of being slow to respond to such moves.

“We have repeatedly, during a number of years, and constantly raised a question about substantiative talks on the disarmament issue,” Putin said. “We see that in the past few years the partners have not supported our initiatives.”

During the meeting with Putin, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov accused the United States of violating the INF and other arms deals, including the non-proliferation treaty.

Back to cold war style blaming each other for what they want to do themselves.

Trump seems to have had a night off Twitter so no response from him yet.

 

Twitter suspending accounts, Young Green affected

Twitter has been doing a major clean up of accounts, and the Young Greens seem to have been affected.

Reuters: Twitter shares fall after report says account suspensions to cause user decline

Shares of Twitter fell 9 percent on Monday after a report said the social media company had suspended more than 70 million fake accounts in May and June, which could lead to a decline of monthly active users in the second quarter.

The company has suspended more than one million accounts a day in recent months to reduce the flow of misinformation on the platform, the Washington Post reported late on Friday, citing data it obtained.

I don’t know if it’s related to that, but a Young Green co-coordinator has had his account suspended.

Young Greens of Aotearoa @YoungGreenNZ:

The official youth wing of the Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand. 🌱 Authorised by Gwen Shaw, Level 1, 17 Garrett Street, Wellington

While Max’s tweet has been deleted from the account, with an explanation posted:

Finn Jackson is one of the YoungGreens Social Media Coordinators.

I have no idea how old ‘Max’ is now, but suspending an account because he started it before he was 13 is a curious claim. When asked how they found out on Facebook:

Idk must’ve done some math based on my birthday

This is the Max:

Max Tweedie, Young Greens Male Co-Convenor

Max Tweedie

Co-Convenor (Any Gender)

Based in Auckland

Max began his Green Party journey as Co-Convenor of the Mana Electorate Branch in Wellington. Since then he has campaigned with Jan Logie, sits on the Rainbow Greens exec, and has worked for the Party Office in Wellington.

Max currently works for the New Zealand AIDS Foundation as a Volunteer & Events Officer, as well as the lead on youth. He has previously held roles with World Vision New Zealand as well.

Max’s passion for progressive politics was born out of 2013 Marriage Equality debate, at the stark realisation that human rights weren’t guaranteed, rather they must be fought for. Since then he has endeavoured to work for and volunteer for causes he believes improve the lives of many, and works towards justice for marginalised people across the world. He’s in the Green Party because he believes that revolutionary, progressive structural change is the path forward for this nation, and is looking forward to working with communities across Aotearoa to achieve this. When he’s not working or volunteering, he’s either drinking wine or sleeping.

When he is not working towards “revolutionary, progressive structural change” he is drinking wine and sleeping. He must be 18 by now, so Twitter must have check his age back to 5 years+ of Twitter use to have suspended his account for having an account younger than 13.

Curious to see that Young Greens have a Co-Convenor (Female) and a Co-Convenor (Any Gender).

So their Social Media Coordinator has had to step in and delete a Tweet and ‘clarify’ the use of their twitter account by a co-coordinator (which seems to be the lead co-role in the Young Greens).

It looks like he is going to tweet with another account;

Victoria Walsh You can take over my Twitter.

Max Tweedie Omg yes

Victoria Walsh I’ll give you my log in tomorrow. It’s all yours till you’re free from twitter jail.

 

Second blunder by Work and Income with same beneficiary

A woman has had her benefit cut for the second time – Work and Income have admitted another blunder.

RNZ in April: Woman told her benefit was cut because of Tinder dates

The Ministry for Social Development has apologised to a woman who was told her benefit was stopped because she had been on two Tinder dates.

The solo mother of three said she told her Work and Income case manager the man paid for dinner and a movie, and the case manager said it was a dependent relationship.

The South Auckland woman, who RNZ has agreed not to name, said she told her case manager about the two dates because she was trying to be up front.

The case manager pulled a card from her desk and described what a relationship was to the woman.

“She then asked me whether on my dates he had financially paid for me,” she said.

“I said yes, but that I had offered to pay for myself.”

The case manager then said if he was paying for her dates then she could rely on him for money and WINZ will see that as a relationship, she said.

The woman has been on the benefit since January after her former employer tried to swap her shifts into night shifts, which she couldn’t take-on with three young children.

She said the incident left her feeling ashamed and stressed.

“The way they speak to me, it’s really nasty.”

Quibbling over who pays for a date is oppressive.

But it gets worse. Today RNZ reports: Woman has benefit wrongly suspended for second time

The Ministry of Social Development has admitted it again failed to follow proper process, by not following up with the woman after she told them her daughter would be staying with her grandmother for part of the week.

That was so her daughter didn’t have to change schools after the family moved from west Auckland to South Auckland, the woman said.

Because it meant a change to her circumstances, and she was on the sole parent benefit, the woman knew she should tell Work and Income.

“I knew that this was a big change, I didn’t want to get in trouble so I thought, you know, I’ll call just I just want to be safe.”

But her sole parent benefit was suspended.

The woman said she made repeated attempts to get in touch with Work and Income to sort it out – to no avail.

It was only when she got an advocate from Auckland Action Against Poverty involved that anyone listened.

This looks bad on it’s own, but also suggests fundamental problems in Work and Income. If one person has their wrongly benefit stopped twice there seems to be a good chance similar is happening to others – potentially many others.

Ministry of Social Development group general manager of client service delivery Kay Read said the woman had received an apology.

“We’re sorry, we made a mistake.”

Ms Read said the woman did the right thing by telling Work and Income about her change of circumstances.

“This was then entered by one of our staff into our system without us having a conversation with her to actually learn more about the situation.”

Because the woman still had two children in her care, who were born while she was on the sole parent benefit, Ms Read said she should have transferred on to a jobseeker benefit, but that didn’t happen.

“We should’ve had the conversation… and explained that if we’d taken the time, either phoned her or talk with her at the time she dropped that in, we would’ve understood her circumstances in much greater detail and in fact we wouldn’t have had to adjust anything.”

The mistake was caught before the woman missed a payment, Ms Read said.

But the woman said having her benefit suspended twice has made her question how worthwhile it is to be honest with Work and Income.

Not being honest could end up with much worse repercussions.

It’s hard enough on beneficiaries having to report things like dates, but made far worse when Wirk and Income punish them (wrongly) for being honest.

The government has promised major changes to the culture at Work and Income, as part of its overhaul of the welfare system.

This looks overdue. It could be difficult getting the balance right. Having to report things like social contacts seems oppressive, but I doubt a no questions asked approach to benefit payments will be acceptable either.

Eligibility for benefits needs to be simple, clear and fair.

Russian trade talks suspended indefinitely

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has announced – late on Friday – that the Government has suspended trade talks with Russia, and had she didn’t know when or if they would be started again. Minister of Foreign Affairs Winston Peters has agreed with the suspension.

Stuff – PM: ‘The situation has changed’ – trade talks with Russia put on ice

The Government has suspended efforts to restart negotiations for a free trade deal with Russia.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says “the situation has changed” and both her and Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters were agreed that any trade talks that had restarted would now be suspended again.

Ardern said she didn’t know when, or if, the Government would be in a position to restart those talks.

The commitment towards an FTA with the Russia-Belarus-Kazakhstan customs union is included in NZ First’s coalition agreement with Labour.

The change of direction comes after months of Peters being clear on his plans to work towards a FTA with Russia.

Just yesterday via RNZ – Russia talks won’t hinder EU trade deal – Peters

Foreign Minister Winston Peters says he has had no indication that New Zealand’s pursuit of a free trade deal with Russia would hinder ongoing negotiations with the European Union.

Mr Peters said there was no indication from the European Union a deal with Russia would compromise the talks with the EU, which have been ongoing since 2015.

“And I would not expect them to make a comment like that, I know that we’ll taking up conversations with them in a matter of weeks.”

There was a conversation of “some length” with the the Russian foreign ministry about a trade deal at the East Asia Summit in the Philippines last November, Mr Peters said.

It was too early to say how the attempted poisoning of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter in Salisbury, England, could affect the relationship between New Zealand and Russia, and any trade talks, he said.

UK Prime Minister Theresa May said today there was “no alternative conclusion” than to believe Russia was “culpable” for the attempted murders.

The incident had “somewhat complicated” the issue of a trade deal, Mr Peters said.

“However, other past events saw the conversations continue so I don’t at this point in time see it as our number one priority.”

Complicated enough that a day later Ardern has ruled out any continuation of conversations with Russia on trade.