The activists are being investigated for piracy. Russia extended the detention of Greenpeace activists for up to two months as it presses piracy charges against 30 campaigners for seeking to board an Arctic oil platform, a move the organization says will spark an international outcry. Investigators have opened a criminal case against the activists for piracy, a charge that carries a maximum prison sentence of 15 years. Nineteen countries are affected by this, and in the context of not very good relations with the European Union this isnt useful for Russia, Vladimir Chuprov, head of the energy program of Greenpeaces Russian branch, said today in a phone interview from Moscow. This isnt what President Vladimir Putin needs right now. A crackdown by Putin on the opposition and civil society after winning a third Kremlin term last year has provoked criticism in Europe and the U.S. Ties with the U.S. are also frayed over support for opposing sides in the 2 1/2-year conflict in Syria and Russias decision to grant asylum to former American security contractor Edward Snowden. A court in the Arctic port of Murmansk has ruled to prolong by two months the detention of two Russians, photographer Denis Sinyakov and Greenpeace spokesperson Roman Dolgov, and five foreign citizens, one from the U.S., one from Poland , one from New Zealand , one from Canada and one from France , the organization said on its Russian branchs Twitter account. 30 Rulings A Dutch national and a Swedish citizen had their detention extended by 72 hours, Greenpeace said. Six judges are expected to deliver 30 individual rulings, Elena Kukina, the courts spokeswoman in Murmansk, said by phone. The measures against the activists may be relaxed and their detention cut short at the discretion of investigators, Interfax reported, citing Vladimir Markin , spokesman for the Investigative Committee. Putin said yesterday that while the Greenpeace campaigners clearly arent pirates, they violated international law by trying to seize a drilling platform and alarmed officials who didnt know who was attempting to take over the facility. Russias Coast Guard boarded Greenpeaces Arctic Sunrise ship in international waters on Sept. 19, a day after two protesters scaled an OAO Gazprom (GAZP) rig in the Arctic and towed the vessel to Murmansk two days ago.

U.S., Russia Agree On Syria U.N. Chemical Arms Measure

Sent! A link has been sent to your friend’s email address. Join the Nation’s Conversation To find out more about Facebook commenting please read the Conversation Guidelines and FAQs Russia, Belarus hold joint war games AP 1:21 p.m. EDT September 26, 2013 Story Highlights Massive joint military exercise involved more than 22,000 troops Russia and Belarus are allies and have close ties Thursday’s joint exercise was their biggest so far SHARE 1 CONNECT 17 TWEET COMMENTEMAILMORE MINSK, Belarus (AP) Russia’s President Vladimir Putin and his Belarusian counterpart have watched a massive joint military exercise of the two ex-Soviet neighbors that involved more than 22,000 troops. The West 2013 exercise conducted Thursday near the city of Grodno in western Belarus and in Russia’s westernmost Kaliningrad region also involved more than 500 armored vehicles and about 90 aircraft along with ships of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet. Russia and Belarus are allies and have close economic, political and military ties. Russia has several military facilities in Belarus, and the two nations operate a joint air defense system. The two armies have regularly conducted joint maneuvers, Thursday’s exercise being the biggest so far. Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko attended the exercise along with his nine-year old son, who donned full combat fatigues. Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Flesh-Eating Street Drug from Russia Hits the US

Weve known about it in Russia, and weve known what it has done there. Its really decimated whole cities there. Krokodil is made up of several ingredients easily accessed at home improvement stores and pharmacies. The base of the drug is usually codeine. Pure codeine is extracted from its pill form and adulterated with chemicals to create a liquid substance that is later injected into the veins. The types of chemicals used by manufacturers vary. Some of the chemicals theyve used are very dangerous, LoVecchio said. Theyve used things like hydrochloric acid. Some have used paint thinners, gasoline and other stuff that includes phosphorous. The acidity of the chemicals causes the bodys fat and skin to burn off and die, LoVecchio said. The presence of chemicals also makes the body more prone to infection. Immediate effects include visible scarring on the skin. Long-term effects are much worse. Once you start using this drug on a daily basis, you could die within two years, he said.

(AP Photo/Local Committee of Arbeen) This citizen journalism image provided by the Local Committee of Arbeen which has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting, shows dead bodies of Syrian citizens in Arbeen town, Damascus, Syria, Wednesday, Aug. 21, 2013. (AP Photo/Local Committee of Arbeen) A Syrian family sits in a tent at Kawergost refugee camp in Irbil, 217 miles (350 kilometers) north of Baghdad, Iraq, Wednesday, Aug. 21, 2013. (AP Photo/Hadi Mizban) Syrian refugees stand in a queue to receive free food at Kawergost refugee camp in Irbil, 217 miles (350 kilometers) north of Baghdad, Wednesday, Aug. 21, 2013. (AP Photo/Hadi Mizban) Syrian refugees wait to receive a tent at Kawergost refugee camp in Irbil, 217 miles (350 kilometers) north of Baghdad, Iraq, Wednesday, Aug. 21, 2013. (AP Photo/Hadi Mizban) Syrian refugees wait to receive a tent at Kawergost refugee camp in Irbil, 217 miles (350 kilometers) north of Baghdad, Iraq, Wednesday, Aug. 21, 2013. (AP Photo/Hadi Mizban) Syrian refugees gather for food aid at Kawergost refugee camp in Irbil, 217 miles (350 kilometers) north of Baghdad, Iraq, Wednesday, Aug. 21, 2013. (AP Photo/Hadi Mizban) Syrian refugees wait for food aid at Kawergost refugee camp in Irbil, 217 miles (350 kilometers) north of Baghdad, Iraq, Wednesday, Aug. 21, 2013. (AP Photo/Hadi Mizban) A Syrian military soldier holds his AK-47 with a sticker of Syrian President Bashar Assad as he stands guard at a check point on Baghdad street, in Damascus, Syria, Wednesday, Aug.