An exclusive look inside Russia’s Arctic military base

Kotelny Island, Russia (CNN)Six time zones east of Moscow, on the frozen landscape of the New Siberian Islands, a new military race is taking shape. Russia’s Northern Fleet moved into the base in 2016. There, military personnel don’t have to face the harsh Arctic weather unless on duty. The “closed cycle” base has its residential and operations blocks, interconnected and the only standalone building there is a tiny Orthodox chapel some 20 meters from the heart of the base. Russia is also tightening its grip on the Northern Sea Route, which falls into the Russian Exclusive Economic Zone and cuts the shipping time from Europe to Asia by 40% compared to Suez Canal route. This month, Moscow announced that foreign …

European parliament votes to scrap daylight saving time from 2021

Directive would apply to UK if it stayed in EU, and also during Brexit transition period The European parliament has voted to scrap the twice-a-year custom of Theresa Mays Brexit deal. Member states would be able to choose whether to remain on permanent summer or permanent winter time under the draft directive, which passed by 410 votes to 192. Countries that wanted to be permanently on summertime would adjust their clocks for the final time on the last Sunday in March 2021. Those that opt for permanent wintertime would change their clocks for the final time on the last Sunday of October 2021. It is the latest step in the EUs harmonisation of daylight saving time first launched in the …

Iceland to let more than 2,000 whales be killed within the next five years

(CNN)Only two whaling companies remain in Iceland. It’s a small industry that conservationists say is inhumane, has minimal economic benefits, and defies the international ban on killing whales. “Whaling in Icelandic waters is only directed at abundant whale stocks, North Atlantic common minke whales and fin whales, it is science-based, sustainable, strictly managed and in accordance with international law,” a ministry spokesperson said in a statement. But activists and conservationists disagree. The Icelandic Environmental Association criticized the research on which the Fisheries Ministry based its quotas. And Whale and Dolphin Conservation (WDC), an organization aimed at protecting whales around the world, said whaling is no longer beneficial to Iceland’s economy and lacks public support. “This is a country that’s embraced …

As Trump seeks an exit from Afghanistan, Moscow steps in

Moscow (CNN)The Trump administration may be negotiating an exit from Afghanistan, but Russia is stepping up its game there. Then there was the guest list, topped by Hamid Karzai, who served as Afghanistan’s president from late 2001 until 2014 and still has enormous political stature. It was striking to see him sitting at the table in Moscow with representatives of the Taliban. Karzai, who was escorted into Afghanistan by a US special operations team during the campaign to topple the Taliban in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, had long reached out to what he called “Taliban brothers” in efforts to coax them toward peace negotiations. But he was also infuriated by a US-supported effort to create a Taliban office …