Winnipeg Jets claim Antti Miettinen off waivers from Tampa Bay Lightning

WINNIPEG, Alberta — The Winnipeg Jets claimed forward Antti Miettinen off waivers Tuesday from the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Tampa Bay signed the 31-year-old free agent to a two-year, $3 million deal Monday, but had to wait for Miettinen to clear waivers.

Miettinen began the season in Russia’s KHL with the Kazan Ak-Bars, registering two goals and six assists in 20 games. He played with Minnesota during the 2010-11 season, when he had 16 goals and 35 points in 73 games.

Miettinen has appeared in 472 career NHL games with the Dallas Stars and Wild, recording 89 goals and 212 points.

The Jets also activated defenseman Ron Hainsey from injured reserve.

Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press

Russian ice dancers shine at Cup of China

The Russian duo of Ekaterina Bobrova and Dmitry Soloviev have won the ice dancing contest at the Cup of China.

The European silver medalists performed a flawless free dance to take the title with 163.52 points, claiming the career record in line.

They finished well ahead of Maia and Alex Shibutani of the United States overall.

Meanwhile, Russian pair Yuko Kavaguti and Aleksandr Smirnov easily claimed their first event of the season, finishing on top in both the short program and free skate to win it with a score of 186.74.

Another Russian, 14-year-old world junior champion Adelina Sotnikova finished third in the women’s event. She was outshone by Italy’s Carolina Kostner, who won despite a couple of wobbly landings, and American Mirai Nagasu.

Elsewhere, Russian Artur Gachinsky finished fifth in the men’s event, despite leading the pack after the short program.

Lebedev overwhelms Toney to clinch WBA cruiserweight belt

Denis Lebedev didn’t sent James ‘Lights Out’ Toney to canvas, as he had pledged to do, but that didn’t stop him from winning the WBA cruiserweight belt in a one-sided bout in Moscow.

The Russian dominated throughout the whole fight against the decorated American fighter and was close to finishing it before time. But the 43-year-old found some hidden reserves and each time survived Lebedev’s assault.

During his long professional career, Toney had never been knocked out – and nor was he on the night. However, that didn’t really upset Lebedev as all three judges unanimously gave all 12 rounds to the Russian fighter. The final score, 120-108, speaks for itself.

After the fight Lebedev paid tribute to his opponent.

“With all respect to James and his team I wanted and deserved to win more,” he stressed afterwards.

Thus, the 32-year-old southpaw, who knocked out Roy Jones Jr in his previous fight, made amends for his split-decision defeat to Marco Huck for the WBO cruiserweight title in Germany last December and has now deservedly won the WBA belt.

Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout found guilty of selling weapons to Farc rebels

Former Soviet military officer and international arms dealer Viktor Bout, nicknamed the ‘Merchant of Death’ and whose colourful life partly inspired a Hollywood movie, has been found guilty of trying to sell heavy weapons to Colombian rebels.

The verdict brings a dramatic end to one of New York’s most high-profile trials in recent years. It also put a stop to the career of the world’s most notorious arms dealer who prosecutors argued has provided weapons that have fuelled bloody conflicts around the world.

Bout, 44, had denied any wrongdoing in the case, which alleged he had been willing to sell a vast amount of lethal weapons and ammunitions to the Colombian rebel group the Farc, which he knew could be used to “kill Americans” who were helping the Colombian government. The shipment was to have included surface-to-air missiles, 20,000 machines guns, grenades, mortars, high explosives and 10m rounds of ammunition. Bout had argued that he was merely a businessman who happened to run an air freight operation in conflict zones.

Bout was caught in an elaborate sting operation by the US Drug Enforcement Agency, whose informants posed as weapons buyers for the Farc. He was arrested in Thailand where he had believed he was to be meeting the buyers, and was then extradited to the United States.

Anti arms-trade campaigners enthusiastically welcomed the news of the guilty verdict.

“The verdict in the Viktor Bout trial closes the book on one of the most prolific enablers of war, mass atrocities and terrorism in the post-Cold War era. We should all be grateful that the world is safer now that the man who armed the hotspots of the globe is behind bars,” said Kathi Lynn Austin, executive director of the Conflict Awareness Project and former United Nations investigator, who had followed the trial.

Some experts used the verdict to call for a tightening of international controls on the arms trade, saying Bout’s career had long flouted huge loopholes which allowed the easy spread of weaponry into the world’s conflicts.

“It is tragic that because we have no global treaty regulating the activities of arms dealers, many other unscrupulous dealers and brokers will continue to operate … we can’t rely on well-paid informants to catch all rogue traders. The answer is better global regulations,” said Oistein Thorsen, an arms trade
campaigner at Oxfam International.

Lawyers for Bout had offered what prosecutors called the “planes defence” where they claimed that their client had no intention of selling any weapons but acted like he had so he could sell two old cargo aircraft for $5m. But prosecutors had poked holes in the defence with the use of secretly recorded conversations in Bangkok between Bout and the informants he believed were acting for the Farc.

On one tape an informant said that he wanted to kill Americans in Colombia.

“Kill them, and kick them out of my country,” the informant said on the tape. “They don’t care where they go any more.

“They go here, they go there. They go wherever they want. Why?”

Bout was quoted as replying: “Yes, yes, yes. They act as if … as if it was their home.”

The informant then testified that during the same conversation, Bout wrote down a list of weapons he could provide on a sheet of paper and told him: “And we have the same enemy.”

Asked what that meant, the informant responded: “He was referring to the Americans.”

Bout’s case was also hit by the testimony of his business associate, South African Andrew Smulian, who took the stand against him as part of a plea deal.

Smullian, 70, was accused of the same crimes as Bout. He pleaded guilty to all counts and agreed to testify against his former associate, hoping to reduce his own prison sentence, a minimum of 25 years.

Smulian said that Bout had said that for a downpayment of $20m he could air-drop 100 tonnes of weapons into Colombia. It was Smulian who had initially approached Bout in Moscow about setting up the deal with the Farc.

Bout now faces the possibility of life in prison at a sentencing hearing in February. He hugged one of his legal team as he left the court room. Defence lawyer Kenneth Kaplan expressed disappointment at the verdict.

“It was a tough case,” he said afterwards.

But Manhattan attorney general Preet Bharara welcomed the court decision. “Viktor Bout was ready to sell a weapons arsenal that would be the envy of some small countries. He aimed to sell those weapons to terrorists for the purpose of killing Americans. With today’s swift verdict, justice has been done and a very dangerous man is behind bars,” Bharara said in a statement.

Bout’s personal history is shrouded in mystery, as is much of the detail of his career, as he spent several decades criss-crossing the world and doing business in some of the globe’s deadliest war zones. He is believed to have sold arms to a dizzying array of countries and rebel movements often playing both sides of the same war.

Bout’s dealings have included the US, the Taliban, the Northern Alliance and various groupings in Africa from Congo to Sierra Leone. His career became so notorious that the Yuri Orlov character played by Nicholas Cage in the 2005 film Lord of War is believed to have been partly based on Bout.

Vettel wins India’s maiden Grand Prix

Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel has won his 21st career Formula 1 race after crossing the finish line first at India’s first-ever Grand Prix.

­The German collected the so-called Grand Slam at Buddh International Circuit in Greater Noida, starting from pole, leading from start to finish the lap and setting the fastest lap time.

“Yes, boys. Yes, we did it,”
Vettel shouted over the team radio. “The first Indian Grand Prix. Fantastic challenge, we did it.”

McLaren’s Jenson Button overtook Mark Webber of Red Bull for third on the first lap and never gave the position away, seeing the checkered flag 8.4 seconds after Vettel.

Meanwhile, Webber failed to keep his third place, letting Fernando Alonso pass due to Ferrari’s better work on the last wave of pit stops.

Russia’s Vitaly Petrov stopped just a place away from the Top 10 and his Lotus Renault team leave India without a single point.  

There are two races remaining in the current F1 season, with all the titles already decided.

Vettel became the drivers’ champ for the second year in a row, while his Red Bull team successfully defended the Constructors’ Cup.

Tipsarevic, Cibulkova win Kremlin Cup

Serbian top seed Janko Tipsarevic won the Kremlin Cup on Sunday, while the women’s title went to Czech eighth seed Dominika Cibulkova.
Tipsarevic, who lost the 2009 final to Russia’s Mikhail Youzhny, went one better on Sunday, beating compatriot and No. 2 seed Viktor Troicki 6-4, 6-2 in a one-sided encounter for his second ATP title of the year.

Cibulkova was made to sweat for her first career title, however, fighting back from a set down to edge Estonia’s Kaia Kanepi 3-6, 6-7, 7-5 in a contest that approached the three-hour mark.
The men’s final was a match between two best friends, Tipsarevic said, even to the point where the competitors felt bad going for winners.
 “Psychologically it was really tough,” said the world No. 14. “Especially at the start of the match; we didn’t even go for shots, we just hit the ball back and forth across the net,” said Tipsarevic, who triumphed in Kuala Lumpur earlier this month.

Troicki, who beat Tipsarevic in their only other tour match and lifted the Kremlin Cup last year, put the loss down to “Janko’s stunning game.”
“Today he was stronger and won deservedly.  In the second set, I just couldn’t fight psychologically.”
Cibulkova, the world No 23, was on the brink of losing a fourth career WTA final before turning it around in the second set tiebreak and battling back for victory.

“In the first set I defended more, playing to my opponent’s strengths,” said Cibulkova. “But in the second, I told myself I have nothing to lose, and started to play more aggressively.”
Kanepi is ranked 43 and took her first WTA crown in Palermo last year.
“I’m disappointed, but I’ll try to stay positive and look forward with hope,” the Estonian said before quipping that some retail therapy will help take the edge off the defeat.

Romney-backer is biggest Occupy Wall Street donor

Ex-banker Robert S Halper says he is “a little A.D.D.” with his philanthropy. Though he’s reached the cap on contributions to Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign, that hasn’t stopped the giving — he pledged $20,000 to start Occupy Wall Street.

Halper tells The New York Times that he initially rolled his eyes at the idea of Occupy Wall Street, but even still he offered up $20,000 to Adbusters, the anti-corporation Canadian magazine that helped start the protests. Despite initially being disinterested in the idea, Halper, a former banker that made his fortune on Wall Street, donated $20,000 to Adbusters magazine after discussing plans for the protests over dinner earlier this year with the publication’s founder, Kalle Lasn.

“I was more interested in talking about health care,” Halper tells The Times of his steak dinner with Lasn from a few months earlier. In the past, however, he estimates that he has given upwards of $75,000 towards the magazine, a regular recipient of the 100 grand or so he gives out to various causes every year. So, The Times says, “he wrote a check . . . and returned to his life in New York.”

Now one month into the ongoing movement, Halper says he regularly makes visits in Zuccotti Park in Lower Manhattan to talk to the protesters.

Then there is the $2,500 he gave to Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney.

“My giving is a little A.D.D. — like me,” he told The Times. Typically Halper makes his contributions to causes related to health care and the arts, but met Romney at a recent fundraiser and decided to cut him a check as well. Although $2,500 is the most a private donor can offer up to a presidential campaign, it is merely one-tenth of the recent check he signed to Adbusters.

It seems as though Halper more easily relates to the demonstrators in downtown New York than the former Massachusetts governor thankfully, so more donations could easily be in the future. Although the GOP top-tier candidates have largely ignored the ongoing protests, Halper himself says that his time at Zuccotti Park have allowed him to see things in a different light.

“If there’s pain, it should be shared,” Halper tells The Times. “The people who have money — they should pay something more, whether that’s in taxes or somewhere else.”

While only in his 40s, Halper retired in 2007 after a successful career on Wall Street.

“The whole thing is very surreal to me — the fact that I spent my whole career right across the street,” he tells the Times from just across Zuccotti Park. “It makes me a little anxious, to tell you the truth. It could go anywhere. I just pray that it ends peaceful.”

As the protests were still in its early stages, Mitt Romney called them “dangerous.” From New Hampshire yesterday, however, Romney discussed the movement once again, but was hesitant to offer support yet.

“Are there bad actors on Wall Street? Absolutely. And are there bad actors on Main Street? Absolutely,” he said. “All the streets are connected – Wall Street’s connected to Main Street. And so finding a scapegoat, finding someone to blame, in my opinion isn’t the right way to go.”

Romney is likely to touch on the ongoing movement this evening during tonight’s televised GOP debate live from Las Vegas.

Velikaya crowned best fencer in the world

Russian sabre fencer Sofiya Velikaya fought her way to gold at the World Championships in Catania, Italy.

­The Russian was trailing by five points to Olympic champ Mariel Zagunis of the US in the women’s individual final, but managed to cut the deficit and win by a 15-14 scoreline.

It is Velikaya’s third career world championship gold, with her two previous successes coming in the team sabre event in 2004 and 2010.  

Julia Gavrilova, another Russian who lost to Zagunis in the semis, and Ukraine’s Olga Kharlan took the bronze.

The overall medal count is topped by hosts Italy, with three golds, one silver and one bronze.

‘I felt like I could have won my latest bouts’

Russia’s Fedor Emelianenko is preparing for an encounter with one of the best American mixed martial artists. The Last Emperor is set to face American Jeff Monson in Moscow on November 20, knowing defeat could spell the end of his fighting career.

“Who never falls never stands up”

– the words of a man who dominated the mixed martial arts heavyweight division for a decade.

That changed last year. Fedor Emelyanenko suffered his first defeat in June 2010. Brazilian Fabricio Werdum forced the Russian to tap out. That, in essence, kick-started a downward spiral on the canvas with subsequent losses to Antonio Silva and Dan Henderson.

Retirement had been an option for the 35-year-old, but Emelianenko insists he is far from done and wants his throne back.

“In the three bouts I lost, I felt like I could’ve won. But the win somehow eluded me. I felt I could do it. I had chances, but God’s will was different,” says Fedor.

The opportunity to get back to winning ways will be a unique one. Fedor is set to take part, for the first time, in a Pro Mixed Martial Arts clash in Moscow.

Jeff Monson is the man who stands between him and redemption on November 20.

The 40-year-old is a two-time World Submission wrestling champion who got his nickname “Snowman” from his Brazilian Jui-Jitsu counterparts as a mark of respect for his ice-cold demeanor under pressure.

“Fedor is a legend. I said a long time ago that he’s the best heavyweight of all time. To have the privilege to fight him is an honor. But I’m gonna train hard and I only take fights and expect to win. But it’s gonna be a very difficult challenge,” says Monson.

Those sentiments find an echo with Fedor, for whom it is less a fight than the re-launch of an entire career.

No stone, it seems, has been left unturned in the build-up.

“Fedor will have a great training camp in the Netherlands with both strong wrestlers and stand-up fighters there. I’m going to invite Vinnie Magalhaesh. He’s just won the world submission wrestling championships, and beat no less than Fabricio Werdum in the finals. So he can be considered the world’s best wrestler at the moment,” Fedor’s promoter Vadim Finkelstein shared.

There are no end of fans looking forward to seeing Fedor rise again, but the man himself is remaining composed as usual.

“Victory. That’s what will be at stake for me in this match. And I will fight for it,” he pledges.

His greatness is beyond question, his legacy secure, though one suspects Fedor himself believes a win next time out is the only option.

Supply and Demand on the Local Labor Market

Supply and Demand on the Local Labor Market

Published: September 21, 2011 (Issue # 1675)


Assembly line workers in St. Petersburg earn an average of 20,000 to 25,000 rubles ($640 to $800) per month.

It’s a sad fact of life that what one loves to do does not always translate into a viable career.

And while it is true that those who are most passionate about their professions are usually better professionals, the realities of the market often narrow the field to the point that it is sometimes more sensible to look for a career that can provide a living wage rather than relying solely on criteria such as job satisfaction. When ideas of prestige motivate people in their choice of career, such as in Russia where lawyers and economists are seen to be the most authoritative professions, the market becomes saturated reducing both demand and wages.

“All of the professions are in demand. It’s wrong to say that one profession is more sought after than another,” said Yury Virovets, president of the recruitment company. “I think that claims about the abundance or lack of certain specialists are doubtful. More likely it’s an abundance of people with higher education and elevated salary demands lacking the knowledge and skills to be awarded such compensation.”

“Nonetheless, there are objective market demands and, in general, fewer pilots will always be needed than programmers or sales managers,” he told The St. Petersburg Times.

Government officials, however, admit that Russia lacks qualified workers: Fitters, factory workers and technicians.

“Highly qualified professionals are in demand now,” Virovets said. “And not only office workers, but also blue-collar workers.” But with an average monthly salary of about 20,000 rubles ($720) in St. Petersburg, the government won’t see many young people willing to become an assembly line worker. Moreover, these professions are not considered to be prestigious by youngsters and their parents. Yet having these specialists is, along with white-collar workers, essential for the country’s sustainable development.

The demand for highly qualified engineers is also growing. According to HeadHunter research from August 2011, there were 80 percent more vacancies in the sphere of the extraction of raw materials than a year ago. They are not only offered a good salary but, in some cases, the opportunity to travel if the company has foreign partners.

Arina Medvedeva, a senior consultant with the Avrio Group Consulting recruitment agency, said that sales professionals have been in demand for the past several years. And since high sales figures are always needed, the companies monitor the recruitment market and try to retain valuable specialists, according to Medvedeva.

“Here we can see efforts to ‘poach’ employees,” she said. “The main incentive is, of course, material motivation. Those who offer better packages always win.”

The employment situation in St. Petersburg has its own peculiarities. “We are seeing demand for technical and engineering specialists grow,” Medvedeva said. “Young and active professionals who know English are also sought as foreign… companies rapidly develop a presence in the city.”

Marketing and PR specialists are some of the least viable professions in St. Petersburg, according to Medvedeva. “The number of specialists is several times higher than demand,” she said. “The main reason is that many companies have their head offices in Moscow. Thus the major demand for marketing analysts, advertising agents and PR specialists is in Moscow.”

Russian ice-hockey plane crash survivor dies in hospital


One of the only two survivors of last week’s plane crash that wiped out almost the entire Lokomotiv Yaroslavl ice-hockey team died in hospital on Monday, hospital officials said.

Alexander Galimov, a Yaroslavl native, began his career in 2004 and was a member of the silver-medal winning Russian U20 team at the 2005 World Junior Ice-Hockey Championships. He also played for the senior national team. He was 26.

“Alexander Galimov died from severe burns in the burn center of the Vishnevsky Institute of Surgery,” the statement said.

“We did everythng possible to save him,” burn specialist Andrei Alekseev said.

Forty-five people died on Wednesday afternoon when a plane carrying the Lokomotiv Yaroslavl ice-hockey team crashed during take-off near Yaroslavl, some 300 kilometers from Moscow.

Galimov, who had suffered burns to 90% of his body, was sent to Moscow Institute of Surgery on Thursday together with another survivor, crew member Alexander Sizov.

Sizov was moved from intensive care to a ward on Monday and his life is now out of danger, hospital officials said.

Police eyewitnesses said that Galimov walked away from the wreckage of the plane.