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Putin vows to boost Russian population

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Prime Minister Vladimir Putin on Monday vowed to reverse Russia’s demographic decline and boost its population to 154 million, as he ramped up his re-election campaign in the face of protests.

In a new campaign article addressing his core constituency including employees of state companies and blue-collar workers, Putin also promised salary hikes to teachers and doctors and pledged to create a more just state.

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Putin reeled off a list of social policies that he said could reverse a demographic decline and boost Russia’s current population that has now dwindled to almost 143 million.

“In a global sense we are facing the risk of turning into an ’empty space’ whose fate will not be decided by us,” Putin said in an article published on his campaign website and mass circulation newspaper Komsomolskaya Pravda.

“If we manage to formulate and implement an effective complex people-saving strategy, Russia’s population will go up to 154 million.”

“The historic price of the choice between action and inaction is nearly 50 million human lives over the next 40 years,” he said in the piece, his fifth campaign article since January.

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After serving two consecutive presidential terms between 2000 and 2008 and a term as prime minister, Putin is seeking a third term in the March 4 presidential election.

He is however struggling with the worst legitimacy crisis of his 12-year rule, with tens of thousands taking to the streets in December and earlier this month.

Putin said one in eight Russians still lived below the poverty line, adding that the gap between the rich and the poor was too wide.

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He said that by 2018 the income of university teachers, professors and doctors will stand at 200 percent of the national average, also promising 5,000 ruble ($167) stipend hikes to students.

“Every ruble going into the social sphere should ‘create justice,'” Putin wrote. “The just arrangement of our society and economy is the main condition of our sustainable development over the next year.”

Putin has written four articles since January on subjects including Russia’s politics, economy and illegal immigration, although he has refused to take part in televised debates with other candidates.

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Max Boot calls BS on Republicans for trying to claim Syria is Nancy Pelosi’s fault because of impeachment

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President Donald Trump is conducting foreign policy like a 1980s television character, according to conservative Washington Post columnist Max Boot.

In a panel discussion about the letter Trump sent to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdo?an, Boot mocked Republicans for suddenly trying to claim that Trump's withdrawal from Syria was Speaker Nancy Pelosi's fault because of impeachment. It is unclear if Republicans are confessing the president is too distracted by impeachment to be making foreign policy decisions or if they are blaming Pelosi for military decisions.

"I mean there's a lot of really lame Republican talking points out there, Don," Boot said to CNN host Don Lemon. "But to suggest, as Rep. Liz Cheney and others have done that somehow Trump's inexplicable decision to give the Turks the green light to invade Syria — that was somehow the fault of Nancy Pelosi because of the impeachment process? What?"

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US military had to bomb our own base in Syria because of Trump’s mistakes — and one Republican is furious

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President Donald Trump's decision to withdraw in Syria in less than 24 hours put American troops at risk as they were being fired on by Turkey. However, according to the Wall Street Journal , the military was also forced to bomb our own military base.

Republican Rep. Adam Kinzinger, who has been critical of Trump's decisions in the past months, pointed out the factoid in a tweet Wednesday evening, asking, "Is this the America you grew up believing in?"

https://twitter.com/RepKinzinger/status/1184650759377473536

"On Wednesday, the U.S. military said two F-15E jet fighters carried out an airstrike to destroy an ammunition-storage facility, latrines, tents and other parts of the Syria headquarters of the American campaign to destroy Islamic State after pulling its forces from the base," reported The Journal.

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Sondland was going to testify Trump gave the impression they should coordinate with Giuliani on Ukraine: report

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European Union Ambassador Gordon Sondland is slated to give testimony Thursday to the House committees on President Donald Trump's Ukraine scandal.

Sondland was slated to tell investigators that Trump gave him the impression that he and two other officials should coordinate with the president's personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, The New York Times said in an explosive report Wednesday.

"That command effectively created a foreign policy back channel that cut the State Department and National Security Council out of deliberations involving a pivotal ally against Russia," The Times reported.

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