The administration of Russian President Dmitri Medvedev has invited Poland’s general Wojciech Jaruzelski to the 65th anniversary celebrations of the end of WW2.
Twelve heads of state have already confirmed their presence at the anniversary. Moscow said it was still waiting for responses from Poland, Britain, the USA, the Czech Republic, Greece, Canada and Israel, among others.
General Jaruzelski was also named as one of the nine former heads of state who had fought in World War 2, among them USA’s George Bush senior and France’s Valery Giscard d’Estaing.
In 2005, General Jaruzelski attended the Moscow celebrations of the 60th anniversary of the victory over Nazi Germany, along with then Polish President Aleksander Kwaśniewski. (ek)
Wojciech Jaruzelski has said he is not a piece of Lech Kaczynski’s luggage, in a new twist to the story of the General, the President and the invitation to the 65th anniversary celebrations in Moscow.
Jaruzelski - who announced yesterday he will be going to the event after being invited by Russian president Dmitry Medvedev - is waiting for an official call from President Lech Kaczyński before he joins him on board the presidential plane travelling to Moscow for the 65th anniversary of Victory Day, 9 May.
“I will not invite myself on board,” said Jaruzelski - who presided over the martial law period in Poland - on hearing from unofficial sources that his request to travel alongside the president would be granted if he made a personal request to President Kaczynski.
Responding to comments made by presidential officials saying there would be room for the 86-year-old general on the aircraft, Jaruzelski stated that such remarks are usually made “about suitcases, not people”.
Wojciech Jaruzelski urged President Kaczynski - who has yet to accept, officially, the invitation to go to the event - to attend, adding that to decline would be perceived as “Russo-phobia”.
President Kaczynski - a prominent member of the Solidarity trade union which brought down communism, and General Jaruzelski, in Poland - is said to be worried that the event will turn into a Russian propaganda exercise.
“The organisation of the commemorations will replicate Russia’s interpretation of World War II,” said presidential spokesman Paweł Wypych.
Poland’s participation in the event must be visible, said the presidential official, alluding to the 60th anniversary held five years ago, when the then president Aleksander Kwaśniewski was seated in the third row of the stand of the guests of honour. Seats in the first row were reserved for presidents of states such as the United States, France, Germany and Japan.
General Jaruzelski, who attended the 60th anniversary of the event in Moscow, is one of nine former state leaders who fought in World War II, alongside George Bush senior and Valery Giscard d'Estaing. (ab/pg)
Eighty one percent of Poles believe that President Lech Kaczynski should be present in Moscow for celebrations of the 65th anniversary of the end of World War II.
The GfK Polonia survey found that 16 percent of respondents did not want the president to be in the capital of Russia on May 9 - alongside General Jaruzelski, who has already accepted an invitation - and three percent of respondents have no opinion on the matter.
President Kaczynski’s office told Rzeczpospolita that he is inclined to be at the ceremony, but is waiting for details to be provided by the Russians. Kaczynski is thought to be wanting to avoid the situation which confronted the then president Aleksander Kwasniewski, who attended the 60th anniversary celebrations in 2005 but was relegated to a seat in the third row in the stand containing the guests of honour.
GfK Polonia poll was taken on March 30 from a sample of 500 adults. (pg)
British Royal Guards clean their bearskins and train for Victory Parade in Moscow.
The 1st battalion of the Welsh Guards, who guard the Queen, Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle, will, for the first time in history, march across Red Square. A special group of guardsmen will arrive in Moscow to participate in the Victory Parade.
The guards will hold several full rehearsals in Moscow to get accustomed to the unusual stone pavement. The battalion will march across Red Square wearing their famous bearskin helmets.
These traditional helmets have already been the subject of debate with environmentalists for a long time. The military insists that only natural bearskin, unlike synthetic materials, can withstand the rain, retaining its appearance. However, the guardsmen admit that any longer than two hours in a hot, heavy bearskin helmet is unbearable.
During the parade the United Kingdom will also be represented by military musicians: the Central Band of the Royal Air Force.
The proportion of young Americans that are too fat to fight or serve in the military is so high that it poses a threat to US national security, according to a group of retired military leaders who are calling on Congress to pass new child nutrition legislation to address the problem.
Writing in the Washington Post on Friday, retired US army generals John M. Shalikashvili and Hugh Shelton, referred to several sources, including the US Army's own analysis of national data that shows as of 2005, and the figures have changed little since, 27 per cent of Americans aged 17 to 24, some 9 million young adults, were too overweight to serve in the military.
The leading medical reason recruits are rejected for military service in the US today is being overweight or obese, wrote Shalikashvili and Shelton, both members of the executive advisory council of Mission: Readiness, a nonprofit organization of retired senior military leaders, who referred also to a recent report from the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research that showed over the last 15 years the proportion of potential recruits who have not passed their physical exam because of their weight has gone up nearly 70 per cent.
This is backed up by data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) who report that the number of states where 40 per cent or more of young adults are overweight or obese has risen dramatically from only one in 1998 to 39 in 2008.
This not the first time the military has spoken out about how the health of America's children poses a threat to national security: the last time was in 1945 when they expressed concern about the poor health and nutrition of potential recruits, and Congress responded by creating a national school lunch program.
But it appears that the school lunch program has now gone too far in fuelling children with calorie-laden french fries, pizza and other unhealthy foods.
About 40 per cent of American children's calories are consumed during school hours, and Mission: Readiness proposes that if properly managed, the school environment could be the key to getting children to eat more healthily, as suggested in a recent paper published in Health Affairs in March, where researchers from Rice University and the University of Houston concluded that the most effective way to combat obesity in poor children is to increase their participation in federal nutrition programs.
Shalikashvili and Shelton note that saving some of the $75 billion dollars the US spends every year on obesity-related medical expenses could pay for school districts to provide children with more fruits, vegetables and whole grains, and cut down on foods with too much sugar, salt, fat and calories.
Mission: Readiness wants Congress to pass new child nutrition legislation that: Takes the junk food and high-calorie drinks out of schools.
Brings in new standards for school meals based on the latest Institute of Medicine recommendation: the current ones are 15 years out of date.
Supports the Obama administration's proposed increase of $1 billion per year for 10 years for improved child nutrition programs.
Develops researched and proven ways for schools to help parents and children adopt healthy eating and exercise habits for life. Retired Navy Rear Adm. James Barnett Jr, a member of the officers group, said at a recent press conference held by Mission: Readiness , that national security in the year 2030 is "absolutely dependent" on reversing child obesity rates.
"When over a quarter of young adults are too fat to fight, we need to take notice," said Barnett, according to a report by Associated Press.
The obesity problem doesn't just affect recruitment, Mission: Readiness reports that the government spends tens of millions of dollars every year replacing military personnel that have to be discharged because of weight issues.
The School Nutrition Association (SNA) recently commended the call to increase funds for school nutrition programs, and pointed out that while a lot is already happening, there are problems where more money would make a huge impact.
For instance, in their 2009 report, the SNA said that across the country, nearly every school district was now offering students fresh fruits, vegetables and whole grains, with low-fat dairy products, salad bars and pre-packaged salads, but because of extremely limited budgets, they struggle to pay for the extra refrigeration, steamers, labor and other expenses involved.
WWII Victory Day: international celebration on Red Square - LIVE on RT.
07 May, 2010, 15:37
On May 9, Moscow will host the 65th anniversary Victory Day parade. For the first time in decades, foreign troops are participating in it.
Don’t miss the great event! RT is broadcasting the Moscow Victory Parade live starting 10am local time (7am GMT, 8am London time, 2am NY time, 11pm LA time). Switch to RT channel or log on to RT website for full coverage in English. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime chance!
Military from 13 nations will join Russians on the Red Square. Primary allies in the World War II – the United States, Great Britain, France and Poland – as well as former members of the Soviet Union – Azerbaijan, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Ukraine – have contributed 70 soldiers each to march through Russia’s main square.
The Russian military will deliver a 10,000-strong force for the anniversary celebration, from the elite honor guard to a joint military tattoo of 1,000 musicians. The public will see 160 pieces of state-of-the-art and historical hardware, from the legendary T-34 tank to its modern descendant the T-90.
It will also be the first public demonstration of the modernized mobile strategic missile system Topol-M and the short-range air defense system Pantsir. Aircraft like the Ka-52 strike helicopter and Tu-160 strategic bomber will fly over the Kremlin at the low altitude of about 300 meters.
Victory Day parade on Red Square: live broadcast, May 9, 9:00 a.m
Rian.ru will show a live broadcast of the grandiose military parade on Red Square dedicated to the 65th anniversary of victory over Nazi Germany in World War II on May 9 at 10.00 a.m. Moscow time (06:00 GMT).
The parade will involve a procession of military personnel from all branches of the Russian Armed Forces, guest units from nine CIS countries, the United States, Great Britain, France and Poland, and a large military orchestra, followed by displays of military hardware and a flyover by combat aircraft.
Over 10,500 servicemen and more than 150 pieces of land-based military equipment will take part in the Moscow parade.
A total of 165 combat aircraft will fly over Red Square, with some of them grouping to form the number 65.
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