news.yahoo.com. “Yuri Andropov Would Drop Assad Like a Hot Kartoshka"- Vladimir Putin knows that Russia is in trouble, but he doesn't seem to know what to do about it. In both his recent epic three-hour press conference and his New Year's address, the normally bullish Russian president appeared uncharacteristically sober. Instead of the bombastic, confident tsar, we saw an engaged chief executive doing his best to reassure stockholders of his resolve. “The Russian economy has generally overcome the crisis," he said. Debt is down and the population is up, he added — “a very good figure that speaks of the people's [positive] state of mind."
csmonitor.com. “How controversial is it to say Christians and Muslims worship the same God?"- Americans are divided on the question whether Christians and Muslims worship the same God, shows a recent poll. A tenured Wheaton College professor could soon be terminated because of a Facebook post in which she wrote that Christians and Muslims worship the same God. In a post last December that included pictures of her wearing a headscarf, Larycia Hawkins, who teaches political science at the private evangelical Christian college in Illinois, shared her religious sentiments.
bbc.com. "Michael Mosley: The truth about alcohol"- Michael Mosley has given up alcohol for January - but does anyone know exactly what effect drinking has on our health? You can't open a newspaper at this time of year without reading a story about moderate alcohol consumption being good or bad for you, or making no difference at all. And now there are new government guidelines which reduce what were previously regarded as "safe" levels.