QUOTES OF THE DAY(3/27/00: "Nobody should pin their hopes on a miracle."  Vladimir Putin.

"It's a mistake to prejudge him. His words are okay, but we have to watch his actions."  Secretary of State Madeleine Albright.

"He's still sort of a mystery man." Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott, Mississippi Republican.

ANOTHER SPOOK, PAST UNKNOWN, TAKES THE NUCLEAR FOOTBALL!   Why Ras Putin?

Vladimir Putin has been elected as Russia's second post-Soviet leader after securing an absolute majority with 52.5% of the vote and is certain to avoid a run-off next month against his Communist rival Gennady Zyuganov, who is in second place with 29.4%.

WHAT IS PUTIN'S AGENDA?  THE GIVE-AWAYS?  SECURING FOR RUSSIA, THE WEALTH OF CHECHNYA?

NBC reports that Putin will look to privatization to raise government revenue:

Topping the shopping list, these sources said, is a reform of land ownership laws.  To date, there is still no privatization of land ownership in Russia, with the state owning much of the land under factories, farms and even apartment buildings. 

 Energy and other utilities will also be on the list. In most of Russia, people still pay almost nothing for subsidized heat, water and electricity. The sources said Putin will move to institute billing, a measure with unpredictable consequences.    

Dmitri Yakushkin, (Putin's aide) would not confirm the plan. But he did say such a move “could bring enormous social consequences.

THE CHECHEN POT OF GOLD AND WORLD WAR III?  Click to read.


NEWS BLAST!
LAWRENCE LIVERMORE NATIONAL LABORATORIES
THE NEW STAR WARS, ESPIONAGE, THE JUNE 2000 VOTE!

REPRESENTATIVE TAUSCHER REQUESTS DELAY OF VOTE ON THE ULTIMATE U.S. WEAPON SHIELD. 

South Alameda County's Representative, Democrat Ellen O. Tauscher, made an unexpected plea today (3/26/00)  in the L.A. Times for a delay in the New Star Wars vote set for July, 2000:

A state-of-the-art, successful national missile defense program, which could insulate America from nuclear, chemical or biological attack, is too important to rush a decision on its deployment. Instead of deciding its fate this June, as the president is scheduled to do, the decision should be deferred to the next administration. CLICK TO READ ENTIRE ARTICLE.

WHAT WENT WRONG AT THE NATIONAL IGNITION FACILITY?  

On March 24, Energy Secretary Bill Richardson offered an outline of what went wrong with the National Ignition Facility. "Management changes coming on lab's overdue, over budget laser project."  CLICK TO READ ENTIRE ARTICLE.

LAB, RUSSIAN FIRM TO WORK ON DIALYSIS.

The Contra Costa Times (3/25/00) reports:

LIVERMORE -- Lawrence Livermore Laboratory signed a contract Wednesday with the Avangard Foundation, a former Russian nuclear weapons manufacturer, to support the making of kidney dialysis equipment in one of Russia's closed cities, Sarov.

It is the first time the a Department of Energy lab has signed a contract with a former Russian nuclear weapons manufacturer. Likewise, it will be the first time Westerners are allowed inside one of the closed cities.

The contract comes on the heels of last week's signing of two other contracts between the lab and a Russian weapons design institute.

"Russians who used to make weapons of mass destruction are now going to apply their scientific knowledge to designing life-saving equipment," Secretary of Energy Bill Richardson said in a prepared statement. "Such profitable, commercial industries must be introduced to Russia's closed cities so these scientists don't defect to rogue nations willing to offer generous salaries in return for nuclear expertise."

Under the contract, hundreds of former weapons builders will work on parts for dialysis machines and ultimately design and make complete dialysis systems.

The dialysis contract was developed under the Nuclear Cities Initiative, a Department of Energy effort to help the Russian government provide civilian jobs to weapons scientists who previously worked in the closed Russian nuclear cities. The idea is to keep the scientists working in their homeland even after Russia's weapons cities are downsized or closed.