Russia, hit by coronavirus crisis, considers military spending cuts

first_imgRussia is considering cutting spending on the military as low oil prices and the coronavirus crisis have pummeled its economy, a document published by the finance ministry shows.The ministry has proposed the government cut state spending on the military by 5% between 2021 and 2023. The proposal, published on Monday, also includes budget spending cuts of 10% for other types of spending but excludes the court system, the servicing of Russia’s debt and wages for civil servants.Russia, which flexed its military muscle with its 2014 annexation of Crimea from Ukraine and intervention in the Syrian conflict, dropped out of the list of the top five biggest military spenders in 2018 after its spending fell 3.5%. Last year it returned as the world’s fourth largest military spender and increased its military expenditures by 4.5% to $65.1 billion, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. That amount corresponded to 3.9% of its gross domestic product, it said.President Vladimir Putin has called for better living standards and investment in healthcare and education. Some government officials have called for lower military spending to free up funds for such initiatives.Military expenditures have increased under Putin, but the Kremlin said in 2018 that Russia would cut its defense budget to less than 3% of GDP within the next five years.Exact figures for military funding are considered a state secret in Russia, but in 2018 the defense ministry said 20 trillion rubles ($282 billion) had been earmarked for the construction of military infrastructure under a new armament program for 2018-2027.The World Bank expects the Russian economy to contract by 6% this year.Topics :last_img read more

Surrogates: Delivering the ultimate gift

first_imgNZ Herald 28 April 2012….Ms Gracen is one of an increasing number of New Zealand women offering to be a surrogate mother for couples who cannot have children on their own. In 2010-11, there were 25 applications for clinic-assisted surrogacies, compared with 15 in 2005-06. Only about one-third of those applications go ahead owing to many factors including a failed implant or an embryo not surviving the thawing process. Surrogacy applications approved since 2005 have so far resulted in 26 live births. Fifteen surrogacy applications from last year are ongoing. Assisted reproduction expert, Associate Professor Wayne Gillett, said surrogacy had been occurring in New Zealand as far back as the 1980s. However in 2004, the Human Assisted Reproductive Technology Act became law. This put controls in place “to the point that no surrogacy can occur in New Zealand without approval by an ethics body … that looks at all cases on a case-by-case basis”, Dr Gillett said. Counselling is also considered an important of the process. “Most cases are straightforward I think. But the overall success of (surrogacy) is not great. “It’s a lot of hard work for all people involved for a few positive outcomes.” By law, surrogates cannot be paid in New Zealand, but in some countries women do receive payment. read more