Passport

Putin's first magazine column: Firing people is hard

In contrat to vlogging, live-journaling Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, Prime Minister Vladimiur Putin has generally preferred to let his actions do the talking. But this Friday, Putin will make his debut as a magazine columnist in the monthly magazine Russian Pioneer. But don't expect an ideological pean to the glories of sovereign democracy.

Putin's topic is management, specifically "why it's hard to fire people." But the released exceprts of the column, as printed by The Independent,  do seem to offer a few clues to recent Kremlin infighting though:

Conflicts within a team, especially within a big team, always arise," writes Mr Putin, in extracts leaked to a Russian news agency. "This happens every minute, every second – simply because between people there are always clashes of interest."...

"I can say honestly that while I was president, if I hadn't interfered in certain situations, in Russia there would long ago ceased to have been a government." ...

"In contrast to previous, Soviet rulers, I always do it personally. I usually call the person into my office, look them in the eye, and say: 'There are concrete complaints. If you think this isn't true, then please, you can fight against it; argue your case'."

Photo by Junko Kimura/Getty Images

Passport

Canadian official makes a point by eating seal heart


Move over Roquefort. The newest niche transatlantic trade dispute involves Canadian seal products, which the EU has banned because of Canada's commercial hunting practices. Inuit hunters are exempt from the ban, but fear that it will inevitably affect their livelihoods.

While touring Inuit Communities in Northern Canda, Governor General Michaelle Jean -- Queen Elizabeth's representative in the Canadian government -- butchered and ate raw seal heart in solidarity with the hunters:

Ms Jean used a traditional Inuit knife to help gut the animal then ate a slice of raw heart.

It came weeks after the EU voted to ban Canadian seal products, but Ms Jean did not say if her actions were in response to the EU proposals....

Asked later if her actions were a message to the EU, she said: "Take from it what you will." 

An EU spokesperson called Jean's actions "too bizarre to acknowledge," which the Inuit, who I presume have been eating seal heats for quite some time, would probably take umbrage at. And this from the continent where its a major media scandal when companies paint fake black hooves on ham legs.

Update: Video from the CBC if you really want it:

ATTILA KISBENEDEK/AFP/Getty Images