Despite its early electoral success

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There are many variations of passages of Lorem Ipsum available, but the majority have suffered alteration in some form, by injected humour, or randomised words which don’t look even slightly believable. If you are going to use a passage of Lorem Ipsum, you need to be sure there isn’t anything embarrassing hidden in the middle of text. All the Lorem Ipsum generators on the Internet tend to repeat predefined chunks as necessary, making this the first true generator on the Internet. It uses a dictionary of over 200 Latin words, combined with a handful of model sentence structures, to generate Lorem Ipsum which looks reasonable. The generated Lorem Ipsum is therefore always free from repetition, injected humour, or non-characteristic words etc.

 

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Q: I keep reading about a problem called “adrenal fatigue.” How can I tell if I have it or if it’s something else?

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Adrenal fatigue, on the other hand, is a catchall term used to describe a milder form of insufficiency that can’t be detected by blood tests.

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To find the answer, it helps to consider the biggest growth sectors in consumer technology. While social networking is a large-scale trend, the growth of mobile phones is perhaps a larger one. Other tech giants — Apple, Microsoft, Amazon and Google — have all made their claims here. Facebook has not.

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  1. Well, there’s some debate
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Putin’s party has domination cut in Russia

MOSCOW (Reuters) – Several thousand protesters took to the streets on Monday to demand an end to Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin’s 12-year rule after voters cut his party’s parliamentary majority in an election that was condemned as unfair by European monitors.

Police said they detained 300 people in Moscow, where they confronted a crowd of 3,000 to 5,000 chanting “Revolution!” and “Russia without Putin” in one of the biggest opposition protests in the capital in years.

Police scuffled with some protesters and formed a line to hem them in and prevent them marching towards the Kremlin. Some managed to break away and head towards the seat of power, but at least 30 were seized before they got there.

The Central Election Commission said the prime minister’s United Russia party was set to have 238 deputies in the 450-seat State Duma after Sunday’s vote, compared with 315 seats in the current lower house.

The result was Putin’s worst election setback since he came to power 12 years ago and signaled growing weariness with his domination of Russian politics as he prepares to reclaim the presidency in an election next March.

President Dmitry Medvedev said Sunday’s election was “fair, honest and democratic,” but European monitors said the field was slanted in favour of United Russia and the vote was marred by apparent manipulations.

The United States has “serious concerns” about the conduct of the election, a White House spokesman said.

The observers said there had been “serious indications of ballot box stuffing” in a harsh verdict on the election that suggested United Russia could have suffered an even bigger decline in support if the voting had been completely fair.

They also said the election preparations “were marked by a convergence of the state and the governing party, limited political competition and a lack of fairness.”

“The country has never seen such a dirty election,” said Communist Party leader Gennady Zyuganov, who dismissed the official results as “theft on an especially grand scale.”

Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, who has compared United Russia to the Soviet Communist Party and advised Putin not to return to the presidency, said the election was “not the most honest.”

“We do not have real democracy and we will not have it if the government is afraid of their people, afraid to say things openly,” Gorbachev, the father of far-reaching reforms in the final years of the Soviet Union, said on Ekho Moskvy radio.

PUTIN DEFENDS PARTY’S PERFORMANCE

Putin says he brought stability to Russia after the chaos in the years that followed the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 and that Russians benefited from an economic boom fuelled by high oil prices during his presidency from 2000 to 2008.

But many Russians now complain of widespread corruption and the growing gap between the rich and poor, and an increasing number say they are disillusioned with Putin and his party.

Putin, 59, defended the party’s performance at a government meeting, saying a simple majority of 226 was enough to pass most legislation, and suggested this was sufficient to maintain stability.

“United Russia has been a significant part of the foundation of our political stability in recent years, so its successful performance in the election was important not just for the government but, in my view, for the whole country,” he said.

But Medvedev, who led the party into the election at Putin’s behest, said voters had sent “a signal to the authorities” and hinted that officials in regions where the party did badly could face dismissal if they do not shape up.

“United Russia did not do too well in a series of regions, but not because people refuse to trust the party itself … but simply because local functionaries irritate them,” he said.

“They look and they say … if that’s United Russia, there’s no way I’m going to vote for him.”

Opponents said United Russia’s official result — just under 50 percent of the vote — was inflated by fraud and that it could, in reality, have received far fewer votes.

Although Putin is still likely to win a presidential election next March, the result could dent the authority of the man who has ruled with a mixture of hardline security policies, political acumen and showmanship.

FADING APPEAL

Some voters have been alienated by his suggestion that he and Medvedev, the protege he tapped as successor in 2008 after serving the limit of two consecutive terms as president, had agreed long ago that his protege would step aside next year.

Putin has cultivated a tough man image with stunts such as riding a horse bare-chested, tracking tigers and flying a fighter plane. But the public appears to have wearied of the antics and his popularity, while still high, has fallen.

Some fear Putin’s return to the presidency may herald economic and political stagnation.

Putin has as yet no serious personal rivals as Russia’s leader. He remains the ultimate arbiter between the clans which control the world’s biggest energy producer.

The Communists made big gains to 92 seats in the Duma and official projections put left-leaning Just Russia on 64 Duma seats, up from 38. Vladimir Zhirinovsky’s nationalist LDPR will have 56 seats.

The other three parties on the ballot, including the liberal Yabloko, fell short of the 5 percent threshold needed to gain even token representation in the Duma.

A prominent party of Kremlin foes led by Putin’s first-term prime minister Mikhail Kasyanov was barred from the ballot.

Medvedev said alleged violations must be investigated but asserted that there was no major fraud.

The result is a blow for Medvedev, whose legitimacy to become prime minister in the planned job swap with Putin after the presidential vote could now be in question.

(Additional reporting by Amie Ferris-Rotman, Writing by Timothy Heritage, Editing by Steve Gutterman)

Belgium secures government after record

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Belgium finally secured a government on Monday after record-long talks to form a coalition that promises the most profound state reform in decades and a commitment to restore the country’s finances.

The new six-party coalition has a mammoth 180-page deal to enact having already lost a year and a half of a four-year term.

The government must satisfy demands of the Dutch-speaking Flemish majority for devolution of further powers to Belgium’s regions, and may have to redraw a budget that economists say is based on too optimistic a growth forecast.

That will be no easy matter. Budget talks themselves dragged on for six weeks and only concluded at the end of an 18-hour session after Standard & Poor’s had cut Belgium’s credit rating to AA from AA+.

The new government will be headed by French-speaking Socialist leader Elio Di Rupo. It retained many of the ministers from the caretaker government of acting prime minister Yves Leterme, albeit in different roles.

Flemish Christian Democrat Steven Vanackere becomes finance minister and francophone Liberal Didier Reynders foreign minister, a straight job switch. The cabinet will be sworn in on Tuesday afternoon, the palace said.

Di Rupo will be the first native French-speaking prime minister of Belgium since 1979 and the first from the region of Wallonia since 1974, as well as the first son of immigrants and the first openly gay person to be premier of the country.

The more right-leaning Flemish electorate has already expressed concern about being led by a French-speaking Socialist — and what is more one whose command of Dutch is limited.

FLEMISH SCEPTICISM, BUDGET RISK

A poll in Le Soir showed just 29 percent of Flemish people have confidence in Di Rupo, although his support in French-speaking Wallonia was 69 percent.

N-VA, a party that wants Flanders to break free from Belgium, has 35 percent of support among Flemish voters.

Talks including N-VA were deadlocked for months, prompting speculation that 181-year-old Belgium could break apart.

The N-VA’s eventual exit opened the door for a deal resolving electoral boundaries around the capital Brussels, devolution of more powers to the regions and financial transfers, issues over which Belgium’s linguistic groups have argued for years.

Belgium also has a budget battle on its hands and might be forced to toughen austerity measures that already drew 50,000 protesters onto the streets last Friday.

Belgium has found itself in an uncomfortable middle ground between triple-A rated euro zone countries and those at the periphery of the single currency bloc whose sovereign debt has been sharply sold off since the start of last year.

Belgium’s public sector debt totalled 96 percent of gross domestic product last year, putting it behind only Greece and Italy in the euro zone and on a par with Ireland.

It has also been saddled with providing the bulk of state guarantees to bailed out Franco-Belgian financial group Dexia.

Belgian 10-year yields shot up to almost 6 percent at the end of October, just below the level that prompted bailouts in fellow euro zone members, with a spread over German bunds, a sign of the perceived risk, of 3.72 percentage points.

Belgian yields have fallen sharply since then, and by far more than among euro zone peers, to below 4.4 percent for 10-year debt, with a spread now tighter than 220 basis points.

Despite the formation of a government and a deal to bring the deficit below the EU limit of 3 percent next year, risks remain. Many economists say Belgium is unlikely to achieve the 0.8 percent economic growth on which the budget is based.

Standard & Poor’s, when downgrading Belgium at the end of November, said there was an increased likelihood that Belgium’s financial sector would need further support and that this was likely to weigh on the already swollen public sector debt.

It added that political uncertainty was undermining Belgium’s creditworthiness.

(Reporting By Philip Blenkinsop)

Clashes erupt in Congo ahead of vote results

KINSHASA (Reuters) – Clashes erupted between protesters and security forces in parts of Democratic Republic of Congo on Monday as diplomats scrambled to defuse tensions ahead of the country’s full election results.

Police fired tear gas at opposition supporters in Kinshasa, and gunfire rang out in a city in West Kasai province, an opposition stronghold, after the government shut down a television and radio broadcaster.

The U.N. mission in Congo led a delegation of diplomats to meet with incumbent President Joseph Kabila and his main rival, Etienne Tshisekedi, to ease tensions stretched by allegations the November 28 poll was mismanaged and fraudulent.

Partial preliminary results released so far – representing about 68 percent of the ballots cast – showed Kabila with about 46 percent of the vote to Tshisekedi’s 36 percent, but the opposition has said they would reject the outcome. Full preliminary results are expected as early as Tuesday.

At least 18 people have been killed in election-related violence, according to Human Rights Watch, and a senior member of Kabila’s camp said the government will have to call in the army if protests become “too chaotic.”

“We cannot let chaos prevail. If the situation becomes too chaotic for the police, we will definitely call for the army to come and help,” Kikaya Bin Karubi, Congo’s ambassador to Britian and a top official in Kabila’s camp, told Reuters.

The first locally organized and funded election since the official end of years of war in 2003 was meant to offer hope that the mineral-rich, crisis-riddled giant may stabilize.

But fears are mounting a rejection of the results will pave the way for further bloodshed.

ESCAPE BY BOAT

A national mediation commission is in place and former Zambian President Rupiah Banda may be involved in further talks, sources said. The United Nations peacekeeping mission also led a delegation that included Russian and Gabonese ambassadors to meet with Kabila and Tshisekedi.

Karubi said mediation was a “non-starter” as there was no current conflict, though a spokesman for Banda said he had been approached and was ready to travel to Congo.

“He is just waiting for the U.N. to send a plane for him to travel. He has accepted to mediate,” a spokesman for Banda told Reuters, asking not to be named.

Tshisekedi enjoys broad support in Congo’s sprawling capital Kinshasa, raising worries a Kabila win will spark unrest in the city of 10 million people.

Sirens blared as police convoys pushed through Kinshasa traffic Monday afternoon, and women and children piled into boats along the Congo River to leave for Congo Republic on the other bank, fearing an outbreak of violence.

“We decided to leave Kinshasa for Brazzaville to stay with family while we wait and see how things develop,” said Paulette Pombo, a 43-year-old who sells drinks at a Kinshasa market.

Police used teargas on a crowd of opposition supporters who had gathered near Tshisekedi’s residence in Kinshasa, a witness and an opposition party official said.

Gunfire also erupted in the city of Mbuji Mayi in West Kasai province after Tshisekedi supporters protested the closure of a local opposition television and radio station, provincial civil society leader Alexis Kasuasua said.

Tshisekedi supporters had been attempting to block roads in the city and were being dispersed, Alphonse Kasanji, the governor of West Kasai, told Reuters.

There were no reports of injuries from either incident.

In Brussels, home to a large community of Congolese immigrants, police used water cannon to break up a crowd of Tshisekedi supporters, some of whom were burning trash in the street and shouting slogans. Scuffles were also reported outside Conglese embassies in South Africa and France.

Congo’s Catholic Church urged election authorities on Sunday to ensure published poll results were a true reflection of voters’ intentions and warned that a dispute over the election could trigger major unrest.

Congo’s election commission defied all odds to hold the presidential and parliamentary poll last week. Often chaotic and at times violent, voting had to be stretched over three days due to delays in places.

International observers have warned that the various steps of the counting process after the initial tally at polling stations have been poorly organized, with ballots and results sheets often being lost or destroyed in the process.

Kabila’s camp has said the president would accept defeat. But it accused the opposition of readying people for protests and said he will not tolerate any threats to his authority on the streets in the event of him winning.

(Additional reporting by Chris Mfula in Lusaka, Mark John in Brussels, and Christion Tsoumou in Brazzaville; writing by Richard Valdmanis; editing by Philippa Fletcher)

Afghanistan’s allies pledge to stay for long haul

BONN (Reuters) – Foreign governments pledged on Monday to support Afghanistan long after allied troops go home, with or without a political settlement with insurgents once seen as the best way to prevent a new civil war.

At a conference of more than 80 countries but boycotted by Pakistan, they said even after most foreign combat troops leave in 2014, the Afghan government will not be allowed to meet the fate of its Soviet-era predecessor, which collapsed in 1992.

“The United States intends to stay the course with our friends in Afghanistan,” Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said. “We will be there with you as you make the hard decisions that are necessary for your future.”

Hosts Germany sought to signal Western staying power in the country, where al Qaeda sheltered under Taliban protection before the September 11 attacks, at the gathering in Bonn.

“We send a clear message to the people of Afghanistan: We will not leave you on your own. We will not leave you in the lurch,” said German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle.

Ten years after a similar conference held to rebuild Afghanistan, the Afghan war is becoming increasingly unpopular in Western public opinion — especially since U.S. forces found and killed al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in Pakistan on May 2 in a raid that removed a central pretext of the 2001 invasion.

Western countries are under pressure to spend money reviving flagging economies at home rather than propping up a government in Kabul widely criticized for being corrupt and ineffective.

And as expected, delegates at the Bonn conference steered clear of making specific pledges to make up a shortfall in funding for Afghanistan estimated by the World Bank at some $7 billion a year from the end of 2014.

For now, nobody wants to show their hand too clearly in the hope that someone else — from the United States to Europe, the Gulf to Asia — will come forward to foot a share of the bill.

Brewing confrontations pitting Washington against Pakistan and Iran, two of Afghanistan’s most influential neighbors, have also added to despondency over the outlook for the war.

Pakistan boycotted the meeting after NATO aircraft killed 24 of its soldiers on the border with Afghanistan in a November 26 attack the alliance called a “tragic” accident.

But delegates from Russia to Iran to China, all uneasy about the U.S. military presence in their neighborhood, were nonetheless able to agree with Western powers “the main threat to Afghanistan’s security and stability is terrorism.”

“In this regard, we recognize the regional dimensions of terrorism and extremism, including terrorist safe havens, and emphasize the need for sincere and result-oriented regional cooperation…” a conference statement.

Pakistan is accused by Washington and Kabul of providing “safe havens” to insurgents to use to counter the influence of rival India. Pakistan says it being used as a scapegoat for the U.S. failure to bring stability to Afghanistan.

SCALING BACK OBJECTIVES

The mood at the Bonn conference was a far cry from the early days of the Afghan war when, fresh from toppling the Taliban, Western powers hoped to bring permanent peace to a country which has now been at war for more than three decades.

But with problems of insecurity, governance, corruption and narcotics inside Afghanistan, compounded by insurgent sanctuaries in Pakistan, objectives have been scaled back.

By the time of a conference in London on Afghanistan in January 2010, Western governments had agreed insurgents could be brought into peace talks if they were willing to cut ties with al Qaeda, give up violence and respect the Afghan constitution.

But even that goal has proved elusive. Embroynic contacts with the Taliban have yielded little, and foreign governments have been preparing increasingly for a scenario in which there is no peace settlement with the Taliban even before the before most foreign combat troops leave in 2014.

The aim now is to leave behind a government which is just about good enough to survive, even if fighting persists in parts of the country and the Taliban insurgency remains active.

Some are still hoping Pakistan will use its influence to deliver the Afghan Taliban into a political settlement.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai told reporters Pakistan had missed a good opportunity to discuss its own issues and the future of Afghanistan by not attending the Bonn conference. “But it will not stop us from cooperating together,” he said.

Asked what he wanted Pakistan to do to help bring peace in Afghanistan, he said: “Close the sanctuaries, arrange a purposeful dialogue with those Taliban who are in Pakistan.”

Clinton said she expected Pakistan to play a constructive role in Afghanistan, even as she voiced disappointment that Islamabad chose not to attend the conference.

But British Foreign Secretary William Hague said that Afghanistan could still have a bright future even if the Taliban were not brought into a political settlement.

“It may take a longer time to bring about our objectives but we should not be deterred at all by Taliban reluctance to come to the table…” he told the BBC.

Foreign governments were also determined to try to dispel at least some of the pessimism seeping into the Afghan project.

Indian Foreign Minister S.M. Krishna, whose country became the first to sign a strategic partnership agreement with Afghanistan — much to the irritation of Pakistan — pledged India would keep up its heavy investment in a country whose mineral wealth and trade routes made it “a land of opportunity.”

In a rare positive development, Clinton said the United States would resume paying into a World Bank-administered Reconstruction Trust Fund for Afghanistan, a decision that U.S. officials said would allow for the disbursement of roughly $650 million to $700 million in suspended U.S. aid.

The United States and other big donors stopped paying into the fund in June, when the International Monetary Fund suspended its program with Afghanistan because of concerns about Afghanistan’s troubled Kabul Bank.

IRAN ROW OVERSHADOWS CONFERENCE

In a sign of quite how difficult it will be to bring peace to Afghanistan, the conference was nearly overshadowed before it started by a row with Iran — increasingly at odds with the United States and European powers over its nuclear program.

Tehran said on Sunday it shot down a U.S. spy drone in its airspace and threatened to respond. [ID:nL5E7N40D9] International forces in Kabul said the drone may have been one lost last week while flying over western Afghanistan.

Iran has been accused in the past of providing low-level backing to the Taliban insurgency, and diplomats and analysts have suggested Tehran could ratchet up this support if it wanted to put serious pressure on U.S. forces in Afghanistan.

Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi on Monday also reiterated Iran’s opposition to the United States keeping some forces in Afghanistan after 2014.

Simon Gass, NATO’s senior civilian representative in Kabul and former British ambassador to Tehran, downplayed the prospect of Tehran acting as a spoiler in any Afghan settlement.

He recalled Iran was a historic foe of the Taliban, which has a record of hostility to Afghan Shi’ites, Iran’s co-religionists.

Despite its dislike of the Taliban “Iran has a history in Afghanistan of supporting some Taliban groups in different ways. That could continue. We shall have to see,” he said.

“But what I would say is that my quite long experience of Iran is that Iranians are realists, and once the international agreements are in place which define the security architecture for Afghanistan after 2014, my belief is that Iran will begin to adjust to those new realities,” he told Reuters.

(Additional reporting by David Brunnstrom, Arshad Mohammed, Sabine Siebold, Missy Ryan and William Maclean; Writing by Myra MacDonald; Editing by William Maclean)

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