9 December 2013
Russia's President Vladimir Putin has closed down the country's state-owned news agency RIA Novosti. He announced it will be replaced by a news agency called Russia Today, led by one of the Kremlin's strongest supporters.
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During Vladimir Putin's time as Russia's leader, RIA Novosti has tried hard to produce balanced coverage for Russian and international audiences. Although state-owned, it has reflected the views of the opposition, and covered difficult topics for the Kremlin.
Now, without warning, and with a stroke of President Putin's pen, it has been abolished. It's not clear yet what it was that sealed the agency's fate.
The decree abolishing RIA Novosti also gets rid of the state-owned Voice of Russia radio station. It creates a new news agency under the "Rossia Segodnya" or "Russia Today" brand. Until now Russia Today has broadcast Kremlin-friendly news in several languages on TV and its website.
The new Russia Today International News Agency will be headed by Dmitry Kiselev, a journalist who has been an ardent supporter of Vladimir Putin and who recently said that gay people should be banned from giving blood. He said their hearts should be burned rather than used in transplants.
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- sealed the agency's fate
decided that something bad would definitely happen to the agency
official statement that something must happen
- gets rid of
removes (something unwanted)
-friendly can be used after a noun (usually with a hyphen) to mean 'not harmful' or 'helpful' towards the noun before it
showing strong emotions, especially in support of something
medical operations putting new organs into people's bodies