Cossacks to fight crime on Moscow streets

Updated 14 November 2012
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Cossacks to fight crime on Moscow streets

MOSCOW: Russia is to send out Cossacks in traditional tsarist uniforms to patrol Moscow streets and crack down on petty crime, a city official said Tuesday. “We have agreed with the Moscow Cossacks that they will patrol to help ensure order near the Kremlin,” said deputy head of Moscow’s central Tverskoy district Andrei Kuleshov.
But the traditionally warlike group will not be allowed to ride horses or carry swords. And since they are not policemen, they will not be allowed to make arrests. “We will need them mostly to stop illegal sales of souvenirs and flowers and illegal parking near the Kremlin,” Kuleshov told AFP.
Famed for their horsemanship, Russian Cossacks were a major military force before the Russian Revolution of 1917, predominantly in the south where they were charged with patrolling the troubled border region. Under the tsars, the Cossacks were recognized as a separate social group and when the Bolsheviks came to power, they targeted the Cossacks in one of the earliest waves of repressions, wiping them out as a class.
However the remaining Cossacks are currently making a comeback, reviving their culture and promoting traditional values including Russian Orthodox Christianity. Cossacks have also harassed participants in gay parades and contemporary art exhibitions and recently protested against feminist punk band Pussy Riot after they performed in Russia’s main cathedral.
A Cossack representative confirmed to AFP that patrols will begin “any day now” and will see groups of three men in blue tsarist uniforms, on foot and without their traditional swords and riding whips.
“Cossacks don’t even need their swords or whips. Their mere posture will be enough,” said Gennady Afonin, the chief state major of the central Cossack troops. Similar patrols have already been introduced in the southern city of Krasnodar, where Cossacks have accompanied police officers.


Malaysia mosque bans tourists after ‘sexy dance’ goes viral

Updated 25 June 2018
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Malaysia mosque bans tourists after ‘sexy dance’ goes viral

KUALA LUMPUR: A Malaysian mosque has banned tourists after a video of two female visitors in skimpy outfits dancing in front of the Muslim holy site went viral online.
The pair, of East Asian appearance and believed to be foreigners, were filmed doing the dance in skimpy shorts and tops exposing their midriffs on a wall outside the main mosque in the city of Kota Kinabalu, a popular site for visitors and tour groups.
Residents and local Muslim groups were incensed by the risqué moves outside the holy site on Borneo island, which is renowned for its huge blue and gold dome and ornate minarets.
An outraged onlooker can be heard in the video saying: “Why don’t they just fall off the wall?”
Mosque chairman Jamal Sakaran at the weekend slammed “the unacceptable behavior by foreign tourists” and announced a temporary halt to any tourists visiting the mosque in Sabah state, adding the move was to preserve the sanctity of Islam.
The nationality of the women involved was not clear.
State Tourism Minister Christina Liew told The Star newspaper legal action would not be taken against the pair as they were likely unaware of the severity of their actions. But authorities wanted to track them down to explain “that something they deemed as ‘fun’ was actually disrespectful and not right in Sabah.”
Large numbers of tourists — both local and foreign — visit the mosque, often during a brief stop in Kota Kinabalu before heading into the jungles of Sabah to see the jungle-clad state’s abundance of wildlife.
Tourists can usually visit mosques in Muslim-majority Malaysia, where most practice a moderate form of Islam, but are advised to wear modest clothing.
It is not the first time that foreign visitors have landed in hot water for disrespecting local culture in Sabah.
In 2015 four Western tourists pleaded guilty to obscenity charges for taking nude photos on popular peak Mount Kinabalu, an act some in the country blamed for causing a deadly earthquake.