K.S. Rajan (9 Dec 2011)
"report by BILL KOENIG"


MOSCOW, Russia - Accusations by Vladimir Putin that the United States is funding poll monitors to spark protests in Russia mark a return to the rhetoric of the Cold War, exactly 20 years after the fall of the USSR.
In one of his most bitter tirades against Washington in years, Putin accused US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton of providing the "signal" for the unusually large protests contesting the validity of Sunday's elections.
Clinton hits back over Russian missile threat
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton hit back on Thursday at a Russian threat to deploy weapons in response to a NATO missile shield as the two sides failed to defuse a rift over the US-backed system.
``We will continue to press forward on missile defence,'' Clinton told a press conference in Brussels after talks between NATO foreign ministers and their Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov.
``It does not affect our strategic balance with Russia and it's
certainly not a cause for military counter-measures,'' she said