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Title: Pakistan mandates Covid-19 shots for public sector workers, vaccine passport needed for air travel, restaurants, and malls

Link: https://www.rt.com/news/530564-pakistan-covid19-vaccine-mandate/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS

Date: Thu, 29 Jul 2021 12:30:57 +0000

Desc: Preview The Pakistani government has said it will mandate vaccinations across a number of settings from August, including government offices, schools, restaurants, and shopping malls, despite less than 5% of citizens being inoculated.
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The Pakistani government has said it will mandate vaccinations across a number of settings from August, including government offices, schools, restaurants, and shopping malls, despite less than 5% of citizens being inoculated.

On Thursday, Asad Umar, chief of the National Command and Operations Centre (NCOC), a military-run body in charge of the country’s pandemic response, told a news conference that people in Pakistan will need to get vaccinated or be prepared for some tough restrictions on their daily lives. 

Speaking alongside Health Minister Faisal Sultan, Umar announced that from August 1, all unvaccinated citizens will no longer be able to enter government offices, schools, restaurants, and shopping malls. Proof of vaccination will also be required for air travel, following a similar moved outlined by the Saudi government.

It was also stated that by August 31, public transport and retail staff, as well as teachers and students above the age of 18, should be inoculated.

“We can’t put our children’s lives at risk just because that you’re not ready to get the vaccine,” Umar said. 

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A Saudi man wearing a face mask gets his passport from a Saudi Immigration officer, at the King Khalid International Airport, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia (FILE PHOTO) © REUTERS/Ahmed Yosri
3-year travel ban for those who visit Covid ‘red list’ countries, Saudi Arabia warns

According to NCOC, only 5.9 million citizens have been fully jabbed in the nation of 220 million people; 27.8 million have now received at least one vaccine shot.

Umar said that the target is to administer one million doses a day. However, such a feat could still mean inoculating the whole population will take months. On Wednesday, following a slow start to the campaign, health authorities administered 850,000 shots across the country.

Official records suggest that just over 23,000 people have died from the virus in Pakistan, substantially less than most well-populated Western nations.

Authorities registered 4,497 new cases on Wednesday, with infections increasing partially due to the presence of the more contagious Delta variant. However, the positivity rate suggests the virus is much more prevalent, with the percentage of tests coming back positive standing at 7.53%, according to the NCOC.

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Title: German cycling coach sent home from Olympics for yelling, ‘Get the camel drivers’ slur, referring to African competitors

Link: https://www.rt.com/sport/530563-cycling-coach-racism-scandal/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS

Date: Thu, 29 Jul 2021 12:29:30 +0000

Desc: Preview The German Olympic Sports Confederation has announced that cycling coach Patrick Moster has been sent home from the games after making racist comments during the men’s time trial on Wednesday.
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The German Olympic Sports Confederation has announced that cycling coach Patrick Moster has been sent home from the games after making racist comments during the men’s time trial on Wednesday.

The confederation announced the disciplinary action on Thursday, despite Moster having said he was sorry. Its president, Alfons Hörmann, stated: “We remain convinced that his public apology for the racist remarks he made yesterday is sincere,” but made it clear that he had violated the Olympic values. “Fair play, respect, and tolerance are non-negotiable for Team Germany,” the statement said.

Moster’s offensive comments were captured live as he urged the rider Nikias Arndt to catch up with his opponents Eritrea’s Amanuel Ghebreigzabhier and Algeria’s Azzedine Lagab.

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Ukrainian flag bearers lead an athletes’ parade during the opening ceremony of the Tokyo Olympics, in Tokyo, Japan, July 23, 2021. Inset: the remains of the Chernobyl nuclear plant, Pripyat, Ukraine.
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Lagab reacted calmly to the racist remarks, tweeting: “Well, there is no camel race in #olympics – that’s why I came to cycling. At least I was there in #Tokyo2020.”

Team Africa Rising, an organization striving to promote African cycling across the continent, took to Twitter to express its disgust in no uncertain terms, however: “This is completely unacceptable and an apology is not enough.”

Arndt was also categoric in his response to the scandal, tweeting: “I am appalled by the incidents at today’s Olympic time trial and would like to distance myself clearly from the statements of the sporting director! The Olympics and cycling stand for tolerance, respect and fairness.” He added that he supported such values “100%.”

After the race, Moster apologized for the slurs, telling German media: “In the heat of the moment, and with the overall burden that we have here at the moment, my choice of words was wrong.”

This is not the first racism scandal to hit the Tokyo Olympics. This week, Greek commentator Dimosthenis Karmiris was sacked after making inappropriate remarks live on air about the South Korean table tennis player Jeoung Young-sik. He said: “Their eyes are narrow, so I can’t understand how they can see the ball moving back and forth.”

Before the games even started in earnest, a South Korean TV channel had to apologize for inappropriate graphics used during its broadcast of the opening ceremony, in which it had used an image of Chernobyl to represent Ukraine and a photo of civil unrest to represent Haiti.

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Title: ROC team to file complaint with Tokyo Olympics authorities after ‘cheater’ question aimed at tennis star Medvedev

Link: https://www.rt.com/sport/530550-olympics-medvedev-chile-journalist/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS

Date: Thu, 29 Jul 2021 12:21:46 +0000

Desc: Preview Team ROC, the name under which Russian athletes are competing in Tokyo, plan to lodge a complaint against questions aimed at Daniil Medvedev by a journalist in which he asked if Russian athletes are 'cheaters'.
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Guid: https://www.rt.com/sport/530550-olympics-medvedev-chile-journalist/

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Team ROC, the name under which Russian athletes are competing in Tokyo, plan to lodge a complaint against questions aimed at Daniil Medvedev by a journalist in which he asked if Russian athletes are 'cheaters'.

A Chilean reporter opened with a bizarre line of queries for the world's second-ranked men's tennis player Medvedev in which he asked the Moscow native if Russian athletes felt the "stigma of cheaters" following his third round win against Italy's Fabio Fognini. 

A furious Medvedev countered the accusation by saying that for the first time in his professional career, he was refusing to answer a reporter's question and called on the International Tennis Federation (ITF) to take action against the journalist. 

Medvedev's reaction was matched in the Kremlin, with Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov announcing that the 25-year-old tennis star had responded to the accusation with dignity. 

Team ROC - who are competing under that name due to sanctions - has also intimated that a committee has been formed to investigate the matter.

"We have been expecting provocative questions to be addressed in regard to our athletes," said Konstantin Vybornov, on behalf of Team ROC.

"On the whole, we enjoy a very respectful treatment of our national team, but at the same time, we encounter occasional persons who unashamedly provoke us and try to knock our athletes off balance."

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Tokyo, Japan - July 28, 2021. Daniil Medvedev of the Russian Olympic Committee in action during his third round match against Fabio Fognini of Italy
Tennis star Medvedev slams journalist for suggesting Russian athletes are ‘carrying stigma of cheaters’ at Tokyo Olympics

"In the case of Daniil Medvedev, we are talking about Chilean journalist Sebastian Nahmias," he continued.

"He has been trying for the second day in a row to incite a scandal in regard to our team asking over and over again the same questions and in the same manner.

"It has nothing to do with translation problems, everyone understood him quite clearly, and the organizers issued a warning to this strange colleague yesterday and had to walk him away from the mixed zone for the media today. By the way, Medvedev acted in a very dignified manner under unpleasant circumstances.

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Daniil Medvedev snapped at a reporter in Tokyo on Wednesday after a question about Russian 'cheaters'. © Reuters
No wonder Daniil Medvedev snapped at ‘cheaters’ question – some people can’t handle clean Russian athletes competing in Tokyo

"The hub of our Olympic team will not leave this incident unattended, and we are extremely concerned with this journalist as he travels on purpose between all arenas, where our athletes are competing, and keeps harassing them.

"This is why after having collected all of the necessary information, we plan to submit an official request with the Local Organizing Committee [Tokyo-2020 LOC] and the IOC," he added.

"Our goal is simple, and it is about preventing such incidents in the future."

As of Thursday morning, Team ROC have won seven golds, 11 silvers and eight bronze medals at the Tokyo Olympics from an Olympic delegation of 185 female and 150 male athletes.

Last December, the Court of Arbitration for Sport upheld various sanctions imposed on Russia by WADA (the World Anti-Doping Agency) which meant that Russian athletes were disallowed from competing under their national flag for a period of two years. 



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Title: Climate ‘already changing’ in UK, report says, warning more extreme weather is set to batter the island

Link: https://www.rt.com/uk/530560-climate-change-uk-extreme-weather/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS

Date: Thu, 29 Jul 2021 12:17:16 +0000

Desc: Preview Met Office researchers have warned that the impact of global warming is “already changing” the UK’s climate, with extreme weather, such as heatwaves and floods, set to hit the nation on an increasingly regular basis in the future.
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Guid: https://www.rt.com/uk/530560-climate-change-uk-extreme-weather/

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Met Office researchers have warned that the impact of global warming is “already changing” the UK’s climate, with extreme weather, such as heatwaves and floods, set to hit the nation on an increasingly regular basis in the future.

The annual State of the UK Climate report, released on Thursday, found that 2020 was the third-warmest, fifth-wettest and eighth-sunniest year on record. It marked the first time a 12-month period has ever secured a top 10 place for all three measures.

Examining the data, the lead author of the report, Mike Kendon, warned that it shows “the climate is already changing here in the UK,” raising the risk of the nation being hit by extreme weather events on a more regular basis, as global temperatures to continue to rise.

The paper confirms the Met Office’s assessment that the country is becoming hotter, sunnier, and wetter due to the effects of climate change. All of the top 10 warmest years have occurred since 2002, and six of the wettest ever years since 1998.

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London hit with FLASH FLOODS as torrential rain turns roads into rivers in UK capital (VIDEOS)

The warning laid out within the State of the UK Climate report reiterates concerns raised previously by British scientists, who highlighted how rising greenhouse gas levels have already surpassed a point that allows “for a manageable future for humanity.”

“We had roads melting last year, rails start to buckle, electric cabling starts to buckle,” Liz Bentley, head of the Royal Meteorological Society, explained, suggesting that existing UK infrastructure will struggle to cope with future extreme weather events.

The State of the UK Climate is an annual report produced by the non-partisan Met Office, providing officials with an up-to-date assessment of the impact of climate change on Great Britain, expanding scientific understanding of trends, variations and extreme weather events.

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Cars drive through deep water on a flooded road in The Nine Elms district of London on July 25, 2021 during heavy rain. © AFP / JUSTIN TALLIS
I’ve seen how climate change is being used by alarmist politicians to promote their own agenda

The Met Office’s report comes after London suffered two destructive floods in only a few weeks, causing millions of pounds’ worth of damage to businesses, homes, and crucial infrastructure. Flash floods, which on both occasions came after a significant amount of rain fell within a short space of time, cut off individuals, leaving them without power and trapped in cars or properties surrounded by rising water levels. 

In the wake of the London floods, Climate Central, a scientific news outlet, published a map that showed how central areas of the UK’s capital city could regularly be plunged underwater by 2030, as rising sea levels threaten to plague numerous boroughs.

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Title: France slams ‘discriminatory’ UK quarantine rules as travelers must undergo isolation despite waivers for EU and US arrivals

Link: https://www.rt.com/news/530551-france-slams-discriminatory-uk-quarantine/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS

Date: Thu, 29 Jul 2021 12:17:07 +0000

Desc: Preview Paris has slammed the UK’s decision to maintain quarantine measures for travelers from France, arguing that it is “discriminatory,” as double-jabbed citizens across the European Union (EU) are able to forgo the requirement.
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Guid: https://www.rt.com/news/530551-france-slams-discriminatory-uk-quarantine/

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Paris has slammed the UK’s decision to maintain quarantine measures for travelers from France, arguing that it is “discriminatory,” as double-jabbed citizens across the European Union (EU) are able to forgo the requirement.

During an interview with news outlet LCI on Thursday, French state secretary for European affairs, Clement Beaune, expressed his condemnation of France’s exclusion from the UK’s waivers of quarantine requirements for fully vaccinated travelers.

“This is scientifically unfounded. It is a discriminatory decision … towards the French, because all Europeans, even from countries with more difficult health situations than ours — because of the Delta variant or something else – are not concerned, or no longer concerned, by the quarantine,” Beaune explained.

The British government upholds that the decision to keep the 10-day quarantine for travelers from France is based on the prevalence of the Beta variant, which was first discovered in South Africa. However, Beaune has argued that such a worry is “excessive and frankly incomprehensible,” stating that the Beta strain makes up just 5% of cases in France, mostly in the overseas territory La Reunion.

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FILE PHOTO. Heathrow Airport in west London, England. © AFP / Niklas HALLE'N
Double-jabbed US and EU travellers will no longer be required quarantine upon arrival in England from August

The minister’s comments come after England announced on Wednesday the lifting of a quarantine requirement for double-jabbed travelers from the US and EU, from August 2. Scotland and Wales followed suit and lifted the quarantine requirement. However, France was the only country in the European bloc to be left off the UK list.

UK Transport secretary Grant Shapps said that the travel rules for France will be reviewed at “the end of next week.”

France banned non-essential travel from the UK, on the grounds of the prevalence of the highly-contagious Delta variant, at the end of May. Britons arriving there were also required to undergo a week-long quarantine. Under current rules, fully vaccinated travelers from the UK are able to enter France for non-essential travel and may skip quarantine.

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Title: Christian Eriksen set to return to Inter Milan for medical checks despite doctors casting doubt on career after Euro 2020 collapse

Link: https://www.rt.com/sport/530552-eriksen-return-inter-milan/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS

Date: Thu, 29 Jul 2021 12:13:33 +0000

Desc: Preview Denmark and Inter Milan star Christian Eriksen is reportedly ready to return to his club for medical checks almost two months after the midfielder suffered a cardiac arrest on the pitch at Euro 2020.
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Guid: https://www.rt.com/sport/530552-eriksen-return-inter-milan/

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Denmark and Inter Milan star Christian Eriksen is reportedly ready to return to his club for medical checks almost two months after the midfielder suffered a cardiac arrest on the pitch at Euro 2020.

The incident occurred during the Danes' opening match against Finland which was halted and resumed later that day.

Losing 1-0, Denmark rallied back in the tournament in Eriksen's honor before a valiant semifinal exit against England.

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Denmark star Christian Eriksen appears to be well on the road to recovery © David Klein / Reuters
‘I will not give up’: Christian Eriksen could be at Denmark’s next game, ‘wants to understand what happened’ in harrowing collapse

Eriksen had already been released from hospital on June 18 during the run from Kasper Hjulmand's men, and even visited them at their tournament base.

He has continued to recover since and has been spotted out in Copenhagen with his family.

With the club season looming and set to restart next month, though, the 29-year-old will now be keen to get back to action.

Fitted with a defibrillator, Sky have reported that Eriksen must now undergo medical tests to see if he is still able to compete at the highest level, which will be conducted next week.

Christian Eriksen walking with his family.

Things you 💙 to see 😍 pic.twitter.com/t0xw9reKMv

— Inter Worldwide (@interworldwide_) July 26, 2021

Even if given the green light, it is unlikely that Eriksen can participate in matches for at least 6 months.

Yet he might train with his teammates from August onwards, before they get their Serie A title defense underway against Genao on August 21.

Last season, Eriksen was an integral part of the Nerazzurri scooping their first Scudetto since 2010 and breaking Juventus' hegemony on the Italian top flight title. 

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Eriksen is facing an uncertain future over his football career. © Reuters
Christian Eriksen can’t play for Inter Milan again unless he has defibrillator removed, warns Italian medical official

But his future in the country has been thrown into doubt with Francesco Braconaro, who is a member of the technical scientific committee (CTS) of the FIGC, saying that Eriksen "cannot be given the all-clear to play in Italy,” on a Napoli radio show last week.

“If the player has the defibrillator removed, therefore confirming the pathology can be resolved, then he can return to play for Inter,” Braconaro insisted.



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Title: Russian court sentences five men to prison time after they participated in violent riots protesting country's Covid-19 lockdown

Link: https://www.rt.com/russia/530555-lockdown-protest-men-prison-sentence/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS

Date: Thu, 29 Jul 2021 11:55:33 +0000

Desc: Preview A Russian court has sentenced five men to multiple years behind bars after they were found guilty of participating in unauthorized rallies, protesting against restrictions to prevent the spread of Covid-19 in spring last year.
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Guid: https://www.rt.com/russia/530555-lockdown-protest-men-prison-sentence/

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A Russian court has sentenced five men to multiple years behind bars after they were found guilty of participating in unauthorized rallies, protesting against restrictions to prevent the spread of Covid-19 in spring last year.

The convicted men, all from the region of North Ossetia on Russia’s southern border, were deemed to have “participated in mass riots.” Despite all five trying to convince the court that they were simply guilty of “hooliganism” – a lesser crime – the judge agreed with the prosecution and dealt out prison sentences, each man receiving at least four years and nine months behind bars.

In April last year, around 2,000 to 2,500 people gathered in the main square in Vladikavkaz, the capital of North Ossetia, in what they dubbed a “people’s rally.” The demonstrators were protesting against mandatory self-isolation imposed by the government last spring to halt the spread of Covid-19. The disgruntled locals demanded help for those who had lost their jobs because of the various restrictions. After a few hours, they were finally dispersed by local law enforcement. Some of the protesters responded by throwing stones, reportedly injuring 16 policemen.

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Law enforcement officers register to receive a dose of Russia's Gam-COVID-VAK (trademark "Sputnik V") coronavirus vaccine at the vaccination point in Gostiny Dvor, in Moscow, Russia. © Sputnik
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This is not the first case related to the Vladikavkaz protests. On Monday, the same court, located in the southern capital of Rostov-on-Don, sentenced five other defendants to time behind bars. According to reports, the authorities are considering prosecuting eight more.

According to Moscow daily Kommersant, local authorities believe that the violent rally was organized by Vadim Cheldiev, an opera singer and well-known Covid denier. He is currently in pre-trial detention, having been accused of extremism and disseminating knowingly false information, among other charges.

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Title: Mixed fortunes: Khachanov books Olympic semi-final spot for ROC but Medvedev obliterates racket after crashing out

Link: https://www.rt.com/sport/530556-khachanov-medvedev-racket-smash-tokyo/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS

Date: Thu, 29 Jul 2021 11:41:04 +0000

Desc: Preview Karen Khachanov secured a semi-final berth but countryman Daniil Medvedev was unable to join him on a day of contrasting fortunes for the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) tennis team at Tokyo 2020.
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Guid: https://www.rt.com/sport/530556-khachanov-medvedev-racket-smash-tokyo/

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Karen Khachanov secured a semi-final berth but countryman Daniil Medvedev was unable to join him on a day of contrasting fortunes for the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) tennis team at Tokyo 2020.

Aiming to set up an all-Russian semi-final, Khachanov kept up his side of the bargain by edging out France’s Ugo Humbert 7-6 (7-4) 4-6 6-3 on Thursday.

Khachanov beat Humbert to reach the last four in Tokyo. © Reuters

But tired-looking world number two Medvedev later fell short against Pablo Carreno Busta of Spain, who won their quarter-final 6-2 7-6 (7-5).

Sixth seed Carreno Busta will now play 12th-seeded Khachanov for a place in the final in Tokyo.

Matches in the Japanese capital began later in the day than originally planned, after organizers bowed to pressure over the stifling conditions which had caused disturbing scenes in the tournament so far.

Medvedev, 25, had been among those to suffer most visibly on court, telling the umpire he felt like he “can die” during his match in the previous round.

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Russian star Daniil Medvedev and Spain's Paula Badosa were among those to struggle in the heat. © AFP / Twitter
Tennis bosses move Tokyo match times after Medvedev says he ‘could die’ on concerning day of heat exhaustion for players

Medvedev wasn't as burdened on Thursday but still appeared weary against the fresher-looking Carreno Busta, who took the first set with a double break of serve.

Medvedev returned with a new shirt after a pause between sets and briefly seemed revived, claiming a break of serve in game three, only to relinquish that in game eight.

The big Russian held serve twice to stay in the tournament, but was undone in the tie-break.

Medvedev capped a typically colorful tournament appearance – in which he had also clashed with a journalist who asked him about 'Russian cheaters' – by smashing his racket into the court after match point. 

Medvedev will pack his bags and head home. © Reuters

Elsewhere in the draw, Serbian world number one Novak Djokovic demolished local hero Kei Nishikori 6-2 6-0 to move into the last four. 

Djokovic is seeking to become the first man ever to win a ‘Golden Slam’ consisting of all four majors and the Olympic title in the same year. 

The 34-year-old already has the Australian Open, French Open and Wimbledon titles in the bag, and will face Germany's Alexander Zverev or France's Jeremy Chardy in his semi-final.

Novak Djokovic plays an incredible match, beats Kei Nishikori 6-2, 6-0 and will play for a medal tomorrow in #Tokyo2020. Awaits for Zverev or Chardy. pic.twitter.com/7juSopNtUd

— José Morgado (@josemorgado) July 29, 2021

In the women’s doubles, there was disappointment for the ROC team as Veronika Kudermetova and Elena Vesnina lost a tight semi-final against Czech pairing Katerina Siniakova and Barbora Krejcikova.

The ROC duo will now contest the bronze medal match against either the Brazilian or Swiss teams.

Vesnina and Kudermetova bowed out despite a tight contest and will still seek bronze. © Reuters

In the mixed doubles, ROC pair Andrey Rublev and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova won their quarter-final against Japan’s Ben McLachlan and Ena Shibahara.

Fellow Russian mixed pairing Vesnina and Aslan Karatsev will be in action later on Thursday against Lukasz Kubot and Iga Swiatek of Poland.

This team ❤️@NastiaPav and @AndreyRublev97 will definitely get the chance to play for a medal. pic.twitter.com/9qwwVhZ6ZS

— ‎‎‎‎‎ . (@Ashish__TV) July 29, 2021



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Title: Threat of domestic vaccine passports will help ‘cajole’ young people into getting jabbed, UK Foreign Secretary Raab admits

Link: https://www.rt.com/uk/530548-vaccine-passport-coax-young-people-raab/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS

Date: Thu, 29 Jul 2021 11:29:27 +0000

Desc: Preview The plan to require digital vaccine certificates for entry to clubs and other venues will help pressure young people into getting the shot, UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab has acknowledged.
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Guid: https://www.rt.com/uk/530548-vaccine-passport-coax-young-people-raab/

Content:

The plan to require digital vaccine certificates for entry to clubs and other venues will help pressure young people into getting the shot, UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab has acknowledged.

With more than 70% of adults in the country fully vaccinated, uptake among the young is still lacking, Raab said on Thursday, hinting that the health pass rollout could be abandoned if enthusiasm for the jab increases.

Read more
FILE PHOTO. Heathrow Airport in west London, England. © AFP / Niklas HALLE'N
Double-jabbed US and EU travellers will no longer be required quarantine upon arrival in England from August

Reversing its position on the use of domestic vaccine IDs, the government announced last week that, starting from the end of September, proof of vaccination will be needed in order to go to nightclubs and attend events with large groups of people.

The foreign secretary told BBC Radio 4's ‘Today’ programme that the yet-to-be-implemented policy is designed to keep large venues in operation.

“I think the key principle is in crowded places where we want to open up... whether it's going to a football game or pop concert, we want to make sure people can do that,” he said.

Pointing to France’s plan to require a digital health pass to carry out many of life’s daily activities, the foreign secretary also conceded that such policies apply pressure on the population in order to increase vaccine uptake.

“It's a little bit of coaxing and cajoling,” Raab admitted. He then suggested that perhaps the vaccine passports won’t be necessary if more people get jabbed.

“Once we’ve done that, the wider questions of vaccine certification become much less relevant and salient,” Raab said, referring to the government’s goal of increasing the vaccination rate among adults.

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There have been discussions about making full vaccination mandatory for attending Premier League football matches and in-person classes at university. Raab didn’t rule out the possibility that students in halls of residence could be ordered to get jabbed, but he promised that there would be “advance warning” if such a policy was adopted. 

The government has been ratcheting up its rhetoric aimed at persuading Brits of all ages to roll up their sleeves. On Wednesday, Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove argued that “selfish” individuals who choose to remain unvaccinated by choice should not be surprised if they are barred from participating in many aspects of society, describing such people as guilty of “putting other people’s health and lives at risk.” 

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---------- 10 ----------

Title: Russia’s economic recovery reaches pre-pandemic level with higher-than-expected growth of 4.6%

Link: https://www.rt.com/business/530543-russia-economy-growth-surge/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS

Date: Thu, 29 Jul 2021 11:11:11 +0000

Desc: Preview Russia’s gross domestic product (GDP) increased by 4.6% year-on-year in the first half of 2021, exceeding expectations, the Economy Ministry has announced.
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Guid: https://www.rt.com/business/530543-russia-economy-growth-surge/

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Russia’s gross domestic product (GDP) increased by 4.6% year-on-year in the first half of 2021, exceeding expectations, the Economy Ministry has announced.

According to the ministry, in June the country’s GDP reached the pre-pandemic level corresponding to the fourth quarter of 2019, growing by 8.5% in annual terms. In the second quarter of 2021, GDP growth amounted to 10.1% compared to the same period in 2020 and 1.5% growth compared to the second quarter of 2019.

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People stand on the Great Moskvoretsky Bridge in central Moscow, Russia, March 28, 2016.
Russian economy recovering faster than expected from pandemic – IMF

The country’s GDP is mostly driven by non-energy sectors, including the agriculture, manufacturing, and construction industries. Domestic demand remained the main driver of the economy in 2021, the ministry stated. It also revealed that the average incomes of the population at the end of the second quarter this year were close to the level of the same quarter of 2019.

The ministry noted that, from April 2021, the annual dynamics of the main macroeconomic indicators were influenced by the low base of the corresponding months of 2020, when Covid-19 quarantine restrictions were at their peak. With this in mind, the ministry is basing calculations of the annual dynamics of economic recovery on the fourth quarter of 2019, which was unaffected by the pandemic.

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Oil pumping machines of the Tatneft company in the Almetyevsky district of the Republic of Tatarstan. © Sputnik / Maxim Bogodvid
Russia less reliant on oil & gas as economic recovery in other sectors fuels country’s rapid return to growth, new report reveals

Last month, the ministry raised its outlook for Russia’s total GDP in 2021 to 3.8%, instead of the previously expected 2.9%. The forecast GDP growth will be the fastest that Russia’s economy has seen since 2012, as the average annual growth in 2014-2019 was less than 0.5%, with a dramatic 3% decline in 2020.

But the actual size of the Russian economy is likely far bigger than official statistics indicate. The numbers don’t take into account the country’s considerable black and gray economies. Many businesses in the country continue to pay workers, as well as buy goods and supplies, in cash. One Swedish-backed study estimated the off-the-books share of the Russian economy at a whopping 45% in 2018. This number would make Russia Europe’s largest real economy, in terms of purchasing parity.

For more stories on economy & finance visit RT's business section



---------- 11 ----------

Title: What’s behind runaway inflation in the US? RT’s Keiser Report finds out

Link: https://www.rt.com/business/530536-keiser-report-us-inflation/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS

Date: Thu, 29 Jul 2021 11:03:30 +0000

Desc: Preview Max Keiser and Stacy Herbert look at the data suggesting US consumers are showing ‘no resistance’ to surging prices, as money-printing and stimulus checks encourage Americans to pay whatever the ticket says without negotiation.
Read Full Article at RT.com

Guid: https://www.rt.com/business/530536-keiser-report-us-inflation/

Content:

Max Keiser and Stacy Herbert look at the data suggesting US consumers are showing ‘no resistance’ to surging prices, as money-printing and stimulus checks encourage Americans to pay whatever the ticket says without negotiation.

For more stories on economy & finance visit RT's business section



---------- 12 ----------

Title: Armenia asks Russia to deploy soldiers to frontier with Azerbaijan, as shootout kills three soldiers & sparks fear of new conflict

Link: https://www.rt.com/russia/530554-deployment-soldiers-border-conflict/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS

Date: Thu, 29 Jul 2021 11:00:27 +0000

Desc: Preview Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan has called on Moscow to deploy more peacekeepers to his country’s border with Azerbaijan, as both nations accuse each other of violating an agreed ceasefire after a day of bloody fighting.
Read Full Article at RT.com

Guid: https://www.rt.com/russia/530554-deployment-soldiers-border-conflict/

Content:

Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan has called on Moscow to deploy more peacekeepers to his country’s border with Azerbaijan, as both nations accuse each other of violating an agreed ceasefire after a day of bloody fighting.

Speaking at a government meeting on Thursday, he said that, “given the current situation, I think it makes sense to consider deploying strongholds of Russian border guards across the whole Armenian-Azerbaijani border.” According to Pashinyan, this would “allow for the demarcation of the border, without the risk of firefights.”

Officials in Yerevan announced that three soldiers had died and five had been wounded after a fatal skirmish along the frontier on Wednesday evening. Casualties were also reported on the Azerbaijani side of the border. Russian peacekeepers are already stationed in outposts near key towns and villages as part of the Moscow-backed deal, signed last year, that paused the fighting in a brief but violent war between the two nations.

Also on rt.com
FILE PHOTO. Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan in Kazan, Russia. © Sputnik
Armenian PM sounds alarm over ‘incursion’ by Azerbaijani troops, sparking fear of fresh conflict after bloody Nagorno-Karabakh war

The Azerbaijani Defense Ministry claimed on Thursday that its troops had come under artillery fire from across the border. “The Armenian armed forces … fired on the positions of the Azerbaijani army stationed in the village of Zeylik, in the Kelbajarskooo region, from machine guns and grenade launchers,” military chiefs said.

However, Yerevan retorted that Azeri troops had provoked the clash and opened fire on their position with rifles. “As of 7am, the situation is calm. There is no fire,” the authorities said later.

In May, Pashinyan claimed Azerbaijani special forces had used fake identity cards to cross over into Armenian territory in an effort to shift the border. “They are trying to surround Sev Lich,” he said, referring to a body of water spanning both sides of the mountainous frontier between the two nations.

In November last year, Pashinyan and his Azerbaijani counterpart, Ilham Aliyev, signed the Russian-brokered ceasefire agreement to formally end the conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh, considered a de jure part of Azerbaijan but home to many ethnic Armenians and run almost autonomously by officials with close ties to Yerevan. The deal, which saw Armenia relinquish control over swaths of territory, has effectively paused fighting. However, since then, both sides have regularly reported breaches of the deal and the resumption of hostilities.

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---------- 13 ----------

Title: Macron sues French billboard owner over posters depicting president as Hitler

Link: https://www.rt.com/news/530553-macron-sues-billboard-hitler/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS

Date: Thu, 29 Jul 2021 10:44:01 +0000

Desc: Preview The lawyers of French President Emmanuel Macron are suing a man who depicted the head of state as Adolf Hitler, amid recent protests opposing France’s health pass and Covid vaccine restrictions.
Read Full Article at RT.com

Guid: https://www.rt.com/news/530553-macron-sues-billboard-hitler/

Content:

The lawyers of French President Emmanuel Macron are suing a man who depicted the head of state as Adolf Hitler, amid recent protests opposing France’s health pass and Covid vaccine restrictions.

Michel-Ange Flori, a billboard owner from the southern French region of Var, reported that he was shocked by the charges, which he describes as a breach of his right to freedom of expression.

On Wednesday evening, Flori tweeted: “I have just learned that I will be heard at the Toulon police station tomorrow upon a complaint from the president of the republic.”

Also on rt.com
FILE PHOTO. A demonstration called by the French nationalist party "Les Patriotes" (The Patriots) against France's restrictions to fight the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) outbreak. July 24, 2021
French parliament approves bill forcing vaccination for medical workers & greater health pass use amid growing protests

He highlighted the irony of the charges, making reference to France’s controversial history of liberalism and freedom of expression: “So in ‘Macronia’ we can make fun of the prophet’s ass – it’s satire – but to make the president look like a dictator it’s blasphemy.” Flori’s remarks reference the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo’s controversial depiction of the prophet Mohammed.

One of the billboards in question was placed at the entrance of the southern French town of Toulon and showed Macron in a full Nazi uniform with a toothbrush moustache and swastika armband, which had been adjusted to read ‘LREM’ (La Republique En Marche) – the centrist party founded by Macron in 2016.

An investigation was opened by Toulon authorities for “public insult” on Tuesday.

The executive’s lawyers have proceeded with taking legal action, despite a law in France which made it illegal to insult the president being revoked back in 2013. The law was found to violate freedom of expression after a man charged with a cardboard sign telling then-President Nicholas Sarkozy to ‘get lost’ back in 2008 drew condemnation from European human rights courts judges, and his punishment was dropped.

Flori has defended the posters, asserting that they aim to question “this democracy where decisions are taken without discussion at a health council,” he explained.

One of Flori’s political posters read “Obey, get vaccinated.”
The statement is in reference to France’s controversial imposition of ‘health passes’ across the country.

Read more
A waiter serves beer in a pub as French President Macron, on TV, addresses the nation about the state of the coronavirus disease outbreak, in Cambrai, France, July 12, 2021 © Reuters / Pascal Rossignol
Macron delivers bad news to France: Vaccine passports, mandatory shots for health workers, AND unpopular pension reform

On Monday, France passed a bill making it mandatory for all medical workers to take the vaccine. The new restrictions also made it obligatory for citizens wanting to visit bars or restaurants to be vaccinated or provide a negative test.

The novel regulations – which have heightened in severity since early July, in response to the Delta variant – have caused thousands to protest across France. Last Saturday, over 160,000 French citizens took to the streets to oppose the new measures.

Over the last 20 years, the accused claims to have made at least 100 provocative posters – which he insists is his right to freedom of expression, one of the pillars of French liberalism.

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---------- 14 ----------

Title: Belgium investigates possible manslaughter following deadly floods that killed over 40

Link: https://www.rt.com/news/530539-belgium-floods-investigation-manslaughter/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS

Date: Thu, 29 Jul 2021 10:42:33 +0000

Desc: Preview An investigation into fatal floods has been launched in Belgium’s Wallonia region, the worst hit by the disaster earlier this month. Prosecutors are looking into “involuntary homicide by lack of foresight or precaution.”
Read Full Article at RT.com

Guid: https://www.rt.com/news/530539-belgium-floods-investigation-manslaughter/

Content:

An investigation into fatal floods has been launched in Belgium’s Wallonia region, the worst hit by the disaster earlier this month. Prosecutors are looking into “involuntary homicide by lack of foresight or precaution.”

An investigative judge has been appointed to identify possible officials who allegedly may be responsible for manslaughter during this month’s deadly floods, a public prosecutor’s office in the city of Liege announced on Wednesday. A prosecutor has already taken note of various public positions relating to the chain of events preceding the floods, adding that those in charge might be responsible for the “lack of foresight or precaution,” according to local media.

Read more
RT
Rail service disrupted & new evacuations ordered in Europe as death toll from floods tops 180

The inquiry relates to the severe floods that hit the region in the south of Belgium on July 14. The province of Liege suffered the worst, and 41 deaths have been confirmed in Wallonia in total, with at least two more persons still missing, local media reported this week, citing regional government. At least 202 of 262 municipalities in Wallonia can claim support from the disaster fund, region’s prime minister Elio Di Rupo announced at a press conference earlier this week, saying that “this shows the scale of the disaster.

Locals have also called for an independent investigation. Residents and businesses in the town of Chaudfontaine in the Liege province have joined forces in a “People against flows” collective, planning to file a complaint against the state, according to local media. They suspect that the mishandling of dams in the region could have possibly led to the disaster, while also blaming officials’ negligence in terms of evacuation orders. At least some damage could have possibly been prevented by lowering water levels at a major dam following bad weather forecasts, specialists have suggested.

The flooding in Belgium has damaged infrastructure, leaving thousands without power and drinking water. In neighboring Germany, dozens were killed in the massive flooding, and the disaster has also hit Switzerland and Austria. Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel has said her country will continue to “oppose” the destructive forces of nature, while calling for a tougher climate protection policies.

Also on rt.com
RT
London hit with FLASH FLOODS as torrential rain turns roads into rivers in UK capital (VIDEOS)

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---------- 15 ----------

Title: Gold medal trolling: Brazilian players smugly wave goodbye to Argentinian rivals after Olympics exit

Link: https://www.rt.com/sport/530545-brazil-argentina-rivalry-richarlison-football/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS

Date: Thu, 29 Jul 2021 10:22:45 +0000

Desc: Preview Footballers from the Argentina and Brazil national football teams have been exchanging digs on social media after the former's exit from the Olympic games, in a reignition of one of the sport's most heated rivalries.
Read Full Article at RT.com

Guid: https://www.rt.com/sport/530545-brazil-argentina-rivalry-richarlison-football/

Content:

Footballers from the Argentina and Brazil national football teams have been exchanging digs on social media after the former's exit from the Olympic games, in a reignition of one of the sport's most heated rivalries.

It is one that stretches back more than 100 years, with the South American neighbors first playing one another in 1914.

And while the Selecao currently nurses five World Cup titles to La Albicelste's two, the Argentines are tied with Uruguay for the most Copa America crowns on 15 while the boys in yellow and green trail on nine.

Brazil had previously reveled in a 28-year trophy drought suffered by their foes across the border, which had seen four final losses for Lionel Messi alone.

Also on rt.com
Messi and his Argentina teammates celebrated wildly. © Instagram @leomessi / @angeldimariajm / Reuters
‘Brazil, tell me how it feels’: Argentina mock rivals after winning Copa America as Messi celebrates with sweary message (VIDEO)

Yet after a 1-0 win in the last dance for South America's leading international tournament earlier this month, the quest of both the Barcelona legend and his country for major silverware has been resolved, and bragging rights are with the Argies.

In the Maracana dressing room after their win, they chanted songs provoking their eternal enemies demanding: "Brazil, tell me how it feels to be bossed around in your own home"

This guaranteed that when their Olympic team was sent home from Tokyo yesterday following a 1-1 draw with Spain, Brazilian counterparts in the Japanese capital who also played in the Copa America didn't waste the opportunity to rub salt in the wound. 

Waving goodbye alongside fellow runner-up Richarlison, plus two youth players in Real Madrid wonderkid Reinier  and Hertha Berlin striker Matheus Cunha, Aston Villa star Douglas Costa captioned an Instagram story of the quartet "Tchau Hermanitos", which means "Bye little brothers" in Spanish.

SLK OS MLK É ABUSADO 👋🏻🇦🇷 pic.twitter.com/dFbFX6RTlz

— PL DA DEPRESSÃO (@pldadepressao_) July 28, 2021

Emi Martinez has gotten involved. pic.twitter.com/RQ5XYiDJSV

— MC (@CrewsMat19) July 28, 2021

Catching wind of this, recent Atletico Madrid signing Rodrigo De Paul posted a story of his own while Luiz's Villa teammate Emi Martinez replied a simple "Chau maninhos" ("Bye little brothers" in Portuguese) with him lifting the Copa America.

De Paul's photo showed him chastising a bowed Richarlison and pointing a finger at the Everton target man, and this was accompanied by emojis of a "shh" smiley, trophy and Argentina flag to remind the Brazilians of his homeland's latest conquest.

Known as the pigeon to his countrymen, Richarlison wasn't just going to take that on the chin.

Richarlison posted a picture on his Instagram along with a few Brazilian players watching the Argentina match at the Olympics. He wrote "Bye little brothers".

Rodrigo De Paul responded on his Instagram with the following. pic.twitter.com/BULILYTHKe

— Roy Nemer (@RoyNemer) July 28, 2021

Quick to the punch, he then posted a shot of himself kissing the 2019 Copa America trophy, won by knocking De Paul's side out of the semifinals, and then one of Pele and a bundle of World Cup trophies with the question: "Who has the most stars?"

"A thousand goals...only Pele," he added, which is another argument between the two countries regarding which boasts the greatest player of all time. 

pic.twitter.com/pv6gg4gBwl

— Laila 🇧🇷 (@lailacristinax) July 28, 2021

The Argentines of course think it is the late Diego Maradona, with Messi not even getting a look in.

And while such debates will never be truly settled, it is at least refreshing to see that one of football's greatest rivalries is more alive than ever. 



---------- 16 ----------

Title: Putin is broke? Biden the latest American leader to publicly expose the dangerous lack of genuine Russia expertise in Washington

Link: https://www.rt.com/russia/530546-lack-expertise-washington-exposed/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS

Date: Thu, 29 Jul 2021 10:04:10 +0000

Desc: Preview US presidents are a mass of contradictions. Donald Trump spoke of improving relations with Russia, but dragged them to new lows with sanctions. Joe Biden, by contrast, has overseen a thaw, while saying nasty things about Moscow.
Read Full Article at RT.com

Guid: https://www.rt.com/russia/530546-lack-expertise-washington-exposed/

Content:

US presidents are a mass of contradictions. Donald Trump spoke of improving relations with Russia, but dragged them to new lows with sanctions. Joe Biden, by contrast, has overseen a thaw, while saying nasty things about Moscow.

Most recently, the Democratic Party politician has renewed the New START treaty and ended American efforts to sabotage the Russian- and German-backed Nord Stream 2 pipeline, efforts which were kicked off by his predecessor. But, as if to make up for it, he seems to feel a need to bring out fiery and fear-mongering rhetoric at every opportunity.

So it was that during a visit to the office of the Director of National Intelligence on Tuesday, Biden talked up the threat posed by Russia, explaining its alleged aggressiveness as a product of its supposedly failing economy. Biden claimed that his counterpart, President Vladimir Putin, “has a real problem. He is sitting on top of an economy that has nuclear weapons and oil wealth and nothing else. Nothing else. Their economy is like the eighth ... largest in the world. He knows he’s in real trouble – which makes him even more dangerous, in my opinion.”

Also on rt.com
An aerial view shows Rosneft's Vankor oil field in eastern Siberia
India in talks with Russia over investments in Russian oil and gas assets – sources

It’s hardly a novel claim. In times long past, the Soviet Union was often called “Upper Volta with rockets,” evoking the name of the impoverished African state that went on to become Burkina Faso. More recently, Senator John McCain referred to the Russian Federation as a “gas station masquerading as a country.” And ex-US president Barack Obama said that Russia “doesn’t make anything.” “The Russians … are a smaller country,” added Obama, “their economy doesn’t produce anything that anybody wants to buy except oil and gas and arms.”

Underlying these statements is a perception that Russia is a poor country, and indeed, when compared to most of the Western world, it is, at least on paper. Even adjusting for purchasing power parity, Russian official Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita is around $28,000 a year. That of the United States is about $65,000. Americans’ sense of superiority has some basis in fact. Moscow has admittedly been quick off the blocks and, on Thursday announced that the country’s GDP had returned to pre-pandemic levels.

However, statistics aren’t everything. Russia, like most former Soviet states, has a sizable and thriving black and gray economy. Jobs are frequently advertised with one desirable perk being a so-called ‘white salary’ – one that is legally declared and taxed. Many aren’t, and employers frequently pay workers cash in hand, or for goods and supplies in undisclosed deals. This means that the true scale of the country’s economy is hard to measure. Though likely far larger than the official stats, the lack of accountability and reporting is often a problem in itself.

That said, one Swedish-backed study estimated the off-the-books share of the Russian economy at a whopping 45% in 2018. If true, and it seems like a believable figure, it would mean the financial reality is far more prosperous than the official numbers suggest, and would make Russia, by far, Europe’s largest real economy, in terms of purchasing parity. There are other interesting indicators in terms of consumption. For example,  the age profile of cars on Russian roads is more similar to that of Western Europe than Eastern Europe. Which is another hint that actual incomes may have more in common with, for example, Italy than, say, Romania.

For years have been saying that due to the size of the black economy, GDP & official wage stats are useless as measures of Russian living standards.

This, via @bneeditor, is instructive. The age profile of cars on Russian roads is more similar to Western than Eastern Europe. pic.twitter.com/Qa1s3Ir3fO

— Bryan MacDonald (@27khv) May 16, 2021

As for Russia’s exports, these are indeed mostly natural resources – the top five exports by value being crude petroleum, refined petroleum, natural gas, coal, and wheat. By contrast, manufactured products top the list of Russia’s imports: cars, packaged medicaments, vehicle parts, broadcasting equipment, and planes and helicopters leading the way. Russia is a country that exports unfinished goods and imports finished ones.

Nevertheless, Biden’s dismissal of Russia is wrong. Russia has a full-service economy, in the sense that it produces nearly all of what it consumes. For instance, around 85% of all domestic appliances and 80% of all cars purchased in Russia are built there. Many of these are foreign designed and owned. All the same, Russia is making them.

The tense international situation has accelerated the drive towards domestic production by encouraging a policy of import substitution. In the agricultural sector, this has had a huge impact, greatly increasing output since 2014. The government has also been boosting the domestic pharmaceutical industry. As a result of a policy initiated in 2013, by 2017 over 80% of drugs sold in Russia were domestically produced, a sharp increase on the level five years previously.

In fact, Russia manufactures just about everything you could imagine – from space craft, through airplanes, cars, and computers, to boots and clothing. Russian-owned companies like Yandex, Kaspersky, and Telegram are leaders in the European IT sector. And the country also has a thriving service industry, which accounts for a whopping 60% of GDP and employs 63% of the working Russian population. By contrast oil and gas now accounts for only 15% of GDP.

Russia’s problem isn’t a lack of diversification; it’s that most of its products aren’t internationally competitive: Russians will buy them because they are cheaper than foreign imports, but others won’t. Millions of Russians own a Lada, for instance, but you won’t see many Americans driving one. In terms of innovation and quality, Russia lags behind its economic rivals.

Also on rt.com
RT
S&P upgrades Russia’s economic outlook for 2021

Beyond that, the Russian economy has some serious structural problems. Above all, small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are underdeveloped, accounting for only about 20% of GDP.

One reason for this is the weak rule of law. SMEs find themselves subject to arbitrary pressure from regulatory authorities, a practice that Putin himself has complained about, as well as severe risks of being taken over by rivals who exploit connections with the police and judicial authorities to engage in what is known as “raiding.” Running a small business in Russia is a high-risk affair.

It’s also hard to get cheap credit. Ever fearful of inflation, the Russian Central Bank has long kept interest rates high by international standards (last week, it put them up again by a whole percentage point). SMEs either can’t get loans or have to pay a high price for them. By contrast, the state offers generous subsidies to politically-connected big businesses. This skews the economy in favor of the latter, even though they are often less efficient.

The Russian economy, therefore, is not without its problems. But they aren’t the problems that Biden and so many other critics imagine. And that raises an interesting question of why Biden, Obama, and others like them say the things they do. One imagines that Biden is not entirely unscripted. His latest comments came during a talk to the intelligence community. One would expect that there would be some intelligence input. If so, it suggests a shocking lack of knowledge of Russia within the US government. Cliché appears to win over thoughtful analysis.

There’s nothing wrong with saying that Russia is not as economically successful as America. Nor with saying that there are reasons to doubt its ability to catch up. But one should at least get the reasons right. The fact that the Americans can’t makes one wonder what else they don’t understand. One suspects it’s quite a lot.

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The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.



---------- 17 ----------

Title: Police call in military to help enforce Covid lockdown in Sydney after cases rise unabated

Link: https://www.rt.com/news/530547-military-help-covid-lockdown-sydney/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS

Date: Thu, 29 Jul 2021 10:02:34 +0000

Desc: Preview Sydney authorities have been blasted for “militarizing a public health crisis,” after the New South Wales Police Commissioner Mick Fuller requested the support of 300 soldiers to ensure greater compliance with Covid restrictions.
Read Full Article at RT.com

Guid: https://www.rt.com/news/530547-military-help-covid-lockdown-sydney/

Content:

Sydney authorities have been blasted for “militarizing a public health crisis,” after the New South Wales Police Commissioner Mick Fuller requested the support of 300 soldiers to ensure greater compliance with Covid restrictions.

The five million residents in Sydney are currently in the fifth week of a city-wide lockdown that has been extended until the end of August but, so far, with sketchy compliance, it has failed to reduce new daily infections to zero.

To help New South Wales (NSW) police enforce the measures, the regional commissioner has asked the Australian Defense Force to deploy 300 troops to the streets “to boost its operational footprint” and ensure that residents there comply with the restrictions.

“With an increase in enforcement activity over the coming week, I have now made a formal request to the Prime Minister for ADF personnel to assist with [the Covid compliance] operation,” Fuller confirmed, in a statement released by NSW police.

Amnesty International Australia blasted the move in its statement on the matter, accusing the NSW police commissioner of “militarizing a public health crisis,” rather than making its Covid guidelines public and working with residents to ensure individuals are aware of how to comply with the necessary restrictions.

Also on rt.com
A lone bird walks past the quiet Circular Quay train station during a lockdown to curb the spread of a coronavirus outbreak in Sydney, Australia, July 28, 2021.
Sydney widens police powers, ordering residents to wear masks AT ALL TIMES outside home amid surge in cases

At the start of July, the NSW had rejected an offer of support from the Australian Defence Force, believing that the police operation could control the spread of the virus, as it was mainly occurring between household contacts.

The ADF has previously been deployed across Australia to support Covid border restrictions and to manage hotel quarantine facilities, working to prevent new strains of coronavirus from being imported into the country.

The decision to call in the military was paired with an announcement that police will be granted expanded powers, including having the right to close businesses and shut down spaces that violate existing restrictions. Officers will also have the power to penalize individuals who fail to wear a mask “at all times” outside their home with a AUS$500 fine (USD$370), increased from the original AUS$200 (USD$148) figure.

The deployment of soldiers and expansion of police powers comes as Sydney reported a record number of new daily infections on Thursday, with 239 new cases, the highest single-day figure since the start of the pandemic. Addressing the rising figures, NSW premier Gladys Berejiklian warned that “things are likely to get worse before they get better.”

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---------- 18 ----------

Title: ‘I’m pro-choice’: NFL star Cole Beasley defends vaccine stance as debate around ‘mandatory’ jabs erupts

Link: https://www.rt.com/sport/530541-nfl-cole-beasley-covid-vaccine/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS

Date: Thu, 29 Jul 2021 09:50:54 +0000

Desc: Preview Buffalo Bills wide receiver Cole Beasley has defended his position on vaccine hesitancy, saying that he and fellow NFL players reluctant to receive the jab want to see 'proper information' ahead of a 'very personal choice'.
Read Full Article at RT.com

Guid: https://www.rt.com/sport/530541-nfl-cole-beasley-covid-vaccine/

Content:

Buffalo Bills wide receiver Cole Beasley has defended his position on vaccine hesitancy, saying that he and fellow NFL players reluctant to receive the jab want to see 'proper information' ahead of a 'very personal choice'.

Last week, the NFL announced a series of strict plans designed to mitigate the impact of Covid-19 outbreaks on the upcoming season, mandating that 'tier one' staff members including coaches and other such personnel must receive a vaccine against the virus in a move which has already led to the departure of at least two coaches within the league. 

No such requirements exist for players, however, but league bosses have instituted a scheme which appears to heavily incentivize that they receive the vaccine – which include requirements for unvaccinated players to receive a Covid-19 every day, compared to fortnightly for vaccinated players.

Furthermore, if an unvaccinated player is deemed responsible for a Covid-19 outbreak within a team which leads to the cancellation of a game, that team will be forced to forfeit the game – with players from BOTH teams having that week's game payments withheld. 

Numerous players in the NFL have voiced their support for vaccines. The Cleveland Browns star defensive end Myles Garrett was one of them on Wednesday, telling the media of the impact that a Covid-19 diagnosis had on him last season and that his decision to take the vaccine was an easy one – but he says he isn't campaigning for his teammates to take it despite his quarterback, Baker Mayfield, saying that players will have a "competitive advantage" if they receive a vaccine.

"I left it unsaid," said Garrett. "I got sick. I didn't want to get sick again. So it was kind of point-blank apparent for me."

Beasley, though, who had a breakout season for the Bills last year in which he had a career-high of 967 receiving yards, isn't so sure. The 32-year-old has been vocal on social media as to his questioning of the vaccine and also met with the media Wednesday and took a slightly different tone to that of Garrett.

"I'm not anti or pro-vax, I'm pro-choice," Beasley said, reading from a pre-prepared statement. "With that being said, the issue at hand is information being withheld from players in order for a player to be swayed in a direction he may not be comfortable with.

"When dealing with a player's health and safety, there should be complete transparency regarding information that is vital in the decision-making process. Without having all the proper information, a player can feel misguided and unsure about a very personal choice. It makes a player feel unprotected and gives concerns about future topics regarding health and our ability to make educated decisions."

Beasley continued, repeating a mantra which has been prevalent in some sections of society throughout the pandemic which says that if you stop testing, cases will plummet accordingly. 

"It's common sense that if a vaxxed or unvaxxed player is tested less frequently, the likelihood of a player being pulled for Covid drops dramatically," he said. "In regard to player safety, I'll conclude by saying we all want to be safe.

"For so many players around the NFL, safety does not solely mean avoiding the Covid virus. Our health is the now and years beyond, which we are trying to protect with our personal choice while doing all the things we did in our protocol during a very successful 2020 NFL season."

The Bills general manager Brandon Beane indicated that more than 80% of his roster have taken steps to receive the vaccine and dipped into his playbook of sporting clichés to say that his team are "focused on winning" as Beasley continues to draw heat from from all sides - including his own team's supporters - due to his stance on the Covid jab.

Ron Rivera, the head coach of the Washington Football Team, meanwhile, who underwent treatment for skin cancer last year which has left him immunodeficient took a more hardline stance when he spoke to the media this week, saying that he was "beyond frustrated" at members of his team who are opting out of the vaccine.

Also on rt.com
DeAndre Hopkins has hinted he could retire over a vaccine row © Billy Hardiman / USA Today Sports via Reuters | © Bernadett Szabo / Reuters
‘It’s making me question my future’: NFL star DeAndre Hopkins hints he might RETIRE after league announces strict vaccine plans

"We're not where we want to be," he said after revealing that only around 50% of his roster have taken the shot.

"With the new variant, who knows?" Rivera said of the infectious Delta variant. "When I'm in a group and the group's not vaccinated or there's a mixture, I put the mask on, and I do that for health reasons because nobody really knows. I have to do that. And I just wish and I hope that our guys can understand that.

"We'll see how it all unfolds, and to some degree this tells us a little about us," he added.



---------- 19 ----------

Title: NBA star Jaxson Hayes arrested after being ‘tasered in brawl with policeman’ – reports

Link: https://www.rt.com/sport/530538-jaxson-hayes-cop-brawl-nba/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS

Date: Thu, 29 Jul 2021 09:21:41 +0000

Desc: Preview New Orleans Pelicans star Jaxson Hayes was booked for a felony charge of battery on a law enforcement officer and hospitalized to treat minor injuries after allegedly being involved in a violent altercation, according to reports.
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Guid: https://www.rt.com/sport/530538-jaxson-hayes-cop-brawl-nba/

Content:

New Orleans Pelicans star Jaxson Hayes was booked for a felony charge of battery on a law enforcement officer and hospitalized to treat minor injuries after allegedly being involved in a violent altercation, according to reports.

Local police were called to a domestic disturbance in a still unidentified town in the Los Angeles area. 

When they attempted to enter the premises, Hayes reportedly got physical and a brawl broke out.

But so serious was the scuffle that police had to put out a radio call that an "officer needs help," according to US outlet TMZ

Jaxson Hayes was arrested last night after an alleged altercation with police, per @TMZ.

Both Hayes and an officer were treated at a nearby hospital. pic.twitter.com/4zt8IVdS7T

— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) July 28, 2021

Hayes was shipped to a nearby hospital to treat minor injuries, with the officer also seeking treatment, and at present their condition is still unknown.

Later that afternoon, the imposing 6'ft 11in, 220lbs star was reportedly charged for battery on a law enforcement officer, which is a felony, with his bail set at $25,000.

Around two-and-a-half hours after that, he posted the amount and was a free man again while the Pelicans released a statement.

"We have been made aware of the incident involving Jaxson Hayes," it began.

"We are working in conjunction with the NBA and Jaxson's representatives to gather more information and will have no further comment at this time."

An eighth-overall pick in the 2019 draft, Hayes played one season for the Texas Long Horns before being picked up by the NBA.

Across two seasons in New Orleans, he has started just 17 games but is one of several young stars with the Pelicans such as Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram fighting for recognition. 



---------- 20 ----------

Title: Cambodia set to lockdown eight provinces on border with Thailand that recorded highest Covid cases and deaths

Link: https://www.rt.com/news/530540-cambodia-set-lockdown-eight-provinces-thailand/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS

Date: Thu, 29 Jul 2021 09:11:22 +0000

Desc: Preview Eight provinces on the Thai border are set to enter lockdown after Cambodia’s Prime Minister Hun Sen ordered the measures. The temporary regional shutdown comes as Thailand sees record-high coronavirus deaths and cases.
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Guid: https://www.rt.com/news/530540-cambodia-set-lockdown-eight-provinces-thailand/

Content:

Eight provinces on the Thai border are set to enter lockdown after Cambodia’s Prime Minister Hun Sen ordered the measures. The temporary regional shutdown comes as Thailand sees record-high coronavirus deaths and cases.

Cambodia will launch a lockdown in eight provinces on its shared border from midnight on Thursday in an attempt to prevent coronavirus cases from Thailand pouring into the country. The prime minister ordered the lockdown late on Wednesday “to prevent the community spread of the Covid-19 delta virus” in Cambodia. The eight border provinces affected are Koh Kong, Siem Reap, Pailin, Pursat, Battambang, Banteay Meanchey, Oddar Meanchey, and Preah Vihear.

Due to last until August 12, the measures will see border points between Cambodia and Thailand closed, except for the transportation of goods and in case of emergencies. Citizens in the eight regions are under a strict stay-at-home mandate, with group gatherings temporarily banned. The conducting of business has also been halted. 

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A man crosses the road on Ratchaprasong intersection in Bangkok on July 12, 2021, on the first day of stricter lockdown restrictions to try to contain the spread of the Covid-19 coronavirus. © AFP / Lillian SUWANRUMPHA
Thailand decides to mix vaccine doses as capital city Bangkok placed under strict lockdown measures

As Cambodia’s lockdown looms, Thailand registered a record-high count of daily coronavirus cases and deaths. On Thursday, it recorded 17,669 new positive infections in one day, with 165 people having succumbed to the virus. The new figures bring its case total to more than 561,000 infections and 4,562 deaths. 

Cambodia managed to weather earlier surges of coronavirus well, until cases began to climb in February, with an exponential increase from April onwards. Since the outbreak of the pandemic last year, the South-East Asian country has registered more than 75,900 cases and 1,350 deaths.

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---------- 21 ----------

Title: ‘It got to my head’: Italian ace Fognini says HEAT in Tokyo caused him to shout anti-gay slurs at himself during defeat

Link: https://www.rt.com/sport/530544-fabio-fognini-blames-tokyo-heat-homophobic-slur/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS

Date: Thu, 29 Jul 2021 09:04:02 +0000

Desc: Preview Italian tennis star Fabio Fognini says the oppressive heat in Tokyo caused him to shout homophobic slurs at himself during his defeat to Daniil Medvedev.
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Guid: https://www.rt.com/sport/530544-fabio-fognini-blames-tokyo-heat-homophobic-slur/

Content:

Italian tennis star Fabio Fognini says the oppressive heat in Tokyo caused him to shout homophobic slurs at himself during his defeat to Daniil Medvedev.

Fognini exited the Olympics after a three-set defeat to Medvedev on Wednesday, which played out in temperatures of around 30C (86F) and suffocating humidity.

Medvedev complained to the umpire that he felt like he “can die on court” and the Russian star – competing for the ROC team – required medical treatment several times.

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Daniil Medvedev struggled badly in his Olympic match in Tokyo on Wednesday. © Reuters / Twitter
‘I can die’: Russian ace Medvedev fears he could DROP DEAD in Tokyo heat before battling into Olympic quarter-finals (VIDEO)

On the other side of the net, Fognini got hot under the collar and repeatedly slammed his racket during the defeat – including after the final point.

The 34-year-old Italian was also heard berating himself in his native language, using the term ‘frocio’ – which translates as ‘faggot’ or ‘fag’.

Fognini was a frustrated figure on court. © Reuters

After the comments were picked up on international broadcasts, the world number 31 issued an apology on Instagram.

“The heat got to my head!” Fognini wrote in a message on a rainbow background. 

“In today's match I used a really stupid expression towards myself. Obviously I didn't want to offend anyone's sensibilities.

“I love the LGBT community and I apologize for the nonsense that came out of me.”

Fognini posted an apology on social media. © Instagram

It’s not the first time the fiery Fognini has been embroiled in controversy. At Wimbledon in 2019, the Italian was forced to apologize after saying he wanted “a bomb to explode” on the All England Club.

Two years previously, Fognini was kicked out of the US Open for insulting an umpire during a first-round singles match, being handed a suspended ban from two Grand Slams.

Wednesday’s grueling match against Medvedev further exposed the stifling conditions players have to contend with in Tokyo.

Also on rt.com
Badosa was wheeled off court in stifling Tokyo heat. © Reuters
Spanish ace Badosa leaves court in WHEELCHAIR as fears grow for tennis stars in sweltering heat at Tokyo Olympics

Spain’s Paula Badosa was forced to quit her quarter-final against Czech star Marketa Vondrousova after suffering heatstroke, and left the arena in a wheelchair.

Organizers later said the start times for matches would be shifted to later on in the day, in an effort to provide more accommodating conditions for players. 

Also on rt.com
Russian star Daniil Medvedev and Spain's Paula Badosa were among those to struggle in the heat. © AFP / Twitter
Tennis bosses move Tokyo match times after Medvedev says he ‘could die’ on concerning day of heat exhaustion for players



---------- 22 ----------

Title: Chinese stocks gain on reports Beijing will continue to allow US listings

Link: https://www.rt.com/business/530528-china-ipo-us-market/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS

Date: Thu, 29 Jul 2021 09:00:25 +0000

Desc: Preview Asian stock markets traded mostly higher on Thursday, following reports that China would not ban domestic companies from going public in the US.
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Guid: https://www.rt.com/business/530528-china-ipo-us-market/

Content:

Asian stock markets traded mostly higher on Thursday, following reports that China would not ban domestic companies from going public in the US.

According to media sources, China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) Vice Chairman Fang Xinghai said Beijing would continue to allow domestic companies to register IPOs on the US stock market if they meet listing requirements. The official made the comment late Wednesday at an online meeting with representatives of the likes of Goldman Sachs and UBS, as well as some of China’s investment banks, the media reported, citing sources familiar with the matter.

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FILE PHOTO: A trader works during the IPO for Chinese ride-hailing company Didi Global Inc on the New York Stock Exchange.
China’s crackdown on firms trading in US could kill $2 TRILLION listings market

Xinghai reportedly warned that the existing legal structure that covers access to Chinese assets by international investors would have to be reformed if national security concerns arise. The CSRC has not made an official public statement and has not responded to media requests for comment.

The Hang Seng stock market in Hong Kong surged 3% on Thursday, while the Shanghai Composite Index rebounded 1.5% after three days of losses. Chinese social media giant Tencent’s stock jumped 7.2% in Hong Kong, while search giant Baidu gained 5.4%. Shares in China’s e-commerce giant Alibaba also traded higher, gaining 4.8%.

The rally comes after several days of heavy losses on the Chinese markets over fears of stricter regulation. Beijing has recently stepped up its screening of Chinese tech companies and firms listed on the US market. The Chinese State Council, the country’s most senior executive body, said in a recent statement that all businesses with a million or more users would have to gain approval from the country’s cybersecurity regulator if they wanted to list overseas. Prior to that, Beijing also announced plans to amend the rules of the overseas listing system for Chinese firms, as well as to enforce controls on cross-border data flows and security.

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A driver of Chinese ride-hailing service Didi drives with a phone showing a navigation map on Didi's app, in Beijing, China July 5, 2021. © REUTERS/Tingshu Wang
China’s crackdown on Didi following its Wall St IPO shows that billionaires don't run the show in Beijing - unlike in Washington

Furthermore, last week, Beijing issued a new policy requiring Chinese after-school tutoring companies to become non-profits, which effectively bans them from raising money through the stock market or having foreign investors. Following the news, the stocks of major Chinese education organizations dropped sharply, both in Hong Kong and in the US, further increasing fears that Beijing is set on blocking foreign capital flows into Chinese assets. According to CNBC sources, however, the new regulation is aimed at lifting parents’ financial burden rather than blocking foreign investment.

For more stories on economy & finance visit RT's business section



---------- 23 ----------

Title: China’s possible involvement in Afghanistan could be a ‘positive’ development, US State Department says

Link: https://www.rt.com/usa/530533-blinken-afghanistan-china-positive/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS

Date: Thu, 29 Jul 2021 08:59:25 +0000

Desc: Preview China could play a constructive role in Afghanistan if it helps secure a political settlement between Kabul and the Taliban, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has said.
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Guid: https://www.rt.com/usa/530533-blinken-afghanistan-china-positive/

Content:

China could play a constructive role in Afghanistan if it helps secure a political settlement between Kabul and the Taliban, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has said.

Washington’s most senior diplomat remarked on Thursday that Beijing’s involvement in the war-torn country could be a “positive thing” if it helped to work towards a “peaceful resolution of the conflict.”

Taliban representatives traveled to China earlier this week to hold talks with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi about the political and military situation in Afghanistan following the withdrawal of US-led coalition troops from the country.

Read more
FILE PHOTO. Taliban delegates speak during talks between the Afghan government and Taliban insurgents in Doha, Qatar September 12, 2020.
China discusses security with Taliban following concerns of instability in Afghanistan after US troops withdrawal

Beijing has signaled that it sees the Taliban as playing an important role in bringing peace and stability to Afghanistan. A spokesperson for the militant group said China was not interested in interfering with internal issues, but, instead, wanted to help restore peace in the country.

Commenting on the talks, Blinken insisted “no one” wanted to see a military takeover of the country by the Taliban, or the restoration of the group’s extremist Islamic emirate. He urged the Taliban to “peacefully” return to the negotiating table to bring an end to the nearly 20-year conflict that began with the US invasion of the Central Asian nation in October 2001.

China’s Foreign Ministry has stressed that it seeks to pursue a policy of “non-interference,” adding that the withdrawal of US-led forces from Afghanistan revealed Washington’s foreign policy “failure” in the country.

Afghanistan has seen a sharp uptick in violence since the US military’s exit from the country. The Taliban now claims it has gained control over a large portion of the country amid an aggressive military offensive that has seen numerous districts fall to the group. 

Although the US is on track to complete its full withdrawal from the country by the end of August, the Pentagon has vowed it will continue to provide air support to Kabul as it battles the Taliban for territory. 

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---------- 24 ----------

Title: Alaskan Peninsula rocked by huge 8.2-magnitude earthquake, 6th-largest in US history, triggering tsunami advisory notice

Link: https://www.rt.com/usa/530535-alaska-earthquake-tsunami-warning/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS

Date: Thu, 29 Jul 2021 08:03:31 +0000

Desc: Preview An earthquake measuring 8.2 on the Richter scale has struck just south of the Alaskan Peninsula. The authorities issued warnings and advisory notices about a possible tsunami.
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Guid: https://www.rt.com/usa/530535-alaska-earthquake-tsunami-warning/

Content:

An earthquake measuring 8.2 on the Richter scale has struck just south of the Alaskan Peninsula. The authorities issued warnings and advisory notices about a possible tsunami.

At 10:15pm local time on Wednesday evening (06:15 GMT Thursday), an earthquake rocked the Alaskan Peninsula. The US Geological Survey said the quake, measuring 8.2 in magnitude, had occurred at a depth of 29 miles (46.7km), and that the epicenter was 56 miles (91km) southeast of Perryville, a small settlement on the peninsula. 

The US National Tsunami Warning Center issued the most severe warning on its scale for part of the peninsula. The warning was later removed but an advisory noticed remained. A “watch” level status was also removed for Hawaii.

In unverified footage posted on social media, the tsunami sirens can be heard across the bay. The roads appear full as people flee low ground to areas of safety. 

#Tsunami #Alaska #Kodiak #TsunamiAlert #Earthquake pic.twitter.com/viFjoyMtzu

— Manuel Sarmiento (@ManuelS91513423) July 29, 2021

🚨#BREAKING: The 8.2 earthquake is the largest to strike the United States since 1965

📌#Alaska l #US

Warning sirens are now blaring along the Alaskan coastline as waves approach.
The Tsunami Warning System is still calculating possible further risks to the Hawaiian Islands pic.twitter.com/rzzVI4txUD

— R A W S A L E R T S (@rawsalerts) July 29, 2021

#Kodiak #Alaska as of 10 minutes ago... sirens and evacuations #earthquake #tsunami pic.twitter.com/BfdjAzqGcj

— 🇺🇸*SkyQueen*🇺🇸 ✈️👑⭐️ (@Triquetra331) July 29, 2021

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center also warned of a possible tsunami threat to the US territory of Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands. 

The organization shared an image on Twitter showing the tsunami travel time indicated by contours on a map.  

Thu Jul 29 07:03:47 UTC 2021 event picture pic.twitter.com/TGf2yerpzh

— NWS Tsunami Alerts (@NWS_NTWC) July 29, 2021

The US National Weather Service Guam has downgraded the possible threat, noting, “At this time, there is no tsunami threat out for Guam & the CNMI (Northern Mariana Islands).”

The quake is the largest to hit the US since 1965, and the sixth-largest in the continent’s history. All the US’s most severe earthquakes have occurred in the state of Alaska.

DETAILS TO FOLLOW



---------- 25 ----------

Title: Simone Biles says she’s ‘more than my accomplishments and gymnastics’ in message to fans after Tokyo pullout

Link: https://www.rt.com/sport/530534-simone-biles-twitter-message-fans/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS

Date: Thu, 29 Jul 2021 07:42:43 +0000

Desc: Preview US gymnastics icon Simone Biles has thanked fans for their “love and support” after she withdrew from two events at the Tokyo Games, watching on as America settled for second behind the Russian Olympic Committee on Tuesday.
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Guid: https://www.rt.com/sport/530534-simone-biles-twitter-message-fans/

Content:

US gymnastics icon Simone Biles has thanked fans for their “love and support” after she withdrew from two events at the Tokyo Games, watching on as America settled for second behind the Russian Olympic Committee on Tuesday.

Four-time Olympic champion Biles pulled out after her opening vault of the team final this week, leaving the remaining three members of the US quartet to battle on in her absence.

Biles later cited mental health issues as the reason for the withdrawal and will also miss Thursday’s individual all-round final at the Ariake Gymnastics Center.

READ MORE: Simone Biles pulls out AGAIN at Tokyo 2020, gymnast withdraws from individual all-around competition final

The 24-year-old has received gushing support from fans, members of the media and fellow athletes for her decision to “prioritize her mental well-being” – although elsewhere some have questioned her decision as lacking courage.

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Biles herself has now taken to Twitter and Instagram to thank her supporters, writing: “The outpouring love and support I’ve received has made me realize I’m more than my accomplishments and gymnastics which I never truly believed before.”

The post follows an initial social media message to fans in the wake of Biles' withdrawal, in which she simply posted a white heart. 

🤍

— Simone Biles (@Simone_Biles) July 27, 2021

Biles’ decision – which follows a similar move by tennis star Naomi Osaka earlier this year – has triggered a debate about mental health in sport, or whether lazy buzzwords are being applied to defend poor performance.

Biles’ further Olympic participation remains up in the air, with the young star – who boasts a remarkable haul of 31 medals at Olympic and World Championship level – yet to decide whether she will compete in the four individual finals in Tokyo.     

 



---------- 26 ----------

Title: India may join China in bid to lower oil prices

Link: https://www.rt.com/business/530529-india-china-oil-reserves-prices/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS

Date: Thu, 29 Jul 2021 07:40:06 +0000

Desc: Preview The world’s third-largest crude oil importer, India, could join China in tapping into its strategic petroleum reserve in a bid to sell lower-priced crude to its refiners amid rallying international oil prices.
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Guid: https://www.rt.com/business/530529-india-china-oil-reserves-prices/

Content:

The world’s third-largest crude oil importer, India, could join China in tapping into its strategic petroleum reserve in a bid to sell lower-priced crude to its refiners amid rallying international oil prices.

India is reportedly considering selling half of its SPR to attract private participation in expanding its strategic storage capacity, government sources told Reuters last week.

The sale of crude from reserves could also be a move from one of the importers most sensitive to price hikes to reduce the price of crude for its refiners, Reuters columnist Clyde Russell says. India’s SPR currently holds around 36.5 million barrels of crude oil. 

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FILE PHOTO: Cairn India employees work at a storage facility for crude oil at Mangala oil field at Barmer in the desert Indian state of Rajasthan
India’s oil imports slide to nine-month low amid renewed lockdowns

India has been the most vocal critic of the OPEC+ production reduction pact this year, saying that it does not support “artificial cuts to keep the price going up.” On several occasions, India’s top officials have criticized OPEC+ for keeping the market tight and prices high and have expressed concern that the higher crude and fuel prices in India would slow down the economic and oil demand recovery.

India’s move to commercialize half of its SPR is primarily aimed at raising financing for additional SPR storage, but it could also ensure cheaper oil from storage to Indian refiners, according to Reuters’ Russell.

Last week, reports emerged that the world’s top oil importer, China, is looking to tap its crude reserves.

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FILE PHOTO: General view of Saudi Aramco's Ras Tanura oil refinery and oil terminal in Saudi Arabia
China buys less Saudi crude as it slams the brakes on oil imports

China has started to release more than 20 million barrels of crude oil from its strategic reserve in a move seen as seeking to curb the recent oil price rally, Energy Intelligence reported last week, quoting trading sources. The reported release from the strategic petroleum reserve is also aimed at putting inflation under control.

Various market and trade sources told Energy Intelligence that China was about to release the equivalent of between 22 million barrels and over 29 million barrels, or between 3 million and 4 million tons.

This article was originally published on Oilprice.com



---------- 27 ----------

Title: Tunisian president tells businessmen they won’t be prosecuted if they return billions of dollars ‘looted’ from people

Link: https://www.rt.com/news/530532-tunisia-saied-businessmen-reconciliation/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS

Date: Thu, 29 Jul 2021 07:37:14 +0000

Desc: Preview Tunisian President Kais Saied, who seized control of the government last weekend, said that billions of dollars had been stolen from the country and offered businessmen an option to return the money if they wanted to avoid prison.
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Guid: https://www.rt.com/news/530532-tunisia-saied-businessmen-reconciliation/

Content:

Tunisian President Kais Saied, who seized control of the government last weekend, said that billions of dollars had been stolen from the country and offered businessmen an option to return the money if they wanted to avoid prison.

During his meeting with the head of the UTICA business union, Samir Majoul, on Wednesday, Saied blamed 460 individuals for snatching 13.5 billion dinars (around $4.8 billion) from Tunisia.

He promised a crackdown on corruption, but, at the same time, insisted he had “no intention to harm or abuse” Tunisian entrepreneurs.

“I propose a penal reconciliation with businessmen involved in looting the people’s money and tax evasion in exchange for their commitment to projects ... instead of being prosecuted and imprisoned,” the president said in video footage of the meeting distributed by his office.

The businessmen on Saied’s list will be ranked in accordance with the amount of money they owe the country. Over the next ten years, they will be asked to fund the construction of schools, hospitals, and other socially important infrastructure, according to the proposal.

Also on rt.com
Police officers stand guard outside the parliament building in Tunis, Tunisia July 27, 2021 © REUTERS/Zoubeir Souissi
Tunisia’s biggest political parties under investigation over foreign funding, judiciary announces

The head of state also urged traders to be “patriotic” and to reduce their prices, promising punishment for those caught speculating or hoarding goods.

Saied, who became president in 2019 after campaigning against corruption and the entrenchment of the political elite, used emergency powers to dismiss the government and freeze the parliament late on Sunday. He insisted the harsh move was necessary to “save” the country amid protests caused by people’s anger over its “dysfunctional” political system and crumbling healthcare provision.

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Supporters of Tunisia's President Kais Saied gather on the streets as they celebrate after he dismissed the government and froze parliament, in Tunis, Tunisia, July 25, 2021
Tunisian president OUSTS government, warns opponents that ‘army will respond with bullets’ if they try to unleash street violence

His opponents have labeled the consolidation of power in Saied’s hands as a “coup” and a pushback against the achievements made by Tunisia during the Arab Spring uprising in 2014, and urged their supporters to take to the streets. However, the president has warned that the military would “respond with bullets” if the situation got out of hand.

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---------- 28 ----------

Title: ‘Independent’ Mexico has every right to send aid to Cuba in defiance of ‘inhumane’ US sanctions, president says

Link: https://www.rt.com/news/530526-mexico-fuel-cuba-us-sanctions-inhumane/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS

Date: Thu, 29 Jul 2021 06:52:56 +0000

Desc: Preview President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has scoffed at the notion that Mexico should honor a US-imposed embargo on Cuba, as his country sends aid to the island in defiance of Washington’s suffocating economic restrictions.
Read Full Article at RT.com

Guid: https://www.rt.com/news/530526-mexico-fuel-cuba-us-sanctions-inhumane/

Content:

President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has scoffed at the notion that Mexico should honor a US-imposed embargo on Cuba, as his country sends aid to the island in defiance of Washington’s suffocating economic restrictions.

Read more
(FILE PHOTO) © REUTERS/Dado Ruvic
‘Shameful’: Mexico’s president vows probe into allegations Pegasus malware used by previous govt to spy on him and dozens more

Defending his decision to fuel shipments and other humanitarian aid to Cuba, Obrador said on Tuesday that US sanctions on the socialist state were “inhumane,” and that “independent” Mexico was well within its rights to defy the unilaterally imposed embargo. 

Earlier this week, a Mexican cargo ship loaded with 100,000 barrels of diesel fuel set sail for Cuba. The Mexican government said the fuel would be used to provide power for Cuban hospitals. 

Two additional vessels loaded with medical supplies and food embarked in the following days. Mexico’s Foreign Ministry described the shipments as humanitarian assistance aimed at helping Cuba overcome the coronavirus pandemic. 

Washington has tried to penalize ships that deliver goods to Cuba by preventing them from docking later at US ports, Obrador noted. The rule is one of the main ways the US enforces its embargo. 

The US government has ratcheted up sanctions aimed at some Cuban officials accused of human rights abuses following anti-government protests in the country earlier this month. 

Mexico isn’t the only country that has openly bypassed Washington’s economic restrictions. On Saturday, Russia sent a large shipment of food and medical supplies to the island. Cuba’s trade minister applauded the move, tweeting: “We are not alone.”

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---------- 29 ----------

Title: Positive Covid test for US pole vault star Sam Kendricks sends ENTIRE Australian athletics team into isolation at Olympics

Link: https://www.rt.com/sport/530527-pole-vault-kendricks-covid-australian-team/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS

Date: Thu, 29 Jul 2021 06:04:27 +0000

Desc: Preview American pole vaulter Sam Kendricks will be forced to miss the Olympics after testing positive for Covid, with the knock-on effect sending the entire Australian track and field team into a brief period of isolation in Tokyo.
Read Full Article at RT.com

Guid: https://www.rt.com/sport/530527-pole-vault-kendricks-covid-australian-team/

Content:

American pole vaulter Sam Kendricks will be forced to miss the Olympics after testing positive for Covid, with the knock-on effect sending the entire Australian track and field team into a brief period of isolation in Tokyo.

“The health and safety of our athletes, coaches, and staff is our top priority. We are saddened to confirm that Sam Kendricks tested positive for Covid-19 and will not compete in the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020,” the US Olympic Committee confirmed in a tweet on Wednesday night, adding that the athlete had since been “transferred to a hotel to be placed in isolation.”

© Global Look Press / Hendrik Schmidt / ZB

The news, which was first relayed by Kendricks’ father in a now-deleted Instagram post, came amid reports from Reuters and Japanese media that two people involved in the Olympics had been hospitalized with Covid-19, citing organizing committee spokesperson Masanori Takaya. He noted that the two cases were not serious, though offered no other information, pointing to privacy concerns.

Not long after two-time world champion Kendricks was forced to bow out of the competition, the Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) announced that members of the country’s track and field team would isolate in their rooms, adding that they were “now undergoing testing procedures in line with Australian Olympic team protocols” in light of Kendricks’ infection.

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Dutch skater Candy Jacobs spoke about the restrictions she’s facing. © Instagram @candy_jacobs
Dutch skateboarder already forced to miss street event blasts 'inhuman' quarantine conditions at Tokyo 2020 Olympics

Australian pole vaulter Kurtis Marschall had been training with Kendricks, and the dozens-strong Aussie athletics contingent were subsequently locked down at the Olympic Village as a result.

However, an AOC update later said that the majority of the team – 41 athletes and 13 officials – had been given the green light to emerge from isolation.

"Members of the Australian track and field team in the Tokyo Olympic Village have been cleared to return to their regular routines after earlier isolating in their rooms as a precautionary measure," read a statement.  

Three athletes will face further isolation until they are cleared, although the AOC said it expects all members of the team to compete as planned once the track and field events get underway in Tokyo on Friday.   

Members of the Australian track and field team in the Tokyo Olympic Village have been cleared to return to their regular routines after earlier isolating in their rooms as a precautionary measure. 👉https://t.co/HKKUXnfGZh pic.twitter.com/eJ1nLxyEC2

— AUS Olympic Team (@AUSOlympicTeam) July 29, 2021

The two cases of Covid hospitalizations linked to the Olympics were the first to require such treatment, though the Tokyo organizing committee has reported a total of 193 related cases since July 1, 24 of which were tallied on Thursday in Japan. Seventeen of the new infections were residents of Japan, while the rest hailed from abroad.

International Olympic Committee spokesman Mark Adams also stressed that, given the strict and frequent testing regime in place for athletes and staff, it was unlikely they could spread the virus more broadly into Tokyo. He said, “They really are living in a different, parallel world, to all intents and purposes.”

READ MORE: Japanese PM Suga says record number of Covid cases ‘not a problem’ for the Olympics despite growing pressure

The games kicked off last Friday and run until August 8. The Japanese capital is currently operating under a state of emergency, amid a steep spike in coronavirus infections. On Wednesday, 3,177 cases were reported, setting a new record for two days in a row.

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---------- 30 ----------

Title: FDA extends shelf life of J&J vaccine to 6 months, after states remain flooded with millions of nearly expired doses

Link: https://www.rt.com/usa/530525-johnson-vaccine-fda-expiration/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS

Date: Thu, 29 Jul 2021 04:08:45 +0000

Desc: Preview The US Food and Drug Administration has agreed to extend the expiry date of Johnson & Johnson’s Covid vaccine to six months, pushing it out for the second time as states “drowning” in jabs struggle to get rid of them.
Read Full Article at RT.com

Guid: https://www.rt.com/usa/530525-johnson-vaccine-fda-expiration/

Content:

The US Food and Drug Administration has agreed to extend the expiry date of Johnson & Johnson’s Covid vaccine to six months, pushing it out for the second time as states “drowning” in jabs struggle to get rid of them.

The Big Pharma firm said in a statement on Wednesday that the FDA had approved the new expiration date, adding that the decision had been “based on data from ongoing stability assessment studies, which have demonstrated the vaccine is stable at six months.”

The regulator said in a letter to J&J that the extended shelf life would also apply to batches that had previously expired as long as they had been stored at a specified temperature.

FDA extends J&J #covid19 vaccine shelf life again, now to 6 months https://t.co/Hou2D8qQAm pic.twitter.com/bUWp7705ez

— Meg Tirrell (@megtirrell) July 28, 2021

Wednesday’s extension is the second approved for the J&J shot, with the FDA extending its original three-month life span to four-and-a-half months on June 10. That move came as officials in a number of states warned that their unused doses would expire before the end of June. 

Last week, the medical news outlet Stat reported that “several state health departments” had recently called on the federal government to “redistribute their supply to other countries,” pointing to fears the doses would soon be rendered useless.

“We’re drowning in this stuff,” Robert Ator, who heads up Arkansas’ vaccine roll-out, said of the state’s stockpile. “It’s starting to get a bit silly and we want to make sure we’re being good stewards.”

Stat observed that waste could be avoided if health officials agreed to extend the vaccines’ shelf lives, but noted “such expiration dates can only be extended so far.”

In New Jersey, Delaware, and Pennsylvania alone, more than 800,000 J&J doses were at risk of going to waste as of late June, as health officials struggled to convince residents to receive the jab. Some of the reluctance may stem from an FDA order to halt the J&J roll-out in April to look into potentially serious side effects. While it determined the adverse reactions were highly uncommon, that scare – as well as others since – may have been enough to turn off some residents for good. 

While J&J’s vaccine was highly anticipated due to its single-shot formulation, competitors Pfizer and Moderna largely beat it to the punch, with their own jabs granted emergency approval months before J&J’s. Moreover, the two rival companies have already supplied more than enough doses to vaccinate all eligible Americans, with 150 million already fully immunized with their two-dose shot, compared to just 13 million for J&J’s vaccine.

Also on rt.com
© Reuters / Dado Ruvic
CDC blames ‘Covid anxiety’ for adverse reactions, 164 times more people fainting after getting J&J vaccine compared to flu shot

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---------- 31 ----------

Title: Sydney widens police powers, ordering residents to wear masks AT ALL TIMES outside home amid surge in cases

Link: https://www.rt.com/news/530524-sydney-lockdown-police-powers/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS

Date: Thu, 29 Jul 2021 03:49:23 +0000

Desc: Preview Some two million residents living in Sydney, Australia, which is currently in the middle of an extended lockdown, have been told to mask up outdoors and not travel further than five kilometers from home, as cases rise.
Read Full Article at RT.com

Guid: https://www.rt.com/news/530524-sydney-lockdown-police-powers/

Content:

Some two million residents living in Sydney, Australia, which is currently in the middle of an extended lockdown, have been told to mask up outdoors and not travel further than five kilometers from home, as cases rise.

Police in New South Wales were given carte blanche on Thursday to enforce sweeping Covid-19 lockdown measures in eight areas of the nation’s most populous city, which are home to some two million people. Under the new rule, officers will have the right to shut down businesses, workplaces, construction sites, and public spaces deemed to be in violation of the coronavirus restrictions.

Those living in the eight areas, designated as “local government areas of concern,” will have to wear a mask “at all times” on leaving their place of residence, Premier Gladys Berejiklian said on Thursday.

Freedom of movement is also severely restricted. Barring “exceptional circumstances,” residents are banned from traveling more than five kilometers (three miles) from their home. Neither shopping nor working out count as exceptions.

As residents brace themselves for the crackdown, thousands of officers were deployed across the area to monitor compliance, according to Commissioner of the New South Wales Police Force Mick Fuller. “So, you can expect to see more police on the ground. You can expect to see more enforcement. We have been in this [situation] now for a number of weeks,” Fuller said.

Those spotted without a mask will now have to cough up $500 – an increase on the previous $200 fine.

Also on rt.com
(L) Melbourne, Australia, July 16, 2021. © Reuters / Sandra Sanders; (R) Sydney, Australia, July 22, 2021. © Reuters / Loren Elliott
Victoria and South Australia set to end Covid lockdowns, while Sydney cases continue to climb

Unveiling the new policy, Police Minister David Elliott said that regional officials and police “detest[ed] the fact” they “had to” increase fines and wield more power.

“It is certainly not something that we want to do and it is, in fact, something that we cannot wait to shred,” he said.

Nevertheless, he urged law-abiding citizens to continue reporting those in violation of the health orders to Crime Stoppers, adding that the police already had “tens of thousands of people reporting breaches.” 

The new measures were announced after New South Wales reported 239 locally acquired infections on Thursday – its biggest-ever daily uptick in cases. Some 113 of those were linked to known clusters or contacts, and 126 are still being traced. Two deaths were reported in the region in the past 24 hours, one of the victims a woman in her nineties and the other a man in his eighties. Both were unvaccinated and hailed from southwest Sydney.

NSW recorded 239 new locally acquired cases of #COVID19 in the 24 hours to 8pm last night. pic.twitter.com/aJt7MoE522

— NSW Health (@NSWHealth) July 29, 2021

Although Sydney has been in lockdown since June 26, the draconian measures seem to have had little effect on stopping the spread of the virus, especially since the advance of its highly contagious Delta variant. The state government is continuing its push to reduce daily cases to near-zero, however, extending the lockdown into late August after it was set to expire this week.

Also on rt.com
Police officers check IDs as they enforce a coronavirus lockdown at an outdoor gym area at Bondi Beach, in Sydney, Australia, July 27, 2021.
Sydney extends lockdown yet again, forcing city of 5mn to stay home for another MONTH amid small spike in Covid cases

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---------- 32 ----------

Title: House physician revives mask mandate for Congress, but is seen bare-faced briefing irate GOP reps on new rule

Link: https://www.rt.com/usa/530523-capitol-physician-mask-mandate/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS

Date: Thu, 29 Jul 2021 01:08:17 +0000

Desc: Preview The attending physician at the US Capitol has reimposed a mask mandate for Congress just weeks after lifting it, triggering a backlash in the GOP amid reports the doctor pulled down his mask at a briefing on his own rule.
Read Full Article at RT.com

Guid: https://www.rt.com/usa/530523-capitol-physician-mask-mandate/

Content:

The attending physician at the US Capitol has reimposed a mask mandate for Congress just weeks after lifting it, triggering a backlash in the GOP amid reports the doctor pulled down his mask at a briefing on his own rule.

The masking recommendation was taken up in the House on Wednesday, after Dr. Brian Monahan had issued guidance the night prior that required indoor face coverings for members of Congress as well as anyone in the House’s office buildings, hall, or committee meeting chambers, including the fully vaccinated.

“For the Congress, representing a collection of individuals traveling weekly from various risk areas (both high and low rates of disease transmission), all individuals should wear a well-fitted, medical-grade filtration mask … when they are in an interior space,” he wrote.

To be clear, for meetings in an enclosed US House of Representatives controlled space, masks are REQUIRED.

MASK MANDATE: Capitol’s attending physician reinstates mask mandate inside Capitol complex on the House side due to COVID-19 surge pic.twitter.com/dCxFyZFAfd

— Scott Wong (@scottwongDC) July 28, 2021

The mandate lays out exemptions for “when an individual is alone,” addressing lawmakers, or seeking recognition to do so, and, as with the previous rule, failure to comply could result in a fine. The Senate has not yet adopted the same measure. 

While the masking rule was lifted for the fully vaccinated in mid-June on Monahan’s recommendation, he warned lawmakers last week that several vaccinated representatives had tested positive for the coronavirus, noting the fast spread of the more contagious Delta variant. He said at the time that House members might consider masking up, but stopped short of demanding a new mandate. 

Monahan’s memo came on the heels of new guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which recommended on Tuesday that there should be universal indoor masking in “areas with substantial and high transmission.” The health agency issued the new advice less than 24 hours after assuring vaccinated Americans they could resume life as normal.

The CDC’s revised mask advice and the new rule at the Capitol have caused outrage among Republicans and conservative critics, who cried hypocrisy after a photo emerged showing Monahan at a briefing with GOP reps without a face covering. In the image, shared by Sean Davis, co-founder of The Federalist platform, Monahan is seen with his mask pulled down to chin level. It remained that way for “at least 45 minutes,” a source present at the briefing claimed.

A source who was in the room during the briefing said Monahan’s mask was off for at least 45 minutes and possibly up to an hour, so it wasn’t an issue of Monahan removing the mask for a brief instant and then putting it back on. https://t.co/3DMDO0enTE

— Sean Davis (@seanmdav) July 28, 2021

"Reckless. He’s going to cause a superspreader event in the House. It will be the biggest attack on American democracy since the Civil War." -probably Democrats and their corrupt corporate media cronies if this was one of their political opponents https://t.co/kqC4WUpwmc

— Jordan Davidson (@jordangdavidson) July 28, 2021

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-California) offered scathing criticism of the masking requirement, arguing that it was not supported by science and accusing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of flouting a rule she vocally supports.

“Twice today I saw the speaker in a crowded room without a mask, less than 24 hours after imposing the mask mandate,” he said, later adding. “This is no different than [Pelosi] telling people they couldn’t go out while she’s getting her hair done.”

Speaker Pelosi wants you to do as she says, not as she does. She and President Biden are doing everything possible to keep you living in fear with your mask, even if you've been vaccinated.

The science is clear → Vaccines work. Mask mandates don't. pic.twitter.com/eDsHfWqfKd

— Kevin McCarthy (@GOPLeader) July 28, 2021

McCarthy also took aim at the CDC’s ever-shifting advice, saying “First they tell us ‘Don’t wear a mask, wear a mask, wear two masks,’ then to take the masks off.” McCarthy argued that the US Capitol building itself was not a “hot spot” and therefore should be exempt from the rule.  

“The vaccination rate for members of Congress is over 85%, and, as of today, the transmission rate on the Capitol campus is less than 1%. The facts would tell us this isn’t a hot spot so the CDC recommendation doesn’t apply to us,” he said.

The CDC does classify the nation’s capital as an area of “substantial” transmission of Covid-19, however. Such an area is defined as any county with 50 to 100 cases per 100,000 residents in a seven-day period, meaning it would be affected by the new guidelines.

Other Republicans also tore into the new mandate, including Reps. Lauren Boebert (Colorado), Jim Jordan (Ohio) and Marjorie Taylor Greene (Georgia), while Dan Crenshaw of Texas claimed in a lengthy Twitter thread that it was based on faulty science.

More mask mandate drama at the House of Representatives:

GOP Rep. Lauren Boebert threw a mask back at a House floor staffer when she was offered one while trying to walk onto the floor maskless, according to a witness account relayed to CNN.

— Daniella Diaz (@DaniellaMicaela) July 28, 2021

"If you are fully vaccinated, you no longer need to wear a mask."

-President Biden, May 2021

— Rep. Jim Jordan (@Jim_Jordan) July 28, 2021

He also said that his guidance is based on two studies from the CDC that he hasn’t even read & they arent published yet.

Dan Crenshaw let him know one is a study from India that had been rejected in peer review.

Cont’d..

— Marjorie Taylor Greene 🇺🇸 (@mtgreenee) July 28, 2021

The Capitol’s face mask rule has been brought back to life as President Joe Biden considers whether to impose a vaccine requirement on all federal employees, with the Departments of Veterans Affairs and Homeland Security already moving ahead with similar policies. Though the White House advised federal agencies not to make vaccinations mandatory just last month, it appears to have adopted a new stance in the weeks since, in line with the CDC’s own reconsidered mask recommendation.

Also on rt.com
US President Joe Biden mingles with the crowd at the Mack-Lehigh Valley Operations manufacturing facility in Macungie, Pensylvania, July 28, 2021.
Mask or no mask? Biden covers up to meet Belarus activist, goes bare-faced in Pennsylvania crowd

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---------- 33 ----------

Title: Black Lives Matter-backing mayor of Washington, DC now wants to FUND the police, citing spike in murders

Link: https://www.rt.com/usa/530521-washington-mayor-fund-police/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS

Date: Thu, 29 Jul 2021 00:52:51 +0000

Desc: Preview Washington, DC Mayor Muriel Bowser, who had ‘Black Lives Matter’ painted on the street that leads to the White House, now wants to hire more police officers and reopen the courts, citing an increase in homicides in the US capital.
Read Full Article at RT.com

Guid: https://www.rt.com/usa/530521-washington-mayor-fund-police/

Content:

Washington, DC Mayor Muriel Bowser, who had ‘Black Lives Matter’ painted on the street that leads to the White House, now wants to hire more police officers and reopen the courts, citing an increase in homicides in the US capital.

Slashing the police budget for 2021 by $15 million hurt recruitment, resulting in only 42 new hires as opposed to 250 in a normal year, Bowser said on Wednesday. She called for another $11 million to hire and train 20 more officers in the current fiscal year, and 150 in 2022. The proposal is unlikely to be approved by the city council, however.

DC Mayor Bowser asks for more police funding a year after city council defunded policehttps://t.co/ogfSpi35BG

— Barrett Wilson (@BarrettWilson6) July 28, 2021

Bowser and Chief Robert Contee of the Metropolitan Police Department also complained that federal prosecutors – who have jurisdiction in the capital – still haven’t pressed charges in more than 2,000 cases, and the courts, closed due to the pandemic, still haven’t fully reopened.

“No matter how you look at it, the system is not working at full capacity, and that means justice is delayed,” she said. 

Some 112 people have been murdered in the District so far this year, one of whom was six-year-old Nyiah Courtney, killed in a drive-by shooting earlier this month. Contee named the suspect as 22-year-old Marktwan Hargraves, and said the incident may have been related to the drug trafficking case in which the child’s father, Nico Griffin, had recently been charged.

Also on rt.com
Photos captured at the scene of a shooting on a busy street in Washington, DC, July 22, 2021.
Several injured, people flee in panic as dozens of gunshots ring out on busy street in Washington, DC (VIDEOS)

In a letter to council members last week, Bowser called for “a strong, sustained police presence,” citing “a sustained increase in gun violence” over the past year.

Washington’s African American residents have long complained that the city is neglecting the high levels of crime and violence in the southeastern parts of the city where they overwhelmingly live. By contrast, last week’s shooting on a street lined with swanky restaurants patronized by the District’s wealthier residents has attracted national media attention.

Bowser’s turnabout on crime came after a year of advocacy on behalf of groups such as Black Lives Matter, which have openly called for “defunding the police” and described policing itself as intrinsically racist. Last July, during the riots outside the White House, Bowser had a street corner named Black Lives Matter Plaza and had city workers paint the words along a stretch of 16th Street Northwest. 

In March this year, she reacted to the gruesome carjacking and killing of an Asian American Uber driver outside the Washington Nationals stadium – for which two African American minors were later convicted – by warning residents to be more careful in preventing “crimes of opportunity.”

Also on rt.com
RT
Washington, DC mayor blasted for calling carjacking ‘crime of opportunity’ days after Uber Eats driver’s brutal death

Meanwhile, the groups calling for defunding and abolishing police have received yet another injection of funds from billionaire Democrat mega-donor George Soros, the conservative-leaning Washington Free Beacon reported, citing federal records. Soros gave $1 million in May to Color of Change, described as a racial justice group, which has repeatedly called for defunding the police. It was his largest single political donation in 2021.

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---------- 34 ----------

Title: As voters blame Biden policies for inflation spike, White House pushes massive infrastructure plan

Link: https://www.rt.com/usa/530520-biden-inflation-infrastructure-poll/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS

Date: Wed, 28 Jul 2021 23:21:39 +0000

Desc: Preview New polls show a growing number of Americans blame President Joe Biden’s policies for the biggest surge in inflation since 2008, as the US Senate moves ahead with a $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure spending bill.
Read Full Article at RT.com

Guid: https://www.rt.com/usa/530520-biden-inflation-infrastructure-poll/

Content:

New polls show a growing number of Americans blame President Joe Biden’s policies for the biggest surge in inflation since 2008, as the US Senate moves ahead with a $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure spending bill.

Recent figures showed that the consumer price index (CPI) rose 5.4% over the last year – the fastest since right before the 2008 financial crash. The results of a Politico/Morning Consult poll published on Wednesday show a combined 59% of registered voters believe Biden’s policies were either “very responsible” or “somewhat responsible” for inflation, and only 28% combined think the current administration was “not too responsible” or “not responsible at all.” 

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A man walks past graffiti on boarded up and closed storefronts in New York
Welcome to Slavelandia? RT’s Keiser Report looks at the human catastrophe brought on by US inflation

Republicans overwhelmingly (82%) blamed the inflation on Biden. Democrats were more inclined to think it was caused by a return to pre-pandemic behavior by their fellow Americans, in line with the White House’s official position.

The Biden administration has brushed off concerns about inflation, saying it was “transitory.” On Wednesday, however, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said the Fed would continue its current monetary policy until the unemployment rate improved, adding that inflation would “likely remain elevated in the coming months, before moderating.”

Powell blamed “supply bottlenecks” in some sectors that were “larger than anticipated.”

The Fed’s Jerome Powell admits inflation is getting worse and will be “more persistent” than originally claimed; blames “supply bottlenecks” and “hiring difficulties,” not his explosion of money printing pic.twitter.com/Kaj4hvn1jv

— Tom Elliott (@tomselliott) July 28, 2021

There is still “some ground to cover” before the US central bank would consider raising interest rates, Powell said, arguing that the labor market had not yet fully recovered, due to federal unemployment benefits, worker preferences, and ongoing concerns about Covid-19. Federal agencies have started introducing vaccination mandates and reimposing masking, citing reports of the rise in Delta variant cases.

None of this is stopping the administration from pushing ahead with its ambitious plan to invest over a trillion dollars into “infrastructure,” however, defining it far more extensively than the traditional roads and bridges. The White House has announced that a tentative deal had been struck on a bipartisan proposal. The Senate voted to begin debate on the proposal on Wednesday evening, after Republicans agreed not to filibuster it.

Based on a commitment from Leader Schumer to Senators Portman and Sinema that the Portman-Sinema amendment to be filed will be the substitute amendment, I will vote to proceed to the bipartisan infrastructure bill.

— Leader McConnell (@LeaderMcConnell) July 28, 2021

The plan is apparently the one hammered out back in June by a group of ‘moderates’ on both sides of the aisle. However, it ran into trouble right away, as Biden told reporters at the White House he intended to sign it into law only if it were accompanied by a much bigger proposal, which the Democrats sought to ram through using ‘reconciliation’ – a simple-majority procedure intended to bypass the GOP opposition.

After weeks of back and forth, the senators appear to have figured out how to pay for the compromise, but Kyrsten Sinema (D-Arizona) is reportedly opposed to the $3.5 trillion reconciliation bill. The clock is now ticking for some kind of bill to pass before Congress leaves town for August recess.

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---------- 35 ----------

Title: It pays to hold out? NYC mayor dangles $100 ‘incentive’ to persuade reluctant residents to get Covid-19 jab at city sites

Link: https://www.rt.com/usa/530518-deblasio-announces-100dollar-bribe-vaccine/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS

Date: Wed, 28 Jul 2021 22:47:40 +0000

Desc: Preview New York’s mayor has opted to put away the stick and reveal a stash of new carrots – $100 prepaid debit cards for those who get the Covid-19 jab – despite a slew of previous measures failing to grab their attention.
Read Full Article at RT.com

Guid: https://www.rt.com/usa/530518-deblasio-announces-100dollar-bribe-vaccine/

Content:

New York’s mayor has opted to put away the stick and reveal a stash of new carrots – $100 prepaid debit cards for those who get the Covid-19 jab – despite a slew of previous measures failing to grab their attention.

We wanted to supercharge it by saying we’ll give you an extra, direct, personal incentive to get this done now,” Mayor Bill de Blasio told the city on Wednesday, making it clear that New York’s future was one in which “more and more things are going to be determined by whether you’re vaccinated or not.

Some 54.4% of New Yorkers had been fully vaccinated as of Wednesday, with the number jumping to 65.5% for fully vaccinated adults.

Also on rt.com
© Reuters / Pool
NYC Mayor de Blasio demands full vaccination for all city workers by September & threatens ‘tough consequences’ for mask flouters

The latest incentive comes after the city and various corporate partners have offered free MetroCards, Junior’s cheesecake, Krispy Kreme donuts, and Nathan’s hot dogs (seemingly choosing to overlook Covid-19’s obesity comorbidity), lottery tickets, Uber and Lyft rides to vaccination sites, museum tickets, and scholarships. Free marijuana was even provided, technically illegally, by an activist group, thanks to Cuomo dragging his feet on appointing the necessary supervisory board after legalizing sale of the drug in March. The city even offered free vaccinations to tourists in what turned out to be a woefully premature anticipation of New York “opening up” for tourism once again.

Many were skeptical that the payment – a pittance in a location where the average rent approaches a whopping $4,000 per month – would get people to the needle who hadn’t already had their shots, while others wondered the reverse: what would stop people from wandering in for repeat shots every time they needed cash?

If the government offered you $100 to take any other medication, wouldn't that raise eyebrows for you @ScottAdamsSays

— Wealth & Health ™ (@Wealth_nHealth) July 28, 2021

Pay people $1000 to get vaccinated and you will see a huge spike in vaccinations.

— The UniParty (@DemocratsWar) July 28, 2021

I’m waiting for $1,000 minimum. Might help offset my living expense increase caused by the @federalreserve… for a couple weeks

— POUNDtheROCK (@OB_Wan_Ginobili) July 28, 2021

With comparatively few New Yorkers having been hospitalized across the city since the height of the deadly pandemic, many have begun thinking the pandemic is over – a view that even universal mandatory masking hasn’t completely been able to shake, and which slipped even further during the few mask-free weeks the city recently enjoyed.

However, some, including conservative Dilbert cartoonist Sam Adams, have pointed out that de Blasio was using an “effective persuasion technique” – incentivizing people to do something, especially with money, is often a surefire win, especially with those who are desperate or thinking in the short-term, like cash-strapped New Yorkers often are.

This is effective persuasion technique. Won’t convince most people, but you can get some people to do almost anything for $100. Especially if the offer might later go away. https://t.co/8OYap3ZFkb

— Scott Adams (@ScottAdamsSays) July 28, 2021

De Blasio made the announcement just days after warning city employees that they must vaccinate by September or be tested weekly, implying that they could face the loss of their job otherwise – and many were no doubt still emotionally reeling at having such a diktat dropped in their lap. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo issued a similar announcement that day, reminding state workers that they had until Labor Day to get vaccinated, and that any unionized workers who experienced negative side effects from the vaccine would be permitted to take as many paid days off as they needed to recover.

Also on rt.com
FILE PHOTO: New York Governor Andrew Cuomo speaks in New York City, New York, US, May 27, 2021.
‘Get that vaccine in their arm’: Governor Cuomo launches $15mn campaign targeting NY’s unvaxxed with ‘one-on-one’ conversations

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---------- 36 ----------

Title: Mask or no mask? Biden covers up to meet Belarus activist, goes bare-faced in Pennsylvania crowd

Link: https://www.rt.com/usa/530516-biden-mask-belarus-pennsylvania/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS

Date: Wed, 28 Jul 2021 21:18:54 +0000

Desc: Preview US President Joe Biden put on a mask to meet with Belarus opposition figure Svetlana Tikhanovskaya at the White House, but took it off on a trip to Pennsylvania, where he mingled with a crowd to promote his economic plan.
Read Full Article at RT.com

Guid: https://www.rt.com/usa/530516-biden-mask-belarus-pennsylvania/

Content:

US President Joe Biden put on a mask to meet with Belarus opposition figure Svetlana Tikhanovskaya at the White House, but took it off on a trip to Pennsylvania, where he mingled with a crowd to promote his economic plan.

A photo posted on the official presidential Twitter account on Wednesday shows Biden standing close to Tikhanovskaya, and says they met at the White House.

The US “stands with the people of Belarus in their quest for democracy and universal human rights,” Biden declared, in keeping with Washington’s recognition of Tikhanovskaya’s claim that the country’s 2020 presidential election was fraudulent. 

I was honored to meet with @Tsihanouskaya at the White House this morning. The United States stands with the people of Belarus in their quest for democracy and universal human rights. pic.twitter.com/SdR6w4IBNZ

— President Biden (@POTUS) July 28, 2021

Several hours after his meeting with the aspiring leader of Belarus, however, there was hardly a mask in sight at Biden’s event outside Allentown, Pennsylvania. The president visited the area to tour a truck factory and give a speech about his ‘buy American’ economic program. 

Photos from after the speech show him maskless, walking among a small crowd of unmasked people, and even hugging some of them.

Pres. Biden in Allentown, Pennsylvania, after remarks on manufacturing ... pic.twitter.com/94yv6a2vt7

— Howard Mortman (@HowardMortman) July 28, 2021

Biden also refused to answer questions about the rumored vaccine mandates for federal employees, already in effect for medical staff at the Department of Veterans Affairs. 

“I'm talking about Made in America today, that's all I'm going to talk about,” Biden said after exiting Air Force One and hearing a shouted question about a vaccine mandate for the military. “Tomorrow I'll talk about whatever you want to talk about, including Covid.”

While the White House continues to insist that the vaccines are safe and effective and everyone should take them, the government has been masking up again and telling Americans to do the same, citing a rise in Covid-19 cases attributed to the so-called Delta variant of the virus.

Also on rt.com
FILE PHOTO: Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas looks on during a break of a Senate hearing in Washington, DC, May 12, 2021 © Reuters / Alex Wong
Department of Homeland Security orders all employees to mask up and distance, regardless of vaccination status

On Tuesday, the CDC altered its advisory, telling some fully vaccinated Americans to mask up again in certain circumstances. Vice President Kamala Harris and her staff quickly covered up at an event in Washington, DC while Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California) reimposed masking orders in the House of Representatives.

The CDC recommendation applies to “public indoor settings” in “areas with substantial and high transmission” of the virus. According to the CDC’s own data, Lehigh County is currently considered “moderate,” while Biden travelled from the District of Columbia, designated “substantial.”

Biden, who is 78 and considered in a high risk category for Covid-19, is fully vaccinated. He has insisted on masking up – at one point, wearing two masks – in the past, only to switch gears in May as part of a vaccination push. 

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---------- 37 ----------

Title: Israel tells France it takes NSO spyware allegations ‘seriously’ after defense ministers discuss Pegasus affair

Link: https://www.rt.com/news/530517-israel-france-pegasus-talks/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS

Date: Wed, 28 Jul 2021 21:03:39 +0000

Desc: Preview Israel’s Defense Minister Benny Gantz has said the country is taking allegations around Pegasus spyware, sold by Israeli firm NSO, “seriously” after discussing the scandal with his French counterpart Florence Parly.
Read Full Article at RT.com

Guid: https://www.rt.com/news/530517-israel-france-pegasus-talks/

Content:

Israel’s Defense Minister Benny Gantz has said the country is taking allegations around Pegasus spyware, sold by Israeli firm NSO, “seriously” after discussing the scandal with his French counterpart Florence Parly.

Gantz met Parly on Wednesday during a brief visit to France. Ahead of the talks, a French government spokesperson said Parly would “seize the opportunity” and grill Israel’s defense chief on his government’s knowledge about the Pegasus spyware, sold worldwide by Israeli company NSO Group.

The two parties were quite tight-lipped after their talks, with Gantz’s office only acknowledging that the issue was raised at the meeting. The defense minister “commented on the issue of NSO and told her that Israel is taking the allegations seriously,” it said in a statement.

“Israel grants cyber licenses only to nation-states and only to be used for the needs of dealing with terrorism and crime,” it added.

Also on rt.com
FILE PHOTO: Emmanuel Macron speaks on the phone during the European Social Summit in Gothenburg, Sweden, November 17, 2017 © AFP / Ludovic Marin
Morocco SUING Amnesty International over claims it spied on French President Macron with Israeli malware

The Pegasus spyware was first uncovered back in August 2016 after a failed attempt to infiltrate the smartphone of a human rights activist. That attempt was believed to have involved a spear-phishing approach to convince the targeted persons to click a malicious link, unknowingly enabling the software’s installation. The program is believed to have been further improved over time such that it could infiltrate victims’ phones covertly via device vulnerabilities.

The surveillance software made headlines again earlier this month, after a collective of 17 media organizations reported it was used on over 50,000 high-profile targets, including politicians, journalists and government officials worldwide by multiple parties. France’s President Emmanuel Macron was reportedly on the list as well, allegedly targeted by Moroccan spies with the software.

The media reports were based on leaked material obtained by the French investigative outlet Forbidden Stories and Amnesty International.

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FILE PHOTO. The buidling housing Israeli NSO Group, in Herzliya, near Tel Aviv. ©JACK GUEZ / AFP
Journos, ministers, Khashoggi’s son & a ruler’s family on list of 50,000 possible targets for Israeli spyware Pegasus – reports

The explosive allegations sparked a chain of international scandals, while NSO Group insisted the report about Pegasus was “full of wrong assumptions and uncorroborated theories.” The company also maintained the software is intended for use only by government intelligence and law enforcement to combat terrorism and crime, insisting it had no specific knowledge against whom its clients use the hack.

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---------- 38 ----------

Title: Google mandates vaccines for employees returning to office

Link: https://www.rt.com/usa/530514-google-workers-mandatory-vaccine/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS

Date: Wed, 28 Jul 2021 20:11:26 +0000

Desc: Preview Tech giant Google has declared that all of its employees returning to work in its offices will need to be vaccinated. Google’s decision comes as President Joe Biden mulls mandatory shots for all federal workers.
Read Full Article at RT.com

Guid: https://www.rt.com/usa/530514-google-workers-mandatory-vaccine/

Content:

Tech giant Google has declared that all of its employees returning to work in its offices will need to be vaccinated. Google’s decision comes as President Joe Biden mulls mandatory shots for all federal workers.

As the coronavirus pandemic took hold, Google sent the majority of its almost 140,000 employees home last March to work remotely. Now though, the tech giant’s campuses are reopening, and workers are returning to the office, but only once they’ve been vaccinated, CEO Sundar Pichai told his employees in an email on Wednesday.

“Anyone coming to work on our campuses will need to be vaccinated,” Pichai wrote, adding that the policy will be rolled out in the US in the coming weeks, and worldwide afterwards.

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FILE PHOTO: Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas looks on during a break of a Senate hearing in Washington, DC, May 12, 2021 © Reuters / Alex Wong
Department of Homeland Security orders all employees to mask up and distance, regardless of vaccination status

Staff who do not wish to return to in-person work will be able to work from home until October, he continued, and the company will also allow some staff to work primarily from home through the end of the year.

Google is the largest private corporation so far to make inoculation mandatory for its staff, but the entire US government might soon follow suit. President Joe Biden told reporters on Tuesday that a vaccine requirement for federal workers is “under consideration right now,” and media reports suggest that an announcement on the topic could come as early as Thursday.

Also on rt.com
President Joe Biden delivers remarks at the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, in McLean, Virginia, July 27, 2021.
Biden says vaccine mandate for federal employees ‘under consideration’ as reports suggest announcement will come this week

Both Biden and Google apparently have the power to ask their workers to get jabbed. A review by the Justice Department concluded this week that both private and public entities can order workers to get vaccinated, even if the vaccines in question are not approved by the Food and Drug Administration, as the current crop of coronavirus vaccines are not.

Google, however, has offices in 50 countries worldwide, and legal challenges against the vaccine mandate could be mounted in some of these locations. Pichai’s email noted that the mandate “will vary according to local conditions and regulations,” though no further details were provided.

Shortly after Pichai’s statement, Netflix announced that it will require all actors working on its productions in the US, and the staff in close contact with them, to be vaccinated.

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---------- 39 ----------

Title: ‘You’re counting it wrong’: Readers blast New York Times for putting US at top of Olympic medal rankings

Link: https://www.rt.com/usa/530510-nyt-olympics-medal-rankings/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS

Date: Wed, 28 Jul 2021 19:08:00 +0000

Desc: Preview The New York Times claims the US is leading in the Tokyo Olympics, deliberately using the total medals won as its methodology. Numerous readers quickly pointed out that gold medals matter more, both officially and traditionally.
Read Full Article at RT.com

Guid: https://www.rt.com/usa/530510-nyt-olympics-medal-rankings/

Content:

The New York Times claims the US is leading in the Tokyo Olympics, deliberately using the total medals won as its methodology. Numerous readers quickly pointed out that gold medals matter more, both officially and traditionally.

On the fifth day of the 2020 Olympics, the US paper of record showed a chart captioned “here's where the medal count stands now,” showing the US in first place with a total of 30, ahead of China with 27 and Japan with 22.

It's Day 5 of #Tokyo2020. Here's where the medal count stands now. Follow our live coverage: https://t.co/iraEYrzzJi pic.twitter.com/oVzaHTzqm6

— The New York Times (@nytimes) July 28, 2021

Except under the traditional method of Olympics ranking, that order is exactly backwards: Japan is first with 13 gold medals, followed by China with 12 and the US with 10. Most of the hundred-plus responses the newspaper has received on Twitter have pointed out this very fact.

“You have to put the country with more gold medals at the top, not the total count of medals. United States is at number 3,” said one user.

“Everywhere in the world, other than [the] USA, table order is sorted by gold only,” tweeted another. “Why do you guys always make up stuff to make you appear far better than [you] really are?”

Also on rt.com
Nagorny shows the bronze medal he won in Tokyo. © Reuters
‘I’m ashamed’: ROC gymnastics star Nikita Nagornyy APOLOGIZES for bronze medal at Tokyo Games

“Imagine manipulating the Tokyo Olympics medal table so that it looks like your country is doing better than they actually are,” wrote one verified user. “I can't decide if this is [disingenuous], desperate or pathetic. Very probably it’s a bit of all three.”

Imagine manipulating the #Tokyo2020 #Olympics medal table so that it looks like your country is doing better than they actually are.

I can't decide if this is disingenous, desperate or pathetic. Very probably it's a bit of all three. https://t.co/izWHDrIfIw

— Andrea Cook 💙 (@F3Lollipops) July 28, 2021

“You are counting it wrong,” was another frequent comment, along with “This isn’t how medal counts work.”

The famous meme comic about an athlete who made a massive deal out of a medal – only to be revealed in the last panel he finished third – also made an appearance in the thread, entirely appropriately in this situation.

Gold? Nah... Who cares? pic.twitter.com/ngmNJRYKKd

— jnzs (@olvrjp) July 28, 2021

As it turns out, the peculiar way The Times calculated medal rankings was not an accident, but a deliberate choice, by the paper’s own admission. An article published on Tuesday evening actually addressed the issue, pointing out the official Olympic medal table goes by the number of gold medals, and that’s “how much of the world does it, using silver and bronze only to break ties.”

“By another measure, the United States leads because it has the most medals overall,” the paper added. “Publications in the US, including The New York Times, often take this approach.”

Who is leading the Olympic medal count? It depends on how you count them. Here's a breakdown. https://t.co/fbQJ0yunCh

— The New York Times (@nytimes) July 28, 2021

“Which way of counting is superior? It’s possible neither is. Maybe the ideal method is somewhere in between,” the Times concluded, before putting up a complex graph of their own making in which the US once again came out on top.

The Olympics have been delayed from last year on account of the coronavirus and still under the shadow of the pandemic, as all events take place without spectators. The games have seen several stunning upsets so far, including Japanese tennis superstar Naomi Osaka losing to a lower-ranked player and the US women’s artistic gymnastics team finishing second in the team competition, after Simone Biles withdrew citing mental health concerns.

Also on rt.com
Naomi Osaka and Simone Biles have both recently quit in the middle of major sporting events citing mental health issues - Reuters
First Naomi Osaka and now Simone Biles. ‘Brave’ no longer means battling in sport, it celebrates ‘woke’ weakness

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---------- 40 ----------

Title: Tennis bosses move Tokyo match times after Medvedev says he ‘could die’ on concerning day of heat exhaustion for players

Link: https://www.rt.com/sport/530508-itf-tennis-heat-olympics-start-times/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS

Date: Wed, 28 Jul 2021 18:55:13 +0000

Desc: Preview The International Tennis Federation (ITF) has bowed to widespread pressure in deciding to move the start times of Olympic matches, following a series of incidents where player safety was thrown into jeopardy.
Read Full Article at RT.com

Guid: https://www.rt.com/sport/530508-itf-tennis-heat-olympics-start-times/

Content:

The International Tennis Federation (ITF) has bowed to widespread pressure in deciding to move the start times of Olympic matches, following a series of incidents where player safety was thrown into jeopardy.

Men's world number two Daniil Medvedev was among those to draw attention to the exhausting conditions players have been competing in during the Tokyo Games.

In heat exceeding 30C (86F) with added humidity while his third round win over Fabio Fognini was still being played, Medvedev was heard saying to the umpire, "I can finish the match but I can die."

"I felt like my diaphragm has blocked," the Russian later remarked. "I couldn't breathe properly. It was the most humid day we had so far - maybe the hottest."

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Daniil Medvedev struggled badly in his Olympic match in Tokyo on Wednesday. © Reuters / Twitter
‘I can die’: Russian ace Medvedev fears he could DROP DEAD in Tokyo heat before battling into Olympic quarter-finals (VIDEO)

But this was only the beginning, as Spain's Paula Badosa suffered heatstroke in her quarterfinal meeting with Marketa Vondrousova and was forced to retire.

Unable to walk away from the court, she was wheelchaired out with a towel on her head and later took to social media to express her disappointment.

"I am very sorry that I had to end the tournament like this," the 23-year-old lamented.

"It was my first Olympic Games with Spain and I had great hope in representing my country. I felt all your support behind me and wanted to give you a great result in return.

"I hope I can do it soon. Thank you all!," the Catalan signed off.

Also on rt.com
Badosa was wheeled off court in stifling Tokyo heat. © Reuters
Spanish ace Badosa leaves court in WHEELCHAIR as fears grow for tennis stars in sweltering heat at Tokyo Olympics

The ITF later bowed to pressure to move the times of matches to hours which are expected to offer more forgiving conditions. 

"​Following extensive consultation and in the spirit of always keeping the best interests of player health and welfare at the forefront of our decisions, the ITF has announced a change of schedule due to the increasing heat and humidity currently being experienced in Tokyo, Japan," the organization announced

As of Thursday, all games will be played no earlier than 3pm local time to "further safeguard player health", in a conclusion that was arrived it after contact with the IOC, Tokyo 2020 organizers, players, referees and medical experts in addition to TV broadcasters.

Once the temperature exceeds 30.1C (86F), breaks of up to 10 minutes can be requested by both men and women, with Day 6 seeing Medvedev take on Badosa's mixed-doubles partner Pablo Carreno in the men's quarter-finals and her victor Vondrousova facing Elina Svitolina for a place in the women's final.



---------- 41 ----------

Title: Massive wildfires ravage Lebanon’s north with flames approaching towns & forcing residents to flee (VIDEOS)

Link: https://www.rt.com/news/530511-forest-fire-north-lebanon/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS

Date: Wed, 28 Jul 2021 18:46:19 +0000

Desc: Preview Multiple fires have broken out in northern Lebanon, devastating pine forests and threatening multiple villages. The blazes have forced some residents to flee their homes, while at least one firefighter died battling the flames.
Read Full Article at RT.com

Guid: https://www.rt.com/news/530511-forest-fire-north-lebanon/

Content:

Multiple fires have broken out in northern Lebanon, devastating pine forests and threatening multiple villages. The blazes have forced some residents to flee their homes, while at least one firefighter died battling the flames.

Hot weather and strong winds have descended upon the country’s northern province of Akkar, fueling multiple wildlife fires. On Wednesday, a massive wildfire broke out close to the town of Qoubayat, the largest Christian settlement in the region.

#Lebanon: Massive fire breaks out in the forests in Kobayat, #Akkar pic.twitter.com/pk1zek7qE0

— Conflict News 24/7 (@24_7Conflicts) July 28, 2021

Footage from the scene shows the flames spreading extremely rapidly across wooded mountains, consuming iconic Lebanese pine forests. The blaze quickly approached the town, as well as other villages in the area.

Video taken from Akkar's Kweshra, where the fire can be seen spreading across "el-Beereh, Sindyene, and Qobayat." This is tragic. The area is home to some of Lebanon's most magnificent and oldest forests. #انقذوا_القبيات pic.twitter.com/X1FnYV2jMx

— Nadine Mazloum (@NadineMazloum) July 28, 2021

The flames have forced many to flee their homes, even where it involved dashing through the hellish burning landscape in a desperate bid to save their lives, some belongings and livestock.

[PSA] Forest fires broke out earlier today in al-Qoubaiyat, north Lebanon, and continue to spread, seemingly inching toward residential areas. In a widely circulated video, people can be seen trying to flee. pic.twitter.com/hyS5sEKJXy

— مصدر عام | The Public Source (@ThePublicSource) July 28, 2021

Imagery circulating online shows open flames approaching residential areas, with a wall of fire seen within a few dozen meters of houses.

Ya 3adra (virgin mary) this is what this girl from Qobayat North of #Lebanon is saying while the wildfire are getting closer to the houses
God be with you#انقذوا_القبيات #القبيات #لبنان_يحترق pic.twitter.com/gkbqezfRBy

— Lebanese Bonkers (@BonkersLebanese) July 28, 2021

Raging forest fires in North Lebanon's Qobayat region edging closer to homes. Civil defense forces reportedly unable to reach fires. Many families have been forced to flee. #انقذوا_القبيات pic.twitter.com/tgeS1sWFsX

— Nadine Mazloum (@NadineMazloum) July 28, 2021

Firefighters, as well as the country’s military, have been dispatched to the area to battle the flames. At least one volunteer firefighter died in the effort after suffering an injury to the head, state-owned National News Agency reported.

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© Twitter / @01ef936680cb43b
WATCH: Bathing tourists calmly look on as firefighting aircraft scoop water from the sea to tackle raging Turkish forest inferno

President Michel Aoun has tasked army and civil defense chiefs to seek help from neighboring Cyprus. In previous years, the island nation repeatedly sent in firefighting helicopters if Lebanese wildfires got out of hand.

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---------- 42 ----------

Title: Former Man Utd star Rooney settles ‘blackmail row’ with party girls ‘by paying £1 for copyright for scandal pics’ – reports

Link: https://www.rt.com/sport/530501-rooney-settlement-girls-photos/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS

Date: Wed, 28 Jul 2021 18:09:05 +0000

Desc: Preview Three of the girls who photographed themselves next to Wayne Rooney have reportedly apologized to the Manchester United legend, who has paid them just £1 ($1.39) to purchase the copyright of the images, according to reports.
Read Full Article at RT.com

Guid: https://www.rt.com/sport/530501-rooney-settlement-girls-photos/

Content:

Three of the girls who photographed themselves next to Wayne Rooney have reportedly apologized to the Manchester United legend, who has paid them just £1 ($1.39) to purchase the copyright of the images, according to reports.

The snaps – which feature the scantily-clad women and Rooney, who appears to be asleep in some of the images – spread across social media on Sunday evening and by Monday morning had filled UK newspapers and websites.

Rooney's lawyers filed a complaint with police on the same day, as the Derby County manager then went and crocked one of his few starting players at the undermanned Championship outfit, who narrowly avoided relegation last season.

As the 35-year-old went all in on Jason Knight during a "50-50" tackle in training, he injured the midfielder for up to three months and there have been reports of his job being "on a knife edge" after also criticizing the Rams hierarchy over transfer policy amid this scandal.

"How can he lead a group of young men when he cannot appear to control himself in public during a night out? This type of behavior hurts the club's reputation," a source allegedly commented to The Sun

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Derby County manager Wayne Rooney at last season's Europa League final © Aleksandra Szmigiel / Reuters
England and Manchester United football legend Wayne Rooney alerts police to photos – reports

With Wednesday's latest development, however, the all-time England top scorer might be able to put the furor to bed and concentrate on rectifying matters at Pride Park. 

According to the Daily Mail, he has paid three of the girls – namely Brooke Morgan, Elise Melvin and their pal Eleanor Hoggarth – a nominal fee for copyright on the images. 

The trio have reportedly apologized to Rooney, who accused them of "blackmailing" him and "volunteered to hand over all pictures" after admitting that they got "carried away" on Saturday on the boozy night out that ended in a budget Staycity hotel in Manchester.  

It must be noted, however, that a fourth girl Tayler Ryan, who appears in the vast majority of the pictures, is believed to have retained copyright on her selfies meaning Rooney can take legal action against her if they are once more used by the media or on social media.

Also on rt.com
Rooney reportedly injured one of his own players. © Reuters
Scandal-hit Wayne Rooney ‘injures OWN player’ in training as things go from bad to worse for Derby manager

A spokesman representing Rooney confirmed that the three girls who snapped the photographs had "contacted Wayne's lawyers and volunteered to hand over all pictures that were taken that night and the copyrights in them."

"They have also, at their own suggestion, made a written apology to him for the events that took place and the embarrassment caused," he added. 

"These were three decent young women who went for a night out. They did not expect Wayne to end up in their company and are remorseful about how things turned out with the pictures."

"They got carried away and did something they later regretted. They did not expect it to end up in the mainstream media after it was posted on social media and they decided to take steps to put things right.

"It would be wrong to say no money changed hands because when a contract is drawn up there must be a sum and in this case it was a nominal £1 ($1.39)," it was clarified.

"They have fulsomely apologized because they wanted to do what they saw as the right thing and draw a line under the matter."

According to Chesire Police via the Mail, Rooney does not "wish to take the matter any further" as per his blackmail claim, with the father-of-four's wife Colleen currently holidaying in Wales.



---------- 43 ----------

Title: Roman Abramovich did NOT buy Chelsea on direction from Putin to 'corrupt West', London court is told

Link: https://www.rt.com/sport/530498-roman-abramovich-putin-chelsea/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS

Date: Wed, 28 Jul 2021 17:58:16 +0000

Desc: Preview A lawyer for Roman Abramovich has told a court in London the billionaire's purchase of Chelsea FC was not directed by Russian president Vladimir Putin who used him as the alleged "acceptable face" of a corrupt scheme.
Read Full Article at RT.com

Guid: https://www.rt.com/sport/530498-roman-abramovich-putin-chelsea/

Content:

A lawyer for Roman Abramovich has told a court in London the billionaire's purchase of Chelsea FC was not directed by Russian president Vladimir Putin who used him as the alleged "acceptable face" of a corrupt scheme.

Abramovich is suing publishing giant Harper Collins and journalist Catherine Belton over claims made in her book ‘Putin’s People: How the KGB took back Russia and then took on the West' that he acted on direction from Putin in purchasing Chelsea FC in 2003 as part of a scheme to corrupt the West.

On the first day of the preliminary hearing, Hugh Tomlinson, QC, defending the 54-year-old owner, claimed "lazy inaccuracies" in Belton's book overstate Abramovich's position in Russian politics.

Putin meets Abramovich, then Chukotka region governor and owner of Chelsea pictured in the Kremlin in 2005 - Reuters / Reuters photographer

Abramovich denies his £150m purchase of Chelsea was “directed” by the Russian president and was “part of a scheme to corrupt the west by corrupting local elites” and to “build a bulkhead of Russian influence”.

“The ordinary and reasonable reader would inevitably come out with the view that Roman Abramovich was instructed to buy Chelsea … so he was being used as the acceptable face of a corrupt and dangerous regime,” Tomlinson said, the Guardian reported.

He added: “At no stage is the reader told that actually Abramovich is someone who is distant from Putin and doesn’t participate in the many and various corrupt schemes that are described. On the contrary, he’s described as making corrupt payments.”

Roman Abramovich is suing the publishing giant and author Catherine Belton over claims he bought Chelsea FC on the order of the Russian president in the book ‘Putin’s People: How the KGB took back Russia and then took on the West'

— CourtNewsUK (@CourtNewsUK) July 27, 2021

Abramovich's spokesman added: 'The Defendants have also clarified their position regarding a number of the false and defamatory statements made about Mr Abramovich in the book.'

— CourtNewsUK (@CourtNewsUK) July 28, 2021

Belton had quoted Sergei Pugachev in her work when covering the relationship between Putin and Abramovich, but claimed that readers would factor in fugitive billionaire Pugachev's questionable credibility when reading his account.

Pugachev, who previously been referred to as 'Putin's banker' was discredited by a High Court judge as being "impossible to believe" in 2016, but was nevertheless afforded a central role in the book.

Belton, a special correspondent with Reuters and a former Moscow-based Financial Times reporter, is also being sued by Russian energy company Rosneft.

Abramovich with Chelsea captain Cesar Azpilicueta after winning the 2020/21 Champions League - Reuters / MICHAEL STEELE

Following the court proceedings, a spokesman for Abramovich said: "We have now had an opportunity to make our concerns clear to the court and to explain why Mr Abramovich has brought this claim.

"The defendants have also clarified their position regarding a number of the false and defamatory statements made about Mr Abramovich in the book."

Since acquiring the club, Abramovich's stewardship has overseen five Premier League title wins, the same number of FA Cups and two Champions League titles.

Abramovich and Putin are said to enjoy a close relationship, one reported as being like father and son.



---------- 44 ----------

Title: European case against Facebook’s WhatsApp must be decided by Irish data body within a month, EU privacy watchdog rules

Link: https://www.rt.com/news/530506-europe-facebook-whatsapp-privacy/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS

Date: Wed, 28 Jul 2021 17:56:27 +0000

Desc: Preview The EU’s privacy watchdog has given Ireland’s data protection agency a month to produce its long-delayed decision on Facebook’s WhatsApp compliance with EU laws, forcibly settling the agency’s dispute with other national bodies.
Read Full Article at RT.com

Guid: https://www.rt.com/news/530506-europe-facebook-whatsapp-privacy/

Content:

The EU’s privacy watchdog has given Ireland’s data protection agency a month to produce its long-delayed decision on Facebook’s WhatsApp compliance with EU laws, forcibly settling the agency’s dispute with other national bodies.

The months-long probe into WhatsApp’s compliance with transparency obligations envisioned under the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is seemingly nearing its completion.

Read more
© Chesnot/Getty Images
EU-bankrolled cybersecurity firm develops intrusive tech that allows ‘anonymous’ snooping & remote control of net devices – media

On Wednesday, the European Data Protection Board (EDPB) ordered Ireland’s Data Protection Commission to wrap up its investigation and produce a decision within a month. The agency is leading the oversight of Facebook as the headquarters of the company’s European chapter are based in Ireland.

The Irish commission produced a draft decision on WhatsApp compliance with EU laws last December, submitting it for a review to other national privacy protection agencies in the bloc. Those agencies raised multiple objections to the report, including the classification of the infringements identified by the Irish team and on whether the specific data should be considered private or not.

The Irish watchdog, however, rejected the objections, bringing the case to the EDPB. The latter, however, has ultimately sided with the European peers, establishing that their objections were “relevant and reasoned.” Now, the Irish watchdog is obliged to adhere to the concerns and produce its final decision within a month.

“The IE SA [Irish supervisory authority] shall adopt its final decision, addressed to the controller, on the basis of the EDPB decision, without undue delay and at the latest one month after the EDPB has notified its decision,” the EU watchdog said in a statement.

“The EDPB will publish its decision on its website without undue delay after the IE SA has notified their national decision to the controller.”

Also on rt.com
© Global Look Press / © Omar Marques
US states appealing dismissal of Facebook antitrust lawsuit seeking to force sale of Instagram, WhatsApp

The board’s decision likely means that the social media giant faces a larger fine than initially proposed by the Irish regulators. The proposed fine of up to €50 million has been harshly criticized by the privacy protection bodies of other European nations, which deemed it a mere slap on the wrist for the behemoth company.

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---------- 45 ----------

Title: RT Creative Lab scores Emmy nomination for WWII tribute ‘Lessons of Auschwitz’ VR project

Link: https://www.rt.com/usa/530505-rt-emmy-news-documentary/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS

Date: Wed, 28 Jul 2021 17:51:07 +0000

Desc: Preview ‘Lessons of Auschwitz’ VR project, commemorating the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the infamous concentration camp by the Soviet Army, has been nominated at the 42nd Annual News and Documentary Emmy Awards.
Read Full Article at RT.com

Guid: https://www.rt.com/usa/530505-rt-emmy-news-documentary/

Content:

‘Lessons of Auschwitz’ VR project, commemorating the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the infamous concentration camp by the Soviet Army, has been nominated at the 42nd Annual News and Documentary Emmy Awards.

RT Creative Lab’s project has been shortlisted for the ‘Outstanding Interactive Media: Documentary’ category. The nomination was announced on Tuesday by the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (NATAS) based in New York, US. The awards will be presented on September 28-29 and the ceremony streamed online. 

The Emmy Awards is one of the most prestigious television awards competitions in the world. The 42nd Annual News & Documentary Emmy Awards honor programming content from more than 2,200 submissions that originally premiered in the calendar year 2020, judged by a pool of over 800 peer professionals from across the television and streaming/digital media news and documentary industry.

This is RT’s 10th Emmy Awards nomination overall.

‘Lessons of Auschwitz’ is a social experiment that aims to show how history can be retold and reimagined by younger generations through digital art. The project honors the 75th anniversary of the liberation in 1945 of the Auschwitz concentration camp by the Red Army. To mark it, RT brought nine students from a Moscow high school – aged 13 to 16 – to the Memorial in Poland to personally undergo this experience. After the trip, we asked them to express their reactions in VR under the creative guidance of Russia’s leading XR artist, Denis Semionov. Сomposer Peter Theremin, who is also a master of the oldest electronic instrument, the termenvox, wrote an original score for the film. To make ‘Lessons of Auschwitz’ the young artists used audio-reactive brushes in VR that allowed their creations to interact with the termenvox’s sound waves like an equalizer.

Also on rt.com
RT
The One Show 2021: RT Creative Lab wins 2 Bronze pencils, 9 Merits in world’s top advertising & design award

‘Lessons of Auschwitz’ is part of RT’s #VictoryPages social media project dedicated to the 75th anniversary of Victory in the Great Patriotic War. The project tells its story across five platforms: Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, VK, and YouTube

Different series of the #VictoryPages have garnered scores of awards, including Webbys, Clio Awards, Epica Awards, Shorty Social Good Awards and Red Dot Awards, among others.

Want to stay up to date on our new projects? Check out RT Creative Lab’s website. Follow RT Creative Lab on social media – Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Vimeo



---------- 46 ----------

Title: ‘Cheap stunts?’ Pro-censorship activists lay body bags outside Facebook office, claim platform spreading deadly ‘disinformation’

Link: https://www.rt.com/usa/530502-facebook-body-bags-protest/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS

Date: Wed, 28 Jul 2021 17:48:01 +0000

Desc: Preview A group of pro-censorship activists has laid body bags outside Facebook’s Washington, DC office, claiming that “disinformation” on the platform “kills.” Like the Biden administration, they want Facebook to censor Covid-skeptics.
Read Full Article at RT.com

Guid: https://www.rt.com/usa/530502-facebook-body-bags-protest/

Content:

A group of pro-censorship activists has laid body bags outside Facebook’s Washington, DC office, claiming that “disinformation” on the platform “kills.” Like the Biden administration, they want Facebook to censor Covid-skeptics.

Blue body bags lined the curb outside Facebook’s office in Washington, DC on Wednesday, each bearing a sticker depicting Facebook’s ‘thumbs-up’ logo and the text “disinfo kills.” The protest was staged by a group calling itself The Real Facebook Oversight Board (RFOB), which was launched in response to Facebook establishing a supposedly neutral “oversight board” in 2018 to guide the company’s content moderation and censorship policies.

HAPPENING NOW: In front of Facebook HQ in Washington DC 👀

Body bags line the street. Facebook disinformation kills. pic.twitter.com/GsKHkVPE2b

— The Real Facebook Oversight Board (@FBoversight) July 28, 2021

Photo of the day.

Credit @photokayne @AP pic.twitter.com/qHcKslAxBl

— Carole Cadwalladr (@carolecadwalla) July 28, 2021

Staffed by journalists, left-wing activists, and censorship advocates like the Anti-Defamation League’s Jonathan Greenblatt, the RFOB wants Facebook to be even more aggressive in tackling what it calls “disinformation” and “the immediate risk to US democracy.”

The protest on Wednesday coincided with the the RFOB’s release of a report demanding Facebook disable post engagement on content from “proven disinformation superspreaders” – 12 accounts that The Center for Countering Digital Hate, another activist group, claims are behind nearly two-thirds of all anti-vaccine content on the platform. The Biden administration has also cited these same 12 accounts and to colluding with Facebook to have their posts censored.

However, the RFOB goes a step further, with its report demanding the censorship of posts from Fox News and four conservative pundits – Ben Shapiro, Sean Hannity, Franklin Graham and Dan Bongino – for “disinformation” and “hate speech.” Posts cited as examples included Bongino criticizing Olympic athlete Gwen Berry for “hat[ing] America” (“disinformation and hate speech”), and Shapiro praising parents opposed to the teaching of critical race theory in schools (“disinformation”).

Also on rt.com
© Getty Images / Sorapop
America, a nation which once championed free speech, has evolved into one of the world’s most authoritarian mass-censors

The report concluded with several pages of analysis by Media Matters, a left-wing activist group, calling for further censorship of pro-Donald Trump posts and videos on Facebook.

Facebook is not opposed to censoring supposed “disinformation,” and already removes posts it claims promote “misinformation about COVID-19 vaccines.” The platform also has dedicated staff who weed out so-called “conspiracy networks,” deploys artificial intelligence to fight “hate speech,” and maintains its ban on former president Trump on dubious “public safety” grounds.

Nothing if not consistent, the RFOB said they'd engage in cheap stunts and, lo and behold, they're doing exactly that. Here's the truth about the steps, not stunts, we're taking to address this serious issue. https://t.co/5znmP22YeR

— Andy Stone (@andymstone) July 28, 2021

Nevertheless, the company reckons the RFOB is asking too much, and spokesman Andy Stone accused the body bag protesters of engaging in “cheap stunts.” 

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---------- 47 ----------

Title: ‘I’m ashamed’: ROC gymnastics star Nikita Nagornyy APOLOGIZES for bronze medal at Tokyo Games

Link: https://www.rt.com/sport/530500-nikita-nagornyy-apologizes-bronze-medal-olympics/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS

Date: Wed, 28 Jul 2021 17:27:25 +0000

Desc: Preview Three-time world champion Nikita Nagornyy has “apologized” for winning bronze for the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) team at the Tokyo Olympics, saying he feels “ashamed” after being edged out by his rivals.
Read Full Article at RT.com

Guid: https://www.rt.com/sport/530500-nikita-nagornyy-apologizes-bronze-medal-olympics/

Content:

Three-time world champion Nikita Nagornyy has “apologized” for winning bronze for the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) team at the Tokyo Olympics, saying he feels “ashamed” after being edged out by his rivals.

Nagornyy, 24, was part of the ROC team that won a historic gold medal in the artistic team event earlier this week but was unable to repeat that feat in the individual all-round competition at the Ariake Gymnastics Center on Wednesday.

The Rostov-born star managed a total of 88.031 points, putting him behind Japan’s Daiki Hashimoto and Xiao Ruoteng of China, who finished with scores of 88.465 and 88.065 points respectively.

Nagorny finished third in the men's all-round competition. © Reuters

Despite picking up a first individual Olympic medal, Nagornyy was left disappointed.

“I apologize, I feel very ashamed. Hopefully further – [there will be] more,” the gymnast was quoted by TASS as saying.

“I wanted to thank everyone for their support, congratulations to the young favorite, who took first place,” added Nagornyy, praising 19-year-old Japanese gold medalist Hashimoto.

“I was rooting for him, I’ll admit it. I went up to the bar, said [to him] that everything will work out. He is young and promising, he proved himself before.

“Unfortunately, I couldn’t give my best 100%, why it happened, I’ll try to understand in my head.”

Nagorny claimed bronze in Tokyo. © Reuters

Nagornyy appeared frustrated at himself at times during Wednesday’s competition, especially after the horizontal bars.

“I was really angry with myself. I realized that my chance was flushed down the toilet,” Nagornyy would later explain.

Narognyy will now attempt to regroup ahead of the three men’s individual finals which he will be competing in later on at the Games.

Also on rt.com
The Russian team claimed gold in the men's artistic gymnastics team final. © Reuters
Gold rush: Russian men edge out Japan & China in Olympic thriller to scoop all-round artistic gymnastics title in Tokyo



---------- 48 ----------

Title: US states appealing dismissal of Facebook antitrust lawsuit seeking to force sale of Instagram, WhatsApp

Link: https://www.rt.com/usa/530499-us-states-facebook-antitrust-lawsuit/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS

Date: Wed, 28 Jul 2021 17:16:38 +0000

Desc: Preview New York’s attorney general has announced that dozens of US states are appealing the dismissal of a lawsuit accusing Facebook of abusing its market power, seeking to force it to sell off Instagram and WhatsApp.
Read Full Article at RT.com

Guid: https://www.rt.com/usa/530499-us-states-facebook-antitrust-lawsuit/

Content:

New York’s attorney general has announced that dozens of US states are appealing the dismissal of a lawsuit accusing Facebook of abusing its market power, seeking to force it to sell off Instagram and WhatsApp.

The lawsuit, initially brought by the US Federal Trade Commission and 48 states and districts, was dismissed by a federal judge in June, who claimed that it was “legally insufficient,” failing to show that Facebook is a monopoly, and therefore, abusing its position to crush potential competition. 

New York Attorney General Letitia James announced on Wednesday that her office has filed a notice of appeal and intends to continue seeking to “hold Facebook accountable for stifling competition, reducing innovation and cutting privacy protections.”

Part of Judge James Boasberg’s decision to reject the lawsuit was due to the length of time the states had waited to challenge Facebook’s purchase of Instagram, completed in 2012, and WhatsApp, finalized in 2014.

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Facebook’s spokesperson responded to the decision to appeal the lawsuit by reiterating the company’s view that “the District Court’s decision dismissing the states’ complaint is correct,” adding that it “looks forward to defending the District Court’s decision before the Court of Appeals.”

The decision to challenge Facebook has received a measure of bipartisan support in America. Earlier in July, President Joe Biden appointed antitrust researcher Lina Khan to chair the Federal Trade Commission to explore potential actions that can be taken against tech giants, while Republican Senator Josh Hawley from Missouri previously backed the lawsuit, accusing Facebook of having “massive market power,” but essentially having “shrugged its shoulders” at antitrust efforts.

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---------- 49 ----------

Title: First Naomi Osaka and now Simone Biles. ‘Brave’ no longer means battling in sport, it celebrates ‘woke’ weakness

Link: https://www.rt.com/sport/530411-simone-biles-quit-tokyo/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS

Date: Wed, 28 Jul 2021 16:31:35 +0000

Desc: Preview The new woke dictionary definition of ‘brave’ has come to mean ‘selfishly letting down your teammates’, judging by Simone Biles' cringingly tense exit during the gymnastics team final at Tokyo 2020.
Read Full Article at RT.com

Guid: https://www.rt.com/sport/530411-simone-biles-quit-tokyo/

Content:

The new woke dictionary definition of ‘brave’ has come to mean ‘selfishly letting down your teammates’, judging by Simone Biles' cringingly tense exit during the gymnastics team final at Tokyo 2020.

On a Tokyo Tuesday night at the Ariake Gymnastics Centre, the chalk dust had just about settled from Simone Biles’ opening vault in the artistic all-round team event final.

The camera inside panned to the most decorated American gymnast of all-time caught in hushed conversation with her coach, seemingly underwhelmed by her own performance.

Simone Biles - Reuters

After a few moments of muted pause and a soft mutter, Biles’ face cracked and her look was suddenly resolute. Her mind was made up: she was quitting.

Apropos of absolutely nothing, Biles withdrew from the final and deserted her teammates, costing them the gold medal as a full-strength Russian Olympic Committee team was now playing with a one-woman advantage.

The US team clinched only silver, losing out to the Russians, despite being dead certs for Tokyo’s top prize, and the collective dream was snubbed out on a whim because the star athlete “didn’t feel right”.

Although USA Gymnastics, an institution infamously adept at alleged cover-ups, originally put Biles’ withdrawal down to a “medical issue”, the 24-year-old refuted that claim in a buzzword-laden bundle of excuses and empty platitudes in the aftermath.

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Simone Biles watched on as the US finished second in Tokyo. © Reuters
‘More to life than gymnastics’: Simone Biles cites mental health concerns as she explains shock Olympic exit in Tokyo (VIDEO)

“I didn’t want to go into any of the other events second-guessing myself. So, I thought it would be better if I took a step back and let these girls go out there and do their job,” Biles bleated to a media that fawned over every cliched utterance.

Almost instantaneously, the usual virtue-signalling suspects in US media lined up for their identity parade, each spinning yarns about Biles’ courage of which Verbal Kint would be proud and suddenly the word 'brave' was rebranded.

Biles was “astonishingly brave” for hypothesizing she could be “dragged out [of the Olympics] on a stretcher”, which, even for someone of Biles’ suppleness, is an impressive stretch to go from ‘wrong headspace’ to near death in the space of a vault routine.

Simone Biles has just given an astonishingly brave interview to a packed mixed zone, talking about mental health issues.

‘Even though it's so big, it's the Olympic games. But at the end of the day it's like we want to walk out of here, not be dragged out here on a stretcher’

— Sean Ingle (@seaningle) July 27, 2021

It’s important that young girls see women excelling and succeeding in their chosen career. It’s also important that girls see women who are brave enough to put their health and well-being ahead of anything else. Simone Biles and Naomi Osaka are both incredible role models. pic.twitter.com/cHbnieu6bS

— Hazel Hayes (@TheHazelHayes) July 28, 2021

I stand with Simone Biles.
I still stand with Naomi Osaka.

Your health and peace matters. You’re reminding Black women that we can take the space we need for ourselves.

— Cori Bush (@CoriBush) July 27, 2021

Another praised her message to fellow females, gushing “it’s also important that girls see women who are brave enough to put their health and well-being ahead of anything else,” which is an apparent approval of showing strength and bravery towards other women by leaving your fellow sisters high and dry when they need you the most.

Biles' reasoning she was suffering from mental health issues is problematic, a phrase which has now become an umbrella term for suffering even the simplest of human emotions, and detracts from deeper suffering.

But manipulation of words isn’t a new phenomenon, and language has been gradually butchered and bastardised by social justice warriors hell-bent on policing speech and celebrating weakness in their woke heroes.

Another beneficiary of the brand-new brand of bravery was Naomi Osaka, who announced she wouldn’t conduct mandatory media assignments at the 2021 French Open, citing mental exhaustion and later withdrawing from the tournament altogether.

Naomi Osaka during her Tokyo 2020 tennis campaign - Reuters

The four-time Grand Slam champion did however muster the mental strength to appear on the cover of Sports Illustrated’s swimsuit issue, a magazine regarded as the bible of unattainable body image, criticised for creating unhealthy attitudes toward conventional beauty among teenage girls, and famed for lampooning feminists who accuse them of ‘dehumanising women’.

How brilliantly brave.

Earlier this month, nauseatingly woke name-inventors Vagina Museum implored their followers to replace the word ‘women’ with the term ‘people who menstruate’. Those who disagreed with such ludicrous language-policing were labeled bigots.

"I'm sorry. I love you guys... You guys have trained your whole entire life for this I've been to an Olympics, I'll be fine. This is your first… you go out there and kick ass”

- @Simone_Biles

pic.twitter.com/JxB2AZFX6r

— Complex Sports (@ComplexSports) July 27, 2021

JK Rowling, perhaps one of the great wordsmiths of modern times, has been admonished for her non-conformity to invented language and received a novels-worth of death threats penned by the ever-so-tolerant saints of social justice who purport to create a safe space for all by cancelling those who dare to disagree with their narrative.

At least the tiptoeing through the minefield of using the correct gendered pronouns didn't apply to Biles, who loved being referred to as the G.O.A.T (Greatest Of All Time) so much, she ordered custom-made leotards with a diamond encrusted goat images so that her aura of invincibility now had a visible reminder to all other athletes with the goal to ironically gain a mental edge.

When Simone Biles texted leotard company GK Elite asking for a goat on her leotard, there was initial debate over whether the image would be too brazen. But Biles earned the right to be bold when she won four Olympic gold medals and seven national titles. https://t.co/pmaVbO0xFC

— NBC Los Angeles (@NBCLA) July 27, 2021

Biles is undoubtedly a woman of major mettle; aside from her voluminous medal haul, she and other US gymnasts survived harrowing sexual abuse at the hands of pervert ex-team doctor Larry Nassar and provided testimony that sent the disgraced paedophile to jail for life, receiving the Arthur Ashe Courage Award for doing so.

Bucket loads of bravery deserving of all the medals and plaudits you could put together and then some.

Quitting when things are getting a little difficult is not brave, and no amount of enforced vernacular gymnastics can change that. What happened on Tuesday was the grandstanding of a one-woman show whose star deiced to grab center stage when her limelight was dimming at the expense of her colleagues.

In a world where language is a labyrinth of banned gendered words, triggers, and misused pejoratives, and seemingly any speech context and word definition can be distorted to fit any given narrative, the true meanings of 'brave' and 'mental health issues' must be preserved, and not to excuse and celebrate woke weakness and ostentatious stands for social justice.



---------- 50 ----------

Title: Double-jabbed US and EU travellers will no longer be required quarantine upon arrival in England from August

Link: https://www.rt.com/uk/530497-england-covid-quarantine-lifted-eu-us/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS

Date: Wed, 28 Jul 2021 16:20:59 +0000

Desc: Preview The British government has announced that fully vaccinated travellers arriving in England from the US and countries within the EU, bar France, will no longer have to undergo a 10-day Covid quarantine period from August 2 onwards.
Read Full Article at RT.com

Guid: https://www.rt.com/uk/530497-england-covid-quarantine-lifted-eu-us/

Content:

The British government has announced that fully vaccinated travellers arriving in England from the US and countries within the EU, bar France, will no longer have to undergo a 10-day Covid quarantine period from August 2 onwards.

The move was announced on Wednesday in a government push to revive England’s travel industry and allow freer movement across the Atlantic and Europe. England’s Transport Secretary Grant Shapps praised the announcement, saying that the government was “helping reunite people living in the US and European countries with their family and friends in the UK”.

We're helping reunite people living in the US and European countries with their family and friends in the UK 👪

From 2nd August at 4am people from these countries will be able to come to the England from an amber country without having to quarantine if they're fully vaxxed 💉

— Rt Hon Grant Shapps MP (@grantshapps) July 28, 2021

Passengers arriving from the US or EU must have received two doses of a coronavirus vaccine that is either approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or the European Medicines Agency (EMA). Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson’s Jansenn have been approved by both regulatory bodies, whereas the EMA’s list also includes the Oxford-AstraZeneca jab. Travellers will still be required to provide a negative PCR test before arriving, and another two days after landing.

While the new changes allow quarantine-free travel for many looking to come to England, people arriving from France will still be required to quarantine, even if they are fully vaccinated. The UK government decided last week to keep quarantine restrictions in place for people arriving to England from France, citing the prevalence of the Beta variant in the country.

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FILE PHOTO: People, some wearing protective face masks, walk along a platform at Oxford Circus underground station, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, in London, Britain, July 4, 2021.© Reuters / Henry Nicholls
‘Most’ of Britain’s coronavirus pandemic may be over by autumn, ‘Professor Lockdown’ claims

Other nations of the UK have yet to indicate if they intend to follow England in announcing quarantine-waivers for people coming in from the EU and America.

While England has eased travel for US citizens, the American border remains shut for Britons who have been in the UK within the 14 days prior to their journey. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued an advisory to its citizens last week to not travel to the UK due to its high cases and the prevalence of the highly contagious Delta variant.

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---------- 51 ----------

Title: Tunisia’s biggest political parties under investigation over foreign funding, judiciary announces

Link: https://www.rt.com/news/530496-tunisia-parties-court-investigation/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS

Date: Wed, 28 Jul 2021 16:15:47 +0000

Desc: Preview A Tunisian court has said it is investigating three of the country’s political parties, including Ennahda and Heart of Tunisia, over allegations they received foreign funds during the 2019 election campaign.
Read Full Article at RT.com

Guid: https://www.rt.com/news/530496-tunisia-parties-court-investigation/

Content:

A Tunisian court has said it is investigating three of the country’s political parties, including Ennahda and Heart of Tunisia, over allegations they received foreign funds during the 2019 election campaign.

On Wednesday, a spokesman for the Tunisian judiciary told the Tunis Africa News Agency that investigations were launched in the first two weeks of July into allegations of political wrongdoing. 

The spokesman added that the inquiries began before President Kais Saied decided to dismiss the prime minister and freeze parliament. Ennahda and Heart of Tunisia have said Saied’s move is tantamount to “revolution.”

The investigation concerns three political parties – the country’s two largest, Ennahda and Heart of Tunisia, and Aish Tounsi – over  allegations that they received foreign funding during the 2019 election.

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Police and protesters face off against each other in Tunis, July 26, 2021. © Fethi Belaid/AFP
Al Jazeera says Tunisian police raided its office, expelled journalists & seized equipment amid ongoing political crisis

None of the parties were available for comment, according to Reuters.Tunisia is currently facing one of its toughest political challenges after Saied dismissed the PM and froze the country’s parliament for 30 days after an emergency meeting at his palace on Sunday night.

Ennahda has since called for calm after previously inviting its supporters onto the streets to protest the president’s move. While the situation has not escalated throughout the week, the army remains stationed around the parliament building to prevent further demonstrations.

Also on Wednesday, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian told his Tunisian counterpart, Othman Jerandi, that it was of the utmost importance that Tunisia quickly names a new prime minister, according to a foreign ministry statement. 

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---------- 52 ----------

Title: Austrian govt vows to find allies to combat illegal migration after slating EU Commission’s approach

Link: https://www.rt.com/news/530494-austrian-govt-vows-allies-illegal-immigration/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS

Date: Wed, 28 Jul 2021 16:01:28 +0000

Desc: Preview Austria’s interior minister has blasted the European Commission’s stance on migration and declared that Vienna will form alliances with other EU states that want to combat the illegal movement of people in their own way.
Read Full Article at RT.com

Guid: https://www.rt.com/news/530494-austrian-govt-vows-allies-illegal-immigration/

Content:

Austria’s interior minister has blasted the European Commission’s stance on migration and declared that Vienna will form alliances with other EU states that want to combat the illegal movement of people in their own way.

Speaking on Tuesday, Karl Nehammer pledged that Austria would take the matter into its own hands and work with other countries to combat illegal immigration, saying, “the European Commission isn’t reacting, hence we are reacting ourselves.”

The Austrian minister accused the Commission of sending “the wrong signals” to asylum seekers traveling to Europe for refuge, alleging that the bloc gives “smugglers thousands of euros.”

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Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz in Brussels, Belgium, June 2021. © Johanna Geron/AFP
Austria’s Kurz vows ‘no stop’ to deportations of Afghan asylum seekers after policewoman assaulted

Nehammer’s condemnation of the EU’s executive body comes after Austria ramped up surveillance at the eastern state of Burgenland’s border with Hungary, with the Austrian Federal Army and police launching operations in the area on Monday. The Austrian Ministry of Defense also announced on Saturday that it will deploy up to 400 additional soldiers to its border with Slovenia and Hungary.

Austria opened discussions on border security with neighbors Hungary and the Czech Republic last month. The three states share a mutual stance on the repatriation of migrants and are in favor of stricter border control, which Nehammer said should be “on the top of the EU agenda.” Czech Interior Minister Jan Hamacek shared Austria’s concerns, stating: “We are countries that look at migration with the same eyes.”

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FILE PHOTO.
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Migration is a sensitive subject in Austria, which was heightened following the murder of a 13-year-old girl in late June. The Austrian authorities arrested three Afghan asylum seekers on suspicion of the murder, and the case fueled a national debate over the issue of deportating asylum seekers who commit crimes. The Austrian People’s Party argued that those “who seek refuge in our country, but trample on our values and express this in their actions have no place in our country.”

The capital, Vienna, was also rocked by a series of shootings on November 2, 2020, with a gunman murdering four people and injuring over 20 before being shot dead by the police. The authorities dubbed the Austrian-born perpetrator as an “Islamist terrorist.”

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---------- 53 ----------

Title: Department of Homeland Security orders all employees to mask up and distance, regardless of vaccination status

Link: https://www.rt.com/usa/530493-dhs-employees-mask-mandate/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS

Date: Wed, 28 Jul 2021 15:41:11 +0000

Desc: Preview The Department of Homeland Security has announced that its employees will have to wear masks and socially distance indoors, regardless of their vaccination status. The order comes after the CDC recommended indoor masking again.
Read Full Article at RT.com

Guid: https://www.rt.com/usa/530493-dhs-employees-mask-mandate/

Content:

The Department of Homeland Security has announced that its employees will have to wear masks and socially distance indoors, regardless of their vaccination status. The order comes after the CDC recommended indoor masking again.

“Beginning today, all employees, regardless of vaccination status, will be required to wear a mask indoors & physically distance,” the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced on Wednesday.

DHS is following the new @CDCgov guidance and @OMBPress instructions to ensure the safety of our workforce.

Beginning today, all employees, regardless of vaccination status, will be required to wear a mask indoors & physically distance. https://t.co/kpiqx3SmNG

— Homeland Security (@DHSgov) July 28, 2021

The DHS is the federal government’s third-largest cabinet department, employing more than 240,000 people.

The order comes a day after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) revised their earlier guidance and recommended that the vaccinated and unvaccinated alike wear masks indoors in areas where Covid-19 transmission is high. President Joe Biden announced shortly afterwards that a vaccine mandate for federal workers is “under consideration right now,” amid media reports that such a mandate will be announced later this week.

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Iowa gov & others dismiss new CDC mask guidance: ‘Not grounded in reality or common sense’

On Monday, the Department of Veterans Affairs became the first government department to require its employees – albeit only those who work in a medical capacity – to get vaccinated. The White House previously avoided recommending mandatory inoculation in the workplace, but the Justice Department concluded earlier this week that federal law does not prohibit vaccine mandates by either public or private employers.

Though mandatory vaccination appears to be imminent, its effect on the spread of the coronavirus remains to be seen. CDC Director Rochelle Walensky defended the new mask guidance on Tuesday by stating that officials believe vaccinated people infected with the delta variant of the coronavirus can still spread it to others, and may carry higher levels of the virus than the unvaccinated.

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---------- 54 ----------

Title: UK government credits NCSC with ‘resolving’ WannaCry ransomware attack to refute flak over intelligence body’s posh Westminster HQ

Link: https://www.rt.com/uk/530491-uk-government-ncsc-westminster-office/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS

Date: Wed, 28 Jul 2021 15:29:49 +0000

Desc: Preview The UK government has downplayed parliamentary criticism of the National Cyber Security Centre’s “image over cost” choice of headquarters by touting its “global and transformative role” in advancing the country’s cyber-security.
Read Full Article at RT.com

Guid: https://www.rt.com/uk/530491-uk-government-ncsc-westminster-office/

Content:

The UK government has downplayed parliamentary criticism of the National Cyber Security Centre’s “image over cost” choice of headquarters by touting its “global and transformative role” in advancing the country’s cyber-security.

In a recent Cabinet Office report, the government claimed the NCSC has responded to “over 2,500” incidents since April 2017 – including the WannaCry ransomware attack that had infected networks across Europe and effectively paralysed the National Health Service and other public services in mid-2017.

Although the attack was actually stopped by “accidental hero” Marcus Hutchins (aka ‘MalwareTech’) who had no prior links to the intelligence community and had stumbled upon the malware’s killswitch, the Cabinet Office report has credited the “seamless delivery of intelligence detection from the NCSC to Whitehall” as having resolved the issue.

So I can only add"accidentally stopped an international cyber attack" to my Résumé. ^^

— MalwareTech (@MalwareTechBlog) May 13, 2017

That was just one of a number of justifications laid out by the report to counter accusations that the choice in 2016 of an upscale Westminster location as the GCHQ offshoot’s headquarters had been “more a matter of preference than necessity”.

Noting that “cost and value for money” had been “strong considerations” throughout the decision-making process, the report claimed that the Westminster setting had “enabled the delivery of world leading operational capabilities for the NCSC and UK Government.”

In 2016, then-Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne had overruled procurement rules to secure the NCSC its “preferred” base in a commercial development in Westminster rather than the shortlisted “tech hub” of Shoreditch that was “unpopular” with the intelligence agency.

Last November, the Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC) of Parliament had concluded that the GCHQ had prioritised “image over cost" and blasted its willingness to “postpone investment in operational capabilities... in order to allocate the NCSC more expensive accommodation.”

In its report, the ISC highlighted a list of shortcomings in the procurement process, including “arbitrary timetable” and deadlines, “faulty criteria”, “absurd weighting mechanism”, “unjustified score changes”, and the inclusion of a “no hoper alternative” in the final round of selection.

The shift to Westminster “considerably over-shot” the funds initially allocated for setting up the office, which led to spending cuts in other GCHQ areas. The agency is reportedly locked into a 15-year lease that costs £6.4 million annually while the original budget called for a £3.5 million yearly expenditure.

Meanwhile, the other finalist for the NCSC office had been a building in the Canary Wharf area that would have cost £3.1 million per year. This means that the NCSC could have saved around £50 million in public funds over the term of the lease if it had chosen the cheaper office.

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Amidst the houses and the car parks sits GCHQ the Government Communications Headquarters in this aerial photo taken on October 10, 2005. © David Goddard / Getty Images
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However, the Cabinet Office countered that the additional cost was a “carefully thought through and routine one-time reprioritisation of the GCHQ Estate budget” and claimed that “no operational activities or mission priority areas” were affected as a result.

“The operational value of the NCSC has been clear, and our investment in Nova South [the commercial building] visibly demonstrated our commitment to being at the centre of ensuring the UK’s Cyber Security future,” the Cabinet Office responded in its report.

But the government admitted that there was a need for additional oversight and “independent scrutiny” in all future procurement exercises and pointed to the establishment of an “internal Commercial and Legal Oversight Group”.

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---------- 55 ----------

Title: WATCH: Bathing tourists calmly look on as firefighting aircraft scoop water from the sea to tackle raging Turkish forest inferno

Link: https://www.rt.com/news/530488-turkey-forest-fires-manavgat-tourists/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS

Date: Wed, 28 Jul 2021 15:22:33 +0000

Desc: Preview Tourists and locals in Turkey’s Manavgat district were filmed calmly enjoying the beach and wandering around the city despite a blazing fire threatening devastation as it spreads on the outskirts of the residential area.
Read Full Article at RT.com

Guid: https://www.rt.com/news/530488-turkey-forest-fires-manavgat-tourists/

Content:

Tourists and locals in Turkey’s Manavgat district were filmed calmly enjoying the beach and wandering around the city despite a blazing fire threatening devastation as it spreads on the outskirts of the residential area.

#Türkiye: A huge forest fire broke out in #Antalya, Turkey. 15 helicopters are deployed. pic.twitter.com/0OftEWvTHV

— Chaudhary Parvez (@ChaudharyParvez) July 28, 2021

One Twitter user even shared a video of beachgoers continuing their trip to the shoreline despite the sky turning red due to the ongoing fire and a helicopter gathering water from the ocean to use on the fire in an attempt to bring it back under control.

#Manavgat yazık ciğerler tükeniyor, umarım en kısa sürede kontrol altına alınır🙏🙏🙏 pic.twitter.com/LaIz6w9mvP

— Aleww (@01ef936680cb43b) July 28, 2021

Turkey deployed 106 fire engines, 15 helicopters, and two planes on Wednesday in an attempt to extinguish a raging forest fire on the edge of Manavgat in the Antalya province, as the flames drew closer to the town.

The provincial authority in Manavgat confirmed that officials are in the process of “trying to take control of a massive fire,” as footage circulating on social media shows the blaze sending smoke into the air above residential properties.

Manavgat’tan gelen görüntüler çok feci pic.twitter.com/QDLQKerxR1

— nevsin mengu (@nevsinmengu) July 28, 2021

Manavgat yanıyor! Umarım kısa zamanda söndürülür, burası Antalya'nın ciğeri... pic.twitter.com/xqARNoj3sH

— Ali Keskin (@alikeskin_tr) July 28, 2021

It’s not unusual for fires to burn through the forest during the summer months, but the proximity of this blaze to homes and businesses has forced authorities to rush into action in order to prevent it from spreading further.

🔴 #Manavgat’ta çıkan yangının yerleşim yerlerine ulaşması nedeniyle 3 mahalle boşaltıldı. pic.twitter.com/D8Skp0y8Jq

— Cevher 🇹🇷 (@cpt_cevher) July 28, 2021

So far, four separate areas of the Manavgat district have been impacted by the fire, which has damaged hectares of forest and forced the evacuation of a number of neighborhoods by the area’s mayor, Sukru Sozen.

The concerning blaze comes as Turkey experiences numerous heat waves throughout the country, recording its hottest May in 51 years just two months ago and the hottest days of the year in recent weeks.

#Manavgat'ta yangına müdahale anı.pic.twitter.com/iiYkvSORS2

— Türk Alıntı (@turkalinti) July 28, 2021

The fire in Manavgat follows a similar blaze in a dense area of woodland near the resort town of Mugla, on the country’s southwestern coast in late June. The Mugla Regional Directorate of Forestry confirmed that one forest worker, 38-year-old Gorkem Hasdemir, died tackling that blaze, as the windy conditions presented significant challenges to the firefighters.

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Migrants disembark from a Turkish coastguard (FILE PHOTO) ©  REUTERS/Murad Sezer
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Also in June, Antalya’s Kas district and Icel’s Tarsus district were afflicted by forest fires that destroyed hectares of land and forced emergency services to battle for hours to bring them under control.

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---------- 56 ----------

Title: Ukraine is rightful heir to historic Kievan Rus & ‘distant relatives’ like Russia should not claim it as their own, says Zelensky

Link: https://www.rt.com/russia/530489-zelensky-historic-kievan-rus-relatives/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS

Date: Wed, 28 Jul 2021 15:22:11 +0000

Desc: Preview In a rebuke to an essay written by Russian President Vladimir Putin, his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky has revealed his view that “distant relatives,” like Moscow, should not try to claim the history of the Kievan Rus.
Read Full Article at RT.com

Guid: https://www.rt.com/russia/530489-zelensky-historic-kievan-rus-relatives/

Content:

In a rebuke to an essay written by Russian President Vladimir Putin, his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky has revealed his view that “distant relatives,” like Moscow, should not try to claim the history of the Kievan Rus.

Zelensky was speaking on the 1,033rd anniversary of the Baptism of Kievan Rus, when Vladimir the Great converted to Christianity. This society was a loose federation of peoples in modern-day Ukraine, Belarus, and Russia, all united under a monarchy – the Rurik dynasty.

“This is not part of our history. This is our history. We do not need to prove it with historical treatises, works, articles. Because our proofs are not on paper but in metal and stone. Not in myths and legends, but in our cities and on our streets,” Zelensky said in a video on YouTube.

“Kievan Rus is the mother of our history. The 24 regions of Ukraine and the Crimea peninsula are her children. And they are her heirs by right,” he continued. “Her cousins and very distant relatives don’t need to encroach on her inheritance and try to prove their involvement in history thousands of years ago.”

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FILE PHOTO. Lviv region, Ukraine. © Sputnik
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Zelensky’s statement comes two weeks after Putin published an article called ‘On the historical unity of Russians and Ukrainians’, in which he suggested that the two nations are the same, and the populations “one people.” The president also said that Ukraine, in its current shape, is entirely the brainchild of the Soviet era, created to a large extent at the expense of the native Russian territories.

Following the president’s article, a poll conducted by Rating Group, a Kiev-based NGO, revealed that 41% of Ukrainians agree with Putin that Russians and Ukrainians are the same people, with 55% disagreeing. In the east, closer to the border with Russia, the number who agreed was much higher, at 65%. The poll results discovered no correlation with age, but found that 66% of those belonging to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church concurred with Putin’s thesis.

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---------- 57 ----------

Title: Chinese billionaire Sun Dawu sentenced to 18 years for ‘attacking state organs’ amid land dispute

Link: https://www.rt.com/news/530490-dawu-group-state-organs-dispute/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS

Date: Wed, 28 Jul 2021 15:09:45 +0000

Desc: Preview A Chinese court sentenced Sun Dawu to 18 years in jail on Wednesday after the billionaire was detained last November on charges that included “provoking trouble” and “gathering a crowd to attack state organs.”
Read Full Article at RT.com

Guid: https://www.rt.com/news/530490-dawu-group-state-organs-dispute/

Content:

A Chinese court sentenced Sun Dawu to 18 years in jail on Wednesday after the billionaire was detained last November on charges that included “provoking trouble” and “gathering a crowd to attack state organs.”

The charges against the self-made billionaire were related to a land dispute between Sun’s agricultural firm, the Dawu Group, and a state-owned competitor.

Sun was tried in secret in a Gaobeidian court near Beijing. As well as the long stint in prison, he was fined 3.11 million yuan ($475,000).

He was detained by authorities back in November, along with 19 relatives and business associates, after Dawu employees tried to stop a government-owned enterprise from demolishing a company building in August 2020. According to a social media post by Sun, more than 20 people were injured in a clash with the police.

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Sun’s legal team said prosecutors alleged that the Dawu Group acted deceptively toward its employees, interfering with the government’s administrative duties, and causing political instability. The billionaire has faced a slew of other charges,  including illegal mining and illegal occupation of farmland.

However, Sun reportedly claimed some responsibility for faults, including posting messages online and unspecified mistakes over the ‘land issue’. He said he wished to take the charges upon himself, even if severe, in exchange for the release of others. 

Sun – a self-proclaimed ‘outstanding Communist party member’ – said in response to the claims against his firm that the Dawu Group was “wholly socialist, everyone is on the road to common prosperity, and Dawu employees live very well,” according to his team.

The billionaire’s lawyers said that the secrecy of the trial “violated legal guidelines and did not protect the defendant's litigation rights.”

The land dispute is not the first time the pig-farmer billionaire has butted heads with the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).

In the early 2000s he ran a website that included criticism of state-owned banks, which he accused of neglecting rural investment while funneling rural residents' savings toward urban projects.

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Indian and Chinese troops face off in the Galwan Valley on the disputed border between China and India © AFP Photo / CCTV
India and China discuss troop pullback in disputed territory a day after Kashmir border ceasefire agreement

In 2003, he was charged with ‘illegal fundraising’ after reportedly taking illegal deposits without approval from the People’s Bank of China. Instead, he solicited investments for his business from friends and neighbors.

After abandoning his appeals for the case, the sentence was suspended and Sun received probation.

More recently, in 2019, he criticized the government’s handling of the swine fever outbreak, publicly disputed the scale of the epidemic, saying it was far more severe than officials had said. He reported that about 15,000 pigs on his farms had died from the disease and posted photos of the dead animals online.

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---------- 58 ----------

Title: Dutch skateboarder already forced to miss street event blasts 'inhuman' quarantine conditions at Tokyo 2020 Olympics

Link: https://www.rt.com/sport/530480-candy-jacbos-skate-quarantine-inhuman-tokyo-olympics/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS

Date: Wed, 28 Jul 2021 15:06:43 +0000

Desc: Preview Dutch Olympic skateboarder Candy Jacobs has blasted conditions at a Tokyo quarantine hotel as "inhuman", after missing an event at the Olympic Games due to her ongoing eight-day stay in isolation.
Read Full Article at RT.com

Guid: https://www.rt.com/sport/530480-candy-jacbos-skate-quarantine-inhuman-tokyo-olympics/

Content:

Dutch Olympic skateboarder Candy Jacobs has blasted conditions at a Tokyo quarantine hotel as "inhuman", after missing an event at the Olympic Games due to her ongoing eight-day stay in isolation.

The Netherlands competitor said she had to force officials into permitting her a short break under supervision away from her room to get some fresh room, as her accommodation's window doesn't open.

"Not having any outside air is so inhuman," complained the 31-year-old in a video on her Instagram account, which she has also used to provide other updates such as practicing from her room. 

"It’s mentally super draining...definitely more than a lot of humans can handle."

Jacobs had been staying in the Olympic Village but was then removed and put into a separate quarantine facility for those present at the Tokyo 2020 Games, where she has missed a street event, with the virus.

On the seventh day of her isolation, she claims to have refused to move. 

And after over seven hours, Jacobs alleged, officials agreed she was allowed to stand near an open window for 15 minutes while also supervised.

"Having that first breath of outside air was the saddest and best moment in my life," she admitted.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Candy Jacobs (@candy_jacobs)

Despite not getting a chance to compete in the street event herself, Jacobs still praised 13-year-old gold skate medalist Momiji Nishiya from Japan, and conceded that watching the win on TV provided "a super-cool distraction" away from the drudgery of quarantine.

"This ride has been the wildest I have ever been on and hopefully I never have to go through something like this again,” remarked Jacobs, who by her own admissions has continued to test positive for Covid-19.

Also on rt.com
Momiji Nishiya of Japan won Olympic gold in Tokyo. © Reuters / Twitter
Teenage kicks: 13-year-old Japanese sensation Momiji Nishiya wins first-ever women’s Olympic skateboard gold



---------- 59 ----------

Title: 5 people missing after blast at German chemical park are unlikely to be alive, site’s operator says

Link: https://www.rt.com/news/530487-germany-chemical-site-blast-survivors/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS

Date: Wed, 28 Jul 2021 14:54:05 +0000

Desc: Preview Little hope remains that survivors will be found under the debris at the German industrial park rocked by a major explosion on Tuesday, its operator has said. The blast injured 31 and killed two, with five people still missing.
Read Full Article at RT.com

Guid: https://www.rt.com/news/530487-germany-chemical-site-blast-survivors/

Content:

Little hope remains that survivors will be found under the debris at the German industrial park rocked by a major explosion on Tuesday, its operator has said. The blast injured 31 and killed two, with five people still missing.

Search and rescue operations continued throughout Wednesday at Chempark, located on the outskirts of the city of Leverkusen in the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia.

Five people remain missing after the explosion, and there is little hope left of finding any survivors, park operator Currenta admitted.

“We have to assume that the missing people can no longer be found alive,” the company’s CEO, Frank Hyldmar, told reporters.

So far, two bodies have been recovered from under the debris. At least 31 people were injured during the incidents, according to local police. Five of those received injuries serious enough to require intensive care.

Huge blast at Chempark Leverkusen. Something exploded at Bayer pic.twitter.com/1bTrMzncnZ

— The Entertainer (De Goede Volger) (@haverkamp_wiebe) July 27, 2021

It is still too early to tell exactly what caused the catastrophic explosion at the site, which houses some 30 companies including Bayer and Lanxess, Hyldmar added. The initial explosion ignited a holding tank containing solvents, leading to a major fire.

While focusing on trying to find the missing people, the company and emergency services are also monitoring the ecological situation around the crippled site. The blast and the fire covered its surroundings with soot, and experts are currently sampling it to determine whether the residue could be toxic.

Also on rt.com
RT
2 dead & 5 missing after HUGE explosion rocks German chemical park, injuring at least 31

According to an early assessment of the incident by the North Rhine-Westphalian State Environment Agency, the plume of smoke that emitted after the blast contained assorted toxins including “dioxin, PCB and furan compounds.” The agency said it “assumes” the toxins were carried into “the surrounding residential areas,” yet it remains unclear in what concentrations the hazardous materials were released.

Until the results are in, local residents are being advised to avoid getting the soot on their skin, bringing it inside, or eating vegetables and fruits from their gardens, a spokesman for the Leverkusen fire department said. It has also advised to keep children from playing outside, with playgrounds closed in the area.

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---------- 60 ----------

Title: Decision to strip Assange of Ecuadorian citizenship hasn’t come into force, his lawyer tells RT, while preparing an appeal

Link: https://www.rt.com/news/530476-assange-ecuador-citizenship-lawyer/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS

Date: Wed, 28 Jul 2021 14:53:06 +0000

Desc: Preview The court ruling to nullify the WikiLeaks co-founder’s status as a naturalized Ecuadorian citizen was the result of an orchestrated political trial and must be overturned, Carlos Poveda, Assange’s lawyer, told RT.
Read Full Article at RT.com

Guid: https://www.rt.com/news/530476-assange-ecuador-citizenship-lawyer/

Content:

The court ruling to nullify the WikiLeaks co-founder’s status as a naturalized Ecuadorian citizen was the result of an orchestrated political trial and must be overturned, Carlos Poveda, Assange’s lawyer, told RT.

An administrative court in Ecuador decided on Monday that Assange should be stripped of his citizenship due to unpaid fees and what they claim are numerous inconsistencies in his application for naturalization. But Poveda insisted that the ruling “can’t be considered final yet” as he going to appeal it.

Assange’s attorney believes that an appeals court has more than enough grounds to overturn the “shameful” decision because his client “was deprived of his right to defend himself,” and “the evidence wasn’t examined properly.”

Read more
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is seen in a police van after he was arrested by British police outside the Ecuadorian embassy, in London, Britain April 11, 2019.
Assange’s attorney accuses govt of foul play after Ecuador strips WikiLeaks co-founder of citizenship due to ‘unpaid fees’

Assange, who is now being held in Belmarsh maximum security prison in the UK, obviously couldn’t travel to Ecuador, but the administrative court denied the request for him to take part in the trial via video link and present the proof he had, his attorney said.

Australian-born Assange received Ecuadorian citizenship in January 2018 after being granted asylum in the country’s embassy in London in 2012, fleeing sexual assault allegations that never became actual charges.

The WikiLeaks founder has always denied the claims, and his supporters insist that he was persecuted for his journalistic activities, which included the publication of numerous classified US documents on Iraq, Afghanistan, and Guantanamo.

The publisher “had a legal right for naturalization [in Ecuador] because he was under international protection at that moment,” Poveda said. In April 2019, British police officers entered the Ecuadorian Embassy and arrested Assange over accusations of breaching bail. He has been in Belmarsh Prison since then and recently celebrated his 50th birthday behind bars.

The ongoing trial, which Poveda says is political, indicates that an “independent justice system is lacking in Ecuador” and “gives a bad name” to the country.

The WikiLeaks co-founder is wanted on espionage charges in the US and could face up to 175 years in prison if extradited.

In early 2021, a UK judge denied his transfer across the Atlantic, citing Assange’s poor mental health. But the UK High Court recently granted Washington permission to appeal the decision, despite increasing public calls to release him.

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FILE PHOTO: WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange makes a speech from the balcony of the Ecuadorian Embassy, in central London, Britain February 5, 2016. ©  REUTERS/Peter Nicholls
US would show no mercy to Assange if he’s extradited, but Bush & Blair will never face justice for their crimes

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---------- 61 ----------

Title: New York Times reporter deletes tweets calling Trump supporters ‘enemies of the state’

Link: https://www.rt.com/usa/530485-nytimes-reporter-deletes-tweets-enemies/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS

Date: Wed, 28 Jul 2021 14:45:42 +0000

Desc: Preview New York Times reporter Katie Benner has deleted a series of tweets calling Trump supporters “enemies of the state.” Benner called the tweets “wrongly worded,” but her sentiment is largely shared by the state itself.
Read Full Article at RT.com

Guid: https://www.rt.com/usa/530485-nytimes-reporter-deletes-tweets-enemies/

Content:

New York Times reporter Katie Benner has deleted a series of tweets calling Trump supporters “enemies of the state.” Benner called the tweets “wrongly worded,” but her sentiment is largely shared by the state itself.

As a Democrat-run committee investigating the pro-Trump riot on Capitol Hill in January got underway on Tuesday, viewers were treated to garish tales of violence and tears from lawmakers who lamented the “dark day” they experienced in January. Portrayed by Republican leadership as a “sham” that “no-one will believe,” the hearing evidently worked as intended on New York Times journalist Katie Benner.

Also on rt.com
Adam Kinzinger gets emotional as he speaks during a hearing by the House Select Committee investigating the Jan. 6 riot on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, July 27, 2021 © Reuters / Oliver Contreras
‘A pathetic fraud’: Anti-Trump Republican Adam Kinzinger mocked for crying during January 6 riot hearing

Midway through the proceedings, Benner angrily called for the US’ national security apparatus to target supporters of former President Donald Trump.

"Today's #January6thSelectCommittee underscores America's current, essential natsec dilemma: Work to combat legitimate national security threats now entails calling a politician’s supporters enemies of the state," she tweeted.

“As Americans, we believe that state power should not be used to work against a political figure or a political party. But what happens if a politician seems to threaten the state? If the politician continues to do so out of office and his entire party supports that threat?" she continued.

Benner apparently viewed Trump and his supporters as a “threat” long before January 6, as she pointed out that two impeachments and the ‘Russiagate’ investigation had left this “dilemma...unresolved.”

deleted, but the List comes for all, @ktbenner.

✍🏼✍🏼✍🏼 pic.twitter.com/HDa2UjS7St

— Siraj Hashmi (@SirajAHashmi) July 28, 2021

Benner’s tweets triggered an avalanche of criticism from the right, and she later deleted them, claiming that they had been “unclearly worded.”

Personally, if I were the governor of a traditionally conservative state in the US and the feds started talking seriously about murdering people just because they voted for Trump, I'd expedite a vote on secession.
Doesn't seem like a hard choice.

— Chris Tomlinson (@TomlinsonCJ) July 27, 2021

Hearing anyone describe a traumatic and violent experience provoke emotions: even for police officers. That's what today is for.

But the fixation on 1/6 is about exactly this: classifying Trump supporters as Enemies of the State for political gain & Security State power.

— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) July 27, 2021

Today's #January6thSelectCommittee underscores America's current, essential danger: America's elites have deemed their tens of millions of critics actual or would-be domestic terrorists, and threatened to use the full power of the USG & private sector jointly to neutralize them https://t.co/5gHXj3NqZ2

— Benjamin Weingarten (@bhweingarten) July 27, 2021

One of the corrupt FBI’s favorite leak receptacles at NYT is acknowledging what we all see: merely opposing the ruling regime makes you an “enemy of the state.” The lawless U.S. intelligence apparatus is admitting it is weaponizing all of its post-9/11 tools against you. https://t.co/bUR3BSiZ2c

— Sean Davis (@seanmdav) July 27, 2021

Benner’s sentiment is shared by the Biden administration and its security apparatus, though they speak of “extremists” rather than “Trump supporters.” The Democratic Party and its spokespeople have painted January 6 as an “insurrection,” a “coup,” and “domestic terrorism” for the last six months, and these words have been translated into policy. The White House’s new domestic terrorism strategy, for example, focuses heavily on the supposed threat posed by the right, and lists the “attack” on the US Capitol alongside mass shootings in Pittsburgh and El Paso. The strategy promises increased funding for the Department of Homeland Security, and states that the federal government will work closer with the tech industry to combat “extremist content” and “disinformation and misinformation.”

Meanwhile, right-wingers deemed extremists are being purged from military and law enforcement ranks, participants in the January 6 riot are being detained in allegedly brutal conditions with court dates at least six months off, and the FBI is encouraging Americans to turn in family members for “homegrown violent extremism.” Concurrently, the Capitol Police – a force immune from Freedom of Information Act requests – is expanding its operations beyond Washington and purchasing military-grade surveillance equipment for use on Americans.

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Cuban exiles in Miami, Florida wave American flags, July 11, 2021.
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Benner is not the only journalist to openly call on the state to target Trump’s supporters. ABC News has called for “cleansing the movement” Trump created, a lawyer for PBS suggested that the former president’s “stupid” supporters be sent to “re-education camps,” and former FBI assistant director turned MSNBC analyst Frank Figliuzzi has called for the arrest of pro-Trump Republicans in Congress “in order to really tackle terrorism.”

It is unclear whether Benner deleted her tweets at the direction of the Times or of her own accord. However, back in 2018 the newspaper denounced Trump for referring to journalists as “enemies of the people,” saying that such terminology could “lead to violence” against the media. At time of writing, the Times has not condemned Benner’s tweets, or warned that they could lead to violence against Trump supporters.

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---------- 62 ----------

Title: French data regulator hits Monsanto with $472,000 fine for illegally compiling watch list to secure support during weed killer row

Link: https://www.rt.com/news/530486-french-data-regulator-monsanto-fine/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS

Date: Wed, 28 Jul 2021 14:32:49 +0000

Desc: Preview France’s data protection regulator has fined agricultural firm Monsanto €400,000 ($472,320) for illegally creating lists to help the company lobby support during a debate about the authorization of a key weed killer ingredient.
Read Full Article at RT.com

Guid: https://www.rt.com/news/530486-french-data-regulator-monsanto-fine/

Content:

France’s data protection regulator has fined agricultural firm Monsanto €400,000 ($472,320) for illegally creating lists to help the company lobby support during a debate about the authorization of a key weed killer ingredient.

The case was launched by the National Commission on Informatics and Liberty (CNIL) after seven plaintiffs complained about Monsanto, now owned by German giant Bayer, compiling files on individuals who were involved in the public debate about the use of controversial weed killer glyphosate.

While the lists themselves were not deemed illegal, Monsanto fell foul of the data regulator by keeping the files secret and failing to inform individuals that their information was gathered, giving them the right to refuse to be included.

The French list of more than 200 people gave each individual a rating of one to five, marking influence, credibility and their level of support for the agricultural firm, specifically its pesticide and crop modification practices.

Siding with the plaintiffs, the CNIL fined Monsanto €400,000 over its data collection system and failure to provide individuals with the right to request their data be removed or not collected.

After Monsanto was acquired by Bayer in 2019, the German firm launched an internal investigation that found around 1,500 people had been targeted globally, “primarily within the EU,” but argued that there was no evidence anyone was illegally surveilled. 

The watch lists were created during a heated debate in the EU over the use of weedkiller Roundup amid lawsuits that claimed it has the potential to cause cancer. Monsanto has repeatedly claimed that Roundup and its main ingredient glyphosate is safe, denying there is any wrongdoing or cause for concern. 

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Photo illustration of the NHS COVID-19 contact tracing app
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The EU ultimately renewed the right to use glyphosate for a further five years in 2018 despite the US ordering Monsanto to pay $289 million in damages as part of a settlement over claims it causes cancer. The EU’s decision to stand by the use of the weedkiller means that it will be 2022, at the earliest, before the ingredient could be banned permanently from the continent.

While the lists were initially created to help lobby support during the debate across the EU, Monsanto continued collecting information and growing files on key figures until 2019, according to the CNIL, when media reports exposed the firm’s practices. However, despite the CNIL’s condemnation of the data collection, the regulator accepted that the information was not used to engage in any illegal lobbying, according to a statement from a Bayer spokesperson.

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---------- 63 ----------

Title: No wonder Daniil Medvedev snapped at ‘cheaters’ question – some people can’t handle clean Russian athletes competing in Tokyo

Link: https://www.rt.com/sport/530456-russia-tokyo-olympics-ban-hypocrisy/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS

Date: Wed, 28 Jul 2021 14:23:02 +0000

Desc: Preview Even though their country has been punished, some Russian competitors in Tokyo are being tarred with the brush of a doping scandal that has nothing to do with them. It seems some people can’t handle their mere presence in Tokyo.
Read Full Article at RT.com

Guid: https://www.rt.com/sport/530456-russia-tokyo-olympics-ban-hypocrisy/

Content:

Even though their country has been punished, some Russian competitors in Tokyo are being tarred with the brush of a doping scandal that has nothing to do with them. It seems some people can’t handle their mere presence in Tokyo.

Russian world number two Daniil Medvedev reacted angrily on Wednesday when asked by a reporter in the Japanese capital: "Are Russian athletes carrying a stigma of cheaters in these games and how do you feel about it?"

“You should be embarrassed of yourself," Medvedev fired back.

"I think you should [remove] him from the Olympics, I don’t wanna see him again."

Medvedev, it seems, is fed up of suggestions that he is guilty by association. Tarnished merely because of where he was born, and the country which – under normal circumstances – he would be representing at events like the Tokyo 2020 Games.

Also on rt.com
Tokyo, Japan - July 28, 2021. Daniil Medvedev of the Russian Olympic Committee in action during his third round match against Fabio Fognini of Italy
Tennis star Medvedev slams journalist for suggesting Russian athletes are ‘carrying stigma of cheaters’ at Tokyo Olympics

Russia, if you remember, has faced long-running doping allegations since the Sochi Winter Olympics in 2014.

In December 2019, the country was hit with a four-year ban from major events by WADA for allegedly manipulating laboratory doping data, which was later reduced to two years on appeal. 

Those punishments have dismayed the likes of US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) chief executive Travis Tygart, who claimed that Russia had actually got off with just a slap on the wrists.

Also on rt.com
© Reuters / Ruben Sprich
Using sport as a political tool? USADA chief declares only ‘full ban’ on Russian athletes will do

Tygart was among those who wanted nothing less than a blanket ban on Russian competitors – meaning even 'clean' ones with no doping history would be barred from events such as the Olympics, supposedly to teach the nefarious Russian leadership a lesson.

"A blanket ban can make the Russian leadership realize the seriousness of the mess they have created – for themselves and for their athletes," said WADA vice president Linda Hofstad Helleland back in 2019, joining in those calls.

Some people don't want to see any Russian athletes at the Olympics, even under neutral status. © Reuters

Fast forward, and Russian athletes have been allowed to descend on the Japanese capital this summer as the ROC team (the Russian Olympic Committee), but without being able to display their homeland's flag or listen to its national anthem.

But the blanket ban mentality is still prevalent among many, particularly in the West. At the turn of the week, a hatchet job from Yahoo scribe Dan Wetzel showed the worst of this to match the questioning of Medvedev. 

In a cringey, cliché-ridden attack mentioning spies, the KGB and state-controlled propaganda, Wetzel seemed to resent the very presence of Russian athletes before conceding a salient point right at the end of his hit piece. 

"Yet punishing innocent athletes seems unfair — gymnast Elena Gerasimova, for example, was 9 years old during the Sochi Olympics. It wasn’t her fault," he writes.

So why are the clean athletes competing in Tokyo, and performing impressively at that, any different?

Why should they be punished after dedicating their whole lives to a discipline and denied their chance to enter both Olympic and national history forevermore?

The ROC team - including the women's gymnastics team - have enjoyed success in Tokyo. © Reuters

There is a strong whiff of double standards, in that when the likes of President Joe Biden is critical of the leadership in the Kremlin, he will still make a point of stating that the US has no problem with the Russian people themselves.

As far as their athletes are concerned, however, some people want to see leaders and each and every competitor punished for something that happened seven years ago, when swathes of medal hopefuls hadn't even turned professional or were just starting out.

It's time to move on. Punishments have been meted out, and the sanctions against Russia are in place – whether you support them or not.  

The innocent want to head forward in the fair manner they always have. So let's allow them to, and enjoy their displays.

By Tom Sanderson 

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.



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Title: ‘HANG HIM,’ GB News presenter demands as Manchester Arena bomb plotter reportedly refuses deradicalisation programmes

Link: https://www.rt.com/uk/530478-britain-abedi-harwood-gbnews-hanging/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS

Date: Wed, 28 Jul 2021 14:04:11 +0000

Desc: Preview A GB News presenter’s controversial call to hang the imprisoned Manchester Arena bomb plotter has sparked debate on social media, with many telling the TV host to reconsider his “medieval opinion.”
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Guid: https://www.rt.com/uk/530478-britain-abedi-harwood-gbnews-hanging/

Content:

A GB News presenter’s controversial call to hang the imprisoned Manchester Arena bomb plotter has sparked debate on social media, with many telling the TV host to reconsider his “medieval opinion.”

On Wednesday, ITV News reported that Manchester Arena bomb plotter Hashem Abedi was refusing to cooperate with deradicalisation programmes at HMP Frankland, where he has been imprisoned for his part in the atrocity which killed 23 and injured over a thousand at an Ariana Grande concert.

The news about Abedi clearly touched a nerve with some, including GB News political correspondent and presenter Tom Hardwood, who was hammering away at his keyboard just moments after the story hit Twitter. 

'refusing to co-operate with any deradicalisation programmes'?

Hang him. https://t.co/E3pqzcJQPN

— Tom Harwood (@tomhfh) July 28, 2021

Citing part of the report which stated the bomb plotter was not cooperating with deradicalisation programmes, the GB News presenter wrote “hang him,” in a tweet which has garnered much attention.

Many people were quick to condemn the young presenter for his “bizarre and medieval opinion” with others claiming that “we’re better than that” in the UK. 

“I think we've moved on from the death penalty,” another person wrote while writer and journalist Benjamin Cook asked Harwood, “Is that your answer to everything?”

Cook’s question prompted a response from Harwood, who said he was normally against the death penalty but noted: “In the case of people who we *know* committed mass murder - & are unrepentant about it - it's hard to argue against.” 

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The debate between Cook and Harwood continued, with the latter noting that British security forces regularly shoot terrorists when they’re posing a threat in the real world and suggesting such a fate for Abedi wouldn’t be morally different.

Others backed up the GB News anchor completely, suggesting that they would not normally support capital punishment, but in this case, it was okay.

Some even supposed Harwood wasn’t going far enough. 

Even Tory peer Baroness Jacqueline Foster shared her two cents; stopping short of condoning Harwood’s call for hanging, Foster said “He should never be released!” adding that “We have become far too soft on ‘terrorism’ threats / actions in this country .. time to wake up !!” 

The death penalty was suspended in the UK in 1965 and abolished in 1969.

In August 2020, Abedi was given 24 life sentences with a minimum of 55 years before he can be considered for parole. His brother Salman died committing the terrorist attack on May 22, 2017. Hashem was arrested in Libya the day after the bombing that devastated Manchester. 

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Title: Russian Nord Stream 2 pipeline may start pumping gas to Europe this year, says Austrian energy major OMV

Link: https://www.rt.com/business/530430-nord-stream-2-pipeline-launch/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS

Date: Wed, 28 Jul 2021 13:52:19 +0000

Desc: Preview Construction on the Nord Stream 2 pipeline from Russia to Germany is expected to be completed in August, with the first gas deliveries possible later this year, according to one of the major investors in the project, OMV.
Read Full Article at RT.com

Guid: https://www.rt.com/business/530430-nord-stream-2-pipeline-launch/

Content:

Construction on the Nord Stream 2 pipeline from Russia to Germany is expected to be completed in August, with the first gas deliveries possible later this year, according to one of the major investors in the project, OMV.

I would like to keep my fingers crossed for the Nord Stream 2 construction work [to] be completed at the end of August. So, we believe that the gas may be flowing this year. There is a good chance of this happening,” the Austrian company’s CEO Rainer Seele said at a press briefing on Thursday.

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FILE PHOTO. The White House. © AFP / JEWEL SAMAD; (inset) © Reuters / Maxim Shemetov
.
By acknowledging America can’t stop the pipeline, Biden's Nord Stream 2 deal seals the end of the Washington-centric world order

Seele welcomed the recent deal on the Nord Stream 2 pipeline reached between Germany and the United States, which has been opposed to the project.

Of course, I welcome the agreement between the US and Germany because it paves the way to the final completion and commissioning of the pipeline,” Seele stated. He emphasized that OMV sees the project as a means to provide Europe with safe access to natural gas, which in his view plays a major role in the continent’s energy transition.

The Nord Stream 2 project consists of two pipelines designed to carry some 55 billion cubic meters of gas per year from the Siberian gas fields in Russia across the Baltic Sea directly to Germany. The project has seen numerous roadblocks, with the US government threatening the companies and states involved in the construction with sanctions. Work on Nord Stream 2 even had to be suspended in December 2019 after one of its contractors, Swiss Allseas, abandoned pipe-laying operations amid pressure from Washington. In December 2020, however, construction resumed.

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FILE PHOTO. Lviv region, Ukraine. © Sputnik
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A new deal regarding the pipeline was reached between Washington and Berlin last week, with the US offering to drop the sanctions and cease its interference in the final stages of Nord Stream 2’s set up. In exchange, it asked Germany to invest in Ukraine and help Kiev maintain its supposed ‘right’ to transit fees for Russian gas.

European states currently get most Russian gas via a Soviet-era pipeline going through Ukraine’s territory. Kiev fears that once Nord Stream 2 is ready, Russia could turn off the tap on its supplies, depriving Ukraine of billions of dollars in income from transit fees. 

Russia has repeatedly said these speculations are unfounded, but experts still predict a decrease in revenue for Kiev in the longer term, as Moscow pays hefty sums for the right to deliver its gas through Ukraine.

For more stories on economy & finance visit RT's business section



---------- 66 ----------

Title: US is pulling out of Afghanistan, but still trying to ‘watch what’s going on over the fence,’ Russian defense minister tells RT

Link: https://www.rt.com/russia/530473-shoigu-american-troops-withdrawal-afghanistan/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS

Date: Wed, 28 Jul 2021 13:44:37 +0000

Desc: Preview Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu has told RT that, despite US President Joe Biden’s plans for a full troop withdrawal within the next few months, Afghanistan still faces American efforts to interfere in its internal affairs.
Read Full Article at RT.com

Guid: https://www.rt.com/russia/530473-shoigu-american-troops-withdrawal-afghanistan/

Content:

Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu has told RT that, despite US President Joe Biden’s plans for a full troop withdrawal within the next few months, Afghanistan still faces American efforts to interfere in its internal affairs.

Speaking to journalists on Wednesday, the military chief said US intentions to monitor the advance of insurgents from afar indicated that Washington still has plans for the Central Asian nation long after all its troops leave the country later this summer.

“Why are you coming out if you’re still trying to watch what’s going on from over the fence?” he asked.

Shoigu went on to say that American officials are engaged in “pesky” negotiations with nations across the region to set up and maintain logistics centers and hubs for military equipment to be moved through. These could also serve to help extract Afghans who cooperated with US forces, and now fear retribution as Islamist forces gain ground. The Taliban, a prohibited terrorist organization in Russia, now claim to have occupied the majority of the country, and forces loyal to the government in Kabul have sought refuge from fighting in nearby Tajikistan.

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The defense minister asked whether it was possible to “find a place where good things came of the US moving in and staying for a long time.” According to him, the chaos and bloodshed seen in Afghanistan have been seen elsewhere. “It is the same in Syria. It is the same in Libya. When non-regional players intervene, this is what happens.”

Earlier this year, Biden committed to withdrawing all American troops from Afghanistan by the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks in September this year. There have been warnings, however, that the US-backed government could fail to keep control of even its historic strongholds, and the US and its allies are reportedly considering providing air support to keep back the Taliban.

Russia has committed to safeguarding the borders of neighboring former Soviet republics, such as Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, increasing its military presence in the region. At the same time, though, Moscow has held talks with Taliban representatives as part of the ongoing peace process.

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Title: Turkish coastguard detains over 200 Afghan migrants heading for Europe amid rising violence in Afghanistan

Link: https://www.rt.com/news/530481-turkey-migrants-afghan-conflict-italy/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS

Date: Wed, 28 Jul 2021 13:39:32 +0000

Desc: Preview Turkey’s coastguard service has said it detained a boat in the Aegean Sea heading for Europe which was carrying more than 200 Afghan migrants. The vessel was believed to be en route to Italy.
Read Full Article at RT.com

Guid: https://www.rt.com/news/530481-turkey-migrants-afghan-conflict-italy/

Content:

Turkey’s coastguard service has said it detained a boat in the Aegean Sea heading for Europe which was carrying more than 200 Afghan migrants. The vessel was believed to be en route to Italy.

A boat carrying 231 migrants, most of whom are from Afghanistan, was detained by the coastguard, Reuters and Turkish media reported on Wednesday. 

Two Turkish nationals, who were allegedly in charge of the vessel, were also detained. The migrants have been taken to a deportation center in the west of Turkey, according to state-affiliated news channel TRT World.

Footage from the broadcaster reportedly filmed in the small coastal town of Babakale showed the migrants being transported to port and sitting on the ground by the harbor. 

Turkey seizes a boat carrying more than 200 Afghan migrants in the Aegean Sea heading for Europe pic.twitter.com/6V4A32cmFM

— TRT World Now (@TRTWorldNow) July 28, 2021

An official from Turkey’s coastguard told Reuters that the group were believed to be heading to Italy. More than 200 of the 231 were from Afghanistan, the coastguard said, adding that others hailed from Syria, Iran, Eritrea and Pakistan. Turkish channel Halk TV claimed the migrants paid as much as $7,000 to traffickers for passage to Italy. 

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The number of people making a bid to reach Europe has reportedly risen significantly in recent weeks, amid increasing violence and conflict in Afghanistan. Turkish authorities detained around 1,500 migrants last week.

Last Friday, 37 people were rescued from a migrant boat which sank off the south coast of Turkey. Eight people were unaccounted for.

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---------- 68 ----------

Title: ‘Get the camel drivers!’ German cycling official in racism row after using slur to urge rider to chase down rivals

Link: https://www.rt.com/sport/530477-camel-drivers-german-cycling-official-olympics/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS

Date: Wed, 28 Jul 2021 13:29:08 +0000

Desc: Preview The sporting director of the German Cycling Union has apologized after being heard yelling “get the camel drivers!” at one of his team in an effort to encourage him to catch rivals from Algeria and Eritrea.
Read Full Article at RT.com

Guid: https://www.rt.com/sport/530477-camel-drivers-german-cycling-official-olympics/

Content:

The sporting director of the German Cycling Union has apologized after being heard yelling “get the camel drivers!” at one of his team in an effort to encourage him to catch rivals from Algeria and Eritrea.

Patrick Moster was heard shouting the remarks at rider Nikias Arndt during the men’s individual time trial event in Tokyo on Wednesday.

The broadcast clearly picked up Moster repeating the words ‘Hol die Kameltreiber!’ (catch the camel drivers!) as he chased after Arndt, who had Azzedine Lagab of Algeria and Amanuel Ghebreigzabhier of Eritrea in front of him.

Beim Einzelzeitfahren war eine rassistische „Anfeuerung“ vom deutschen Leistungssportdirektor Patrick #Moster zu hören. Er rief Nikias Arndt „Hol die Kameltreiber!“ zu, vor ihm fuhren ein Eritreer und ein Algerier. Gut von Florian Naß, das sofort zu kritisieren. #OlympischeSpiele pic.twitter.com/Lw3u0ruIpq

— Maximilian Rieger (@mjrieger) July 28, 2021

The embarrassed German broadcasters apologized, and Moster later issued a statement of his own.

“In the heat of the moment and with the overall burden we have here at the moment, I have missed my choice of words. I am so sorry, I can only sincerely apologize. I didn't want to disrespect anyone,” said the 54-year-old former cyclist.

Arndt, who ended up finishing 19th, poured scorn on the cycling official from his team.  

"I am appalled by the incidents at today's Olympic time trial and would like to distance myself clearly from the statements of the sporting director. Such words are not acceptable," Arndt tweeted.

“The Olympics and cycling stand for tolerance, respect and fairness. I represent these values 100% and take my hat off to all the great athletes who have come from all over the world here in Tokyo!”

Olympia und der Radsport stehen für Toleranz, Respekt und Fairness. Diese Werte vertrete ich zu 100% und ziehe meinen Hut vor all den großartigen Sportlern, die hier in Tokio aus aller Welt zusammen gekommen sind! #united

— Nikias Arndt (@NikiasArndt) July 28, 2021

But that might not be the end of the matter, with President of the Germany Olympic Committee, Alfons Hormann, expressing his dissatisfaction.

“It is important that Patrick Moster apologized immediately after the competition. We will seek a personal conversation with him today and deal with the situation,” said Horman.

Wednesday’s event was won by Slovenia’s Primoz Roglic, who finished over a minute ahead of Dutchman Tom Mumoulin and Rohan Dennis of Australia.



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Title: Why you should care about Kazakhstan: The drought nobody is talking about could be a harbinger of doom for the region & the West

Link: https://www.rt.com/russia/530452-kazakhstan-drought-water-crisis/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS

Date: Wed, 28 Jul 2021 12:49:38 +0000

Desc: Preview In a world plagued by a pandemic, some stories get left behind. One that has escaped headlines, probably understandably, is the Kazakh government’s new six-month ban on exporting food for livestock, insisting produce stay at home.
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Guid: https://www.rt.com/russia/530452-kazakhstan-drought-water-crisis/

Content:

In a world plagued by a pandemic, some stories get left behind. One that has escaped headlines, probably understandably, is the Kazakh government’s new six-month ban on exporting food for livestock, insisting produce stay at home.

The reason for this intervention, which has come after the resignation of an agriculture minister and against the wishes of some farmers and exporters, is a severe drought in much of the west of the country. Following on from a dry winter, it has lasted for months and already inflicted great damage to pastures, the livestock depending on them, and the communities who, in turn, need the livestock.

The direct attribution of any single event to climate change may be challenging. But that is, frankly, an academic concern, because there is no doubt that Kazakhstan has already been affected and will be affected more by global warming. This much is reflected in numerous studies and recognized by multiple international organizations, from the UNDP to the WHO.

Of course, Kazakhstan is not alone. In neighboring Kyrgyzstan, for instance, in some areas farmers face the loss of their crops due to harsh conditions. There, agriculture workers have started demanding that the government keep at home not fodder but something even more essential: water. Until now, such calls have been resisted by the government. If Kyrgyzstan were to cut off water exports to other countries, Kazakhstan would be severely affected. In general, all of Central Asia is currently under intense pressure not only from the effects of the Covid pandemic, but also from unusual heat and water scarcity.

Read more
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But Central Asia is not only suffering together (if, of course, with much regional variation); in water matters it can also only survive if it acts as one. While this is a region of five sovereign states with their own politics and cultures, as well as significant differences in their post-Soviet development, it has, in essence, only one water system.

Kyrgyzstan antagonizing Kazakhstan over water supplies, for instance, would be especially challenging since it would be a case of one of Central Asia’s upstream states (the other is Tajikistan) turning off the tap for one of its downstream states (the other two are Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan).

To see why that would be a very bad precedent to set, think of Central Asia as a cluster of mountains with plenty of plains (relatively speaking, at least) attached. The key links between the mountains and the plains are the Amu and Syr Darya rivers. In essence, the two upstream countries have the mountains, the three others the plains. An estimated 80 percent of the region’s water supplies comes from those mountains. Conversely, the downstream countries ultimately depend for about 90 percent of their water needs on mountains that are beyond their borders.

As one study has put it, Central Asia’s mountain ranges are, in effect, its water towers. Yet despite the clear need for cooperation across borders, in general, experts agree, Central Asia has not yet found its way to a new, post-Soviet, integrated and long-term system of managing its water needs and resources, despite ongoing efforts.

But those attempts are vital. For if and when water becomes scarce, problems of unequal access are bound to get worse. When that happens, violence is close. In fact, in Central Asia, water has already led to some lethal conflicts, if comparatively small-scale ones. In the Fergana Valley, for instance, where the issue is compounded by ethnic diversity and complicated post-Soviet borders, hundreds have already died over the period of post-Soviet independence. Recently, a fierce clash between Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan has been attributed to a conflict over a water facility.

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Central Asia is, of course, of great importance whichever way you look at it. A region of a size greater than India, now home to around 75 million inhabitants, historically it used to be an essential part of the old Silk Road systems. Its post-Soviet period has seen diverging developments, with some economies showing overall growth, and others not so much. As a whole, the region has been increasingly integrated into the global economy, often via the export of commodities and energy.

And less than a decade ago, in 2013, China chose to announce the Belt (that is, overland) part of its Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) in Kazakhstan, signaling Central Asia’s key role for that new scheme of transcontinental trade and, in effect, integration. Several of the projected six main ‘corridors’ of BRIs depend on the Central Asian connection.

Yet even disregarding such aspects, we can also see Central Asia as a particularly concise example of problems that the world is facing as a whole – a sort of microcosm, if you will.

What gives the post-Soviet region’s water problems that sort of relevance are, in essence, two things: one is a legacy from the past, the other points to a future which has already begun. The past in question is from the USSR, and the future is global.

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Concerning water, what the Soviet Union left behind in Central Asia was a legacy of lopsided and environmentally extremely wasteful economic development. The single most poignant example is probably the human-made post-World War Two desiccation of the Aral Sea, the fourth-largest lake in the world, by an unsustainable escalation of irrigation.

The Soviets also had their own system of managing, for better or worse, the region’s water between what were then five Soviet republics. The infrastructure they built for that purpose is still in place – for instance, the canal system that now risks running dry in Kyrgyzstan.

Yet it is wrong to imagine that the Soviet way of mistreating the only planet we have was unique. It may have been especially blunt and rigid, and we may be tempted to blame communism. But our descendants, looking back from, say, the year 2500, will be as bemused by our ideological obsessions as most of us are now when we think about Europe’s wars of religion a similar length of time ago in the past.

What future generations are more likely to focus on is what we all have in common now, namely the second key factor shaping the future of Central Asia: man-made global warming, giving us an overheated modern world built on industry, run on fossil fuels and the delusion that growth can be endless. That is what they will – rightly – blame for forests burning in Canada, Sardinia, and Siberia, towns drowning in Germany and China, and droughts hitting Central Asia and the American Midwest.

Kazakhstan may seem remote to many, but it may also be a harbinger of things to come – or rather, things that are already nearly upon us.

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The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.



---------- 70 ----------

Title: ‘Discrimination’: Deaf woman wins legal case against govt for not providing sign language interpreters at Covid briefings

Link: https://www.rt.com/uk/530462-discrimination-deaf-woman-wins-legal-case/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS

Date: Wed, 28 Jul 2021 12:29:38 +0000

Desc: Preview A deaf woman has won a High Court case against the Cabinet Office for failing to provide sign-language interpreters during the English government’s Covid briefings last year, with the judge ruling it as “discrimination.”
Read Full Article at RT.com

Guid: https://www.rt.com/uk/530462-discrimination-deaf-woman-wins-legal-case/

Content:

A deaf woman has won a High Court case against the Cabinet Office for failing to provide sign-language interpreters during the English government’s Covid briefings last year, with the judge ruling it as “discrimination.”

A judge in London ruled in favour of Katie Rowley on Wednesday, stating that a lack of British sign-language interpretation at two coronavirus “data briefings” on September 21 and October 12, 2020 was “discrimination” and breached the “reasonable adjustments duty.”

The verdict proves to be a positive outcome after ministers and the Cabinet Office’s barrister said that the case should be dismissed, claiming that Ms. Rowley’s claims for “damages for injury to feelings” would not hold weight.

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Rowley launched the case after experiencing great levels of stress at not being able to understand information during the coronavirus situation briefings for England, as neither an interpreter was physically present or imposed on the screen. Meanwhile, Covid briefings for Wales, Northern Ireland, and Scotland all had British Sign Language interpreters.

While the exact compensation amount is not known, the damages are to be settled in a local court.

The solicitor representing Ms. Rowley is also assisting 350 other deaf people who made similar statements about the lack of sign language.

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The UK government has come under fire before for not providing sign-language interpreters at their Covid briefings. After one of the first coronavirus briefings in March 2020, a deaf woman started the hashtag #WhereIsTheInterpreter?.

Under the Equality Act 2010, reasonable adjustments are expected to be made to mitigate any difficulties that may arise due to a disability. If this is not adhered to, this counts as “unlawful discrimination.”

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---------- 71 ----------

Title: Obama launches partnership with NBA Africa, social media drags up track record (VIDEO)

Link: https://www.rt.com/sport/530447-obama-nba-africa-basketball/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS

Date: Wed, 28 Jul 2021 12:29:35 +0000

Desc: Preview Ex-US President Barack Obama has teamed up with NBA Africa to act as a strategic planner while also becoming a minority owner, but has been accused of hypocrisy and questioned over his two-term track record in the White House.
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Guid: https://www.rt.com/sport/530447-obama-nba-africa-basketball/

Content:

Ex-US President Barack Obama has teamed up with NBA Africa to act as a strategic planner while also becoming a minority owner, but has been accused of hypocrisy and questioned over his two-term track record in the White House.

Obama will help to advance the league's social responsibility efforts around the continent, which includes running programs dedicated to gender equality as well as economic inclusion.

"The NBA has always been a great ambassador for the United States – using the game to create deeper connections around the world, and in Africa, basketball has the power to promote opportunity, wellness, equality, and empowerment across the continent," said Obama.

"By investing in communities, promoting gender equality, and cultivating the love of the game of basketball, I believe that NBA Africa can make a difference for so many of Africa’s young people."

Today @BarackObama joins NBA Africa as a strategic partner. https://t.co/qD5nxSZsbP pic.twitter.com/zkfFXlxwej

— NBA Africa (@NBA_Africa) July 27, 2021

Obama also said that he always believed basketball was "more than just a game", and that one thing he has always loved about it "is the fact that it brings people together and empowers young people everywhere".

In a lengthy three-minute video that showed old photos of him as a hoops-loving youngster, the 59-year-old descent explained that he received his first basketball as a gift from his father aged 10.

Like many other youngsters, he revealed, Obama harbored dreams of reaching the NBA. And although he never had the talent to play at the highest level, basketball still "shaped" his life.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Barack Obama (@barackobama)

By holding a minority equity stake in the endeavor, he intends to use it to fund his Obama Foundation youth and leadership programs around Africa.

Even before his involvement, NBA Africa had already launched a series of social responsibility initiatives to raise awareness of gender-based violence, championing girls' education on the continent and improving the lives of African youngsters and their families.

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said that the league was "honored" to have Obama join the cause in their efforts "to grow the game of basketball" in this part of the world.

Not everyone shared such enthusiasm, however.

Detractors were quick to remind Obama of accusations that he "destroyed black wealth" and the US economy during his two terms from 2008 to 2016.

Use the guy who destroyed an African Nation for 10 years that resulted in slave markets to be a strategic partner is not a good a idea.

— Samus Aran’s Sidekick (@DHeathen999) July 28, 2021

Isn't he the person who stopped an NBA strike?

— James Stover (@James_R_Stover) July 28, 2021

"[To] use the guy who destroyed an African Nation for 10 years [which] resulted in slave markets to be a strategic partner is not a good idea," it was also pointed out, as another party asked, "Isn't he the person who stopped an NBA strike?" of a furor in 2020.

Threatening to abandon that year's playoffs due to the police shooting of Jacob Blake, black players such as LeBron James and Chris Paul reportedly only returned to the courts after a phone call from Obama.



---------- 72 ----------

Title: End of Covid-19 lockdown postponed for 2nd time, as Norway cautious of Delta spread

Link: https://www.rt.com/news/530461-norway-covid19-relaxations-lockdown-postponed/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS

Date: Wed, 28 Jul 2021 12:05:17 +0000

Desc: Preview The Norwegian health minister has announced that the long-awaited end of lockdown will be postponed until at least mid-August amid fears about the growth of the more contagious Delta variant.
Read Full Article at RT.com

Guid: https://www.rt.com/news/530461-norway-covid19-relaxations-lockdown-postponed/

Content:

The Norwegian health minister has announced that the long-awaited end of lockdown will be postponed until at least mid-August amid fears about the growth of the more contagious Delta variant.

Speaking on Wednesday, Health Minister Bent Hoeie told a news conference that the end of lockdown would be postponed for a second time. “A new assessment will be made in mid-August,” Hoeie stated. 

Striking a rather pessimistic tone, the minister told reporters that “the pandemic is not over” and “we will never get rid of this virus,” according to local news agencies. 

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Citing examples from the UK and the Netherlands, both of which have higher rates of vaccination, he noted that the Delta variant is clearly an issue which Norway will have to deal with eventually.

Hoeie said the government was therefore following the advice of the Norwegian Institute of Public Health and would not implement “step four” of the state’s reopening plan.

As a result, the last of the country’s lockdown measures will remain in place, including limits on private gatherings in homes to 20 people. Restaurants are also limited to table service only.
On July 5, the government elected not to move forward with plans to end the lockdown, once again citing concerns about the Delta variant.

In Norway, around 80% of adults have had their first shot but only 41% of adults are fully vaccinated. By comparison, around 71% of adult Britons are vaccinated against Covid-19 but the Delta variant has seen cases jump, although hospitalizations and deaths are significantly down compared to previous waves.

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---------- 73 ----------

Title: Bitcoin bounces back as top crypto exchange Binance limits withdrawals & leverage

Link: https://www.rt.com/business/530446-bitcoin-bullish-binance-news/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS

Date: Wed, 28 Jul 2021 12:02:46 +0000

Desc: Preview Bitcoin’s price jumped 7.2% on Wednesday after cryptocurrency exchange platform Binance announced it will further cap withdrawals and leverage.
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Guid: https://www.rt.com/business/530446-bitcoin-bullish-binance-news/

Content:

Bitcoin’s price jumped 7.2% on Wednesday after cryptocurrency exchange platform Binance announced it will further cap withdrawals and leverage.

The world’s most popular cryptocurrency was trading at around $39,870 at 10:00am GMT, regaining momentum after Tuesday’s losses. Number-two crypto ethereum was also trading around 4% higher.

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This comes after the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, Binance, announced it would lower daily withdrawals for new users from the current 2 BTC to 0.06 BTC.

To support the ongoing security of all Binance users, new withdrawal limits will be established for those who have completed only Basic Account Verification. This change is effective immediately for new account registrations and will be made effective for existing users in phases starting from [August 4] and completed by [August 23],” Binance said on its Twitter account.

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The exchange is also set to put a 20x cap on leverage levels for futures accounts within the first 60 days of their opening, five times less than the current limit, explaining the curb with risks that futures trading poses. The same steps were taken by US-based FTX cryptocurrency exchange.

Bitcoin’s price has been swinging back and forth throughout the past week, briefly reaching $40,000 over the weekend – its peak in more than a month of losses – amid rumors that e-commerce giant Amazon was planning to accept cryptocurrencies as payment. Bitcoin lost some of those gains when Amazon denied the reports on Tuesday, but the crypto has since recovered.

For more stories on economy & finance visit RT's business section



---------- 74 ----------

Title: Iran’s new govt should learn from past experience that ‘trust in the West doesn’t work,’ Supreme Leader Khamenei urges

Link: https://www.rt.com/news/530449-khamenei-trusting-west-iran/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS

Date: Wed, 28 Jul 2021 11:59:12 +0000

Desc: Preview Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has warned the country’s president-elect against placing trust in negotiations with the US, noting that the West broke its commitments with outgoing president Hassan Rouhani.
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Guid: https://www.rt.com/news/530449-khamenei-trusting-west-iran/

Content:

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has warned the country’s president-elect against placing trust in negotiations with the US, noting that the West broke its commitments with outgoing president Hassan Rouhani.

“Others should use the experience of Mr. Rouhani’s government. One experience is distrusting the West. In this administration it became clear that trusting the West isn’t helpful,” Khamenei said on Wednesday, according to a transcript of his comments posted on his official Twitter account. He added that Washington had made written promises to remove sanctions under the 2015 nuclear deal, but later disregarded its own commitments under the accord. 

“The West and the US are totally unjust and malicious in their negotiations. They have no hesitation in breaching their commitments at all,” Khamenei stated.

The West & the US are totally unjust & malicious in their negotiations. They have no hesitation in breaching their commitments at all. In the previous agreement, they breached their commitments & they give no guarantee they will abide by their commitments in the future either.

— Khamenei.ir (@khamenei_ir) July 28, 2021

His condemnation of Washington’s approach to negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program comes a week before President-elect Ebrahim Raisi is set to be sworn in. A close ally of the ayatollah, Raisi is expected to have a more hardline approach to the US than his moderate predecessor. Raisi had previously signaled that he was open to rebooting the stalled nuclear accord, which limits Iran’s enrichment of uranium, on the condition that the US keeps its word and drops sanctions aimed at Tehran. However, Khamenei’s remarks seem to call for a more confrontational approach to resolving the diplomatic deadlock. 

The US State Department has not yet issued a response to the supreme leader’s comments. 

Then-President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew the US from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) in 2018. Washington then piled on fresh sanctions, even as international inspectors acknowledged that Iran had kept its end of the deal. The move infuriated Tehran, which began to increase its level of uranium enrichment, seeing as the US did not honor its own commitments under the accord. 

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A view of the water nuclear reactor at Arak, Iran (FILE PHOTO) © WANA (West Asia News Agency) via REUTERS
Rouhani says Iran can enrich uranium to 90%, equivalent to weapons-grade

Earlier this month, Iran announced that, if deemed necessary, it could enrich uranium up to 90%, nearly 25 times greater than the level stipulated in the JCPOA. 

Talks have been taking place in Vienna to try to get Washington and Tehran to return to the negotiation table. So far the attempt has not produced results, with Iran continuing to insist that sanctions must be lifted as a prerequisite. 

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---------- 75 ----------

Title: Moscow police raid apartment of The Insider's editor Dobrokhotov: Bellingcat-linked outlet is subject of MH17 defamation case

Link: https://www.rt.com/russia/530460-insider-editor-raid-mh17-case/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS

Date: Wed, 28 Jul 2021 11:54:47 +0000

Desc: Preview Police in Moscow have raided the home of Roman Dobrokhotov, editor-in-chief of Russian investigative outlet The Insider, in connection to a defamation case. His publication has been accused of lying about a Dutch researcher.
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Guid: https://www.rt.com/russia/530460-insider-editor-raid-mh17-case/

Content:

Police in Moscow have raided the home of Roman Dobrokhotov, editor-in-chief of Russian investigative outlet The Insider, in connection to a defamation case. His publication has been accused of lying about a Dutch researcher.

The search comes less than a week after the website he founded was labeled a ‘foreign agent’ by the authorities.

Dobrokhotov revealed on social media early on Wednesday morning that police officers had come to his flat.

Read more
Wreckage at the crash site of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17, Donbass Region, Ukraine. © Reuters / Maxim Zmeyev
Six years after MH17 tragedy, Russia withdraws from ‘pointless’ investigation consultations with Netherlands & Australia

“It seemed like I am being searched. The police are knocking on my door,” he wrote on Twitter. “Litovsky Boulevard 5/10, Apartment 164. A lawyer would not hurt.”

According to Oksana Oparenko, a lawyer working for Dobrokhotov, the search is part of an investigation into a defamation case brought by Dutch researcher Max van der Werff. “Roman Dobrokhotov is a witness in the case,” she said, noting that the case was filed against unidentified people.

She claimed that police seized his passport during the search of his apartment. He had been planning to get on an international flight later on Wednesday, Oparenko added.

Van der Werff has already publicly accused Dobrokhotov of libeling him after The Insider claimed that the Dutchman secretly cooperates with the GRU, Russia’s foreign military intelligence agency, to spread information about the Malaysian Airlines Boeing MH17 that was shot down over Ukrainian territory in July 2014.

The search comes just five days after The Insider’s Latvia-registered legal entity and five of its journalists were added to the Justice Ministry’s list of foreign agents. Outlets put on the list must submit detailed financial reports every quarter and are required to preface everything they publish with a text informing readers about their status.

The Insider is best known for its cooperation with British investigative collective Bellingcat. The pair most recently accused the Russian authorities of attempting to poison the famous comedy writer Dmitry Bykov.

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---------- 76 ----------

Title: By all means feel sorry for Simone Biles, but don’t deify her – that’s what got us here in the first place

Link: https://www.rt.com/sport/530453-simone-biles-reaction-tokyo-olympics-withdrawal/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS

Date: Wed, 28 Jul 2021 11:38:18 +0000

Desc: Preview The messianic reverence for Simone Biles has become even more oppressive in defeat than it was in victory – and the people behind it are ignorant of their own complicity in causing her Olympic exit.
Read Full Article at RT.com

Guid: https://www.rt.com/sport/530453-simone-biles-reaction-tokyo-olympics-withdrawal/

Content:

The messianic reverence for Simone Biles has become even more oppressive in defeat than it was in victory – and the people behind it are ignorant of their own complicity in causing her Olympic exit.

Heading into the Tokyo Games, Biles was a dead cert to add to her haul of four Olympic gold medals and was staring at a clutch of records that would burnish her claims as the greatest her sport has ever seen.

Instead, the shock factor of what happened during the all-round artistic team final at the Ariake Gymnastics Center on Tuesday will be hard to top, but not for the reasons we had expected. 

The 24-year-old completed a sketchy opening vault – her worst ever at the Olympics – before deciding that she couldn’t continue. Initial speculation that Biles was contending with injury soon gave way to confirmation that she was struggling with fragile mental health.

Biles struggled on her opening vault before withdrawing. © Reuters

Biles will skip Thursday’s all-round final – where she was bidding to become the first woman in more than 50 years to defend her title – and it is uncertain whether she will feature in the four individual finals next week. We may have seen the last of Biles in action in Tokyo.

Seismic events, and the response in the media, too, will be hard to beat. Rather than Tuesday being treated as a defeat for the all-conquering gymnastics queen, Biles has been hailed as a hero. No one is taking an 'L' here. Instead, her actions in pulling out have been praised as her 'greatest achievement' yet. By watching on as her teammates finished second behind the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) team, Biles has somehow been elevated to even greater heights.

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Simone Biles, the most decorated American gymnast, has withdrawn form Thursday's all-around individual final at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics - Reuters
Simone Biles pulls out AGAIN at Tokyo 2020, gymnast withdraws from individual all-around competition final

Perversely, this reaction is part of what heaped so much pressure on Biles in the first place. The deification, the relentless gushing, raising Biles above the mere mortals against whom she competes. 

“If you told me Simone Biles could walk on water, I’d believe you,” one viral tweet had read (perhaps only half-jokingly) during the US championships back in June. How could she possibly fail?

Heading into Tokyo, Biles got her own 'GOAT' emoji in a nod to her claim as the greatest of all time. She bought into it, wearing leotards featuring rhinestone-encrusted goats for recent competitions. It was supposedly a message for the 'haters', although any detractors would surely have been in short supply.

Biles pictured at the US National Championships this year. © Getty Images via AFP

Now that Biles has faltered, the media in the US and beyond have swung to the other extreme. She is human after all. She feels pressure, she feels the immense burden on her young shoulders, she feels the intense heat of being in the spotlight.

The stifling adulation lavished upon Biles in victory has been outdone by the glorification bestowed on her in defeat. “No wonder Biles cracked under the pressure she was placed under,” write the very people who burdened her with such meteoric expectations in the first place. Predictably, race has also been added into the equation, ticking another box for the virtue-signaling scribes in the US.

In much shorter supply is criticism or cold, hard questions. Just as it’s right to sympathize with Biles, it’s fair to ask why she was competing if she felt so unsure of herself.

Biles' early withdrawal also meant more pressure was unexpectedly thrust upon the remaining three Americans in the team. Biles has been cast as a hero for supposedly protecting her teammates by quitting, but in reality they were landed in it and came up short. Was that fair on them? 

Biles watched from the sidelines as her teammates finished second to the ROC team. © Reuters

Biles’ subsequent explanation was that she did what she felt was right. She knows her own mind and will, one hopes, get some time and space to recover mentally. 

In the meantime, let’s step back from the unrestrained hero worship which characterized the coverage of Biles leading up to these Games, and which has followed in the wake of her departure on Tuesday.

After all, that suffocating hyperbole is a reason why we might not see Simone Biles again in Tokyo.  

By Liam Tyler 



---------- 77 ----------

Title: China discusses security with Taliban following concerns of instability in Afghanistan after US troops withdrawal

Link: https://www.rt.com/news/530458-taliban-beijing-security-talks/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS

Date: Wed, 28 Jul 2021 11:33:54 +0000

Desc: Preview Taliban representatives have met with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi to discuss peace in Afghanistan after the withdrawal of US troops.
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Guid: https://www.rt.com/news/530458-taliban-beijing-security-talks/

Content:

Taliban representatives have met with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi to discuss peace in Afghanistan after the withdrawal of US troops.

The Taliban announced the meeting on Wednesday saying that they had traveled to the northern Chinese city of Tianjin to meet with Chinese officials to discuss “political, economic and security issues.” The delegation was led by Taliban negotiator and deputy leader, Mullah Baradar Akhund. The Chinese side consists of Foreign Minister Wang Yi, the deputy foreign minister, and the Chinese special envoy for Afghanistan. Updates of the talks are being posted on Twitter by Mohammed Naeem — the delegate's political spokesperson.

“China pledged to continue to expand its cooperation with the Afghan people, saying that they would not interfere in Afghanistan's affairs, but would help solve problems and build peace,” he tweeted.

Read more
Afghan security forces at the site of an explosion in Kabul, Afghanistan, June 2021. © Zakeria Hashimi/Reuters
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The meeting between China and the Taliban comes whilst turmoil escalates in Afghanistan following the withdrawal of US troops. The US is set to fully leave the country — where according to the UN, 5,000 civilians have been killed and injured in the first half of 2021 alone — by September.

Since American troops started leaving Afghanistan, the country has seen a rapid  resurgence of the Taliban, with the Islamic movement and military organization forcefully taking control of more cities.

Earlier this year, shortly after the US began pulling out troops, China’s Foreign Ministry condemned the US’ decision to leave, saying: “the recent abrupt US announcement of complete withdrawal of forces from Afghanistan has led to a succession of explosive attacks throughout the country, worsening the security situation and threatening peace and stability as well as people’s life and safety.”

Last week, China appointed their new Afghanistan special envoy – a step that, according to several political experts, meant that Beijing is eyeing to play a greater role in the country.

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---------- 78 ----------

Title: ‘Respect’: French back restauranteur’s rebellion against Macron’s mandatory passes after he declares his eatery a ‘free zone’

Link: https://www.rt.com/news/530455-france-covid19-restaurants-macron-free/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS

Date: Wed, 28 Jul 2021 11:24:25 +0000

Desc: Preview People in France have shown their support for a restaurateur who declared his eatery a ‘free zone’ in response to the government’s vaccine passports mandate for restaurant and bar entry amid widespread protests.
Read Full Article at RT.com

Guid: https://www.rt.com/news/530455-france-covid19-restaurants-macron-free/

Content:

People in France have shown their support for a restaurateur who declared his eatery a ‘free zone’ in response to the government’s vaccine passports mandate for restaurant and bar entry amid widespread protests.

With the government set to require all people to how their Covid-19 health passport when entering bars and restaurants from the beginning of August, some in France have started their own campaign to rebel against what they described as the state’s “health dictatorship.” 

The Twitter account ‘Zone Libre’ or ‘Free Zone’ is encouraging restaurateurs to display a sign rejecting the health pass mandate by President Emmanuel Macron’s government.   

Zone Libre devient le slogan des opposants à la dictature sanitaire.#zonelibre #NonAuPassDeLaHonte pic.twitter.com/F5isISqsPE

— Zone Libre (@Alain_Charles_) July 27, 2021

The tweet reads: “Zone Libre becomes the slogan of opponents of the health dictatorship,” adding the hashtag “Zone Libre” and “No to the Shame Pass.”

The tweet is accompanied by an image of a sign that reads: “Here, we respect your freedom, your dignity and medical secrets.” The message on the outside of the sign says “All welcome, with or without a health pass.”

While the account itself hasn’t received much attention, a video of chef Michel Le Menn sticking the sign to the facade of his eatery has been widely shared across social media. The restaurant, ‘Le Coup de Fourchette’ is reportedly located in Brest, a port town in Brittany. 

Brest ! #manifs24juillet #Liberte Bravo a ce restaurateur ! pic.twitter.com/aKkTmDlRp5

— Kit (@fautjoueretrire) July 24, 2021

In the footage, people can be seen photographing the ‘Zone Libre’ sign while the crowd chants “Liberte” or “Freedom.”

Sharing the video, one person wrote: “resistance starts like this, respect Sir.” 

“All restaurateurs must do the same, if he is the only one to do it the state will crush him with all its weight to make an example,” one person wrote

The term itself is rather controversial, as the ‘Zone Libre’ was also the name for the area of France controlled by the Vichy government of Marshal Philippe Petain during World War II. The short-lived state was notoriously anti-Semitic. 

Also on rt.com
FILE PHOTO. A demonstration called by the French nationalist party "Les Patriotes" (The Patriots) against France's restrictions to fight the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) outbreak. July 24, 2021
French parliament approves bill forcing vaccination for medical workers & greater health pass use amid growing protests

On Monday, the French government passed into law a bill forcing vaccination for medical workers and greater use of the controversial health pass. The government had previously stated its intention to make compulsory the use of the health pass for access to bars and restaurants from August; the passes are already required for places like museums and swimming pools. 

The health pass, which can be displayed on an app or printed out, shows whether the individual has either been vaccinated or provided a negative test.  

Macron’s government has seen widespread opposition to the pass, with 160,000 people protesting across the country on Saturday. Demonstrators chanted “Freedom, Freedom” as they marched around French towns and cities.

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---------- 79 ----------

Title: Virtual real-itchy: Facebook halts Oculus headset sales & issues recall following months of ‘skin irritation’ complaints

Link: https://www.rt.com/news/530454-virtual-reality-facebook-recalls-oculus-headset/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS

Date: Wed, 28 Jul 2021 11:03:04 +0000

Desc: Preview Facebook has agreed to replace the removable foam face liners in its Oculus virtual reality headsets after months of customer complaints about skin irritations such as rashes and hives. The recall affects about four million units.
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Guid: https://www.rt.com/news/530454-virtual-reality-facebook-recalls-oculus-headset/

Content:

Facebook has agreed to replace the removable foam face liners in its Oculus virtual reality headsets after months of customer complaints about skin irritations such as rashes and hives. The recall affects about four million units.

The US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) reported that the tech giant’s Oculus subsidiary had received 5,716 complaints of skin irritation incidents related to the facial interfaces in its Quest 2 VR headsets. Some 45 people who used the device had severe reactions that required medical attention.

“The foam facial interfaces can cause facial skin irritation and reactions including rashes, swelling, burning, itching, hives, and bumps,” stated the CPSC notice, which identified that the affected headsets had serial numbers beginning with ‘1WMHH’ and ending with a number below 1264.

In a statement on Tuesday, Oculus said it had issued a “joint voluntary recall” notice with the CPSC and Health Canada for the face liner “in response to reports from a very small percentage of users who have experienced skin irritation where the foam portion of the facial interface rests on the skin.”

A Facebook spokesperson told The Register that the recall does not apply to the headset itself, only the detachable facial interface “made principally of polyurethane foam.”

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© Getty Images / g-stockstudio
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In June, the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission issued a recall of the Quest 2 due to skin irritation caused by the headset’s foam interface. Facebook previously confirmed that an EU commission is looking into the face mask – which has led to its headsets being pulled from shelves across the Eurozone.

Soon after the Quest 2 system launched last October, users raised the skin irritation issue, with complaints of burning sensations, red facial marks, and hives while wearing the VR headset. In December, the company said that it had received reports from “about 0.01%” of people using the headset – but it claimed the “vast majority” of cases were “mild and ... should resolve on their own.”

While comparing the complaints to the “occasional skin irritation” caused by motorcycle helmets, glasses, and ski goggles, Oculus admitted that the condition may be caused by “substances introduced during the manufacturing process or reactions between materials in the headset and cosmetics or skincare products” and said it had made changes to address the reported effects.

However, in April the company downplayed the issue, despite an internal investigation identifying “a few trace substances that are normally present in the manufacturing process” that could “contribute to skin discomfort.”

It claimed these were at “levels below the industry standard” and said it did not find “any contamination or unexpected substances” in its manufacturing process.

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© Reuters / Elizabeth Culliford
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While the CPSC has not released any comment on the recall, it does have rules about businesses correctly identifying irritants, which the agency defines as anything that “causes a substantial injury to the area of the body that it comes in contact with.”

Coinciding with Tuesday’s recall notice, the company updated its issue page to note it was introducing a new silicone cover that fits over the foam facial interface and “temporarily” paused all global sales of the Quest 2 headset till August 24.

“Experts have advised that skin irritation can occur in some segments of the population from many household items – even things like tomatoes or shampoo – and that the rates we have seen are in line with expectations,” Facebook Reality Labs head Andrew Bosworth said in a statement.

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---------- 80 ----------

Title: Lifting Covid-19 restrictions could create new vaccine-resistant strains, researchers warn

Link: https://www.rt.com/uk/530444-lifting-covid-restrictions-new-vaccine-resistance/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS

Date: Wed, 28 Jul 2021 10:39:44 +0000

Desc: Preview Researchers from the University of East Anglia and Earlham Institute have warned that easing Covid-19 restrictions early could lead to vaccine-resistant virus strains and new variants forming due to low global inoculation rates.
Read Full Article at RT.com

Guid: https://www.rt.com/uk/530444-lifting-covid-restrictions-new-vaccine-resistance/

Content:

Researchers from the University of East Anglia and Earlham Institute have warned that easing Covid-19 restrictions early could lead to vaccine-resistant virus strains and new variants forming due to low global inoculation rates.

The article, published by the University of East Anglia and Earlham Institute on Tuesday, argues that easing coronavirus restrictions may lead to more aggressive mutations developing that are resistant to vaccines. 

“Relaxing restrictions boosts transmission and allows the virus population to expand, which enhances its adaptive evolutionary potential and increases the risk of vaccine-resistant strains emerging by a process known as antigenic drift,” the researchers stated.

The scientists asserted that humanity is in an “arms race” against the coronavirus, which is fought with vaccines, technology and behavioral change. However, they warned that the virus can always adapt.

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Critical Care staff take care of COVID-19 patients on the Christine Brown ward at King's College Hospital in London, Wednesday, Jan. 27, 2021. ©  AP Photo / Kirsty Wigglesworth
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The risk of new variants developing remains high given that the global vaccination rate is unequal, according to the scientists. Figures from Our World in Data suggest that under 14% of people globally are fully vaccinated against Covid-19.

The researchers identified another obstacle that could lead to new variants, the fact that not all age groups are eligible for inoculation against the coronavirus. Several countries, like the UK, are yet to roll out a wide-scale vaccination campaign for minors. The researchers theorized that “new strains may evolve with higher transmissibility in children, and vaccinating children may become necessary to control the emergence of new variants.” 

Ireland is the latest European country to roll out vaccines for adolescents as young as 12, joining France and Denmark. 

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(FILE PHOTO) © REUTERS/Clodagh Kilcoyne/File Photo
Ireland hopes to fully inoculate all adolescents by mid-September, as govt pledges Covid-19 shots for 12–15-year-olds

The study echoes the concerns from over 100 medical professionals, who co-signed a letter earlier in July to the UK government advising against easing England’s lockdown measures. The signatories argued that abandoning all Covid-19 restrictions abruptly in England “provides fertile grounds for the emergence of vaccine-resistant variants” and that schools could become a hotbed for transmission.

A June study, published in the science journal ‘Nature’, found that the Delta variant, a mutant strain of the coronavirus, diminished the efficacy of the Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines. The findings showed that one dose of either of the two barely produced any antibodies and was only about 10% effective. However, the vaccines were more effective against the older Alpha variant. Two doses of AstraZeneca and Pfizer yielded a much higher efficacy against Delta at 60% and 88%, respectively. 

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---------- 81 ----------

Title: Taiwanese police launch investigation into reports that over 100 ‘high ranking officials’ had messaging app accounts hacked

Link: https://www.rt.com/news/530450-taiwanese-police-investigating-hack-officials/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS

Date: Wed, 28 Jul 2021 10:39:20 +0000

Desc: Preview Police in Taiwan confirmed on Wednesday that they are investigating reports that more than 100 messaging app accounts used by “high ranking officials” were hacked after LINE messenger stated it had detected “abnormal activities.”
Read Full Article at RT.com

Guid: https://www.rt.com/news/530450-taiwanese-police-investigating-hack-officials/

Content:

Police in Taiwan confirmed on Wednesday that they are investigating reports that more than 100 messaging app accounts used by “high ranking officials” were hacked after LINE messenger stated it had detected “abnormal activities.”

The Criminal Investigation Bureau in Taipei launched the investigation after LINE, the company behind the messaging app, formally reported concerns that the accounts had been compromised. However, authorities did not provide further information about the alleged hack.

Taiwan national newspaper Liberty Times claimed that more than 100 accounts belonging to “high ranking officials” were impacted, including people within the president’s office, cabinet figures, members of the military and lawmakers.

Addressing the situation, LINE announced it had taken “necessary measures to protect users as soon as abnormal account activities were detected” and “will continue to take necessary responsive measures.” 

LINE has reportedly informed Taiwan’s National Security Council (NSC) about the alleged breach. However, the NSC has not publicly commented on the issue.

Taiwan’s cybersecurity agency claims that the island is subjected to around 30 million cyberattacks each month, averaging at around 700 attacks per minute, with half thought to come directly from the Chinese mainland. To help combat the threat posed by cyberattacks, Taiwan has indicated that it is interested in working with Israel to bolster its defenses. 

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The seal of the US Department of Commerce in Washington, US, 2017. © Eric Thayer/Reuters
China blacklists former US Commerce Secretary Ross & other officials in tit-for-tat reply to restrictions over Hong Kong

“Cyberattacks and disinformation are threatening democracies worldwide,” Foreign Minister Joseph Wu said in a tweet on Wednesday, sharing an article that highlighted the island’s work to “crush the tools of authoritarianism.”

Taiwan, which professes to be a democratic, self-ruled island, has repeatedly accused China of increasing cyberattacks against the region since the island’s president, Tsai Ing-wen, was elected in 2016. Tsai has firmly rejected Beijing’s position that Taiwan is part of “one China” and has sought to secure further autonomy. He has also collaborated with the West in a bid to bolster its independent credentials.

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---------- 82 ----------

Title: RT SCORES ITS 10TH EMMY NOMINATION, FOR AN AUSCHWITZ-REMEMBRANCE PROJECT

Link: https://www.rt.com/about-us/press-releases/rt-emmy-nomination-auschwitz-project/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS

Date: Wed, 28 Jul 2021 10:33:24 +0000

Desc:
Read Full Article at RT.com

Guid: https://www.rt.com/about-us/press-releases/rt-emmy-nomination-auschwitz-project/

Content:

MOSCOW, JULY 28, 2021RT is a News and Documentary Emmy Awards finalist for its VR project ‘Lessons of Auschwitz’, commemorating the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp by the Soviet Army. This is RT’s 10th Emmy Awards nomination overall.

Lessons of Auschwitz has been shortlisted for the ‘Outstanding Interactive Media: Documentary’ category. The project is part of #VictoryPages, RT’s large-scale social media project that tells the story of the Great Patriotic War/Second World War through new media and digital art across five platforms: Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, VK, and YouTube. #VictoryPages has already won international recognition at the Webby Awards, Promax Europe Awards, D&AD (Design and Art Direction), ADC Awards, Shorty Awards, Lovie Awards, Red Dot, and Digiday Awards, among others. RT’s multimedia projects were also shortlisted at Cannes Lions five times in 2021.

RT has seven nominations for the International News & Current Affairs Emmy – for reportage on the crash-landing of the Superjet 100 at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport, and its aftermath (2020), the coverage of a massive fire in the Siberian city of Kemerovo (2019), the humanitarian crisis in Mosul, Iraq (2018), the 70th session of the UN General Assembly (2016), Guantanamo Bay inmates’ hunger strike (2014), the Occupy Wall Street protests (2012), and US President Barack Obama’s first visit to Moscow (2010).

Additionally, RT America’s ‘Boom Bust’ financial show became a Daytime Emmy finalist for Outstanding Main Title and Graphic Design for a Live Action Program in 2020. Chris Hedges, the Pulitzer Prize-winning host of ‘On Contact with Chris Hedges’, secured RT America its first Daytime Emmy nomination in 2017, as an Outstanding Informative Talk Show Host.

The Emmy Awards is one of the most prestigious television awards competitions in the world. This year’s winner of the News and Documentary Emmy Awards will be announced September 28-29.



---------- 83 ----------

Title: Russian economy recovering faster than expected from pandemic – IMF

Link: https://www.rt.com/business/530439-russia-economy-recovery-imf/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS

Date: Wed, 28 Jul 2021 10:30:45 +0000

Desc: Preview Russia’s first-quarter GDP growth shows the economy is recovering from the Covid-19 pandemic at a quicker pace than expected, according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
Read Full Article at RT.com

Guid: https://www.rt.com/business/530439-russia-economy-recovery-imf/

Content:

Russia’s first-quarter GDP growth shows the economy is recovering from the Covid-19 pandemic at a quicker pace than expected, according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

The country’s economy is forecast to grow 4.4% in 2021, the IMF said in its report on global economic development prospects, raising the estimate by 0.6% compared to its previous report in April.

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Kremlin is reflected in the Moskva river in Moscow, Russia.
Russia raises GDP growth outlook as economy recovers faster than expected

In the case of Russia, we have seen faster recovery. So the first-quarter GDP growth has come in stronger than we were expecting and because of that, it has led to an upgrade,” IMF Chief Economist Gita Gopinath said at a briefing on Tuesday. She noted, however, that the figures may change, as the progression of the Covid-19 spread is hard to predict.

There are still challenges ahead, the pandemic is not over, we have seen cases going back up, vaccination rates are progressing but still the coverage is incomplete. So, there is much more that needs to be done on that front,” Gopinath said.

Another IMF official points out that the economic recovery in Russia is happening earlier than anticipated.

As already mentioned, we are seeing signs of that strength, and it’s not just the manufacturing sector but also the reopening of the economy and the strength of the service sector,” the head of the IMF’s Strategy, Policy, and Review Department, Petya Koeva Brooks, said.

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The S&P Global logo is displayed on its offices in the financial district in New York City, US.
S&P maintains Russia’s stable economic outlook despite sanctions and pandemic

Earlier this month, the Russian Ministry of Economic Development and Trade also raised its forecast for the growth of the country’s economy in 2021, despite new administrative restrictions on business activity due to the third wave of the pandemic. However, the ministry’s expectations are lower than those of the IMF, with GDP forecast to reach 3.8%.

For more stories on economy & finance visit RT's business section



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Title: Chechen leader Kadyrov bans locals still unvaccinated against Covid-19 from entering mosques or shops & using public transport

Link: https://www.rt.com/russia/530445-chechnya-public-places-entering-ban/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS

Date: Wed, 28 Jul 2021 09:45:32 +0000

Desc: Preview In a bid to encourage mass inoculation against Covid-19, the authorities in Russia’s Chechen Republic have introduced a strict policy banning all unvaccinated people from entering mosques and stores and using public transport.
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Guid: https://www.rt.com/russia/530445-chechnya-public-places-entering-ban/

Content:

In a bid to encourage mass inoculation against Covid-19, the authorities in Russia’s Chechen Republic have introduced a strict policy banning all unvaccinated people from entering mosques and stores and using public transport.

The new rules, some of the strictest the country has seen, were announced by Chechen Deputy Prime Minister Vakhit Usmayev on Monday. “When visiting mosques, it is mandatory to have certificates of vaccination,” he explained, noting that checks would also be carried out at retail outlets, sports events and entertainment facilities. Those using public transport will also be required to be inoculated and wear masks.

On the same day, the regional health minister, Elkhan Suleimanov, announced that 60% of the region’s adult population have received the first component of a Covid-19 vaccine, making it the first area in the whole country to achieve this feat. This percentage is often a figure stated for the acquisition of herd immunity. Writing on Telegram, Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov encouraged everyone to get vaccinated, calling it “the only way to overcome the pandemic,” urging locals to listen to advice from medical professionals.

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(L) FILE PHOTO. Ramzan Kadyrov © Sputnik; (R) FILE PHOTO. Bundestag © AFP / JOHN MACDOUGALL
Five Chechen officials targeted by human rights activists as lawsuit filed over alleged violence & persecution of LGBT citizens

“We are obliged to treat this issue with full responsibility and protect our residents from insidious infection,” he wrote. “I stress that we should not stop at the 60% mark, but vaccinate the entire adult population!”

Mass vaccination against Covid-19 has been taking place in Russia since January 18 but has ramped up in recent months. While President Vladimir Putin has revealed his opposition to compulsory jabs, vaccination policy decisions have been put in the hands of regional heads. Many areas of the country are now forcing workers in specific sectors, such as catering and transport, to get inoculated. Vaccination in Russia is completely free of charge, and citizens have the option of four different domestically-made jabs: Sputnik V, Sputnik Lite, EpiVacCorona, and CoviVac.

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---------- 85 ----------

Title: Spanish ace Badosa leaves court in WHEELCHAIR as fears grow for tennis stars in sweltering heat at Tokyo Olympics

Link: https://www.rt.com/sport/530438-badosa-collapse-heat-tennis-olympics/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS

Date: Wed, 28 Jul 2021 09:20:59 +0000

Desc: Preview Spanish tennis player Paula Badosa has increased concerns about heat exhaustion at the ongoing Tokyo Olympics, after the 23-year-old had to be wheelchaired out of her quarterfinal against Marketa Vondrousova.
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Guid: https://www.rt.com/sport/530438-badosa-collapse-heat-tennis-olympics/

Content:

Spanish tennis player Paula Badosa has increased concerns about heat exhaustion at the ongoing Tokyo Olympics, after the 23-year-old had to be wheelchaired out of her quarterfinal against Marketa Vondrousova.

The Barcelona-based star was hoping to surpass a career best performance at the French Open earlier this year, where she similarly reached this stage of a competition by beating the same opponent in the last 16.

But Vondrousova came flying out of the tracks this time and was blatantly less affected by the grueling conditions.

As the Czech took the first set 6-3, Badosa could continue no longer and was forced to retire.

Absolutely heartbreaking as Paula Badosa retires due to heat. Vondrousova is into the semis. pic.twitter.com/BNksT22RmZ

— ‎‎‎‎‎ . (@Ashish__TV) July 28, 2021

Vondrousova, who beat home crowd favorite Naomi Osaka in the last round, now advances to the semi-finals.

Hardly able to celebrate a victory in such circumstances, she went over to Badosa to embrace her and wish her all the best as harrowing scenes played out.

Attended by a group of coaches and officials, with an ice pack to her head and air con blowing in her face, the world number 29 slumped in her chair apparently suffering a heat stroke and could not make it off court.

Paula needed a wheelchair to leave the court 😢
praying she gets better soon. sad thing to watch.
im proud of you, @paulabadosa.#Tennis #Tokyo2020 pic.twitter.com/DoA9mLpbaB

— Leksa ミ☆ (@larissatwho) July 28, 2021

No way Badosa is coming back to play mixed doubles with Carreño later today. Tough scenes to watch. pic.twitter.com/SEZiZ7gYNy

— José Morgado (@josemorgado) July 28, 2021

With a towel over her head, she had to be wheelchaired away, and one onlooker commented that there is no chance she will return to play mixed doubles with her partner Pablo Carreño later today.

The development follows an outburst from men's world number 2 Daniil Medvedev, who during his third round tie with Fabio Fognini asked: "I can finish the match but I can die. If I die, are you going to be responsible?"

"I felt like my diaphragm has blocked," the Russian later said. "I couldn't breathe properly. It was the most humid day we had so far - maybe the hottest."

With temperatures exceeding 30 degrees, it seems organizers are tempting fate and may only take proper action once a real tragedy has occurred.



---------- 86 ----------

Title: Kim Jong-un says Covid-19 situation in North Korea ‘no less challenging’ than Korean War

Link: https://www.rt.com/news/530437-korea-kim-wartime-coronavirus/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS

Date: Wed, 28 Jul 2021 09:13:38 +0000

Desc: Preview North Korean leader Kim Jong-un said that the country is facing war-like hardship during the global pandemic at his address at a ceremony marking the 68th anniversary of the Korean War.
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Guid: https://www.rt.com/news/530437-korea-kim-wartime-coronavirus/

Content:

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un said that the country is facing war-like hardship during the global pandemic at his address at a ceremony marking the 68th anniversary of the Korean War.

“We are faced with difficulties and hardship caused by the unprecedented global health crisis and prolonged lockdown no less challenging than how it was during the war,” Kim told thousands of veterans and guests from a tribune erected at the foot of the Monument to the Victorious Fatherland Liberation War in the capital Pyongyang on Tuesday.

The North Korean leader promised that “just like the generation of victors... our generation will continue this beautiful tradition and turn this difficult decisive period into an even greater new victory.”

It’s not the first time that Kim, who, according to estimations by South Korean intelligence, has lost 10-20kg in recent months, has acknowledged that his country is going through a tough period. In April, he called it “the worst in history.” And, last month, the supreme leader warned that the food situation was “getting tense” in the country, but attributed the issue to the aftermath of last year’s typhoon.

According to South Korean media, food prices have skyrocketed in the North, with a kg of bananas costing $45. The UN special rapporteur on human rights in North Korea, Tomas Ojea Quintana, even urged the UN Security Council last year to reconsider the international sanctions imposed on the country over its nuclear and missile developments in order to avoid a famine.

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North Korean leader Kim Jong Un speaks during the opening of the 3rd Plenary Meeting of the 8th Central Committee of the Workers' Party of Korea (WPK), in Pyongyang, North Korea, in this undated photo released on June 16, 2021. © Reuters / KCNA
North Korea admits it’s facing ‘great crisis’ amid Covid-19 pandemic as Kim Jong-un dismisses party officials for neglect of duty

Pyongyang officially claims that it doesn’t have any coronavirus cases and that the virus is defeated. However, this information is hard to verify as the Communist state has isolated itself from the world, sealing its borders and going into a strict lockdown more than a year ago. Reports in South Korean and Japanese media dispute Pyongyang’s claim that the country is Covid-free and point to its insufficient testing.

The National Conference of War Veterans was held to mark the signing of the armistice in the Korean War of 1950–1953, in which the North, supported by China, fought against the US-backed South Korea. The conflict, which quickly became a war of attrition, claimed the lives of over 33,000 American and 400,000 North Korean soldiers. 

The ceremony in Pyongyang was staged outdoors for the first time despite temperatures of around 35 degrees Celsius and high humidity. It included speeches by officials and a fireworks display. According to the photos from the event, nobody in the crowd wore face masks or followed social distancing rules.

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FILE PHOTO: Soldiers stand guard at a checkpoint near the demilitarized zone (DMZ) separating the two Koreas, in Paju, South Korea, June 17, 2020.
'Big step toward restoring trust': North & South Korea reopen communication hotline after year of silence

The Korean Peninsula technically remains in a state of war as the two sides never signed an actual peace treaty and their relations remain strained. On Tuesday, Pyongyang and Seoul restored communication channels, which remained shut for over a year, in a sign of a thaw between the neighbors.

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---------- 87 ----------

Title: Blast off! Russia’s missile tests, rocket missions & new stealth fighter launch Moscow’s bid for supremacy in space & in the skies

Link: https://www.rt.com/russia/530429-rockets-test-launch-space-supremacy/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS

Date: Wed, 28 Jul 2021 09:13:09 +0000

Desc: Preview July has been a remarkable month for Russian rockets, with Moscow announcing a handful of successful missile tests, the country showing off its warplanes at the MAKS international airshow, and launching the new Nauka space module.
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Guid: https://www.rt.com/russia/530429-rockets-test-launch-space-supremacy/

Content:

July has been a remarkable month for Russian rockets, with Moscow announcing a handful of successful missile tests, the country showing off its warplanes at the MAKS international airshow, and launching the new Nauka space module.

Bringing together arms manufacturers from across the country and customers from across the world, the annual MAKS air show, outside the capital, saw the unveiling of the new Su-75 light combat aircraft, codenamed Checkmate. By all accounts, the presentation of the new fifth-generation light fighter jet was the pinnacle of the exposition, with developers promising Checkmate would make its maiden flight before next year’s event.

The jet, its makers hope, has the chance to become a future bestseller worldwide. In effect, there are no advanced light aircraft on the market right now. America’s F-35 Lightning II is a capable fighter, but it’s expensive, relatively heavy, and most importantly, “politically charged,” given relations so often dictate exports. All that makes Russia’s Checkmate an interesting buy for a number of regions, such as parts of Asia and Africa – and even Latin America.

The promotional video that came with the new aircraft featured the UAE, India, Vietnam, and Argentina. All look like appropriate prospective buyers, especially in light of reports about a potential joint Russian-Emirati project that has been rumored for a number of years. In addition, the Su-57, a fifth-generation fighter designed for the Russian Aerospace Forces, has now entered serial production. However, there remains the need to step up manufacturing and deliver these aircraft to the forces at a faster pace, but some of its technological solutions will be used to speed up work on Checkmate.

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The ‘Checkmate’ fighter jet at the MAKS-2021 air show in Zhukovsky, Russia, July 20, 2021. © Yevgeny Biyatov/Sputnik
Meet Su-57’s younger brother: RT takes closer look at Checkmate, Russia's fifth-gen fighter jet (VIDEO)

The military aircraft were not the only newsmakers. The civil aviation industry had something to show off with its Sukhoi Superjet and MC-21 projects. Work on them continues, and one particular area of improvement is localization. Even though they lack major international contracts, the Russian market has enough opportunities for both of them. Interestingly, not a word was said about the Russian-Chinese project that focuses on developing the CR929 wide-body aircraft, intended to challenge the dominance of the EU and US over the market. At the same time, Boeing and Airbus both actively participated in the air show with their civil aviation projects.

Secondly, the Russian Defense Ministry released a series of statements that made for an interesting backdrop for MAKS. The first featured a video of a successful test launch of a Zircon anti-ship hypersonic cruise missile.

Talk at the show suggested there would be another launch in the near future – this time, at the maximum range (1000+ km), and the target would be an aircraft carrier.

Although this missile is not going to become the primary striking power of the Russian Navy, which celebrated its 325th anniversary over the weekend, it does, however, have great potential when it comes to guaranteeing the destruction of the most important and secure targets both at sea and on land.

Read more
RT
Russian warship reports successful test-fire of hypersonic Zircon missile in tense Arctic waters, hitting target at 350km (VIDEO)

The second clip was met with even greater excitement – Russia’s military, for the first time, released footage of a live fire test of its advanced S-500 anti-aircraft system. In the foreseeable future, this system is set to become one of the key elements of the country’s integrated aerospace defense, theoretically capable of neutralizing essentially any incoming missile, including those coming from space.

The system’s development and deployment are timely, considering that we constantly face new, rapidly growing threats, especially when it comes to missile attacks, and we are not just talking about those from the US and other NATO countries. Once the S-500 system enters service, Russia’s missile defense capabilities will match those of the Americans on a new level, and that might help advance arms control. We are already seeing similar trends with high-precision long-range weapons.

However, the key discrepancy will remain, since Washington is deploying its systems globally. Nevertheless, Russia has demonstrated its ‘combat’ missile capabilities – these weapons could be used as ‘offensive’ and ‘defensive’ power. Next time, the Russian military should also show interceptions and destroyed targets, not just launches, which would be even more convincing.

The third notable advance was Russian space agency Roscosmos’ successful launching of the Nauka science module to the ISS. Not everything went smoothly, but all involved remain cautiously optimistic. Of course, this delivery is long overdue – Nauka’s mission was supposed to take place years if not decades ago, so this launch cannot really be considered a breakthrough.

However, we need to continue working on connecting modules in space – this practice will be especially important if Russia decides to build its own space station. It is also necessary for new large-scale space projects. Of course, regular ‘rocket science’ achievements seem boring, not as fun as the billionaires’ space tourism adventures, and it is difficult to draw the global media’s attention to these stories. It actually affects NASA as well, and it feels like even the latest Mars helicopter flights haven’t stirred much excitement in the general public.

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RT
Russia launches ‘Nauka’ multifunctional scientific lab module to International Space Station from Baikonur Cosmodrome (VIDEO)

Russia is increasingly positioning itself as a serious player that can meet its own needs in the field of transport, space and national security while introducing competitive solutions for sale on international markets. At the same time, the West’s sanctions remain a major factor, which, along with others, have stunted the development of the air and space industry globally. After all, healthy competition has been a much more effective tool of scientific and technological progress than attempts to ‘knock’ competitors out of certain markets by applying political pressure. Although in many areas, especially in defense contracts, political considerations are always an important factor.

One potential barrier to better understanding Russia’s aerospace advances is a published draft order from the security services, which includes a range of “information about military and technological operations” that can’t be disclosed to foreign states.

While that cloak-and-dagger approach may safeguard state secrets, it makes it tough for international analysts and buyers to know just how advanced Russia is becoming. Public achievements like Checkmate, the Zircon missile, and the Nauka launch may just be the tip of the iceberg.

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The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.



---------- 88 ----------

Title: With markets addicted to QE, can the Fed afford to hit the brakes on money printing? RT’s Boom Bust investigates

Link: https://www.rt.com/business/530432-boom-bust-fed-money-printing/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS

Date: Wed, 28 Jul 2021 09:00:30 +0000

Desc: Preview As the United States continues to recover from the economic strain caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, the Federal Reserve is considering its next move this week.
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Guid: https://www.rt.com/business/530432-boom-bust-fed-money-printing/

Content:

As the United States continues to recover from the economic strain caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, the Federal Reserve is considering its next move this week.

CEO of Quill Intelligence Danielle DiMartino Booth joins Boom Bust to offer an insider’s view on the Fed’s policy plans.

For more stories on economy & finance visit RT's business section



---------- 89 ----------

Title: Assange’s attorney accuses govt of foul play after Ecuador strips WikiLeaks co-founder of citizenship due to ‘unpaid fees’

Link: https://www.rt.com/news/530427-ecuador-strips-assange-citizenship-wikileaks/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS

Date: Wed, 28 Jul 2021 08:18:44 +0000

Desc: Preview Ecuador has revoked Julian Assange’s citizenship, citing alleged inconsistencies with his naturalization documents. A lawyer for the imprisoned publisher claims the decision was made without due process.
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Guid: https://www.rt.com/news/530427-ecuador-strips-assange-citizenship-wikileaks/

Content:

Ecuador has revoked Julian Assange’s citizenship, citing alleged inconsistencies with his naturalization documents. A lawyer for the imprisoned publisher claims the decision was made without due process.

The WikiLeaks co-founder was informed that his citizenship had been nullified in a letter issued by Ecuador’s justice system, following a complaint issued by the South American nation’s Foreign Ministry. Ecuadorian officials claimed that Assange’s application for naturalization contained numerous inconsistencies, including different signatures, as well as possibly forged documents. Assange also failed to pay fees connected with his citizenship in the country, authorities alleged.

Read more
Stickers with an image of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange are seen outside HMP Belmarsh prison, where Assange is held, in London, Britain, January 6, 2021.
Assange may never recover from ‘torture’ at Belmarsh, suicide becoming more likely the longer he stays in prison – doctor to RT

Carlos Poveda, Assange’s lawyer, responded to the decision by accusing the Ecuadorian government of turning its back on due process. 

The Australian was unable to contest the claims made against him because he is currently being “deprived of his liberty” and suffering from a “health crisis” while locked away at London’s maximum-security Belmarsh Prison, Poveda told AP. 

The lawyer complained a week earlier that it was “impossible” for his client to properly defend himself under the circumstances, and expressed hope that the case would not be “judged by ‘public opinion’” alone. 

Poveda said he will petition the government to clarify its decision on the matter. 

“More than the importance of nationality, it is a matter of respecting rights and following due process in withdrawing nationality,” he said. 

Ecuador’s Foreign Ministry insisted that it had “acted independently and followed due process,” claiming that similar concerns about Assange’s citizenship had been raised by the previous government. 

Assange was granted Ecuadorian citizenship in January 2018, as part of an attempt by then-President Lenin Moreno to help the journalist safely leave the country’s embassy in London, where he had been seeking asylum since June 2012. 

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FILE PHOTO: WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange makes a speech from the balcony of the Ecuadorian Embassy, in central London, Britain February 5, 2016. ©  REUTERS/Peter Nicholls
US would show no mercy to Assange if he’s extradited, but Bush & Blair will never face justice for their crimes

Assange was arrested in April 2019 by London authorities, allegedly for breaching his bail conditions in the country. Washington then requested that the WikiLeaks co-founder be extradited to the United States to face espionage charges. 

London’s High Court ruled in January 2021 that the imprisoned journalist should not be extradited, citing concerns about his mental health and wellbeing. There have been increasing calls for Assange’s release following the decision to block his extradition, with many arguing that there is no longer sufficient reason to keep him in prison. Earlier this month the US government was granted permission to appeal the court ruling blocking Assange’s extradition. 

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---------- 90 ----------

Title: Russia is world’s 2nd biggest oil producer after US this year – Rosstat

Link: https://www.rt.com/business/530435-russia-us-oil-output/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS

Date: Wed, 28 Jul 2021 08:05:42 +0000

Desc: Preview Russia’s daily oil output volumes are second only to the United States and ahead of Saudi Arabia this year, the country’s state statistics service, Rosstat, reports.
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Guid: https://www.rt.com/business/530435-russia-us-oil-output/

Content:

Russia’s daily oil output volumes are second only to the United States and ahead of Saudi Arabia this year, the country’s state statistics service, Rosstat, reports.

According to Rosstat data, Russia produced an average of 10.36 million barrels of oil daily in January-May 2021, while the average US output was 11.10 million barrels a day, making it the largest oil producer in the reporting period. Saudi Arabia came in third, with an average of 8.27 million barrels of oil per day.

Also on rt.com
FILE PHOTO: Drilling rigs operate at sunset in Midland, Texas, US
US shale sees light at the end of the tunnel

Oil accounted for 41.3% of Russia’s overall exports during the first five months of 2021. However, the country’s oil exports are down 16.9% compared to the previous reporting period, standing at 50.8 million tons. In total, Russia has produced 212.3 million tons of oil so far this year, which is a 6.2% decrease in annual terms.

The country’s oil output is expected to grow in the coming months following the agreement to boost oil production reached earlier this month by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and its allies. 

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FILE PHOTO.
OPEC+ members agree to ramp up output by 400,000 barrels per day amid soaring oil prices

OPEC member states agreed to increase the daily oil supply starting in August, since prices have reached a three-year high amid increased demand and the global economic recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic.

OPEC+ countries, including Russia, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain, will boost production by 400,000 barrels a day from August. Production is expected to be gradually increased until all of the output halted during the worst of the pandemic is restored.

For more stories on economy & finance visit RT's business section



---------- 91 ----------

Title: Tennis star Medvedev slams journalist for suggesting Russian athletes are ‘carrying stigma of cheaters’ at Tokyo Olympics

Link: https://www.rt.com/sport/530434-medvedev-olympics-russian-athletes-cheaters/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS

Date: Wed, 28 Jul 2021 07:26:57 +0000

Desc: Preview Tennis sensation Daniil Medvedev expressed disgust with a journalist who implied that Russian athletes competing in the Tokyo Olympics have been tagged as cheaters.
Read Full Article at RT.com

Guid: https://www.rt.com/sport/530434-medvedev-olympics-russian-athletes-cheaters/

Content:

Tennis sensation Daniil Medvedev expressed disgust with a journalist who implied that Russian athletes competing in the Tokyo Olympics have been tagged as cheaters.

The Russian ace was fielding questions from reporters on Wednesday when he was served a highly suggestive query. 

“Are Russian athletes carrying a stigma of cheaters in these games and how do you feel about it?” a reporter asked.

Visibly repulsed, Medvedev said it was the “first time” in his life that he wouldn’t answer a question.

“You should be embarrassed of yourself,” the tennis star snapped back at the journalist. I think you should fire him from the Olympics, I don’t wanna see him again.”

Q. Are Russian athletes carrying a stigma of cheaters in these games and how do you feel about it?

Medvedev: "First time in my life I'm not gonna answer a question. You should be embarrassed of yourself. I think you should wire him from the Olympics, I don't wanna see him again"

— Tumaini Carayol (@tumcarayol) July 28, 2021

In December 2020, the Court of Arbitration for Sport imposed a two-year ban on Russia’s participation in international sporting events, following allegations that falsified lab data was sent to World Anti-Doping Agency investigators by the Russian Anti-Doping Agency. Although the penalty was reduced from four years, Russia’s Olympic Committee claimed the court didn’t fully consider their arguments before making its decision. Moscow has maintained that the ban was highly politicized. 

Russian athletes are still allowed to compete in Tokyo but are doing so as part of the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) team.

Medvedev may have more media clashes ahead of him: The ROC team member is heading to the quarter-finals after defeating Italy’s Fabio Fognini.

Also on rt.com
Daniil Medvedev struggled badly in his Olympic match in Tokyo on Wednesday. © Reuters / Twitter
‘I can die’: Russian ace Medvedev fears he could DROP DEAD in Tokyo heat before battling into Olympic quarter-finals (VIDEO)

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---------- 92 ----------

Title: Simone Biles pulls out AGAIN at Tokyo 2020, gymnast withdraws from individual all-around competition final

Link: https://www.rt.com/sport/530433-simone-biles-withdraw-tokyo-gymnastics/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS

Date: Wed, 28 Jul 2021 07:06:40 +0000

Desc: Preview Olympic champion Simone Biles, who sensationally withdrew from the artistic all-round final gymnastics final on Tuesday, has now ruled herself out of the all-around individual competition final at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
Read Full Article at RT.com

Guid: https://www.rt.com/sport/530433-simone-biles-withdraw-tokyo-gymnastics/

Content:

Olympic champion Simone Biles, who sensationally withdrew from the artistic all-round final gymnastics final on Tuesday, has now ruled herself out of the all-around individual competition final at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

GOLDEN GIRLS: Russian team clinch Olympic gymnastics title to end US dominance in dramatic final after Biles withdraws

Biles said she was withdrawing "to focus on mental health", which she also cited as the reason for her withdrawal from the all-around artistic final after one rotation at the Ariake Gymnastics Centre on Tuesday.

A statement from USA Gymnastics on Twitter read: "After further medical evaluation, Simone Biles has withdrawn from the final individual all-around competition.

After further medical evaluation, Simone Biles has withdrawn from the final individual all-around competition. We wholeheartedly support Simone’s decision and applaud her bravery in prioritizing her well-being. Her courage shows, yet again, why she is a role model for so many. pic.twitter.com/6ILdtSQF7o

— USA Gymnastics (@USAGym) July 28, 2021

"We wholeheartedly support Simone’s decision and applaud her bravery in prioritizing her well-being. Her courage shows, yet again, why she is a role model for so many."

READ MORE: ‘More to life than gymnastics’: Simone Biles cites mental health concerns as she explains shock Olympic exit in Tokyo (VIDEO)



---------- 93 ----------

Title: Russia ramps up its hydrogen energy ambitions

Link: https://www.rt.com/business/530369-russia-hydrogen-production-ambitions/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS

Date: Wed, 28 Jul 2021 07:00:19 +0000

Desc: Preview Russia is building on its 2020 roadmap for hydrogen production over the next decade, announcing a new working group to coordinate the country’s hydrogen production and exportation projects.  
Read Full Article at RT.com

Guid: https://www.rt.com/business/530369-russia-hydrogen-production-ambitions/

Content:

Russia is building on its 2020 roadmap for hydrogen production over the next decade, announcing a new working group to coordinate the country’s hydrogen production and exportation projects.  

With the development of a new working group, by Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin, to coordinate hydrogen projects, Russia appears to be responding to international energy transition expectations for the coming years. 

Russia expects national demand to continue to rely heavily on oil and gas, meaning that much of its hydrogen production will be aimed towards export. With high levels of natural gas production, Russia is understandably interested in pursuing hydrogen production, as its neighboring European and Middle Eastern regions express their interest both for hydrogen development and importation over the next decade. 

Also on rt.com
© Pixabay.com
Russia invites Saudi Arabia to participate in hydrogen energy production

Russia plans to produce blue hydrogen, using carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology on its natural gas sites to produce the energy source. 

The working group consists of the presidents and vice-presidents of national gas firms Gazprom and Novatek, as well as representatives from the oil industry and several other national corporations and ministries. The group will be headed by Alexander Novak, Russia’s deputy prime minister. 

Gazprom has been interested in the potential uses of hydrogen for several years, including setting out a plan for hydrogen-powered trains by 2024. The firm is now suggesting that one of the two lines in its new Nord Stream 2 undersea gas pipeline project, connecting Russia and Germany, could be used to transport hydrogen in the 2030s. 

Read more
The first Russian hydrogen-powered tram is pictured during a test run in St. Petersburg. © Sputnik / Alexander Galperin
Russia eyes boosting its global market share of hydrogen by 20% in a decade

The firm has recently signed agreements to look into the incorporation of CCS, ammonia production, and wind-power generation into its existing gas production sites. And oil companies Rosneft and Gazprom Neft are also offering their expertise, with experience in grey hydrogen production at their refineries. 

Building upon Russia’s hydrogen roadmap, the working group expects that hydrogen-producing facilities using CCS could be commissioned for as early as 2023. Green hydrogen could also be in the works, as the group intends to run trials on hydrogen production from water and other renewables. 

Since the creation of the working group this month, some companies have already announced plans for hydrogen production and use in the country. For example, the United Engine Corporation of Rostec (UEC) has stated its intention to develop power plants to support the utilization of hydrogen in the aviation sector.

Novak stated in June that Russia is aiming for a 20 percent share in the world’s hydrogen market, with the government expected to approve a hydrogen plan within the next two months. The plan is expected to offer various scenarios for Russian hydrogen production as well as potential export markets. 

Russia’s 2020 energy strategy, through 2034, presented a target of 200,000 tonnes of hydrogen exports by 2024, increasing this figure to 2 million tonnes by 2035. However, if demand surpasses expectations, Russia could develop its hydrogen industry much faster, in order to export significantly higher amounts of clean energy. 

Russia also expects to work closely with several other high-demand and production states in the development of a hydrogen industry over the next decade including Germany, France, Australia, Japan, South Korea, and Saudi Arabia. 

With a Deloitte report suggesting that hydrogen use in Europe’s transport sector will reach 50 million tonnes by 2050, and European industry could require 45 million tonnes by this date, many countries are diving into production plans, with Russia offering a vital bridge between Asia and Europe as the market expands. 

This article was originally published on Oilprice.com



---------- 94 ----------

Title: ‘I can die’: Russian ace Medvedev fears he could DROP DEAD in Tokyo heat before battling into Olympic quarter-finals (VIDEO)

Link: https://www.rt.com/sport/530428-daniil-medvedev-die-heat-tokyo-olympics/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS

Date: Wed, 28 Jul 2021 06:13:43 +0000

Desc: Preview Daniil Medvedev said he “can die” on court as the Russian star struggled badly in oppressive conditions in Tokyo before seeing off Italy’s Fabio Fognini to reach the Olympic quarter-finals.
Read Full Article at RT.com

Guid: https://www.rt.com/sport/530428-daniil-medvedev-die-heat-tokyo-olympics/

Content:

Daniil Medvedev said he “can die” on court as the Russian star struggled badly in oppressive conditions in Tokyo before seeing off Italy’s Fabio Fognini to reach the Olympic quarter-finals.

Frequently bending over with exhaustion before serving and requiring medical treatment several times during the match on Wednesday, Medvedev was at one point asked by umpire Carlos Ramos whether he was able to continue.

“What can I do? I’m fine. I can finish the match, but I can die,” the Russian replied, before talking about "responsibility." 

a very metal moment in the Olympic tennis just now as Medvedev casually asks what happens if he dies on the court pic.twitter.com/kotZxePtEw

— Timothy Burke (@bubbaprog) July 28, 2021

Temperatures on court rose to 31C (88F) but the heat index made them feel more like 37C (99F).

Medvedev first required treatment for an abdominal problem while leading 5-2 in the opening set, and needed another medical break when trailing 3-4 in the second.

Daniil Medvedev really struggling with illness and an abdominal injury. He’s struggling in the brutal heat/humidity.

The Russian leads 6-2 3-4 pic.twitter.com/8xMJHIA5Uz

— Vansh! (@vanshv2k) July 28, 2021

Both players were allowed a 10-minute break between the second and third sets due to the extreme conditions, and Medvedev was given more treatment in the final set when a trainer came onto court to massage his left arm and thigh.

With Medvedev taking his time between serves, Fognini cut a frustrated figure on the other side of the net, slamming his racket into the ground when the match was over.

Fognini cut a frustrated figure on court. © Reuters

“I didn’t know what to do to feel better,” Medvedev said afterwards.

“I was ready to just fall down on the court."

Referring to his medical timeouts, the Russian star added: “I felt like my diaphragm was blocked. I couldn’t breathe properly.

"It was the most humid day we had so far, maybe the hottest.”

Medvedev struggled badly in the Tokyo heat. © Reuters

Medvedev, who is competing for the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) team, will next face Spanish sixth seed Pablo Carreno Busta in the last eight.

However, the scenes on Wednesday will pile more pressure on organizers regarding the conditions players are being forced to endure.

Both Medvedev and Serbian world number one Novak Djokovic have questioned why matches can’t be moved to the evenings to avoid the suffocating heat.

After defeating Kazakh rival Alexander Bublik in a grueling first-round match, Medvedev had said it was a “joke” that players were only allowed a 60-second changeover period.

Also on rt.com
Daniil Medvedev has endured the heat at the Tokyo Olympic Games © Mike Segar / Reuters | / Reuters | © Harrison Barden / USA Today Sports via Reuters
Russian star Daniil Medvedev blasts Olympics tennis tournament a ‘joke’ as players grapple with sweltering conditions in Japan

“I think the fact that we have only one minute between the changeovers is a joke… It should be 1:30 like it is in other tournaments,” Medvedev had fumed.

“But you have to play. That’s the Olympics, you go for the medal. You are not here to cry about the heat.”

After Wednesday's scenes, fans described Medvedev’s match with Fognini as verging on a “pantomime” while also fearing for the players’ health – pointing the finger at US Olympic broadcasters NBC over the timing of events. 

In a match which teetered on the brink of pantomime, Medvedev beats Fognini 6-2 3-6 6-2.

Conditions were brutal.

At one stage, Medvedev said to the umpire: “I can finish the match, but I can die. If I die, who will take responsibility?" (h/t @tumcarayol)#Olympics #Tokyo2020

— The Tennis Podcast (@TennisPodcast) July 28, 2021

I don't know how he did it, I don't think even he understands how he did it but, after wondering who would be responsible if he dies on the court, the amazing Daniil Medvedev wins the most ridiculous match of the year.

— Oleg S. (@AnnaK_4ever) July 28, 2021

Every time anything comes up with the heat, @NBCOlympics shud be shamed..

Medvedev asked, "If i die, who will take responsibility".

Simple answer - NBC!!!#Tokyo2020

— Kapil Choudhary (@kapil857) July 28, 2021

Medvedev, 25, will now need to recover in time to face Carreno Busta, knowing that he will likely have to contend with the conditions as well as his opponent.  



---------- 95 ----------

Title: ‘The most painful of recoveries’: Liberals gloat as conservative YouTuber Steven Crowder hospitalized with ‘collapsed lung’

Link: https://www.rt.com/usa/530426-crowder-hospitalization-liberals-reaction/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS

Date: Wed, 28 Jul 2021 04:25:04 +0000

Desc: Preview Liberals, including a self-professed Democrat healthcare advocate, have responded to news of right-wing YouTuber Steven Crowder’s life-threatening medical condition by wishing him ill health and a “painful recovery.”
Read Full Article at RT.com

Guid: https://www.rt.com/usa/530426-crowder-hospitalization-liberals-reaction/

Content:

Liberals, including a self-professed Democrat healthcare advocate, have responded to news of right-wing YouTuber Steven Crowder’s life-threatening medical condition by wishing him ill health and a “painful recovery.”

The ‘Louder with Crowder’ host received the opposite of an outpouring of support from the liberal-minded on Twitter after he announced on Tuesday that he almost died after his lung collapsed earlier this month.

“Last night took a turn for the worse. Ever actually get so close that you can physically feel death? He’s a d**k,” Crowder tweeted, adding that his condition is “fixable” and that he hopes to get better soon.

Last night took a turn for the worse. Ever actually get so close that you can physically feel death? He’s a dick. The good news is, it’s fixable and these things happen. I’ll be back before you know it. Thanks for the support. pic.twitter.com/PvOOSi2ROK

— Steven Crowder (@scrowder) July 27, 2021

Crowder, who recently had surgery for what he called “a stupid genetic defect” causing his chest to ‘cave in’ on his heart, said last week that he had “a mild lung collapse” and noted that this setback would make his road to recovery longer than expected.

Responding to the comedian’s close call with death, many of his detractors could not contain their joy, some suggesting it was retribution for him recreating the death of George Floyd under the knee of ex-police officer Derek Chauvin for his channel. The clip saw Crowder ‘star’ as Floyd, and has sparked massive backlash online.

my heart goes out to the collapsed lung, no one deserves Steven Crowder pic.twitter.com/UwJc9RyHLa

— remy “Steven Crowder Is A Coward” clio (@itsremyclio) July 28, 2021

Damn not even Steven Crowder’s lung likes him💀 pic.twitter.com/cYm5vU1e5I

— TRUMP LOST LMAO!!!! (@pinkbarb2020) July 28, 2021

Me seeing conservatives get triggered about people celebrating Steven crowder being gravely sick…….I’m loving it lol pic.twitter.com/KhUElJPbDW

— CyclopsIsBetterThanWolverine (@Krakoan4Life) July 28, 2021

Former Massachusetts Democratic primary candidate and games developer Brianna Wu tweeted that although she is usually for casting political differences aside and “for showing compassion,” she “can’t help but remember” Crowder’s Floyd scene.

how it started how it’s
for Steven Crowder going pic.twitter.com/rZTYgL9JzU

— 🧩full slack🧩 (@full_slack) July 28, 2021

Among those who jumped on the Crowder-bashing train was Kendall Brown, an Oklahoma-based digital strategist and self-professed “health care advocate” who is “fighting to defeat Republican supermajorities.” Brown has amassed over 22,000 followers on Twitter and wrote an opinion piece for CNN last year, in which she attacked ex-President Donald Trump’s handling of the Covid-19 pandemic and its impact on chronically ill Americans. 

“In case the President and his allies have forgotten, let me remind you: elderly and chronically ill Americans are still, well, Americans. Our lives matter every bit as much as those of our healthy neighbors,” Brown wrote in the op-ed.

This time, however, Brown struck a less compassionate tone, tweeting that while she “normally” wouldn't laugh at sick people, Crowder was an exception because of his YouTube antics. “I wish him nothing but the most painful of recoveries,” Brown added in a since-deleted tweet.

So @kendallybrown deleted her tweets wishing suffering on a young married man @scrowder

Good thing my uncle @JackPosobiec taught me take receipts 💅 pic.twitter.com/JfONAqzMuP

— ELIJAH SCHAFFER (@ElijahSchaffer) July 28, 2021

Film producer Tariq Nasheed, who is no less controversial himself when it comes to race issues, called Crowder “a white supremacist, who decided to make a living spewing anti-Black racism,” completing his vitriolic tweet with a symbol of a voodoo spirit, known as a god of war.

Suspected white supremacist Steven Crowder, who decided to make a living spewing anti-Black racism after his career as a stand up comic FAILED, & who constantly mocks the deaths of Blk ppl

claimed he almost died recently after his lung collapsed.

Aww that’s horrible. Prayers 🙏🏾 pic.twitter.com/N1ea9w0QIt

— Tariq Nasheed 🇺🇸 (@tariqnasheed) July 28, 2021

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---------- 96 ----------

Title: Sydney extends lockdown yet again, forcing city of 5mn to stay home for another MONTH amid small spike in Covid cases

Link: https://www.rt.com/news/530425-sydney-extends-lockdown-month/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS

Date: Wed, 28 Jul 2021 04:13:26 +0000

Desc: Preview Australia’s most populous city will undergo another four weeks of lockdown after state officials said previous shutdown orders failed to stem a small surge in coronavirus infections, most linked to the contagious Delta variant.
Read Full Article at RT.com

Guid: https://www.rt.com/news/530425-sydney-extends-lockdown-month/

Content:

Australia’s most populous city will undergo another four weeks of lockdown after state officials said previous shutdown orders failed to stem a small surge in coronavirus infections, most linked to the contagious Delta variant.

While the city had planned to exit a prior lockdown by the end of the week, officials instead extended the restrictions into late August on Tuesday, with New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian lamenting the decision while claiming it is necessary.

“I am as upset and frustrated as all of you that we were not able to get the case numbers we would have liked at this point in time but that is the reality,” she said during a televised news conference. “We have to deal with the cards before us and the situation before us and that is why we have taken the action we have.”

New South Wales, of which Sydney is the capital city, reported 177 new infections on Tuesday, slightly up from the 172 tallied on Monday. With just over 2,100 “active cases” in the state, NSW’s numbers remain low next to comparable regions abroad, though officials there have taken a stricter approach to their pandemic response, looking to prevent any and all new cases.

Also on rt.com
(L) Melbourne, Australia, July 16, 2021. © Reuters / Sandra Sanders; (R) Sydney, Australia, July 22, 2021. © Reuters / Loren Elliott
Victoria and South Australia set to end Covid lockdowns, while Sydney cases continue to climb

The lockdown restrictions will continue to bar residents from leaving home except to obtain food and other “essential” goods and services. They will also be permitted to leave for “essential work,” medical care, including vaccinations, and for outdoor exercise.

The new cluster of infections in NSW was traced back to an unvaccinated airport transit driver in Sydney, with cases subsequently spreading to several thousand people. Eleven deaths have been tallied during the recent outbreak.

Elsewhere in the country, the states of Victoria and South Australia lifted their own lockdown orders after also seeing small outbreaks.

Pointing to NSW’s low immunization rate of just 13%, Berejiklian insisted that “vaccination is the key to our freedom” on Tuesday, suggesting the lockdowns would only be lifted as the vaccine roll-out picks up steam.

“I want August to be the month where everyone comes forward to get the jab,” she said. “That is key to us being able to see what September looks like. I don’t think anyone can deny that the vaccination rate is absolutely key to how we live life in NSW.”

Also on rt.com
© Getty Images / davidf
Former Australian Liberal National Party leader blasts colleagues for abandoning ‘fundamental Australian values’ during Covid-19

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---------- 97 ----------

Title: 2 Colorado officers arrested after bodycam footage shows unarmed trespassing suspect CHOKED & PISTOL WHIPPED

Link: https://www.rt.com/usa/530424-police-charged-pistol-whip/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS

Date: Wed, 28 Jul 2021 02:34:14 +0000

Desc: Preview Two police officers in Colorado have been arrested and charged after beating a suspect bloody during a trespassing call, one seen pistol whipping him over a dozen times, with the local police chief calling their acts “criminal.”
Read Full Article at RT.com

Guid: https://www.rt.com/usa/530424-police-charged-pistol-whip/

Content:

Two police officers in Colorado have been arrested and charged after beating a suspect bloody during a trespassing call, one seen pistol whipping him over a dozen times, with the local police chief calling their acts “criminal.”

The officers, John Haubert and Francine Martinez of the Aurora Police Department, were arrested on Tuesday for a litany of offenses over a July 23 encounter with suspected trespassers, the city government said. Aurora Police Chief Vanessa Wilson played bodycam footage of the incident during a Tuesday press conference, warning the video is “very disturbing” and would “shock the conscience.” 

“What you’re going to see is going to anger you, and may even bring you to tears. I know as I watched it, I felt myself welling up with tears as well as anger,” she said, adding “We’re disgusted. We’re angry. This is not police work. We don’t train this, it’s not acceptable.”

This was not the Aurora Police Department. This was criminal.

Also on rt.com
RT
Alabama police investigating video that shows officer violently stomping on ‘schizophrenic’ man’s leg (VIDEO)

Officer Haubert – who struck suspect Kyle Vinson in the head and face with his service pistol “approximately 13 times,” according to Wilson – faces charges including felony menacing, second degree assault, attempted first degree assault, official misconduct and official oppression. Martinez, meanwhile, was charged for failing to stop the excessive use of force or report it to her superiors. Both have since bonded out of custody and are now on leave, the police chief said, though Martinez will continue to collect a paycheck in the meantime.

Vinson, 29, was hospitalized with contusions and required stitches after the scuffle. He is heard repeatedly pleading with the officers not to kill him in the footage, which Wilson said captured a “very despicable act” by the responding officers.

The police chief said the department received a trespassing call around 1pm on July 23. When Haubert and Martinez arrived at the scene, they saw three men sitting on the ground near their bicycles. Though Wilson noted they were initially “cooperative,” officers ran their names and found all three men had outstanding arrest warrants. When they tried to arrest one suspect, he and another man fled while Vinson remained seated, with officers quickly pinning him to the ground and ordering him to turn onto his stomach. The ensuing scuffle was captured in the bodycam footage, in which Vinson is repeatedly struck by Haubert, who is also seen choking him with one arm for about 40 seconds. The officer is heard threatening to shoot Vinson several times.

Court documents obtained by the Associated Press show that Vinson was wanted after he failed to submit urine samples, stopped attending court-ordered domestic violence counseling and failed to appear for probation meetings linked to a prior offense. Wilson noted that the man likely did not know about the warrant.

Insisting on the public’s “right to know” and the need for “transparency,” Wilson said the department is conducting an “expedited” internal probe in coordination with local prosecutors, hoping it will bring “some sort of closure” to the case. In the meantime, she urged for “peace” from residents, asking that they allow the disciplinary process to run its course. 

“As angry as you are, I need peace in this city, please. I need peace from the community members,” she said, adding “The first part of justice has been served with the officers being arrested.”

Also on rt.com
A still shot taken from police body camera footage on the night of Daniel Prude's death, part of a trove released by New York Attorney General Letitia James.
‘Don’t kill me, man’: New York AG releases disturbing police body cam VIDEO of two black men who died in custody

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---------- 98 ----------

Title: Gilgamesh Dream: US confiscates Sumerian tablet stolen from Iraq & bought by Hobby Lobby

Link: https://www.rt.com/usa/530422-gilgamesh-tablet-museum-seized/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS

Date: Wed, 28 Jul 2021 01:09:43 +0000

Desc: Preview The US government has seized an ancient Sumerian cuneiform tablet that was bought by a US dealer around the time of the 2003 invasion, and later purchased by craft store chain Hobby Lobby for the Museum of the Bible in Oklahoma.
Read Full Article at RT.com

Guid: https://www.rt.com/usa/530422-gilgamesh-tablet-museum-seized/

Content:

The US government has seized an ancient Sumerian cuneiform tablet that was bought by a US dealer around the time of the 2003 invasion, and later purchased by craft store chain Hobby Lobby for the Museum of the Bible in Oklahoma.

On Tuesday, the US Justice Department announced that Hobby Lobby – whose owners are devout Christians – agreed to forfeit the artifact, which contains a portion of the ancient Sumerian Epic of Gilgamesh, one of the world’s oldest works of literature.

“Forfeiture of the Gilgamesh Dream Tablet demonstrates the [DOJ’s] continued commitment to eliminating smuggled cultural property from the US art market,” said Assistant Attorney General Kenneth Polite Jr.

Looks like Hobby Lobby has gotten itself into a big legal....Mess-opotamia https://t.co/XIsUjWElYE

— Robert Maguire (@RobertMaguire_) July 27, 2021

Federal agents originally seized the tablet from the Oklahoma City museum in September 2019. Hobby Lobby had acquired it in a private sale in 2014, from an auction house in London that the DOJ did not name, but which was reported to be Christie’s.

The “cultural value of this tablet that travelled the world under false provenance exceeds any monetary value,” said special agent Peter Fitzhugh of Homeland Security Investigations, which was involved in the proceedings.

The tablet is over 4,000 years old, measures approximately 6 inches by 5 inches (15 cm by 12 cm), and is inscribed in the language of Akkad.

Here is a photo of the "Gilgamesh Dream Tablet" seized by federal prosecutors from Hobby Lobby's Museum of the Bible in September 2019.

It was forfeited to the U.S. today.

EDNY announced that shortly after announcing Shkreli's Wu Tang album has been sold. pic.twitter.com/myXM72MY9W

— Adam Klasfeld (@KlasfeldReports) July 27, 2021

According to a complaint filed by the DOJ on July 16, the unnamed US antiques dealer visited England “in or about 2001” to view a series of ancient cuneiform tablets in an apartment in London. The artifacts are alleged to have belonged to Jordanian coins dealer Ghassan Rihani, who died the same year.

“In or about March or April 2003” – around the time the US invaded Iraq – the dealer visited the apartment again and bought the tablet, which was said to be “encrusted with dirt and unreadable,” from a Rihani “family member.” The dealer then shipped the tablet into the US without declaring its contents and cleaned it, at which point the inscription was recognized as part of the Epic of Gilgamesh. 

In 2007, the antiquities dealer sold the tablet alongside a letter falsely claiming it had been found in a box bought at a 1981 auction. The tablet was then resold “several times” until it ended up at the auction house, at which point it was bought by Hobby Lobby and sent to the museum.

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A photograph of the Wu-Tang Clan's 'Once Upon a Time in Shaolin', March 26, 2014 © Wikipedia
US government auctions off only copy of Wu-Tang Clan album once owned by notorious ‘Pharma Bro’ Martin Shkreli

According to Jacquelyn Kasulis, acting US attorney for the Eastern District of New York, the DOJ intends to eventually return the “rare and ancient masterpiece of world literature to its country of origin.”

Iraqi museums suffered several looting spells in the last three decades. Nine of the country’s regional museums were targeted by looters in 1991 during the Gulf War. The rampage resulted in some 4,000 artifacts being destroyed or stolen.

Iraqi authorities have estimated that more than 35,000 items were taken from the National Museum of Iraq in Baghdad when it was sacked during the 2003 invasion. The subsequent US-backed Iraqi governments have tried to get the artifacts returned, but have seen little success. In 2014, when the Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) terrorist group claimed a large portion of Iraq and Syria and looted the museum in Mosul, the US government pledged to crack down on trade in stolen artifacts, saying that the proceeds might contribute to financing terrorism.

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---------- 99 ----------

Title: Biden says vaccine mandate for federal employees ‘under consideration’ as reports suggest announcement will come this week

Link: https://www.rt.com/usa/530421-biden-federal-vaccine-requirements/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS

Date: Tue, 27 Jul 2021 23:34:56 +0000

Desc: Preview US President Joe Biden has confirmed that he is mulling vaccine requirements for federal workers. CNN reported the mandate is imminent and will likely be formally announced as early as Thursday.
Read Full Article at RT.com

Guid: https://www.rt.com/usa/530421-biden-federal-vaccine-requirements/

Content:

US President Joe Biden has confirmed that he is mulling vaccine requirements for federal workers. CNN reported the mandate is imminent and will likely be formally announced as early as Thursday.

Asked about a possible mandate for government personnel on Tuesday, Biden told reporters the move is “under consideration right now,” but declined to comment further. Soon after, however, CNN reported that the new rules would be announced on Thursday, citing a source with “direct knowledge of the matter.”

BREAKING: Pres. Biden tells ABC’s @sarahkolinovsky that he is considering a mandate for all federal employees to get COVID-19 vaccines.

“That’s under consideration right now, but if you’re not vaccinated you’re not nearly as smart as I thought you were.” https://t.co/EfL3CboKWj pic.twitter.com/8XEU9vlfme

— ABC News Live (@ABCNewsLive) July 27, 2021

While the specifics remain unclear, Biden is expected to propose restrictions similar to those recently imposed in New York City and California, where public workers are now required to take the jab, the source said, adding that the president will also unveil new incentives to encourage vaccinations. They noted that the rules would not extend to the military, at least for now.

The discussions of mandatory immunizations for government employees follow a decision by the Department of Veteran Affairs on Monday to require vaccines for its health workers, becoming the first federal agency to do so. 

While the White House urged federal agencies not to require inoculations for on-site work as recently as June, saying they “should generally not be a pre-condition,” it appears to have shifted its stance in the few weeks since. Moreover, lawyers at the Justice Department concluded earlier this week that federal law does not prohibit vaccine mandates, including for private entities and regardless of whether the immunizations are fully authorized by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), potentially laying the ground for future requirements.

Earlier on Tuesday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) abruptly reversed its previous guidance that the vaccinated do not need to wear masks indoors, pointing to the more contagious Delta variant making the rounds across much of the world. 

Asked whether the ever-changing health guidelines could be confusing for Americans, Biden turned his sights to the unvaccinated, suggesting they are to blame for the ongoing health crisis.

“We have a pandemic because the unvaccinated and they're sowing enormous confusion. And the more we learn about this virus and the Delta variation, the more we have to be worried and concerned,” he said. “There's only one thing we know for sure, if those other hundred million people got vaccinated, we'd be in a very different world.”

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A sign on the door of a store requiring masks to be worn by customers is seen in Birmingham, Michigan, May 27, 2020 Reuters / Emily Elconin
CDC asks VACCINATED Americans to mask up again

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---------- 100 ----------

Title: SWASTIKA in State Department elevator prompts condemnations from Blinken, Israel

Link: https://www.rt.com/usa/530419-state-department-swastika-elevator/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS

Date: Tue, 27 Jul 2021 23:16:56 +0000

Desc: Preview After what looked like a Nazi symbol was found carved into the wall of a State Department elevator in Washington, Israel’s ambassador to the US denounced anti-Semitism and Secretary of State Antony Blinken called it “abhorrent.”
Read Full Article at RT.com

Guid: https://www.rt.com/usa/530419-state-department-swastika-elevator/

Content:

After what looked like a Nazi symbol was found carved into the wall of a State Department elevator in Washington, Israel’s ambassador to the US denounced anti-Semitism and Secretary of State Antony Blinken called it “abhorrent.”

“Unfortunately, late yesterday a swastika was found carved in an elevator in our building here, at the State Department,” Deputy Spokesperson Jalina Porter told reporters on Tuesday.

“This graffiti has been removed and the incident will be investigated,” she added.

A swastika was found on Monday etched into the wall of a State Dept elevator near the office of the special envoy to monitor & combat anti-semitism, according to a person familiar w/ the discovery &a picture obtained by @axios@HansNichols & @jonathanvswan https://t.co/Bv6Twit5sF

— Alayna Treene (@alaynatreene) July 27, 2021

The crudely carved symbol was discovered inside Elevator 36 at the State Department headquarters in Foggy Bottom late on Monday, Axios reported on Tuesday with an exclusive photo. The elevator is reportedly near the office of the US Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Antisemitism. 

Blinken, who is Jewish, is currently on a trip to Kuwait and India. He sent an email to the State Department employees on Tuesday, calling the “hateful graffiti” a painful reminder that “anti-Semitism isn't a relic of the past.”

“It's still a force in the world, including close to home. And it's abhorrent. It has no place in the United States, at the State Department, or anywhere else. And we must be relentless in standing up and rejecting it,” Blinken wrote.

BREAKING: Secretary Blinken to staff on swastika incident: This reminds us antisemitism is not a relic of the past. It has no place in the U.S., at the state department or anywhere else. To our Jewish colleagues please knkw how grateful we are for your service pic.twitter.com/aOuzVCxaoX

— Barak Ravid (@BarakRavid) July 27, 2021

“We also know from our own history and from the histories of other nations that anti-Semitism often goes hand in hand with racism, sexism, homophobia, xenophobia, and other hatreds. None of these ideologies should have a home in our workplace or our nation,” the secretary added.

Gilad Erdan, Israeli ambassador to the US and the UN, also commented on the discovery, calling the State Department swastika “a serious incident of antisemitic vandalism, which once again shows that antisemitism does not distinguish between Jews in Israel and Jews in America, and harms not only Israel but the entire world.” 

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According to Axios, the defaced elevator “raises troubling questions about security” at the State Department. All of the elevators inside the complex are inside the secure perimeter, covered by cameras and uniformed guards. There are fewer employees on the premises than usual, since many State Department staffers continue to work from home on account of the coronavirus pandemic. Any outside contractors allowed access are supposed to be vetted by the Diplomatic Security Service. All of this should make it easy to identify the culprit, though that has not happened yet.

Earlier this month, State Department officials said that President Joe Biden intends to nominate a full-time ambassador to the post of antisemitism envoy, currently handled by Kara McDonald, deputy assistant secretary of state for democracy, human rights and labor.

Jewish groups have also lobbied the White House for a stronger response to anti-Semitic attacks in the US, which they tied to the recent violence in Israel and Gaza.

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