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1. Top commander promises ‘graveyard’ for the enemies of Iran05:49[-/+]
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Foreign adversaries are trying to trigger a “great sedition,” IRGC chief said

The commander-in-chief of the elite Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), Hossein Salami, has warned the US, Israel and other foreign nations that any attempts to sow discord in Iran will ultimately backfire and lead to their own demise. The top commander made the remarks in the eastern city of Zahedan on Sunday, as he addressed some 15,000 members of Basij security militia.

“The US, Britain, Israel, Germany, France, and the House of Saud are all trying to provoke tensions in Iran by means of their divisive media outlets. However, the nation is fully vigilant. Enemies have many pipe dreams and are living in delusions,” Salami told the militiamen.

The commander accused Washington and London in particular of seeking to re-establish colonial dominance over Iran, and warned that their attempt to cause a “great sedition and this world war will be turned into a graveyard of the enemies.”

“The United States, which has decimated tens of millions of people in various wars and is the exporter of instruments of torture and weapons of mass destruction, and Britain, which has committed massacres all over the world and has a colonial mindset, are nowadays trying to harm the Iranian nation. They will never succeed, however,” he stressed.

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FILE PHOTO. A motorcycle on fire in Tehran, Iran on October 8, 2022.
Iran blasts world’s ‘silence’ over ‘terrorist’ attacks

For months now, Iran has seen violent protests that erupted over the death of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old woman who was arrested by Iran’s morality police in September for allegedly wearing her hijab “improperly” and died hours later. Amini’s family believes she was beaten to death while in custody, however, Iranian authorities insist that she died of a pre-existing medical condition stemming from surgery on a benign brain tumor she had undergone when she was eight.

Tehran has repeatedly accused foreign adversaries of hijacking and directing the protest, which led to multiple deadly attacks on government facilities in a string of incidents, described by the government as terrorist acts. President Ebrahim Raisi said earlier this month that Washington was trying to destabilize Iran by encouraging unrest in the guise of legitimate protests, taking a page from the playbook used in Libya and Syria, two countries that were plunged into civil wars.

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2. Plane crashes into power tower (VIDEO)03:39[-/+]
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The aircraft got stuck in the power lines, suspended high up in the air

A small plane with two people on board crashed into an electricity pylon, causing widespread power outages in Gaithersburg, Maryland on Sunday night.

Authorities have managed to contact the pilot and passenger of the plane, confirming that both of them are alive following the incident that happened around 6:15pm local time.

Police have closed off the area and urged residents to stay away, warning that some of the wires were still live. About an hour later, first responders were still working to rescue the victims, who got stuck in the power lines dangling around 30 meters (100 feet) in the air.

“We have a man in contact with them, they seem to be OK at this time. However they are in a very precarious situation due to the fact that they are dangling about 100 feet up and everything is still energized,” a spokesperson for Montgomery County’s Fire & Rescue Service, Pete Piringer, said in a video he recorded at the scene.

Update - Gaithersburg, Maryland, @MontgomeryCoMD small plane into powerlines & tower plow, suspended about 100 feet in the air, two persons on board uninjured at this time, @mcfrs on scene, Widespread power outages, some roads closed in area, https://t.co/VRLGfpyFaA pic.twitter.com/3iCMW0v94j

— Pete Piringer (@mcfrsPIO) November 27, 2022

The incident left tens of thousands of homes without electricity throughout the northern parts of Montgomery County, the Potomac Electric Power Company has confirmed.

Gaithersburg, MD plane crash https://t.co/aeT9pFAFdU

— Pete Piringer (@mcfrsPIO) November 27, 2022

“We have confirmed that a private plane came into contact with Pepco’s transmission lines in Montgomery County, resulting in an outage to approximately 85,000 customers,” the utility said in a tweet.

“We are awaiting clearance to the scene before crews can begin work to stabilize the electric infrastructure and begin restoring service,” the company added.

A small plane has crashed into power lines in the area of Rothbury Dr & Goshen Rd, taking out power to parts of the county.@mcfrs is on scene. PLEASE AVOID THE AREA, as there are still live wires. #MCPD #MCPNews

— Montgomery County Department of Police (@mcpnews) November 27, 2022

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3. UK confirms transfer of advanced weapons to Ukraine02:28[-/+]
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Cutting-edge Brimstone 2 missiles seen on their way to Kiev

The UK Defence Ministry has confirmed supplying Ukraine with modern laser-guided Brimstone 2 missiles, shrugging off Moscow’s repeated warnings about the risk of triggering a direct conflict between NATO and Russia.

The ministry posted a video clip Sunday on Twitter, showing at least one pallet of the high-precision missiles being delivered from the Royal Air Force Brize Norton base in Oxfordshire to an undisclosed airfield. The missiles were part of a UK “aid package” for Ukraine, the ministry said, confirming earlier media reports of such deliveries taking place for some time.

“This aid has played a crucial role in stalling Russian advancements,” the ministry claimed in its tweet.

? As part of its aid package, the UK has provided Brimstone 2 missiles, a precision-guided missile, to the Ukrainian Armed Forces.

This aid has played a crucial role in stalling Russian advancements.

?? #StandWithUkraine ?? pic.twitter.com/SpVnWqeiVm

— Ministry of Defence ?? (@DefenceHQ) November 27, 2022

UK forces reportedly began supplying earlier versions of the Brimstone missile to Ukraine last spring. The Brimstone 2 is far more advanced than its predecessor, offering about triple the range. It’s designed for firing from an aircraft to attack targets on the ground. However, Ukrainian ground troops have used the missile on adapted trucks, mostly targeting tanks and other armored vehicles.

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FILE PHOTO. Javelin anti-tank missiles, and other military hardware pictured at Borispol Airport near Kiev, Ukraine.
Ukraine receiving secret weapons supplies – FM

UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak unveiled a new military aid package worth £50 million ($60 million) during his visit to Kiev earlier this month. Each Brimstone 2 missile reportedly costs about £175,000.

The Kremlin has warned that as the US, the UK and other NATO members supply increasingly advanced weaponry to Ukraine, they are prolonging the conflict and risking a direct confrontation with Russia. Moscow characterizes the ongoing conflict as nothing short of a “proxy war” against the US and NATO, while President Putin has described Russia as fighting “the entire Western military machine.”

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4. Politicians, police and journalists named in Greek spyware scandal – media01:45[-/+]
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The government has refused to admit that it spied on its opponents, accusing them of fabricating the story for political gain

The Greek government planted spyware on the phones of dozens of politicians, journalists, state officials and businesspeople, according to an ongoing investigation by Documento, a Greek newspaper. A report on Sunday revealed that a police chief was targeted as well.

Documento, which has been investigating the scandal for several months, claimed that the former head of the Hellenic Police, Michalis Karamalakis, had ‘Predator’ spyware installed on his phone by the country’s National Intelligence Service (EYP), at the behest of Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis.

The report brings to more than 100 the number of targets under alleged EYP’s surveillance. The list includes opposition politician Nikos Androulakis, prosecutor Christos Bardakis, journalists Tina Messaropoulou, Thanasis Koukakis, and Stavros Michaloudis, as well as a number of Mitsotakis’ own advisers and confidants.

Mitsotakis, who directly oversees the work of the EYP, denies any involvement in the scandal. After opposition leader Alexis Tsipras called on the PM to “stop hiding and give answers,” his spokesman, Yiannis Oikonomou, called the wiretapping claims “unproven and unsubstantiated.” Oikonomou accused Tsipras of “trying to create conditions of political anomaly” to justify “the looming defeat of [his party] in the upcoming elections.”

According to Documento’s reporting, Oikonomou also had his phone tapped by the EYP.

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RT
EU report accuses four member states of abusing spyware

The scandal first emerged in early August, when Panagiotis Kontoleon, who led the EYP at the time, told a parliamentary committee that the intelligence agency had been spying on financial journalist Thanasis Koukakis. Earlier this month, a report by the European Parliament accused Greece and three other EU countries of utilizing the spyware to snoop on their citizens.

Developed by North Macedonian-based software firm Cytrox and linked to the Israeli defense industry, ‘Predator’ spyware is comparable to the Israeli-developed ‘Pegasus’ malware, which multiple governments and intelligence agencies were caught using last year. Both programs can access calls, messages, photos and files, and can secretly turn on target phones’ cameras and microphones.

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5. Football riots grip EU cities (VIDEOS)01:43[-/+]
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Police deployed water cannons and tear gas against unruly crowds in several Belgian and Dutch cities

Violent scenes unfolded in the streets of multiple European cities, including Brussels, Antwerp, Amsterdam and Rotterdam on Sunday, as riot police officers clashed with hordes of unruly football fans after the Morocco team bested Belgium 2-0 in the FIFA World Cup in Qatar.

Authorities in Brussels used tear gas and water cannons in their effort to rein in the wanton property damage as Morocco fans smashed store windows and set fire to cars, according to AFP.

Video posted to social media showed a mob attacking a car and scooters, while another clip featured fans setting off fireworks and cheering.

Riot police reportedly had to seal off parts of the city center, including a popular Christmas market, and some public transit was ordered shut down.

Some of the many young Morocco’ fans in Brussels are getting out of hand with “celebrations” getting out of control. car and a scooter amongst the first victims… quartier midi Bruxelles. pic.twitter.com/ueTG0tjj47

— Bruno Boelpaep (@BrunoBoelpaep) November 27, 2022

According to the AP, a dozen people were arrested in Brussels and eight more in Antwerp.

Brussels tonight. After World Cup game pic.twitter.com/63HwcHAIVB

— Amichai Stein (@AmichaiStein1) November 27, 2022

In the neighboring Netherlands, authorities were forced to deploy riot police to contain a restless crowd in central Amsterdam, urging people to leave the area of the Mercatorplein square. Two police officials were reportedly injured amid unrest in Rotterdam.

Les colons Marocains de #Rotterdam saccagent le centre-ville pour feter la victoire de leur equipe. #BLGMAR pic.twitter.com/OcxHcicAB4

— Damien Rieu (@DamienRieu) November 27, 2022

Local politicians denounced the hooligans for bringing “shame to real fans” and urged residents to stay away from the city center, even while stressing that the majority of the revelers were behaving peacefully.

#BREAKING: Riots and unrest in the dutch cities of Rotterdam, Hague and Amsterdam following Morocco's world cup win against Belgium pic.twitter.com/6Hcy3E3roB

— Amichai Stein (@AmichaiStein1) November 27, 2022

Brussels Mayor Philippe Close lamented that police had been forced to act “harshly” and belatedly ordered them to arrest the troublemakers.

BREAKING- According to AFP, Dozens of Moroccan fans smashed shop windows along with torching cars in Brussels after Morocco’s football win over Belgium.

Around a hundred police officers were mobilized to Brussels city centre while residents were warned to avoid certain areas. pic.twitter.com/zO6RLJrpH6

— Arabzies (@Arabzies) November 27, 2022

Celebrations in Morocco’s capital of Rabat were comparatively subdued as fans sang and danced to mark their team’s first win in a World Cup match since 1998. Morocco’s next match is against Canada on December 1.

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6. Germans turned against backing Ukraine by anti-militarism – poll01:18[-/+]
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54% of the respondents said Berlin doesn’t have to increase its support for Kiev, a survey by the Washington Post showed

Soaring energy prices driven by sanctions on Russian oil and gas are not the primary factor behind Germans’ disillusionment with helping Ukraine in the ongoing conflict, according to a recent poll conducted by the Washington Post. Instead, the outlet found a general aversion to military intervention that took hold after the country’s defeat in World War II was behind their reluctance to sign off on a blank check to Kiev.

While the vast majority — 91% — of German respondents expressed sympathy for Ukraine, more than half (54%) said their country was doing either enough (37%) or too much (17%) in terms of military and humanitarian aid, according to the poll.

The news outlet queried Germans on four specific policies, hoping to gauge public support for “increasing sanctions on Russia and Putin, even if these sanctions might lead to a further increase in food and gas prices,” sending more missiles and other military aid, welcoming more refugees “even if it placed additional burdens on the economy,” and admitting Ukraine to NATO even if this would require defending the country militarily.

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NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.
‘Hard times’ ahead for Europe – NATO

While about a third of those polled opposed each policy, those who expressed support were not particularly enthusiastic, and there was a stark divide in sentiment between the formerly-socialist East and the West of the country. More than half (52%) of East Germans said they opposed increased military aid to Ukraine, compared to just 27% of West Germans.

Attempting to explain Germans’ reluctance to bolster Ukrainian military effort, the Post claimed general anti-militaristic attitude after WWII might one of the reason for this. The newspaper pointed out that even NATO-approved interventions to which Berlin has contributed troops and resources have proven deeply unpopular among the German citizens following a brief period of public support.

However, Berlin has been one of Kiev’s strong backers during its conflict with Russia, supplying the first unit of its state-of-the-art IRIS-T air defense systems to Ukrainian forces last month. Three more units, made up of a command vehicle, a radar vehicle, and a truck-mounted launcher, are expected to arrive in the country in 2023.

Meanwhile, Germany’s own military has yet to receive the ground-based IRIS-T system, leading some politicians to raise concerns that the country is arming Ukraine at the expense of its own defense capabilities.

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7. German lawmakers feel chill at work – media01:04[-/+]
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Temperatures in Bundestag offices have fallen to 18 degrees C or lower, Der Spiegel reports

With the onset of colder weather, lawmakers in the German parliament are struggling to keep warm at their workplaces, according to Der Spiegel. As the Bundestag curtails its energy consumption amid the crisis, some MPs have complained that such conditions create health risks, the outlet reported on Friday.

In the article, titled ‘Ice age in parliament’, the magazine mentioned that some ministers and lawmakers have been wearing turtleneck pullovers underneath their jackets and shawls or scarves in the offices.

According to Der Spiegel, “it has become cold in the Bundestag, unpleasantly cold.”

The outlet quoted Green Party lawmaker Renate Kuenast as complaining: “I sat in a down jacket in the office and have been constantly running around. Nevertheless, after a short while I already had a cold nose.”

Temperatures inside the German parliament are said to have dropped significantly just over a week ago. In Kuenast’s office, the thermostat showed 18.2 degrees C, though she said it had been even cooler the day before. The former agriculture minister added that some of her colleagues had it even worse at their workplaces, potentially putting their health at risk.

As per the energy saving legislation proposed by Robert Habeck, the vice chancellor and minister for economic affairs and climate action, and passed by the parliament back in August, temperatures in non-residential government buildings, including the Bundestag, should be kept at 19 degrees C, with hallways not being heated at all.

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NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.
‘Hard times’ ahead for Europe – NATO

The report by Der Spiegel comes amid an acute energy crunch in Germany as the EU has been striving to wean itself off Russian energy supplies.

In the wake of Moscow’s military operation in Ukraine, Western nations imposed sweeping new sanctions on Russia. However, the restrictions led to the skyrocketing of gas prices in the EU.

According to Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, these policies will lead to “very deplorable consequences” for the bloc, with up to 20 years of deindustrialization ahead.

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8. German ex-cyberczar cleared of Russia links allegations – media00:24[-/+]
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Arne Schonbohm has been reportedly appointed to a new senior post as no evidence against him was found

The former head of Germany’s Federal Office for Information Security (BSI), Arne Schonbohm, has been cleared of any allegations over his purported ties to Russia, Bild newspaper reported on Sunday. The official has now been appointed to a new government job, according to the outlet.

Schonbohm, who has headed BSI since February 2016, found himself in the middle of a spy scandal in mid-October, after Bild and ZDF television reported the official might have been linked to Russian intelligence through the Cyber Security Council of Germany.

According to media reports, the Council, co-founded by Schonbohm back in 2012, was effectively a subsidiary of Russian cybersecurity company OAO Infotecs, allegedly led by a former employee of the KGB.

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President of the German Federal Office for Information Security, Arne Schoenbohm.
German cyberczar fired over alleged Russian ties – media

The allegations triggered administrative proceedings against Schonbohm, who was reportedly banned from “conducting official business” by German Interior Minister Nancy Faeser. Ultimately, the ministry failed to prove any misconduct on the part of Schonbohm in court, according to Bild.

Now, the ex-BSI boss has been reportedly appointed to lead another government agency under the Interior Ministry, the Federal Academy of Public Administration (BAköV). The agency is much smaller than the BSI – some 100 against 1,700 employees, – and the job pays less well – €10,600 per month against €11,700.

Schonbohm, however, has allegedly initially refused such an offer, and the BAköV chief post was upgraded specifically for him. The upgrade of the position has been already included in the next year’s budget, Bild reported. The official is expected to assume his new role on December 6, getting formally transferred to it on January 1, 2023.

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9. Germany’s new naturalization plan slammed by MPs00:16[-/+]
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The proposed changes would only aggravate the issues with illegal migration, conservative lawmakers believe

The German government is seeking to simplify the country’s naturalization rules, thus making it easier for foreigners to obtain citizenship. However, the plan, spearheaded by Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Interior Minister Nancy Faeser this week, has already come under fire from the conservative opposition.

Germany has long been “the country of hope” for many, Scholz said in a video address on Saturday, praising the role immigrants have been playing in the nation.

“The women and men and sometimes children who came to Germany have contributed greatly to making our economy as strong as it is today,” Scholz stated. “Germany needs better rules for the naturalization of all these great women and men.”

The chancellor's address came a day after the German Interior Ministry declared that the draft legislation on naturalization was “as good as ready.” Speaking on Friday, Faeser said the naturalization reform was “an incentive for integration,” and the proposed changes would only reflect the already existing reality.

“We are a diverse, modern country of immigration, and I think legislation must reflect that,” she stressed.

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FILE PHOTO: Refugees from Ukraine are housed in an emergency shelter, in Radolfzell, Baden-Wuerttemberg, Germany, on August 26, 2022.
German cities overwhelmed with Ukrainian refugees – media

According to German media reports, the proposed changes would enable foreigners living in Germany to apply for citizenship after only five years instead of the current eight. The required residence period may be shortened even further, should applicants complete “special integration measures” such as demonstrating exceptional academic or professional achievements, partaking in volunteer work or having especially good language skills.

While not officially unveiled yet, the government plan has already met with criticism from the conservative opposition. A senior MP with the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), Thorsten Frei, for instance, argued that the proposed period for people to be eligible for citizenship was inadequate.

“Five years is a very, very short time,” Frei told ZDF television.

Alexander Dobrindt, another senior conservative lawmaker with the CDU’s sister party, the Christian Social Union (CSU), warned the changes may only damage the security situation in Germany and fuel illegal migration rather than somehow help “integration.”

“Selling off German citizenship cheap doesn't encourage integration – it aims for exactly the opposite and will trigger additional ‘pull effects’ for illegal migration,” Dobrindt told the Bild daily on Saturday.

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10. Tucker Carlson slams Zelensky for ‘demanding’ moneyВс, 27 ноя[-/+]
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The Fox News host earlier argued that intervening in the Ukraine conflict is not in the US’ interest

Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky is a “corrupt strongman” who “demands” money from the US taxpayer, Fox News host Tucker Carlson declared on Thursday. Carlson is a prominent critic of Zelensky, whom he already accused of attempting to drag the US into a “third world war.”

The nation has allocated a total of $68 billion in military and economic aid to Ukraine this year and the White House asked Congress last week to approve another $37 billion before Republicans retake control of the House of Representatives in January.

This combined expenditure is “double what we spent every year in Afghanistan,” Carlson exclaimed on Thursday, adding that Zelensky “doesn’t just ask the US Congress for money, he demands it.”

“Who is that guy?” he asked. “He’s some corrupt Ukrainian strongman. Where does he get that attitude?”

Next Ukraine will ban FOX TV, if they haven’t already pic.twitter.com/CD8thjKldB

— Russian Market (@runews) November 27, 2022

Carlson’s guest, former US Special Operations pilot L. Todd Wood, explained that although Zelensky’s political career was bankrolled by billionaire Igor Kolomoysky, he has since seized his former patron’s assets and “now has a bigger and more important and more powerful and more rich benefactor, that being the Biden Administration.”

Citing recent reports, as well as his contacts’ alleged experience on the ground in Ukraine since 2014, Wood claimed that “only 30% of the supplies and military aid” heading for the country “is actually getting where it’s supposed to go.”

“This is the varsity team of money launderers in Ukraine,” he stated, claiming that Zelensky and his officials “don’t want peace.” Instead, he argued, “they want the money train to continue,” for the benefit of themselves and the US defense contractors supplying Kiev’s forces.

Carlson has also been a long-time critic of the US’ support for Zelensky, arguing that Ukraine is not democratic, and that intervening in its conflict with Russia is not in America’s national security interest. Earlier this month, he accused Zelensky of “lying on purpose to get us into a war,” after the Ukrainian president tried to blame a missile explosion in Poland on a Russian projectile, when one of Kiev’s own missiles was responsible.

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11. Republicans downplay talk of cutting US aid to UkraineВс, 27 ноя[-/+]
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Representatives Mike Turner and Michael McCaul have pledged continued support for Kiev while demanding stricter oversight

Two key Republican congressmen have dismissed suggestions that the new majority party in the US House of Representatives will cut military aid to Ukraine. They instead called for greater oversight over the billions of dollars’ worth of weaponry flowing to Kiev from Washington.

“I think the majorities on both sides of the aisle support this effort,” Rep. Michael McCaul said on Sunday in an ABC News interview. “I think everybody has a voice in Congress, and the fact is, we are going to provide more oversight, transparency and accountability. We're not going to write a blank check.”

The “blank check” reference echoed a term used by Rep. Kevin McCarthy, who’s likely to become speaker of the House in January following Republican victories in this month’s midterm congressional elections. However, while McCarthy seemed to suggest that aid bills might not be easily approved amid an economic slump, only a few conservative Republicans, such as Marjorie Taylor Greene, have actually opposed sending billions of dollars of aid to Ukraine.

McCaul, a Texan, was joined in the ABC News interview by fellow lawmaker Mike Turner of Ohio. Both are currently the ranking Republicans on the House Foreign Affairs Committee and the House Intelligence Committee, meaning they are likely to chair two of the panels most focused on national security when the new Congress convenes on January 3.

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Representatives Marjorie Taylor Greene, Matt Gaetz, and Thomas Massie at a news conference in Washington, DC, US, November 17, 2022. © AP Photo / J. Scott Applewhite
US Republicans call for scrutiny of aid to Ukraine

While both men called for greater accountability over how Ukraine aid is doled out, neither expressed concern over escalating the conflict. In fact, McCaul demanded that Washington send longer-range weaponry to Ukraine, and he scolded President Joe Biden’s administration for holding back on some military hardware. Russia on multiple occasions has warned that giving longer-range weapons to Kiev would cross a “red line,” making the US a “direct party to the conflict.”

Asked about the risks of providing weapons that could hit targets farther into Russia, McCaul said, “Crimea’s not part of Russia under international law, so if they can hit into Crimea, I think that’s fair game. I think the problem is, they don’t want to be provocative.”

Bipartisan support is reportedly building to require tracking of the weapons sent to Ukraine. Only about 30% of the weaponry given to Ukraine by the US and its Western allies makes it to the front lines because the aid has to run a gauntlet of “power lords, oligarchs [and] political players,” CBS News reported in August. The outlet later amended its report and canceled the airing of a documentary on the subject amid an outcry from Ukraine’s government.

READ MORE: CBS caves into Ukrainian pressure on weapons revelations

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12. Chiang Kai-shek’s great-grandson wins key Taiwan electionВс, 27 ноя[-/+]
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The new star of the nationalist Kuomintang party has become the youngest mayor in Taipei’s history

The great-grandson of Taiwan’s former authoritarian leader Chiang Kai-shek has emerged as a rising star in the country’s nationalist Kuomintang (KMT) party, winning election as mayor of Taipei.

Chiang Wan-an, who at 43 became the youngest mayor in the capital city’s history, declared victory on Saturday night after his two rivals in a three-way race conceded defeat. The US-educated corporate lawyer, who returned to Taiwan in 2013 to pursue politics, won 42.3% of the votes. His nearest opponent, Chen Shih-chung of Taiwan’s ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), took 31.9%.

The mayorship of Taipei has been a springboard to Taiwan’s presidency in recent decades. In fact, each of the past four Taiwanese presidents, including current leader Tsai Ing-wen, was mayor of the country’s capital city before taking the national reins.

Chiang also has family history on his side. He is the great-grandson of the man who ruled Taiwan for more than 25 years after fleeing to the island in 1949 following the defeat of the nationalists by communist forces in the Chinese Civil War. The mayor-elect’s grandfather, Chiang Ching-kuo, continued the family political dynasty as president from 1978 to 1988. Chiang Kai-shek and Chiang Ching-kuo both ruled until dying in office.

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Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen casts her ballots at a polling station in New Taipei City, Taiwan, November 26, 2022
Taiwan’s ruling party suffers election defeat

Chiang Wan-an’s victory marked one of several key setbacks for Tsai’s ruling party in Saturday’s local elections of mayors and county chiefs. The DPP won only five seats, the worst result since its founding in 1986, while the KMT took 13. Tsai, whose current term as president runs through 2024, stepped down as party leader.

One key issue on the minds of voters was rising tensions with China, which has ramped up military drills in the Taiwan Strait and vowed to reunify with the self-governing island. Tsai had framed the contest as a referendum on “Taiwan’s persistence and resolve to defend freedom and democracy.” Beijing praised the outcome, saying the elections showed that Taiwan’s people support peace, stability and “a good life.”

Tsai and the DPP have accelerated efforts to remove symbols of Taiwan’s authoritarian past, such as pulling down Chiang Kai-shek statues. However, family connections to deceased dictators have been a winning formula in Asian politics. Park Geun-hye, the daughter of South Korea’s Park Chung-hee, was elected president in 2012. Current Philippines President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. is the son and namesake of former leader Ferdinand Marcos.

READ MORE: Taiwanese envoy explains why he congratulated China’s Xi

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13. Underage migrants detained as adults in UK – mediaВс, 27 ноя[-/+]
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Activists say the children were then subjected to unsafe conditions

At least 16 asylum seekers had their birth dates changed by British officials so they could be interned at a controversial detention center run by the Home Office, The Observer reported on Sunday, citing a group that helps migrants entering the UK.

The Refugee Council told the British newspaper that it interviewed 16 children recently released from the Manston Asylum Center in Kent. The boys told the organization that they were all aged between 15 and 17, but were recorded as over 18 by Home Office staff. Three had photographs of passports or ID documents apparently proving their age, but the Council said this evidence was ignored.

The boys were then held in Manston for up to 20 days at a time, before the center was closed last week following allegations of overcrowding and violence, and the death of one detainee allegedly infected with diphtheria.

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Migrants attempt to enter Britain by crossing the English Channel, June 2022. © Ben Stansall / AFP
UK to reconsider distribution of migrants

The Manston center was built to handle record numbers of migrants crossing the British Channel to enter the UK. More than 40,000 people have made the journey so far this year, according to Home Office data – the highest figure since record keeping began in 2018. The largest share of the migrants are from Albania, a country that is considered “safe” by the British government.

Once released from temporary centers like Manston, children registered as adults can be sent to adult accommodation, usually in hotels, across the UK. The Refugee Council argues that minors should be placed into care instead, and said it has taken 92 minors out of the adult system and into care since September.

While activists say the system is failing children, Home Office figures from January 2018 to March 2022 show that 2,722 out of 4,814 unaccompanied migrants claiming to be children were discovered to be adults once investigated. The remaining 9,394 unaccompanied migrants claiming to be underage were not investigated.

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14. Ukraine receiving secret weapons supplies – FMВс, 27 ноя[-/+]
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Dmitry Kuleba said that “everything is happening behind the scenes”

Certain nations have been providing military aid to Kiev despite publicly denying doing so, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba claimed on Friday.

In such cases, the arms are delivered through third parties, he said.

Kuleba made the remarks in an interview with France’s Le Parisien newspaper.

“Most of these third countries publicly say that they do not supply anything, but everything is happening behind the scenes,” he said without going into specifics about which nations are purportedly secretly bolstering Kiev during its conflict with Moscow.

Kuleba’s comments come amid mounting reports that Ukraine’s backers, including a number of NATO countries, are experiencing shortages of weaponry due to their continuous support for Kiev.

According to a recent piece by the New York Times, for instance, only “larger” NATO allies, such as France, Germany, Italy, and the Netherlands, still retain the capability to maintain or even potentially increase weapon shipments to Ukraine.

“Smaller countries have exhausted their potential,” a NATO official told the newspaper, adding that at least 20 of the bloc’s 30 members are “pretty tapped out” already.

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FILE PHOTO
Most NATO members have run out of weapons for Ukraine – NYT

Since the beginning of the conflict in Ukraine in late February, the US and its Western allies have showered Kiev with billions of dollars in military aid. Moscow has repeatedly warned the West against “pumping” Ukraine with weaponry, stating that it would only prolong the conflict rather than change its outcome, and would also increase the risks of a direct collision between Russia and the US-led military bloc.

Russia sent troops into Ukraine on February 24, citing Kiev’s failure to implement the Minsk agreements, designed to give the regions of Donetsk and Lugansk special status within the Ukrainian state. The protocols, brokered by Germany and France, were first signed in 2014. Former Ukrainian President Pyotr Poroshenko has since admitted that Kiev’s main goal was to use the ceasefire to buy time and “create powerful armed forces.”

In February 2022, the Kremlin recognized the Donbass republics as independent states and demanded that Ukraine officially declare itself a neutral country that will never join any Western military bloc. Kiev insists the Russian offensive was completely unprovoked.

This autumn, four formerly Ukrainian territories, the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics, as well as Kherson and Zaporozhye Regions, were incorporated into Russia following referendums.

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15. Russia rebukes Canada over 'alien' gender beliefsВс, 27 ноя[-/+]
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Embassy tells Ottawa that a family is “a man, a woman, and children”

The Russian embassy in Canada has blasted the country’s government over its opposition to a new law criminalizing the spread of LGBTQ “propaganda” in Russia. Canadians should keep their “alien” beliefs to themselves, the diplomatic mission stressed on Saturday, reminding them that there are only two genders.

The measure bans “propaganda” normalizing non-traditional relations, pedophilia, and gender reassignment, and passed the upper house of Russia’s State Duma on Thursday. Widely seen as a follow-up to a 2013 law prohibiting the spread of LGBTQ materials among minors, it extends this ban to “both minors and adults.”

Canada condemned the passage of the bill, accusing Russian lawmakers of creating “a climate of fear and intimidation” among LGBTQ people and “impacting the human rights of all in Russia.” The condemnation was signed by 33 other members of the ‘Equal Rights Coalition,’ a group of mostly Western nations dedicated to promoting gay rights around the world.

READ MORE: Russia moves closer to total ban of ‘LGBTQ propaganda’

By opposing the bill, Canada is “deliberately distorting reality by conflating the concepts of individual sexual preferences and universal human rights,” the Russian embassy wrote on Twitter. “There is no discrimination in Russia with respect to the rights of sexual and other kinds of minorities,” the embassy continued. “However…a person's freedom ends where another man’s freedom begins.”

“We believe that non-traditional relations propaganda…infringes the rights of the traditional majority of Russian citizens willing to protect themselves and their children from being imposed with precepts that are alien to their spiritual and moral values,” the tweet read.

It is all about family. Family is a man and a woman and children. pic.twitter.com/zJeONBDq0J

— Russia in Canada (@RussianEmbassyC) November 25, 2022

The embassy also posted an image of an LGBTQ rainbow flag with a strike through it, and the caption “Family is a man and a woman and children.” Another post showed a depiction of Adam and Eve, with the text “And yes, there are just two sexes/genders – a man and a woman, male and female.”

And yes, there are just two sexes/genders - a man and a woman, male and female. pic.twitter.com/b56NzNbbst

— Russia in Canada (@RussianEmbassyC) November 27, 2022

“In Russia you are free to be you and to protect your children while they are minors from being imposed and imprinted by aggressive propaganda,” read the caption to one more image, an Orthodox icon showing the Virgin Mary and Jesus Christ.

In Russia you are free to be you & and to protect your children while they are minors from being imposed and imprinted by aggressive propaganda. pic.twitter.com/VLDpTrli5E

— Russia in Canada (@RussianEmbassyC) November 27, 2022

When the Russian embassy was accused by Canadian Minister for Sport Pascale St-Onge of spreading “homophobic propaganda,” it responded by asking the minister “will you, please, explore and explain how you appeared in this world?”

Madame, with all due respect to your opinion, will you, please, explore and explain how you appeared in this world? https://t.co/4lawldBWiF pic.twitter.com/l4kCzDfvzV

— Russia in Canada (@RussianEmbassyC) November 26, 2022

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16. Luxury brand sues bondage bear ad producersВс, 27 ноя[-/+]
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Balenciaga wants $25 million from the photographers behind the controversial shoot

Haute couture brand Balenciaga is suing production company North Six, set designer Nicholas Des Jardins, and his company of the same name for $25 million over a controversial photo shoot featuring children clutching teddy bears in bondage wear, according to court papers filed in Manhattan Supreme Court on Friday.

The brand will “seek redress for extensive damages defendants caused in connection with an advertising campaign Balenciaga hired them to produce.

As a result of Defendants’ misconduct, members of the public, including the news media, have falsely and horrifically associated Balenciaga with the repulsive and deeply disturbing subject of the court decision,” the filing states. “Defendants are liable to Balenciaga for all harm resulting from this false association.

Our plush bear bags should not have been featured with children in this campaign.

READ MORE: Balenciaga apologizes for ‘kiddy porn’ advert

Balenciaga yanked the campaign last week amid extensive controversy, insisting the unsettling images had not been approved by management and promising to punish those responsible. The ads feature children holding teddy bears clad in bondage gear, while another image from the brand’s recent collaboration with sportswear company Adidas includes a poorly-hidden court document from a child pornography case, a styling choice the brand claimed was “malevolent or, at the very least, extraordinarily reckless.

We apologize for displaying unsettling documents in our campaign,” the company said an Instagram post last week. “We take this matter very seriously and are taking legal action against the parties responsible for creating the set and including unapproved items for our Spring 23 campaign photoshoot.”

We strongly condemn abuse of children in any form,” the post continued. “We stand for children [sic] safety and well-being.

Photographer Gabriele Galimberti also distanced himself from the campaign after what he described as a public “lynching” over the off-putting images, insisting he had not been in control of “the direction of the campaign and the choice of the objects displayed” in an Instagram post last week.

While the photos were roundly condemned in the press and on social media, the father of one of the child models used in the campaign defended the shoot, telling the Daily Mail that the images had been “taken totally out of context” and that “no parent would actively encourage the child to take part in something which was pornographic, and I think the publicity surrounding what happened has been blown out of all proportion.” Far from an abusive situation, the shoot had been “an enjoyable day” for all involved, he claimed.

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17. Russia's top football clubs in mass brawl VIDEOВс, 27 ноя[-/+]
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Tensions flared when Zenit St. Petersburg took on Spartak Moscow

Six players were sent off as the Russian Cup game between bitter rivals Zenit St. Petersburg and Spartak Moscow descended into chaos on Sunday.

The violence erupted when Zenit’s Wilmar Barrios clashed with Spartak forward Quincy Promes at the full-time whistle.

Brazilian Zenit defender Rodrigao then became involved, appearing to lash out at Spartak forward Shamar Nicholson, who responded by throwing a punch.

All hell broke loose as referee Vladimir Moskalev struggled to contain the two sets of brawling players and members of the respective benches.

By the time the dust had settled, Moskalev had dished out red cards to Zenit’s Rodrigao, Barrios, and Malcom, and Spartak stars Nicholson, Aleksandr Sobolev, and substitute goalkeeper Aleksandr Selikhov.

Zenit won the match 4-2 on a penalty shootout after the scores had ended 0-0 at full-time at the Gazprom Arena.

Despite the defeat, Spartak still finished top of Russian Cup Group B to reach the playoffs, while Zenit ended third in the group and will need to negotiate a regional playoff path.

The game, however, will be remembered far more for the ugly scenes of violence which will surely be investigated further by the Russian football authorities.

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18. Morocco beat Belgium in momentous World Cup winВс, 27 ноя[-/+]
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Two second-half goals put the North Africans in the driving seat for a place in the knockout stages

Morocco earned a historic World Cup win in Qatar as second-half goals from substitutes Abdelhamid Sabiri and Zakaria Aboukhlal were enough to defeat Belgium at Al Thumama Stadium.

The Moroccans thought they had taken the lead in the first half, only for Hakim Ziyech’s whipped free-kick strike to be ruled out for offside due to an infringement from Romain Saiss.

But the North Africans did make the breakthrough in somewhat similar circumstances in the 73rd minute.

Sabiri curled a free-kick into the box which evaded everyone, including Belgian goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois.

Saiss was again loitering in the vicinity of the Belgian goalie, although this time he was onside and the goal counted.

Belgium were caught cold in stoppage time when Ziyech latched upon a loose ball, cutting it back for substitute Aboukhlal to steer a brilliant effort beyond Courtois and into the top corner at the near post.

Aboukhlal sealed the win for Morocco in the 93rd minute. © Marc Atkins / Getty Images

The victory was just a third for Morocco at a World Cup finals, following wins against Portugal in 1986 and Scotland in 1998.

The result will go down as another shock in Qatar – a tournament which has already seen Saudi Arabia stun Argentina and Japan beat Germany.

In more immediate terms, it puts Walid Regragui’s Morocco team top of the Group F standings on four points from two games, following their creditable 0-0 opening draw with Croatia.

Roberto Martinez’s disappointing Belgium – the number-two ranked team in the world by FIFA and third-place finishers in Russia four years ago – are second with three points after their tense opening win against Canada.

The Canadians play Croatia later on Sunday, while the last round of Group F games on Thursday sees Belgium meet the Croatians and Morocco face Canada.

For Belgium and a star-studded team containing the likes of Courtois, Kevin De Bruyne, and Eden Hazard, it is likely to be do-or-die when they next take to the pitch in Qatar.

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19. Anti-lockdown protests break out in China (VIDEOS)Вс, 27 ноя[-/+]
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Footage shows demonstrators in Shanghai, Wuhan and other cities demanding an end to harsh zero-Covid policies

Protests broke out in China this weekend, with demonstrators in Shanghai, Wuhan, Beijing and other locations demanding an end to the government’s stringent Covid restrictions. Videos shared on social media purportedly show some protesters calling for the downfall of the Chinese Communist Party.

Crowds in Shanghai voiced their anger for the second day in a row on Sunday, chanting anti-government slogans as ranks of masked police looked on. According to one Twitter account tracking the protests, the crowd shouted “Communist Party step down, Xi Jinping step down!”

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??????????? pic.twitter.com/Vh40idZWWy

— ???????? (@whyyoutouzhele) November 26, 2022

Shanghai city officials imposed a two-month lockdown in March, confining more than 20 million people to their homes amid an uptick in coronavirus cases. Parts of the city went back into lockdown in late October, with residents ordered to remain at home until they could show a negative Covid-19 test result.

While the lockdowns have led to confrontations between citizens and police, mass demonstrations are rarely observed in China. The latest protests are believed to have started after an apartment block in Urumqi burned down, killing at least 10 people according to Western media reports. The city has been under lockdown since August, and the protestors have blamed Covid restrictions for hampering rescue efforts. City officials said on Saturday that they would roll back some of the restrictions.

Students in Beijing and Nanjing reportedly held vigils and demonstrations on Sunday, while video footage reportedly shows thousands of people demonstrating in Wuhan, the original epicenter of the virus. Like Shanghai, in late October it also returned to lockdown.

??? ?? ??? ???????? pic.twitter.com/3NRAn81Elr

— ???????? (@whyyoutouzhele) November 27, 2022

One video, purportedly shot in Wuhan on Sunday, shows demonstrators kicking down barriers erected to maintain social distance.

pic.twitter.com/Gi26nnqXWz

— santan.eth(?,?) (@WindSantan) November 27, 2022

By nightfall, video showed Shanghai police arresting protesters. It is unknown how many were detained, or whether similar arrests were made in other cities.

Xi’s government has been pursuing a strict zero-Covid policy since the coronavirus first emerged in Wuhan in late 2019, although local authorities have been given some latitude in how strictly measures like testing and school closures are enforced. Despite these policies, China recorded its highest ever number of daily Covid-19 infections on Wednesday, registering 31,444 new cases.

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20. US accused of ‘disrespect’ over flag alteration ahead of Iran clashВс, 27 ноя[-/+]
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The two teams are set to meet at the Qatar World Cup in a high-stakes game on Tuesday

The US men’s national soccer team (USMNT) has been accused of “unethical” behavior ahead of its World Cup meeting with Iran in Qatar, after displaying an altered version of the Iranian flag on social media.

America and Iran face off in a vital game at Al Thumama Stadium on Tuesday which is set to determine which of the two teams progresses to the knockout stages in Qatar.

Ahead of the match, the USMNT social media account has stirred tensions by posting a graphic of the Group B standings featuring England, Iran, the US, and Wales.

The Iranian flag is shown with its horizontal green, white, and red colors – but without the central emblem of the Islamic Republic.

The offending image was shared on social media. © Twitter / @USMNT

The soccer federation confirmed to the media that the gesture was a show of support for the protests in Iran which emerged after the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini in police custody in September.

The full version of the Iranian flag is shown on the USMNT’s official website, but the social media snub has angered officials in the Middle Eastern state.

A legal adviser of the Iranian Football Federation, Safia Allah Faghanpour, was quoted as saying by Iran’s Tasnim news agency that the organization was seeking action with FIFA.

“Respecting a nation’s flag is an accepted international practice that all other nations must emulate. The action conducted in relation to the Iranian flag is unethical and against international law,” Faghanpour said.

READ MORE: Iran manager tells German icon to resign over ‘disgraceful’ comments

Iran’s participation at the Qatar World Cup has played out amid a barrage of questions from the Western media about the protests in the country.

Manager Carlos Queiroz has grown visibly irritated at press conferences, and confronted a BBC reporter earlier this week, demanding to know why England coach Gareth Southgate does not face questions on issues such as his country’s actions in Afghanistan.

Protests appeared in Iran following the death of Amini, who was detained by the country’s ‘morality police’ for allegedly not wearing a hijab correctly.

An autopsy later determined that Amini did not die due to physical violence, but rather from cerebral hypoxia, or lack of oxygen to the brain, according to a coroner’s report.

Read more
Iran players sang before beating Wales.
Iran players sing anthem before dramatic World Cup win

The document specified that Amini had underlying conditions stemming from surgery on a benign brain tumor she had undergone when she was eight.

Heading into the final round of group-stage matches in Qatar, the US and Iran are both battling for a place in the last 16.

Iran opened their campaign with a 6-2 defeat to England, but bounced back with a dramatic late win against Wales on Friday.

The US has drawn both its games in Qatar thus far, playing out a 1-1 draw with Wales, followed by a goalless encounter with England.

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21. ‘Hard times’ ahead for Europe – NATOВс, 27 ноя[-/+]
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Backing Ukraine is causing living costs to soar, the bloc's chief Jens Stoltenberg admitted

Europeans are about to face numerous hardships due to the Ukraine conflict, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg told Germany’s Welt an Sonntag newspaper on Sunday.

Nevertheless, he insisted that the members of the US-led military bloc and their allies should boost their efforts to bolster Ukrainian forces and keep the fighting going.

In his comments, Stoltenberg admitted that citizens of Western countries are being negatively affected by the conflict in Ukraine. “Rising food and energy bills mean hard times for many households in Europe,” he said, adding, however, that those affected “should remember that the people of Ukraine pay with their blood every day.”

The NATO chief also noted that the West could “strengthen Ukraine’s position at the negotiating table if we provide military support to the country.” “The best way to support peace is to support Ukraine,” he stated.

He praised Germany for the weapons it is sending to Kiev, claiming that they “save lives.”

Read more
Protesters gather in the streets during a demonstration against energy price hikes in Brussels, Belgium.
EU to feel impact of energy crisis for decades – Kremlin

According to Stoltenberg, Russia will try to use “winter as a weapon” against Ukraine. This statement echoes recent remarks in which he warned that the coming months would be difficult for Kiev.

Russia started targeting Ukrainian energy facilities in early October after accusing Kiev of attacking its critical infrastructure, including the strategic Crimean Bridge.

Western nations imposed new sweeping sanctions on Russia in the wake of Moscow having launched its military operation in Ukraine. The restrictions led to skyrocketing gas prices, thus fueling the burgeoning energy crisis in the EU. This also came as the bloc announced plans to wean itself off of Russian energy.

However, according to Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, these policies will lead to “very deplorable consequences” for the EU, with up to 20 years of deindustrialization ahead. In early October, he also noted that by relying on expensive energy from the US, the bloc is making its economy “less competitive.”

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22. Former Reagan official blasts Western hypocrisy over UkraineВс, 27 ноя[-/+]
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Paul Craig Roberts, who served in the Treasury in the 1980s, claims the US is using the conflict as a tool to weaken Russia

Despite public statements to the contrary, the administration of US President Joe Biden is not at all concerned about the plight of Ukrainians and is prepared to sacrifice the nation on the altar of weakening Russia, an official who served under Ronald Reagan believes.

Paul Craig Roberts, who was assistant secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy in the 1980s, also alleged that the Russian military had until recently been refraining from unleashing all of its might on Ukraine.

In a piece published on his website on Friday and titled ‘It Seems Russia Won’t Require a Winter Offensive to Win the War’, Roberts said that Moscow’s latest missile strikes targeting critical infrastructure across Ukraine are a sign that the Kremlin “finally realized that Russia is at war.

According to the former official, for eight months since the start of its military campaign, Russia had been “protecting Ukraine from attack, thus helping Ukraine to conduct war against the Russian forces.

Despite that alleged strategy now having been revised, Russia still does not want to “destroy everything unless the West and its puppet Ukraine government fail to come to their senses.

Read more
Car headlights illuminate passers-by walking along a dark street during a power outage in Kiev, Ukraine on November 17, 2022.
Power boss urges Ukrainians to leave the country

The reason Moscow decided to spare its neighbor, Roberts argued, is that “Ukraine and the population there have been a part of Russia for centuries.

Moreover, having a poverty-stricken, bombed-out country on its border is not in Russia’s own interest, the ex-Treasury official said.

However, “from Washington’s standpoint, the more Ukraine is destroyed the better,” Roberts alleged, explaining that such an outcome would end up being an “economic and financial drain on Russia.” He also insisted that the US leadership does not care about the price the Ukrainians would have to pay in such a scenario.

It is unjust that it is Ukraine that is paying the cost of Western inhumanity and not Washington and the European capitals,” Roberts wrote.

He went on to lay into the “Western whore media,” accusing them of failing to report the true situation on the front lines. Reports of Russia’s heavy losses and imminent defeat are all totally misleading, he insisted.

He warned that “such absurd propaganda” and underestimation of Russia’s military capabilities could see the US and NATO becoming directly involved in the conflict, thus provoking World War III.

Since the start of Russia’s military operation in Ukraine, the West has been providing Kiev with massive assistance both in terms of weapons and money. Moscow has repeatedly warned that arms shipments will only prolong the conflict and increase the risk of a direct confrontation between Russia and NATO. A number of top Russian officials, including Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, have accused the bloc of waging war against Russia “by proxy,” while President Vladimir Putin has described his country as fighting “the entire Western military machine.

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23. Ronaldo offered mammoth Middle Eastern deal – mediaВс, 27 ноя[-/+]
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The Portuguese forward is without a team after leaving Manchester United

Cristiano Ronaldo has been offered a $225 million deal to join Saudi Arabian club Al Nassr, according to a report by CBS. The 37-year-old is looking for a new club after his contract at Manchester United was terminated by mutual consent earlier in November.

According to the US news outlet, Al Nassr are ready to pay Ronaldo $75 million a year in a three-year contract that would see him playing into his 40s.

Ronaldo’s time at Manchester United came to an end with an explosive TV interview with Piers Morgan in which the footballer criticized numerous figures at Old Trafford, including manager Erik ten Hag and US owners the Glazer family.

According to CBS Sports, the Riyadh-based Al Nassr hope that Ronaldo “will be keen to break new ground” and move to the Middle East once he has completed his World Cup campaign with Portugal in Qatar.

Read more
Cristiano Ronaldo of Manchester United during the UEFA Europa League match between Real Sociedad v Manchester United
Cristiano Ronaldo leaves Manchester United with immediate effect

Ronaldo had already sought to force an exit from Manchester United ahead of the new season in the hopes of playing Champions League football, before things came to a head with his incendiary interview with Morgan.

Ronaldo confirmed to Morgan that he had already snubbed an offer from Saudi Arabia during the summer – reportedly worth around £300 million ($360 million) from Al-Hilal.

CBS says that the move from nine-time Saudi champions Al Nassr is “the only formal contract offered” to Ronaldo since he parted ways with United.

Ronaldo was on target from the penalty spot as Portugal opened their World Cup campaign with a 3-2 win over Ghana on Thursday.

The strike made Ronaldo the first men’s player to score at five editions of the World Cup finals, and extended his record international tally to 118 goals.

Portugal next play Group H rivals Uruguay on Monday at Lusail Stadium, before taking on South Korea on Friday at Education City Stadium.

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24. EU country faces drastic food inflationВс, 27 ноя[-/+]
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Swedish households are struggling with rising costs for basic goods and energy, the latest report shows

Food prices in Sweden have jumped by 20% this year, while electricity bills have more than doubled, data released by the country’s Consumer Agency shows.

The report is based on research of the Swedish consumer market throughout the year and analyzes food, energy, hygiene items, footwear and clothing prices.

This data, together with consumer standards approved by the country’s government, is being used to determine an average level of income which requires social assistance.

This year, the monthly consumer basket for one adult is estimated at 3,400 krona ($363). For a family of two adults and two schoolchildren this figure stands at 10,700 krona ($1,142) and is based on a four-week nutrition plan recommended by Swedish diet experts.

“In our calculations we are taking into account only basic needs and not some luxurious consumption,” a manager from the Swedish Consumer Agency, Kristina Difs, said in a statement. She noted that usually an increase in annual expenses is insignificant, while this year “we have seen numbers quickly lose relevance.”

READ MORE: EU nation’s property market slump deepens

The Agency recorded a particularly dramatic change in prices in Sweden due to extraordinary food and energy inflation.

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25. Iran moves closer to joining Eurasian blocВс, 27 ноя[-/+]
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Tehran has ratified documents on joining the Shanghai Cooperation Organization

Iran’s parliament has approved dozens of protocols on the country’s accession to the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), an eight-member Eurasian security and economic bloc, which includes Russia, China, India, and Pakistan, among others.

Tehran signed the accession memorandum in September. According to officials, the process will be finalized next year.

On Sunday, Iranian legislators backed documents related to issues such as customs control and anti-terrorism, as well as joint military exercises, according to Mehr News Agency.

Abolfazl Amouei, the spokesman for the parliament’s foreign policy and national security commission, was quoted by Iranian media as saying that the move “conveys the message of Iran’s multilateralism” in foreign relations. He stated that the bloc is important in terms of “confronting the imposition of unilateral sanctions.”

Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian wrote on Twitter that the vote “shows the determination and seriousness of our country to develop regional, international and economic cooperation and strengthen its outlook towards Asia.” He added that “multilateralism is the reality of the present century.”

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Iran's Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian gives a press conference in the capital Tehran on November 23, 2022.
Conspiracy to dismantle Iran foiled – FM

The SCO was founded in 2001 by Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan. India and Pakistan became full members in 2017.

Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko said in September that his country could join the organization sometime next year. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told reporters the same month that he sees Ankara joining the bloc one day as well.

Moscow sees the increasing role of blocs like the SCO and BRICS – an informal group comprising Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa – as countermeasures against Western sanctions imposed over the Ukraine conflict. “We are talking about countries that together account for 80% of the world’s population. Which is why it is clear to any unbiased person that there is no such thing as an isolation of Russia,” Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said in July.

Earlier in November, Lavrov confirmed that “more than a dozen” countries are eager to join BRICS, including Algeria, Argentina, and Iran.

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26. Twitter signups at all-time high – Elon MuskВс, 27 ноя[-/+]
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The new CEO expects to see 1 billion new monthly users within a year

New user signups on Twitter have hit an “all-time high,” the social media platform’s owner, Elon Musk, said in a tweet on Saturday.

According to slides from a company talk he posted online, new signups averaged over two million per day in the seven days to November 16, up 66% compared to the same week last year.

I think I see a path to Twitter exceeding a billion monthly users in 12 to 18 months,” Musk said in another tweet early on Sunday.

Twitter has been struggling with what Musk called a “massive drop in revenue” in recent weeks, ever since the billionaire Tesla and SpaceX owner took charge of the social media giant. He blamed this on the loss of advertisers, who have halted their Twitter campaigns following Musk’s changes to the platform.

Earlier this month, Musk laid off half of Twitter’s workforce, including the teams responsible for communications, content curation, and human rights, and AI ethics. This, along with Musk’s earlier decision to charge users for Twitter’s verification feature, sparked concerns over the platform’s content moderation and the spread of fake accounts, and how these may affect the public image of Twitter advertisers.

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The Twitter logo is seen on the awning of the building that houses the Twitter office in New York, October 26, 2022
Musk reveals purpose of new checkmark colors

A report published last week by the nonprofit watchdog organization Media Matters for America claims that, since the end of October, Twitter has lost half of its top 100 advertisers. The now-departed accounts brought the platform over $750 million in 2022 alone. These include companies such as General Motors, Mondelez International, Volkswagen, Chevrolet, Ford and Jeep.

Earlier this week, Musk announced further changes to the platform, the first one of which was a new verification system for paid subscribers. Instead of a blue checkmark for all verified users, a gold check will be used for corporate accounts and a grey one for government accounts.

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

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27. Jesus Christ could have been transgender – Cambridge DeanВс, 27 ноя[-/+]
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Dr. Michael Banner defended a scholar who compared a wound on Christ’s body to a vagina, The Telegraph reported

The dean of Trinity College in Cambridge has called speculation that Jesus Christ might have been transgender “legitimate,” The Telegraph reported on Saturday. Dr. Michael Banner made the statement in defense of a junior research fellow who claimed that Jesus' body incorporates both masculine and feminine features.

During last Sunday’s evensong service in the college chapel, Cambridge research student Joshua Heath displayed Renaissance and Medieval paintings of Jesus’ crucifixion while asserting that one of the wounds on his body “takes on a decidedly vaginal appearance,” according to the newspaper.

To prove his point, Heath used the 14th-century painting ‘Pieta with the Holy Trinity’ by Jean Malouel, which is a part of the Louvre’s collection. The painting depicts Jesus with a side wound, from which blood is streaming down to the groin.

“In Christ's simultaneously masculine and feminine body in these works, if the body of Christ [is] as these works suggest the body of all bodies, then his body is also the trans body,” Heath said, as quoted by the outlet.

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Eddie Izzard poses for photographers upon arrival at the Old Vic Summer Gala in London, Britain, June 27, 2016
Transgender Sherlock Holmes named – media

The congregation was apparently shocked, with one of its members telling The Telegraph that he “left the service in tears.” He said he was “contemptuous of the idea that by cutting a hole in a man, through which he can be penetrated, he can become a woman,” describing the opinion as a “heresy for our age.”

Banner stated in comments seen by The Telegraph that he thinks the “speculation was legitimate, whether or not you or I or anyone else disagrees with the interpretation, says something else about that artistic tradition, or resists its application to contemporary questions around transsexualism.”

At the same time, the dean insisted that while the opinion was the speaker’s own, he “would not issue an invitation to someone who I thought would deliberately seek to shock or offend a congregation” or speak against Christianity.

Last week, students held protests against the presence at a Cambridge Union debate of Professor Kathleen Stock, who was forced to resign from her post at Sussex University in 2021 after she said humans cannot change sex. The beleaguered scholar was on campus to express her views on the topic of free speech, not on transgender rights.

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28. FIFA reveals stance on Cameroon player’s Russian gesture – mediaВс, 27 ноя[-/+]
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Gael Ondoua displayed the Russian flag on his boots at the World Cup in Qatar

FIFA officials will not intervene despite calls from sections of the Norwegian media for action against Cameroon player Gael Ondoua, who displayed the Russian flag on his boots at the World Cup in Qatar.

Ondoua, 27, made the gesture as he appeared as a substitute in Cameroon’s opening game against Switzerland on Thursday.

The midfielder was born in Cameroon but also has Russian citizenship, having spent much of his youth in the country.

Ondoua emerged through the ranks at Lokomotiv Moscow, also playing at CSKA Moscow and Anzhi Makhachkala before moving on to Swiss club Servette and current team Hannover 96 in Germany.

Ondoua said the small images of the Russian flag alongside a Cameroonian one on his boots in Qatar are a mark of respect for both countries.

Read more
Ondoua featured for Cameroon against Switzerland.
Cameroon star makes Russian flag gesture at World Cup

But the gesture caused anger among pundits in Norway. Former professional footballer Carl-Erik Torp claimed to broadcaster NRK that it could be perceived as a “provocation,” considering the conflict in Ukraine and the ban imposed on all Russian football teams by FIFA and UEFA.

Both Torp and Berit Lindeman – who is a member of the Norwegian football association’s ethics committee – told NRK that FIFA should take action.

The governing body, however, told the broadcaster that it has no such plans.

“I can tell you that the disciplinary committee knows about this, but there is no problem here because he grew up in Russia. He is from Cameroon and Russia, and this is only the flag of his country,” NRK quoted FIFA press official Giovanni Marti as saying.

Ondoua himself addressed the issue in a message in Russian on Telegram.

“I see a lot of attention to my boots. And just in case, I want to emphasize that the Russian flag depicted on them is a sign of respect for the country in which I grew up, formed and received a football education,” wrote the footballer.

“My relatives live in Russia and they are always with me. This is our common home. I have been playing in boots with the Russian flag for many years and I am not going to break this tradition.”

Cameroon suffered a 1-0 defeat in their opening game against Switzerland, and next play Serbia in a crucial Group G meeting on Monday.

Beyond that is a game with five-time World Cup winners Brazil on Friday.

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29. Inflation drives up US household spending – CNBCВс, 27 ноя[-/+]
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Americans now pay over $400 more each month for the same goods and services, the news outlet reports, citing analysts

Soaring inflation has driven up American household spending, CNBC reported this week, citing a Moody’s analysis of October inflation data. According to the report, households are forced to pay $433 more per month for the same goods and services than they did last year.

US consumer prices rose by 7.7% year-on-year last month, which was lower than the June peak of 9.1%, but still near a 40-year high. Since October last year, the food that people buy at work and school has almost doubled in price. Products like eggs and butter rose by more than a third, while milk, bread, and poultry increased by 15%. Transportation costs grew by 28%, while gasoline prices increased 17.5%.

Moody’s notes that wages have failed to keep up with inflation, and workers are rapidly losing purchasing power. Hourly wages dropped by an average of 2.8%, the report states.

Despite weaker-than-expected inflation in October, households are still feeling the squeeze from rising consumer prices,” Bernard Yaros, an economist at Moody’s, was cited as saying.

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RT
US household debt skyrockets – Federal Reserve

The impact of inflation varies from group to group, Yaros added, noting that “younger and rural Americans, as well as those without a bachelor’s degree,” have been hurt the most.

Some financial advisers suggest that changing spending habits may help households lower expenses – for example, traveling closer to home, getting a haircut less often, going shopping for groceries with a list and seeking out discounts, etc.

There’s no one silver bullet… It’s all those little decisions that add up at the end of the month,” Joseph Bert, the CEO of Certified Financial Group, told CNBC.

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

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30. EU leaders at fault for energy crisis – MoscowВс, 27 ноя[-/+]
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The continent is now facing a "test of democracy,” the Russian Foreign Ministry insists

European Union policymakers are to blame for the continent’s energy crisis, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova claimed on Saturday.

Speaking to Moscow news channel TV Center, Zakharova claimed the bloc's leaders have “pushed Europe, in particular the European Union, towards a global energy collapse.” According to her, they still need to convince their citizens that the crisis “is in their own interests.”

“It’s a test for democracy,” she added.

Zakharova went on to sarcastically say that the bloc's members “did a good job” in managing the energy sector – especially in dealing with the blasts that ruptured the Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines in late September. “We are talking about the Baltic Sea, an area that is controlled by NATO countries… this is their area of responsibility,” she noted.

Read more
RT
EU energy crisis to last for years – FT

Western countries declared the blasts acts of sabotage. However, they refrained from jumping to conclusions or pointing fingers – a practice they do not follow if there is “an order to accuse Russia,” Zakharova said.

The pipelines were built to deliver Russian natural gas directly to Germany, but lost pressure abruptly on September 26, following a series of underwater explosions off Bornholm Island, located within the economic zones of Denmark and Sweden. Moscow has repeatedly stated that it had nothing to do with the incident.

Last month, the Russian Defense Ministry accused the British Navy of taking part in “a terrorist attack” which destroyed the pipelines. The UK has denied the accusation.

Moscow also claimed that the US benefited the most from the disruption, since it undercut the EU’s ability to receive natural gas supplies from Russia.

The Nord Stream incident only added to Europe’s energy woes, which started to take shape after Western countries imposed unprecedented sanctions on Moscow over its military operation in Ukraine. The restrictions caused major disruptions to energy deliveries, triggering protests in a number of EU countries against skyrocketing energy prices and surging costs of living in recent months.

Zakharova said last week that the EU has completely embraced the idea of isolating Russia, which will “only impose costs on EU countries and their citizens who are forced to pay out of their own pockets” for their leaders’ mistakes.

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31. China’s gold imports from Russia rising – mediaВс, 27 ноя[-/+]
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Russian exports of precious metals to China remain relatively small

Imports of Russian gold into China in October amounted to 2.16 tons, marking a seven-year high, business daily RBK reported this week, citing data from China’s General Administration of Customs.

In monetary terms, Russian exports of gold in raw and semi-manufactured forms to China reportedly doubled, having totaled $124.6 million.

In the ten months through October, Chinese gold imports from Russia amounted to 5.72 tons, which is 1.9 times more than in the same period in 2021. In monetary terms, deliveries in January-October soared 1.8 times to $330 million.

Despite the significant surge, Russian gold producers are still far down on the list of China’s biggest suppliers. Switzerland shipped $26.5 billion-worth of gold to China during the first ten months of the current year, while Canada’s exports amounted to $9.7 billion. South African sales of the precious metal to China totaled $7.7 billion, while Australia and Germany exported $7.2 billion and $775 million respectively.

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FILE PHOTO: Oil tanker at a port terminal operated by China Petrochemical Corporation (Sinopec Group) in Zhoushan, Zhejiang Province, China, November 4, 2020.
Russia boosts fuel exports to China

Russia’s total exports of gold amounted to 302.17 tons in 2021, the country’s Customs Service reported earlier this year. According to the data from Chinese customs, only 3.98 tons were delivered to China back then.

Shipments of Russian gold to China have soared to a record high this year mostly due to the previous drop in deliveries that was linked to Covid-related restrictions, Chairman at Gold Producers' Union Sergey Kashuba told the media, adding that Russian producers stockpiled a lot of gold because of lockdowns.

The expert highlighted that supplies to China were not redirected from Western markets, explaining that buyers there purchased gold in the form of bullion, which is not typical for Chinese importers.

In March, the London Bullion Market Association (LBMA) suspended the membership of six Russian precious metals refiners, saying that they would no longer be accepted as Good Delivery by the London Bullion market until further notice. The step came amid the sanctions imposed on Moscow over its military operation in Ukraine.

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

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32. FIFA opens case against Serbia over World Cup flagВс, 27 ноя[-/+]
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Football officials in Kosovo called for action after the banner was displayed in the Serbian team’s locker room

FIFA has launched disciplinary proceedings against Serbia after complaints from football officials in Kosovo about a flag displayed in the Serbian team’s locker room at the World Cup in Qatar.

The banner was shown prior to Serbia’s game against Brazil on Thursday, and featured an outline of Kosovo with the colors of the Serbian flag across it. The slogan “no surrender” was written on the banner.

Officials at the Football Federation of Kosovo (FFK) demanded that FIFA take action, accusing the Serbian team of an “aggressive act contrary to the values that football transmits.”

FIFA confirmed in a statement on Saturday that its disciplinary committee had opened proceedings, citing a section of its code which covers “offensive gestures, signs or language” and “using a sports event for demonstrations of a non-sporting nature.”

No timeframe was initially given for a decision on the matter.

Serbia lost their opening game 2-0 against Brazil, and next play Cameroon on Monday. Their final Group G game is against Switzerland on Friday.

Read more
Serbia will have Russian support at the World Cup.
Russia sends World Cup support to Serbia

Kosovo is a province of Serbia which was occupied by NATO after its 1999 bombing campaign. Its ethnic Albanian provisional government declared independence with US backing in 2008.

While the EU has urged Belgrade to recognize Kosovo’s independence, Serbia has vehemently declined to do so. Russia is among the countries which do not recognize the region as a separate state.

Kosovo became a FIFA member in 2016, and political rows involving the area have spilled over into football in the past.

Swiss players Granit Xhaka and Xherdan Shaqiri – both of whom are ethnic Albanians – were fined by FIFA after making the ‘double-headed eagle’ salute during a World Cup match against Serbia in Russia four years ago.

The gesture was seen as a reference to the eagle on the Albanian flag.

The current row comes amid tensions between Serbia and its breakaway province over the license plates used by vehicles. An EU-brokered deal was reached on the matter in Brussels earlier this week.

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33. Russia to ban surrogacy for foreignersВс, 27 ноя[-/+]
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The measure is aimed at protecting children, Vyacheslav Volodin claims

The State Duma, the lower house of Russia’s parliament, will soon ban foreigners from paying Russian women to become surrogate mothers, its Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin has announced. A bill on the matter will be passed in early December, he added.

“The sale of children is unacceptable,” Volodin wrote on his Telegram channel on Sunday. “Over the past few years, 45,000 toddlers born by surrogate mothers have been moved overseas. It is a major illegal business venture with an estimated turnover of more than €2 billion [$2.04 billion].”

Volodin stated that “such babies oftentimes end up in very dangerous situations: they become victims of crimes, including illegal organ trade, and get adopted by same-sex couples.”

Legislators have been pushing for restrictions on surrogacy, with some calling for a total ban on the practice in Russia. A bill that would prohibit the use of surrogate mothers by foreign nationals was initially introduced last year.

READ MORE: Russia blasts US over LGBTQ law 'interference'

Moscow banned the adoption of Russian children by US nationals in 2012, citing several high-profile cases of mistreatment and deaths of the adoptees, as well as Washington’s sanctions on Russian citizens.

Same-sex couples cannot legally marry in Russia or adopt children.

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34. Egyptian mercantile exchange to launch with Russian wheatВс, 27 ноя[-/+]
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The new trading hub is expected to help attract foreign capital to the country

The Egyptian Mercantile Exchange (EMX), which is set to open on November 27, will begin with Russian wheat being offered, the country’s deputy minister of internal trade and supply, Ibrahim Ashmawy, announced on Saturday.

Tomorrow the Egyptian Mercantile Exchange will be launched, its work will begin with wheat trading,” Ashmawy said, as cited by the local Sada El Balad TV channel, adding that “the department for the supply of goods is a seller, and it will start trading with offers of Russian wheat.”

The official stressed that “the launch of a commodity exchange in Egypt will be a great addition to the country's trading system,” adding that the EMX is designed to ensure Egypt's “entry onto the global stage of commodity trading” and to help attract foreign capital to the country.

The exchange will also help “provide goods at a fair price, ensure the protection of small farmers, end monopolies in the industry and achieve price stability.”

At the initial stage of the trading hub’s operation, a certain amount of imported wheat is expected to be offered from the exchange's stocks at auctions twice a week.

READ MORE: Moscow clarifies conditions for extending grain deal

Egypt announced the establishment of the commodity exchange back in 2019, but its launch had been postponed. Earlier this year, Ashmawy said that cotton and gold may also be traded on the EMX.

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

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35. Former Pakistani PM explains why he canceled rallyВс, 27 ноя[-/+]
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Imran Khan cited fears of nationwide havoc, in his first public appearance after an assassination attempt earlier this month

Former Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, who was ousted after losing a no-confidence vote in April, has announced his decision to call off a protest march for fear of further destabilizing the situation in the country. It was his first public appearance since he was wounded in an assassination attempt earlier this month.

Addressing supporters in the city of Rawalpindi on Saturday, the former prime minister said: “I have decided not to go to Islamabad because I know there will be havoc and the loss will be to the country.

Khan was using a walking frame and spoke from behind bulletproof glass. He told his supporters that multiple security sources had warned him that his life was still at risk.

Local Geo TV, citing a police official, reported that as many as 10,000 security personnel had been deployed to provide security at Khan’s event, including snipers.

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Supporters of Imran Khan take part of an anti-government march towards capital Islamabad, in Gujranwala, Pakistan, November 1, 2022.
Protesters block Pakistan’s capital

Since early April, when he was deposed from office, Khan has held mass protests across the country, which were meant to lead up to a massive march to Islamabad. He describes his removal from power as illegal and is seeking to mount a political comeback.

It was during one of these rallies in early November that a gunman opened fire on the former prime minister, who sustained an injury to his shin.

Khan was quick to blame the assassination attempt, which took place outside the town of Gujranwala in the east of the country, on current PM Shehbaz Sharif – which he vehemently denied.

So far, one person has been arrested in connection with the attack. The suspect insists he acted alone.

During his time in office, from 2018 to April 2022, Khan deepened economic and diplomatic ties with Russia and China. He claims that his ouster was orchestrated by the US with the goal of installing a more compliant leader.

In October, Pakistan’s Election Commission barred Khan from holding public office for five years, accusing him of failing to properly report gifts he had allegedly received during his time in power. The former PM says the decision was politically motivated.

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36. Iran manager tells German icon to resign over ‘disgraceful’ commentsВс, 27 ноя[-/+]
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Carlos Queiroz was furious after Jurgen Klinsmann suggested his team deployed gamesmanship against Wales

Iranian head coach Carlos Queiroz has accused former German international striker Jurgen Klinsmann of making remarks which were a “disgrace to football,” after Klinsmann questioned Iran’s actions during their victory against Wales.

Iran earned a 2-0 win over their Group B rivals in Qatar on Friday thanks to two goals deep into second-half injury time.

Discussing the game on the BBC afterwards, presenter Gabby Logan suggested Iran had deployed “gamesmanship” and “just stayed on the right side of the law” during the match.

“That’s their culture, that’s their way of doing it,” replied Klinsmann.

“That’s why Carlos Queiroz fits really well with the Iranian national team… This is not by coincidence, this is all purposely. This part of their culture, this is how they play it.”

Klinsmann (center) made the comments on the BBC. © Twitter

Klinsmann, who won the World Cup with West Germany in 1990, went on to claim that the Iranian coaching staff and players had applied pressure to “work” the match officials during the game.

“They’re constantly in your face on the field. This is their culture, they make you lose your focus, they make you lose your concentration,” said the 58-year-old.

Klinsmann and Logan also suggested that a different referee other than Guatemala’s Mario Escobar might have handled the game differently.

Iran manager Queiroz, who is Portuguese, responded furiously in a series of Twitter posts on Saturday.

Read more
Iran players sang before beating Wales.
Iran players sing anthem before dramatic World Cup win

“You took the initiative to call me Carlos, so I believe it is proper to call you Jurgen. Right?” Queiroz wrote as he addressed the former Germany and USA national team manager.

“Even not knowing me personally, you question my character with a typical prejudiced judgment of superiority. No matter how much I can respect what you did inside the pitch, those remarks about Iran Culture, Iran National Team and my Players are a disgrace to Football.

“Nobody can hurt our integrity if it is not at our level, of course. Even saying so, we would like to invite you as our guest, to come to our National Team Camp, socialize with Iran players and learn from them about the Country, the people of Iran, the poets and art, the algebra, all the millennial Persian culture. And also listen from our players how much they love and respect Football.

“As American/German, we understand your no support. No problem. And despite your outrageous remarks on BBC trying to undermine our efforts, sacrifices and skills, we promise you that we will not produce any judgments regarding your culture, roots and background and that you will always be welcome to our Family.”

Queiroz went on to note Klinsmann’s role on the FIFA Technical Study Group at Qatar 2022, writing: “At the same time, we just want to follow with full attention what will be the decision of FIFA regarding your position as a member of Qatar 2022 Technical Study Group. Because, obviously, we expect you to resign before you visit our camp.”

Read more
The Iran skipper had words for the English media.
Iran captain criticizes English media before World Cup clash

Separately, the Iranian football federation issued a statement in which it demanded an apology from Klinsmann and said it had consulted FIFA on the matter.

Iran’s participation in Qatar has come amid a barrage of political questions from the Western media regarding the protests triggered by the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini in police custody in September.

Ahead of the game against Wales, Queiroz confronted a BBC journalist and asked her why the likes of England manager Gareth Southgate hasn’t been questioned on his country’s actions, such as the war in Afghanistan.

Iran will complete their Group B campaign against the USA on Tuesday – the same day as England face Wales.

Each team in the group still mathematically stands a chance of reaching the knockout stages, with England leading the group on four points, ahead of Iran on three, the USA on two, and Wales on one.

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37. Ex-adviser assesses Trump’s 2024 chancesВс, 27 ноя[-/+]
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The former US president would drag many Republican Party candidates down with him, John Bolton warns

Former US President Donald Trump may not only fail to win a second term, but he could also hurt many Republican Party candidates with his re-election bid, his one-time national security adviser, John Bolton, has warned.

“There are a lot of reasons to be against Trump being the nominee but the one I’m hearing now…is the number of people who have just switched Trump off in their brain,” Bolton, a veteran diplomat who worked in the Trump White House between 2018 and 2019, told the Guardian newspaper on Saturday.

Bolton argued that those who had passionately supported the 45th president in the past are now having second thoughts, especially after the Republican Party’s underwhelming performance in the midterm elections this month. They fear that “if he got the nomination, not only would he lose the general election, but he would take an awful lot of Republican candidates down with him,” he said.

Although the former White House official thinks Trump’s endorsement could help a candidate win the primary, being associated with him would be “poisonous in the general election.”

There’s no doubt Trump’s endorsement in the primary can be very valuable to a candidate in the Republican party. But relying on that endorsement or trumpeting yourself as the Trump-endorsed candidate is poisonous in the general election. So if you actually want to win elections, Trump is not the answer.

Trump announced his re-election bid on November 15. The move came a week after Republicans failed to retake the Senate, despite favorable polls. They also won control of the House of Representative by a margin much slimmer than many had anticipated.

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Copies of memoirs by former US Vice President Mike Pence, November 15, 2022. © Justin Sullivan / Getty Images / AFP
Pence responds to Trump’s re-election bid

Bolton pointed to Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, a rising star of the Republican Party who had won a second term despite being heavily criticized by Trump. “A lot of people look to him as the next generation candidate. That’s one of Trump’s biggest problems - his act is old and tired now,” he said.

Billionaire and new Twitter owner Elon Musk said on Friday he would back DeSantis’ candidacy, adding that in 2024 he would vote for “someone sensible and centrist.”

Bolton is just the latest former Trump administration figure to cast doubt on his re-election chances. Former Vice President Mike Pence said this month Americans were looking for “a new leadership” and that Republicans would have “better choices” for candidates in 2024.

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38. North Korea vows to create world’s most powerful nuclear forceВс, 27 ноя[-/+]
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Kim Jong-un hailed Pyongyang’s new ICBM as the strongest strategic weapon on the planet

North Korea seeks to have the most powerful nuclear capability in the world, the nation’s leader, Kim Jong-un, said on Sunday. He also ordered the promotion of military officials and scientists involved in the recent successful test of a new intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), which is thought to be able to reach the US mainland.

In his order, quoted by the state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), Kim said that North Korea’s “ultimate goal is to possess the world’s most powerful strategic force, the absolute force unprecedented in the century.”

He also described the Hwasong-17 ICBM as “the world’s strongest strategic weapon,” claiming that North Korean officials and the scientists behind the launch “made a wonderful leap forward in the development of the technology of mounting nuclear warheads on ballistic missiles” – showing Pyongyang’s resolve to build “the world’s strongest army.”

According to the KCNA, the missile has “clearly proved” that North Korea is “a full-fledged nuclear power capable of standing against the nuclear supremacy of the US imperialists.”

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North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and his daughter are shown inspecting the site of a missile launch on Friday at Pyongyang International Airport.
Kim Jong-un’s daughter makes first public appearance

Kim also took part in a photo op with those involved in the ICBM launch, while accompanied by his “beloved” daughter, whose existence had never been publicly confirmed until she joined him during the launch of the ICBM last week.

North Korea fired a Hwasong-17 on November 18 in order to shore up Pyongyang’s “overwhelming nuclear deterrence,” amid the “military threat of the US” and its allies in the region, according to Kim.

At the time, North Korean officials said the ICBM travelled nearly 1,000km (620 miles) and reached an altitude of 6,040km (3,750 miles) before landing “accurately in the planned waters of the East Sea of Korea.”

The test was condemned by members of the UN Security Council, including the US, UK, France, and India, who called it a “serious escalation” which “poses an unequivocal threat to international peace and security.” The Security Council, however, stopped short of issuing a formal resolution due to opposition from permanent members China and Russia.

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39. Germany at risk of mass exodus of companies – BDIВс, 27 ноя[-/+]
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Every fourth enterprise may move abroad due to inflation and soaring energy costs, the German industry group warns

One in four German companies is considering moving production to other countries amid the energy crisis, Tanja Gönner, CEO of the Federation of German Industries (BDI), told Die Welt am Sonntag news outlet.

The high energy prices and the weakening economy are hitting the German economy with full force and are placing a great burden on our companies compared to other international locations. The German business model is under enormous stress…Every fourth German company is thinking about relocating production abroad,” Gönner stated.

Germany's energy-intensive chemical industry is particularly affected by the crisis, Wolfgang Grosse Entrup, CEO of the German chemical industry association (VCI), told the news outlet.

“The brutal energy prices are knocking us out…Without a functioning price brake, the government is willfully accepting deindustrialization,” he warned, adding that if the chemical industry fails, other industries will follow, which “could be the knockout for Germany as a business location.

The report says German companies are suffering a variety of problems, including high energy prices, disrupted supply chains, and even the aftershocks from China's rigid crackdown on the Covid-19 pandemic.

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Germany plans huge tax on 'green energy' profits – Bloomberg

The US government's recently passed Inflation Reduction Act, which provides $386 billion in subsidies for new technologies and a sustained expansion of American industry, is also seen as a major risk. The German Economic Ministry recently warned that the unilateral US move demands a similar response from the EU.

We will have to give our own European response that puts our strengths forward,” the ministry said, adding that in addition to subsidies, German industry needs “structural reforms, above all the acceleration of planning and approval procedures and de-bureaucratization.

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40. West African country ditches dollar in oil tradeВс, 27 ноя[-/+]
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Ghana will buy crude with gold instead of the US currency

Ghana’s vice president, Mahamudu Bawumia, revealed this week that the government wants to pay for oil imports with gold instead of US dollars. He explained the plan as an attempt to protect the country’s dwindling foreign currency reserves.

Official data shows Ghana’s gross international reserves have fallen from $9.7 billion at the end of 2021 to around $6.6 billion at the end of September 2022.

The reserves could reportedly cover just three months of the country’s goods and services imports — half a month short of the government’s target for 2022.

The gold-for-oil policy is expected to be implemented in the first quarter of 2023, to counter inflation caused by the depreciation of the national currency. Bawumia explained that the Ghanaian cedi has lost more than half of its value against the dollar so far this year due to strong demand for the greenback from oil importers.

An oil-producing country, Ghana still has to import products such as gas and diesel, because its only oil refinery has been offline since an explosion in 2017.

READ MORE: Russia wants to decouple national-currency trade from dollar – RBK

The African nation is “in high risk of debt distress” as the cedi's depreciation was “seriously affecting” its ability to manage its public debt, the Finance Ministry says. Ghana is currently negotiating a relief package with the International Monetary Fund.

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41. Historic drought in California threatens US food securityВс, 27 ноя[-/+]
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Cuts to water supplies may cost the state’s farmers $3 billion

Severe droughts in California, the leading US agricultural state, have resulted in crop revenue losses of at least $3 billion over the past two years, according to a study prepared for the California Department of Food and Agriculture.

The research revealed that surface water deliveries in the Central Valley as a whole have been reduced by as much as 43% in 2021 and 2022, forcing Californian farmers to leave over 1.3 million acres unplanted, the most idled acreage in recent memory.

The Central Valley, home to nearly a quarter of all US planted food, including 40% of fruits and nuts, has reportedly borne the brunt so far, with vines and vegetables the main source of revenue loss.

“Strategic short term land idling was the most common cropping decision adaptation in this drought,” the report reads. “Some crops such as rice, and other field and grain crops showed extensive idling,” while production of beef and milk were “lower than they would have been.”

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RT
US diesel shortage worsens

Some 70% of irrigated land in the Colorado River Basin is used to grow feed for livestock, and the drought is inevitably sending prices for such crops soaring, according to the report.

The situation could worsen further, as the state’s southern farming areas reliant on water from a shrinking Colorado River are likely to see more fallowing in 2023, according to Josue Medellin-Azuara, a University of California Merced professor who led the analysis as cited by Bloomberg.

A study released earlier this year by the National Climate Change journal found that the US Southwest has suffered its driest 22-year period in at least 1,200 years. Lake Mead is fed by the Colorado River, and its supplies are strained by overuse even under normal weather conditions.

Last year, the US federal government declared an unprecedented water shortage in Lake Mead and the Lower Colorado River Basin, warning of supply cuts. A Colorado River pact signed in 1922 governs water management affecting seven states – California, Arizona, Nevada, Colorado, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming.

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42. Most NATO members have run out of weapons for Ukraine – NYTВс, 27 ноя[-/+]
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Only larger states have untapped potential to continue arming Kiev, newspaper claims

Arms transfers to Ukraine have left Western weapon stockpiles strained, making it increasingly difficult for NATO militaries to honor politicians’ pledges to supply Kiev, the New York Times reported on Saturday.

“Smaller countries have exhausted their potential,” and according to one NATO official, at least 20 of the bloc’s 30 members are “pretty tapped out,” the newspaper wrote. Only “larger allies,” including France, Germany, Italy, and the Netherlands, have enough stockpiles to continue or potentially increase their weapon shipments to Ukraine.

Since the start of Russia’s military operation in Ukraine in late February, the US and its Western allies have been providing Kiev with billions of dollars in security assistance, to the tune of nearly $40 billion, now comparable to the entire annual defense budget of France. Moscow has repeatedly warned that the weapon shipments will only prolong the conflict and increase the risk of a direct conflict between Russia and NATO.

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FILE PHOTO: German PzH 2000 self-propelled artillery system.
Germany reaches limit in arms deliveries to Kiev

As Ukraine continues to call for more weapons, EU stockpiles are running low, with Germany already “reaching its limit as of early September. Meanwhile, Lithuania, which does not have any more weapons to donate, has urged the allies to give Ukraine “everything we have.”

US President Joe Biden has vowed to keep the arms pipeline open for “as long as it takes,” but even American military stockpiles have taken a toll after repeated shipments to Kiev. As early as March, just weeks after the conflict in Ukraine kicked off, the US Defense Department was already scrambling to replenish thousands of shoulder-fired missiles supplied to Kiev. By August, US stockpiles of 155mm artillery ammunition were uncomfortably low,” according to the Wall Street Journal.

The Pentagon’s latest fact sheet detailed more than $19 billion in direct military aid approved since February, including over 46,000 anti-armor systems, nearly 200 Howitzers, 38 long-range High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS), and a litany of other heavy weapons, vehicles and ammunition – as well as over 920,000 of 155mm artillery rounds.

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Gabrielius Landsbergis speaks with the media as he arrives for a meeting of NATO foreign ministers at NATO headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, April 6, 2022
NATO should give Ukraine ‘everything we have’ – member state

The US think tank Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) previously pointed out that the American military is “not structured to fight or support an extended conflict,” while the defense industry is “sized for peacetime production rates,” and expanding capabilities would take years.

NATO is heavily invested in Ukraine, with the alliance’s members also providing training and intelligence capability. Despite this “unprecedented support,” the military bloc’s secretary general, Jens Stoltenberg, has repeatedly claimed that “NATO is not a party to the conflict.”

Moscow sees things differently. Multiple top officials, including Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, have accused NATO of waging war against Russia “by proxy,” while Putin has described Russia as fighting “the entire Western military machine.”

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43. Global chip shortage expected to drag on – BoschВс, 27 ноя[-/+]
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The deficit is mainly due to the rapidly growing electric vehicles industry, the engineering giant Bosch has warned

The global semiconductor shortage will continue to affect the auto industry until 2024 as chip suppliers cannot meet procurement demands, executive vice-president of Bosch China Xu Daquan has said.

He told China Daily this week that the main reason for the shortage is the rapid growth of the new energy vehicle industry.

Bosch is one of the world’s biggest auto parts suppliers, providing intelligent driving solutions for carmakers, including chassis control systems.

Its Chinese operation is reportedly looking for domestic raw materials suppliers, but has yet to find one for mass production. The company expects more domestic chip suppliers to achieve large-scale and high-quality production in the next two or three years.

According to Auto Forecast Solutions, cited in the report, the global car market slashed production by about 3.91 million vehicles due to chip shortages in the first ten months of this year. Nearly 4.28 million units are projected to be cut for the whole year.

READ MORE: World’s biggest carmaker abandons 'smart' keys

The global chip shortage that started during the Covid-19 pandemic has caused severe supply issues and delays with the automotive and other industries. The conflict in Ukraine has aggravated the problem. Global prices for neon and xenon gasses have surged since Ukrainian suppliers Ingas and Cryoin, which deliver about 50% of the world’s neon gas for semiconductor uses, stopped production. Russia reportedly supplies up to 30% of the neon consumed globally. China and Japan are other major producers of noble gasses, but their supplies are mainly consumed domestically.

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44. US eases Venezuela oil embargoВс, 27 ноя[-/+]
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Chevron will be allowed to resume operations in the country as long as Caracas does not profit from sales

The US Treasury Department has granted a license to multinational energy corporation Chevron to export Venezuelan oil to the US, citing a breakthrough in talks between the opposition and the government in Caracas, which Washington still refuses to recognize.

According to the Treasury’s statement on Saturday, Chevron Corporation was authorized to “resume limited natural resource extraction operations,” as long as Venezuela’s government does not receive “any profits from the oil sales by Chevron.” Under the policy, the extracted oil can only be exported to the US and the profits can only be directed to repaying the debts owed to Chevron, which has joint ventures with state-run oil company Petroleos de Venezuela S.A. (PDVSA).

The newly-granted license specifically prohibits the “payment of any taxes or royalties to the Government of Venezuela,” or payment of “any dividends, including a dividend in kind” to any entity owned or controlled by PDVSA.

“Other Venezuela-related sanctions and restrictions imposed by the United States remain in place,” the statement added, emphasizing that the move does not indicate any change to the longstanding US policy towards Venezuela. Washington will continue to “vigorously enforce these sanctions,” it said, and will only “provide targeted sanctions relief based on concrete steps that alleviate the suffering of the Venezuelan people and support the restoration of democracy.”

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© Getty Images / Brasil2
US allows Venezuelan oil exports – Reuters

It remains unclear how much oil Chevron will be allowed to extract and export to the US under these conditions, and if the move will have any impact on global oil prices.

Caracas has been under US sanctions for over 15 years. The latest round of restrictions was imposed after Washington refused to recognize Nicolas Maduro as the country’s president following the 2018 election, and instead declared the head of the National Assembly, Juan Guaido, to be the ‘interim leader’ of the country.

As a result, all Venezuelan government assets were frozen in the US and any dealings with US citizens and companies were barred. However, despite the political challenge and the heavy sanctions introduced on his government by the West, Maduro has remained in power and is still considered the country’s legitimate president by most of the world.

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RT
EU fails to reach agreement on Russian oil price cap – Bloomberg

After the start of Russia’s military operation in Ukraine in February and subsequent bans on Russian oil in the US first and a partial embargo in Europe, Washington turned to Venezuela for oil relief and indicated that it may relax economic pressure on Caracas, including allowing it to increase its oil exports.

The US Treasury Department tied its latest move to the resumption of long-stalled negotiations between Maduro’s government and a wider coalition of opposition groups apart from the faction led by Guaido, whose term expires in January.

Earlier on Saturday, the sides signed a framework agreement to establish a UN-managed fund to finance health, food and education programs using the frozen Venezuelan assets. Maduro called the agreement an “important step for the well-being of our country,” after previously stating that his “effort will always be the dialogue with the entire Venezuelan society.”

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45. Taiwan’s ruling party suffers election defeatВс, 27 ноя[-/+]
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President Tsai Ing-wen framed the local races as a referendum on her battle for the island’s “freedom and democracy”

Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen has stepped down as the head of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) after a series of election defeats to opposition candidates, who focused their campaigns on local issues and maintaining peace without being overly confrontational with Beijing.

On Saturday, people went to the polls to vote for mayors in nine cities, as well as city council members and other local leaders across the island. In a major defeat to the ruling party, the opposition Kuomintang (KMT) won key mayoral races in Taipei, Taoyuan, and Keelung, in addition to a string of other victories, leaving the DPP in control of only five out of the 21 local government offices, according to preliminary results.

“The results failed our expectations. We humbly accept the results and accept the Taiwanese people's decision,” Tsai told reporters at party headquarters on Saturday evening, announcing her resignation as the DPP head, which she also did after a similarly poor showing in 2018.

Beijing welcomed the results as proof that the people of Taiwan overwhelmingly support peace, stability, and “a good life,” with China’s Taiwan Affairs Office promising to continue its work to promote peaceful relations and to oppose foreign interference and calls for independence.

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Tsai Ing-wen delivers a speech during National Day celebrations in front of the Presidential Building in Taipei, Taiwan, October 10, 2022
Taiwan must 'get ready' for invasion – president

Despite the largely symbolic resignation, Tsai is set to remain the island’s leader until the end of her second term in 2024. She won by a landslide in 2020 on promises to stand up to Beijing, but will not be able to run again due to term limits.

Ahead of Saturday’s vote, Tsai repeatedly described the local elections as yet another “chance to show the international community Taiwan's persistence and resolve to defend freedom and democracy,” and urged undecided voters to “please cast this vote for me, for candidates I am recommending.”

The opposition KMT also expressed its commitment to protecting the island’s freedom and democracy, but without being as confrontational with Beijing as the DPP.

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Chinese President Xi Jinping delivers a speech at the opening ceremony of the 20th National Congress of China's ruling Communist Party, October 16, 2022
China’s Xi makes Taiwan pledge

While Tsai had repeatedly raised the issue of “opposing China and defending Taiwan” during the campaign, the opposition as well as her own party’s candidates focused instead on local problems such as air pollution, traffic issues, and the island’s handling of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Taiwan has governed itself since nationalist forces led by Chiang Kai-shek fled to the island in 1949, after they lost a civil war to the Communists. Beijing’s position is that Taiwan is an integral part of China – the One-China policy – and that China “will inevitably be reunified.”

The 20th National Congress of the Communist Party last month enshrined opposition to Taiwanese separatism into the party’s constitution, after re-electing President Xi Jinping for a third term. Xi said that while Beijing seeks “peaceful reunification” with the island, he could not “promise to give up the use of force” and reserves the option “to take all necessary measures.”

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46. Russian soldiers return home after prisoner swapВс, 27 ноя[-/+]
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The nine servicemen faced “grave danger” while in Ukrainian captivity, the Defense Ministry has said

Another nine Russian soldiers were freed from captivity following talks between Moscow and Kiev, the Defense Ministry said on Saturday. The servicemen will now be flown to Moscow for rehabilitation, according to the military.

While in Ukrainian captivity, the soldiers faced “grave danger,” the ministry stated, adding that they “are now receiving all necessary medical and psychological aid,” the statement read.

Earlier, the acting head of the Donetsk People’s Republic, Denis Pushilin, said that Russia and Ukraine swapped nine prisoners of war, without providing any further details.

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RT
More Russian soldiers released from Ukrainian captivity (VIDEO)

Kiev claimed it returned 12 people – nine soldiers and three civilians, with one man who was considered “missing” among them. According to Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky’s chief of staff, Andrey Ermak, the group included two officers and seven privates.

Saturday’s swap is the latest in a series of exchanges in which more than 100 Russian soldiers have returned home this week. On Thursday, Russia and Ukraine swapped 50 POWs after exchanging 35 the day before. In early November, each country released 107 captured personnel.

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47. Kazakhstan to prioritize cooperation with Russia and China – presidentВс, 27 ноя[-/+]
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Recently re-elected Kassym-Jomart Tokayev set out Astana's foreign policy agenda in his inauguration speech

Kazakhstan will prioritize cooperation with its close neighbors, including Russia and China, President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev said on Saturday in his inauguration speech after being re-elected. The nation will pursue a “balanced” foreign policy guided by its own interests, he added.

“[We] will focus our priority attention on … mutually beneficial cooperation and strategic partnership” with Moscow, Beijing, “and the brotherly nations of Central Asia,” Tokayev emphasized.

The country will remain committed to international law and the UN Charter, the president noted. It will also not abandon its multi-vector cooperation with other states, he said, mentioning that Astana would continue to work with the US, EU, Middle Eastern nations, as well as all other interested parties.

The newly re-elected president had earlier announced a series of sweeping reforms designed to alter the country’s key governing institutions. Tokayev particularly stressed the need to transform the “super-presidential” republic into a more balanced one, and suggested limiting a presidential term to seven years.

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Members of a local electoral commission count ballots at a polling station after Kazakhstan's presidential elections in Astana on November 20, 2022.
Kazakh president wins snap election – exit polls

The incumbent Tokayev secured a landslide victory in last weekend's snap election, securing over 80% of the vote. He first came to power in 2019 after the decades-long rule of Kazakhstan’s first president, Nursultan Nazarbayev.

The presidential election was announced in September, months after a wave of civil unrest rocked the Central Asian nation in January. In the first half of next year, the country is also set to hold parliamentary elections.

Last Monday, Russian President Vladimir Putin congratulated Tokayev on his re-election, noting that he had been granted a mandate of trust from the Kazakh people, which opens up the opportunity for him to advance his vision for the nation’s development.

Putin added that the strategic partnership and alliance between Russia and Kazakhstan, which are based on “traditions of friendship, mutual respect and good neighborliness,” were developing “very successfully.”

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48. Messi strikes to keep Argentina’s World Cup hopes aliveВс, 27 ноя[-/+]
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The Argentine captain scored as his team earned a crucial win against Mexico in Qatar

Argentina revived their chances of reaching the World Cup knockout stages in Qatar as goals from Lionel Messi and Enzo Fernandez gave them a 2-0 win over Mexico.

After suffering an opening defeat to Saudi Arabia in one of the biggest upsets in World Cup history, Argentina knew that a repeat against Mexico would end their hopes in Qatar, while a draw would also leave their fate hanging by a thread.

In the end, it was Messi to the rescue again as he a hit a 64th-minute goal before Fernandez added a brilliantly taken second in the closing stages.

After Poland beat Saudi Arabia 2-0 earlier on Saturday, Group C heads to what promises to be a tight denouement on Wednesday when the Poles play Argentina and Mexico take on the Saudis.

Poland currently lead the way on four points, with Argentina and Saudi Arabia level on three and Mexico bottom of the pile on one point from their two matches.

Messi and Argentina celebrated wildly after their win. © Dean Mouhtaropoulos / Getty Images

That Argentina remain alive is again partly thanks to their captain Messi, who was equaling Diego Maradona’s record of 21 appearances in World Cup games for his country.

A raucous atmosphere in the stands at Lusail Stadium wasn’t initially matched by the action on the pitch in the first half as both teams struggled to create chances.

Mexican winger Alexis Vega tested Argentine goalkeeper Emi Martinez with a free-kick just before the break, while Messi lifted a free-kick of his own over the crossbar five minutes into the second half from what looked like a promising position.

But two-time tournament winners Argentina began to press and the breakthrough came just after the hour mark through their talisman.

Collecting the ball on the edge of the box, Messi shuffled to make space before sending a low drive into the bottom corner, beyond the reach of despairing Mexican goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa.

The crowd erupted as Messi pumped his arms in celebration, well aware of the magnitude of a goal which rekindled the World Cup hopes of Lionel Scaloni’s team.

Mexico failed to mount any semblance of a comeback, and substitute Fernandez doubled Argentina’s lead on 87 minutes when the midfielder collected a pass from Messi just inside the box, whipping a superb effort into the far corner.

Fernandez curled in a brilliant second goal for Argentina. © Dan Mullan / Getty Images

Messi, 35, has already said this will be his World Cup swansong.

Despite ending his hoodoo with Argentina by winning the Copa America last year, the World Cup remains a glaring omission on a glittering resume in which he has won every accolade possible at club level, as well as seven Ballon d’Or crowns.

Messi and Argentina will breathe a sigh of relief that they live to fight another day in Qatar heading into the last round of Group C games.

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49. Deadly landslide strikes Italian islandСб, 26 ноя[-/+]
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One person is dead and up to a dozen are missing after heavy rainfall left a port town on Ischia under meters of mud

One death has been confirmed and up to a dozen people are missing after a landslide struck the Italian island of Ischia on Saturday. With vehicles swept away by six meters of earth, officials initially feared a higher death toll.

"Currently the confirmed death toll is one, a woman. Eight missing persons have been found, including a child, and there still are around ten missing," the prefect of Naples, Claudio Palomba, told a news conference, Reuters reported.

Situated off Italy’s Mediterranean coast in the Gulf of Naples, the island of Ischia received more than 12cm (5 inches) of rainfall in six hours overnight. The precipitation washed six to seven meters of mud and debris down the side of the island’s volcanic mountain ridge, washing cars and buses into the sea at the port of Casamicciola.

Un nubifragio su Ischia ha causato danni ovunque con gravi problemi a Casamicciola gia devastata da una alluvione nel nov del 2009. 13 dispersi tra i quali anche un neonato. E siamo ancora qui a guardare attoniti la furia della natura mentre c'e una Italia da mettere in sicurezza pic.twitter.com/IGIdDZVIko

— Luigi Rispoli (@LuiRispoli) November 26, 2022

At least ten buildings collapsed, Italy’s ANSA news agency reported. Local officials advised those trapped by the mud to remain at home, as rescue efforts continued into Saturday evening.

The initial death toll was feared higher, with Italian Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini announcing on Saturday morning that eight people had been confirmed dead. However, Interior Minister Matteo Piantedosi stated shortly afterwards that no deaths had been confirmed at that time, but 10-12 people were missing.

Ischia is densely populated and is a popular tourist destination. Visitors flock there from the Italian mainland for its beaches and thermal spas, which are fed by volcanic springs. Former German Chancellor Angela Merkel visited the island almost every year during her four terms in office.

A 4.0-magnitude earthquake on the island in 2017 killed two people and damaged property in Casamicciola and neighboring Lacco Ameno.

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50. US 'military biological activities' a threat to the world – RussiaСб, 26 ноя[-/+]
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Washington admits the “dual-use nature” of its biological research but resists international oversight, Moscow claims

Russia is concerned about large scale American biological research programs, both at home and abroad, especially given Washington has admitted their “dual-use nature." That's according to the commander of Russia’s Nuclear Biological and Chemical Defense Troops, Lieutenant General Igor Kirillov, who was speaking during a briefing on Saturday.

He demanded broader international oversight of such programs.

“The military biological activities of the Pentagon in various regions of the world” are among the sources of risk threatening the whole international community, Kirillov warned.

The US seeks to “enhance its military biological potential,” as well as “expand its global control over the biological situation in the world,” he noted, citing the US’ own strategic documents.

The US National Biodefense Strategy, adopted in October 2022, does say that the nation “recognizes the dual-use nature of the life sciences and biotechnology” while also stating that Washington “seeks to prevent the misuse of science and technology.” It adds that biological risk management “requires… taking steps to mitigate those risks, regardless of whether they originate in the United States or abroad,” pointing to the need to “evolve” the country’s “biodefense capabilities.”

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US biolab accidents going unreported – The Intercept

The US Defense Threat Reduction Agency – a Pentagon body mostly focused on countering threats posed by weapons of mass destruction (WMD) – goes even further in its strategy for the years 2022-2027. It openly identifies expanding the US’ ability to “identify, characterize and exploit adversary WMD vulnerabilities” as one of its goals. Another of its aims is to recognize “potential WMD warfighting obstacles” and find “solutions” to help the US and its allies “win during the conflict.”

Washington's stated intention of strengthening the implementation of the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) has been met with doubt from Moscow. Russia has “repeatedly raised the issue of the real goal of the Pentagon’s research programs at various international sites,” Kirillov stated on Saturday, adding that these questions “remain unanswered to date.”

In late October, Russia filed an official complaint claiming that US-backed biological activities are taking place in Ukraine and requested a UN probe into the matter. The UN Security Council rejected Moscow’s proposal, with the US, UK, and France voting against it.

Kirillov’s statement was made ahead of the upcoming BWC review conference scheduled to take place in Geneva over late November and early December. Held every five years, the event is aimed at ensuring that the convention remains relevant and up-to-date amid the changes in science and technology, as well as in the global security landscape.

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51. Transgender Sherlock Holmes named – mediaСб, 26 ноя[-/+]
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Crossdressing comedian Eddie Izzard, who identifies as a woman, will reportedly play the titular sleuth

Transgender comedian Eddie Izzard has reporedly been cast as Sherlock Holmes in a new series featuring Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s iconic detective. Holmes has been portrayed by a plethora of male actors and several female-led spinoffs have been produced, but the famous sleuth has never been played by a transgender woman before.

Izzard is in “advanced talks” to secure the role, the Daily Mail reported on Friday.

The series, ‘Sherlock’s Daughter’, will be produced by Starlings Television and could be shown on Netflix, industry blogs report.

According to its synopsis, ‘Sherlock’s Daughter’ “follows a young American woman who discovers that her biological father is Sherlock Holmes.” Traveling to London to track him down, she discovers “he's not what she expected.”

It is unclear whether Izzard will portray Holmes as a man or a transgender woman.

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Donald and Melania Trump stand together during his 2024 presidential campaign announcement at Mar-a-Lago, Florida, November 15, 2022
Trump denounces US ‘gender insanity’

Izzard performed in drag for much of his four-decade career and identified as a “transvestite” before coming out as transgender in 2016. Initially comfortable being referred to as either male or female, Izzard stated in 2020 that he would use “she/her” pronouns and be “in girl mode from now on.”

In addition to acting and comedy, Izzard is currently campaigning to become the Labour Party’s MP for Sheffield.

Sherlock Holmes has been played over the years by Basil Rathbone, Benedict Cumberbatch, Jeremy Brett, Jonny Lee Miller, Robert Downey Jr, and Henry Cavill. While the 2018 Japanese series ‘Miss Sherlock’ reimagined Holmes as a woman and Netflix’s 2020 movie ‘Enola Holmes’ focused on the adventures of his teenage sister, the legendary detective has never been played in the Western world by a woman, let alone a transgender one.

‘Enola Holmes’ faced a lawsuit by the estate of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle over its “warmer” depiction of the normally icy detective, but the case was settled out of court. The entire Holmes canon will enter the public domain in 2023, meaning Izzard’s performance, however it departs from Doyle’s original, will be beyond legal reproach.

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52. Mbappe secures passage for France in QatarСб, 26 ноя[-/+]
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The striker scored twice as France ensured they qualified for the World Cup knockout stages with one game to spare

Defending champions France became the first team to secure a place in the knockout stages at the Qatar World Cup as they beat Denmark 2-1 thanks to a double from Kylian Mbappe.

France broke the deadlock in the 61st minute of the Group D encounter at Stadium 974 in Doha when Mbappe linked up with Theo Hernandez before side-footing a finish past Denmark goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel.

Denmark hit back seven minutes later when Andres Christensen headed in a flick-on by Joachim Andersen at a corner, but Mbappe struck again in the 86th minute when he arrived at the back post to bundle in a cross from Antoine Griezmann.

The 23-year-old Mbappe now has seven World Cup goals in total to his name, with his three so far in Qatar added to the four he scored as Les Bleus won the title in Russia four years ago.

Mbappe turned home at the backpost for France's second goal. © Tim Nwachukwu / Getty Images

France made it two wins from two games in Qatar following their resounding 4-1 opening victory against Australia – a match in which Mbappe was also on target.

Didier Deschamps’ team are top of Group D with six points, meaning they will qualify for the last 16 with one game to spare.

Australia lie second on three points after their 1-0 win over Tunisia earlier on Saturday.

Demark have just a solitary point alongside Tunisia after their goalless opening draw in Qatar.

Semifinalists at Euro 2020 last year, the Danes’ fate in Qatar will rest on the final round of Group D games on Wednesday, when they must beat Australia to stand any chance of progressing.

France will take on Tunisia at the same time, knowing they are safely into the business end of the tournament.

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53. London Fire Brigade is ‘racist’ and ‘misogynist’ – reportСб, 26 ноя[-/+]
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Bullying and abuse is rife within the ranks of the department, an ‘Independent Culture Review’ found

London Fire Brigade is “institutionally misogynist and racist,” with women and minorities subjected to workplace harassment and bullying, a review into the department’s culture released on Saturday has concluded. Fire Commissioner Andy Roe has promised stiff “consequences” should this behavior continue.

The report, conducted by former Chief Crown Prosecutor Nazir Afzal, discovered a culture in which the line between locker-room “banter” and outright “abuse” is often overstepped.

A female firefighter described how male colleagues would watch pornography at work and “go through women’s drawers looking for underwear and sex toys.” A black firefighter told Afzal that he had “a noose” put above his locker, while a Muslim described having bacon and sausages placed in his pockets and “a terrorist hotline sign posted on his locker.”

When the Muslim man returned from pilgrimage to Mecca, colleagues asked how his “al-Qaeda training” went.

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© Getty Images / inhauscreative
Fire chief issues warning to hard up Brits

“On countless occasions, stories of racial slurs being casually used were related to us by people of color,” the review stated. “We heard stories of women being groped in training exercises and having to run a daily gauntlet of sexist abuse.”

The report claims that those responsible for the bullying often face no consequences. “The threshold for bullying is so high, you would have to gouge someone’s eyes out to get sacked,” one female firefighter told Afzal. “Everything else is seen as banter.”

The report was commissioned by Roe after a trainee firefighter committed suicide in 2020, allegedly following workplace bullying.

“Today is a very sobering day,” Roe said, reacting to the release. “There is no place for discrimination, harassment, and bullying in the brigade and from today, it will be completely clear to all staff what behavior isn’t acceptable and what the consequences will be.”

London Fire Brigade responds to around 15,000 fires per year, according to figures from 2021. In addition to fighting these blazes, Afzal’s report recommends that the department now review five years’ worth of bullying and harassment complaints, hire more “diverse” firefighters, and investigate the “root causes” of stress in this hazardous occupation.

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54. Thousands rally over Irish housing crisisСб, 26 ноя[-/+]
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Protesters call on the government to provide accommodation, as right-wing media blames immigration

Thousands of people protested in Dublin on Saturday, calling on the government to address Ireland’s housing and homelessness crises. While the protest has the backing of Irish celebrities, right-wing activists argue the predicament is linked to immigration.

The protest was organized by ‘Raise the Roof’, a coalition of politicians, trade unions, and homelessness charities. The group is demanding that the Irish government build affordable homes, declare a “legal right to housing,” and strengthen tenants’ rights.

Backed by Ireland’s largest opposition parties – Sinn Fein and the Labour Party – and promoted by celebrities such as ‘Game of Thrones’ actor Liam Cunningham and singer Christy Moore, the demonstration came as Ireland faces the combined challenges of record homelessness, huge rent spikes, a dearth of housing and an unprecedented influx of refugees and asylum seekers.

Big turnout this afternoon at the #RaisetheRoof rally this afternoon.#HousingCrisis pic.twitter.com/Xdp374opc0

— Mick Caul (@caulmick) November 26, 2022

The protest organizers called on the government to increase the supply of housing, including by requisitioning vacant properties, though Raise the Roof’s manifesto makes no mention of addressing the demand side.

“Ireland does not have the space for the people it is welcoming,” conservative media outlet Gript wrote on Friday. “We lack the houses…and the general infrastructure to support this rate of new arrival. Ireland is, in fact, full.”

By the end of the year, Ireland will have taken in more than 70,000 Ukrainian refugees, at a cost to the state of $642 million. It is estimated that half of the new arrivals are living in hotels, guesthouses, and other repurposed buildings. Meanwhile, a record 11,397 Irish people were left homeless last month, according to figures from homelessness charity Focus Ireland.

In addition to Ukrainians, Ireland took in nearly 10,000 asylum seekers from other countries in the first nine months of the year, the highest figure since 2001. With the total number of foreigners admitted in 2022 exceeding the population of Ireland’s fourth-largest city, Galway, locals in some areas have protested the new arrivals, most of whom came from Nigeria, Georgia, and Somalia.

More than a thousand protestors rallying in East Wall now. Traffic at a standstill. Department of integration said they will be providing more information to locals in the coming days about 380 asylum seekers who have been moved into the area. #EastWall #Dublin pic.twitter.com/AuzG4EPyre

— Alison O’Reilly (@AlisonMaryORE) November 21, 2022

Hundreds of residents of Dublin’s East Wall neighborhood have picketed a former power utility building after the government moved in 380 mostly male migrants last week. Residents say they weren’t consulted about the plan, and anti-immigration activists have pressed Integration Minister Roderic O’Gormain on why “this wasn’t done for homeless Irish citizens.”

Anti-immigration protests are typically written off by Ireland’s government as the work of a right-wing fringe, with Dublin City Councillor Ray McAdam, a member of Ireland’s governing Fine Gael party, describing the East Wall demonstrations as “the worst of Donald Trump-type politics.”

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55. Cruise ship passenger rescued in ‘Thanksgiving miracle’ operationСб, 26 ноя[-/+]
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The man likely spent more than 15 hours in the sea, a US Coast Guard official said

A lost cruise ship passenger was found alive in the Gulf of Mexico on Thursday, the US Coast Guard has announced. The man apparently kept himself afloat for more than 15 hours, according to the service.

The 28-year-old disappeared on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving while aboard the cruise ship Carnival Valor.

Carnival spokesman Matt Lupoli told CNN that the man vanished when leaving a bar to use the restroom at around 11pm local time, hours after the vessel had sailed from New Orleans.

The passenger’s sister reported him missing at noon the next day, setting off a major search-and-rescue operation, which involved a Coast Guard boat, a helicopter, and several airplanes. The cruise ship retraced its route to support the effort, Lupoli said.

A bulk carrier finally spotted a man drifting alone about 20 miles off the Louisiana coast. According to a video released by the Coast Guard, the man was actively signaling for help. He was eventually rescued by an MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter at 8:25pm on Thursday.

Read more
Migrants stand on board the Ocean Viking prior disembarking, in Toulon.
France issues warning to Italy over migrants

It was not clear how much time he had spent alone at sea. However, Lieutenant Seth Gross, a search and rescue coordinator with the Coast Guard, told CNN on Friday that the man was drifting for more than 15 hours, while the water temperature that day was just above 21 degrees C (70 F). He added that the drifter showed signs of hypothermia, shock, and dehydration, but was able to walk and communicate.

“The fact that he was able to keep himself afloat and above the surface of the water for such an extended period of time, it’s just something you can’t take for granted and certainly something that’ll stick with me forever,” Gross said, adding that the case was “unlike anything I’ve been part of” during his 17-year career.

“I think it kind of blows the norm, the normalcy, out of the water here, and really just shows the will to live is something that you need to account for in every search-and-rescue case,” he stated, calling the rescue “one of those Thanksgiving miracles.”

According to Gross, the rescued man gave “no clear indication” of why he fell overboard.

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56. Frenchman defends his legal right to not be ‘fun’Сб, 26 ноя[-/+]
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The man was fired from a Paris consultancy in 2015 for refusing “to partake in various excesses”

A French court has determined that an employee cannot be fired simply for not wanting to have fun and being reluctant to take part in team-building activities that include “excessive alcoholism” and “promiscuity.”

The ruling was handed down by Paris’ Court of Cassation on November 9, but was reported just this week. The legal battle involved an unnamed employee known as Mr T and Cubik Partners, a management consultancy and training company which promotes its “fun and pro” approach, and promises to “make management more human again,” according to its website.

The plaintiff was hired in 2011 and promoted three years later. Despite this, Mr T apparently had difficulties embracing corporate culture, as Cubik Partners fired him in 2015 over “professional inadequacy,” saying he failed to cultivate the company’s party atmosphere.

This included participation “in seminars and end-of-week drinks frequently ending up in excessive alcohol intake, encouraged by associates who made very large quantities of alcohol available,” according to the court ruling.

Read more
RT
Single women offered unusual companion

The ‘fun events’ also translated into “humiliating and intrusive practices regarding privacy,” including simulated sexual acts, the obligation to share a bed with a colleague during seminars, the use of nicknames to designate people and hanging up deformed and made-up photos in offices.

However, Mr T argued that he has the right to “refuse company policy based on incitement to partake in various excesses.” The court supported his line of thinking, saying the company’s practices violated his “fundamental right to dignity and respect of private life,” and that he was exercising his “freedom of expression.”

As a result, the Court of Cassation determined that the company should pay €3,000 ($3,100) to the plaintiff, while a decision on whether he is entitled to a €461,000 ($480,000) payment in damages will be made later.

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57. Lewandowski scores first World Cup goal as Poland sink SaudisСб, 26 ноя[-/+]
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The striker was on target as his team won for the first time in Qatar

Robert Lewandowski was on the scoresheet for the first time in a World Cup match as the forward helped Poland to a 2-0 win against Saudi Arabia in Qatar on Saturday.

Lewandowski struck in the 82nd minute of the match at Education City Stadium, capitalizing on a defensive lapse to slot the ball past Saudi goalkeeper Mohammed Al Owais.

One of the most prolific forwards of his generation, the 34-year-old Lewandowski had not previously made his mark in four appearances at the World Cup finals – including three games at the Russia 2018 tournament.

The goal was his 77th in 136 appearances in Polish national team colors, matching the mark set by Pele for Brazil and moving Lewandowski into joint 10th place on the all-time men’s international list.

Poland had taken the lead through Piotr Zielinski in the first half following smart work from Lewandowski, who kept the ball alive on the goal line before feeding it back to Zielinski to drive it in from just outside the six-yard box.

After their sensational opening game win against Argentina, the Saudis continued to give a good account of themselves and spurned a golden chance to go in level at the break when they were awarded a penalty after Saleh Al Shehri was brought down in the box.

A VAR check confirmed contact from Krystian Bielik, but striker Salem Al Dawsari’s spot kick was saved by Poland goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny, who brilliantly parried a rebound effort from Mohammed Al Burayk over the crossbar.

Szczesny pulled off a brilliant double save to deny the Saudis an equalizer. © Salih Zeki Fazlioglu / Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Marshaled by the charismatic Herve Renard on the touchline, the Saudis continued to press in the second half, but were fortunate to escape when Poland twice hit the woodwork – first when Arkadiusz Milik rattled the crossbar with a header, and then when Lewandowski directed an effort onto the post.

But the Poland captain did make it two with his strike inside the last 10 minutes – and the Barcelona forward could have added to his total were it not for a save from Al Owais when one-on-one.

The win is Poland’s first in Qatar, and follows their 0-0 opening draw with Mexico – a match in which Lewandowski had missed a penalty.

The Poles have four points from two matches in Group C, with the Saudis remaining on three points.

Later on Saturday, Lionel Messi and Argentina will aim to atone for their opening game shock when they play Mexico at the Lusail Stadium.

The final round of Group C matches takes place on Wednesday, when Saudi Arabia play Mexico and Poland meet Argentina.

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58. Most Germans do not want Merkel to return – pollСб, 26 ноя[-/+]
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More than 40% of those polled think the former chancellor was better than her successor Olaf Scholz

Most Germans would oppose a potential comeback of former Chancellor Angela Merkel, a new survey has found. She left her position as head of the nation’s government just under a year ago.

A total of 71% of respondents would not want to see the former leader back in office, whereas 23% would welcome her return, according to data collected by the Civey polling institute on behalf of the Funke Media Group and reported by several German media outlets on Saturday.

However, 43% of Germans believe she was a better chancellor than the current leader, Olaf Scholz. Almost as many people – 41% – hold the opposite view.

Merkel led four successive German governments for 16 years and was just a few days short of beating the record chancellorship tenure of her political mentor, Helmut Kohl. Since leaving office, Merkel has faced criticism that her energy policy made Germany heavily dependent on Russian energy imports.

READ MORE: Merkel explains why she wasn’t surprised by Russia’s offensive in Ukraine

The former chancellor defended her decisions by saying that purchasing Russian gas was the best way towards a green future. Earlier this week, she gave a lengthy interview to Germany’s Der Spiegel weekly, saying the conflict between Moscow and Kiev did not come as a surprise to her as the “the Minsk Agreements were eroded” by then. She also said she had hoped for a new dialogue format for Russia and the EU, but could not push the initiative through.

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59. As an African country kicks out French influence operations, Macron blames Russian ‘disinformation’Сб, 26 ноя[-/+]
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Mali has banned Paris-backed NGOs after almost a decade of unsuccessful French attempts to gain a foothold

Mali declared a ban this week on the activities of non-governmental organizations within the country that receive funding from France. The move came in the wake of France’s decision to withdraw development aid to the country as its final troops pull out of the Sahel region, marking the end of the eight-year Operation Barkhane.

What started as a counterterrorism operation in Mali had until recently begun to take the shape of a showcase for French President Emmanuel Macron’s vision of an integrated European defense. Now that dream seems to be falling apart due to an overstayed welcome and less than stellar performance. Whose fault is that? Russia’s, according to Macron.

The fact that there were three coups in Mali in the space of a decade is pretty much all one needs to know about the 'success' of France’s ongoing security and stability operation. Play around with a revolving door long enough and you’ll get smacked right in the face. Which is exactly what happened when France was ultimately kicked out earlier this year by the most recent interim government.

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The French flag is replaced with that of Mali in an official ceremony transferring ownership of the Barkhane camp in Timbuktu last year
France ends anti-jihadist Africa operation

Macron then said that the French troop drawdown would happen gradually, as though he were still calling the shots on a former French colony. The message from Mali was clear: You’ll get out now. So then Macron said that French troops would just redeploy elsewhere to the Sahel region. But on November 7, he announced that the Sahel mission was ending as well, despite French troops still remaining in Chad and Niger.

Nonetheless, Macron said that within six months there would be a new French military strategy for Africa, no doubt geared primarily towards finding a way to stick around as an eventual pretext for getting Western hands on the African natural resources that Europe desperately needs. Because that’s what it has always been about. Just consider the darkly hilarious spectacle of Patrick Pouyanné, the CEO of France’s multinational Total Energies asking the EU to send him military assistance in Mozambique a couple of years ago, citing the growing presence of Daesh (ISIS). This is an indication that once Western industry has successfully planted its feet inside a country and secured its resources, fighting terrorism doesn’t really matter so much anymore.

African political experts here in Paris have been saying for the past few years that the French operation in the Sahel had worn out its welcome and that its anti-jihadism effectiveness was highly doubtful, if not disastrous. You’d think that would have led to some soul searching on Paris’ part, particularly when anti-French sentiment is multiplying on the continent, with protests in Burkina Faso also sparking debate over the troop presence there.

But, before any introspection even had a chance, Macron found a scapegoat for Paris and Europe’s African failures: Russia.

“A number of powers, who want to spread their influence in Africa, are doing this to hurt France, hurt its language, sow doubts, but above all pursue certain interests,” Macron said this week at a Francophone conference in Tunisia, citing a “predatory project” by Russia to push “disinformation.” Macron still seems sore about the fact that, when the Malian government kicked French troops out, they opted instead for more security cooperation with Russia, with the latest of such agreements signed just this week during Mali Interior Minister Daoud Aly Mohammedine’s visit to the Kremlin.

Read more
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, right, and his Malian counterpart Abdoulaye Diop pose during a joint press conference following their meeting in Moscow, Russia, Friday, May 20, 2022.
Western elites can’t decide if they should sanction or seduce Africa in their attempts to counter Russia and China

There’s no way that Macron is naïve enough to think that global competition doesn’t exist. Nor is he oblivious to the fact that countries are constantly selling themselves as partners to other nations. That’s what a nation’s entire diplomatic corps is for. They’re glorified sales and PR people. And, if amid France’s security cooperation in Mali, jihadists are running rampant and coups d’état are happening, then why shouldn’t that country exercise its sovereign right to choose a different security provider? Rather than assume responsibility, it’s easier for Macron to blame Russia for France’s failures and it fits with the current dominant Western narrative.

Two years ago, Facebook said it had put its finger on what it claimed to be dueling online influence efforts in the Central African Republic by “individuals associated with the French military” squaring off against others they linked to Russia. The incident underscores that Paris is neck-deep in efforts to save its footprint in Africa using all of the tools at its disposal, including influence operations in which Macron publicly pretends France and its allies would never engage.

Mali apparently begs to differ. Of all the possible efforts by various countries attempting to compete for partnerships in Africa, Mali has just singled out France by banning its ability to use in-country NGOs as proxies in support of Paris’ agenda. So, despite Macron’s accusations that Russia is gaining a foothold in Africa through “disinformation,” it’s France’s own influence operations that African countries like Mali are actually denouncing.

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60. European islands defy EU's Russia sanctionsСб, 26 ноя[-/+]
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Denmark’s self-governing Faroe Islands have renewed a fishing deal with Moscow

The Faroe Islands, an autonomous territory belonging to Denmark, has renewed a fishing quota deal with Russia, its Fisheries Minister Arni Skaale announced on Saturday.

The Faroese parliament approved a one-year extension of the agreement by a large majority, the minister said. The deal gives the Faroese a quota to fish in Russia's Barents Sea, while in return Russian ships are granted rights fish the waters off the coast of the Faroe Islands. Russian vessels are also permitted to ship their catch out of Faroese ports.

It is the right thing for the Faroe Islands to renew an existing agreement with Russia in which we exchange quotas,” Skaale told the Danish daily Jyllands Posten.

The Faroe Islands, despite being an autonomous region of Denmark, are not part of the EU. The bilateral fishing agreement between Russia and the Faroe Islands has been in place since 1977, having been rolled over every year since its inception. However, after the start of Russia’s military operation in Ukraine, there were calls from many sides, including Danish and EU officials and within the Faroese government itself, to annul the deal.

Skaale noted, however, that the government of the island nation chose to protect its economy. Fishing is the main economic activity for the archipelago, which is inhabited by some 53,000 people, and accounts for 95% of its exports. According to Skaale, the deal with Russia covers 5% of Faroese GDP and “is by far the largest agreement we have with another country regarding fisheries cooperation.

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RT
Finland to return sanctioned Russian property

Russia became a key market for Faroese exports back in 2013, when the EU sanctioned the islands for unilaterally raising their fishing quotas. In 2014, fish exports to Russia surged further when Moscow blocked food imports from the EU, Norway, and other Western nations in response to sanctions.

Russia was reportedly the single largest buyer of Faroese exports last year, purchasing close to a quarter of all fish shipped out of the Faroes.

In defense of their decision, the Faroese authorities pointed out that food has been exempted from EU sanctions against Russia. The Faroese did impose sanctions on Russia this past May when they restricted ships registered under the Russian flag from accessing its ports. However, Russian fishing vessels were excluded from the ban.

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

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61. Belarusian foreign minister dies suddenlyСб, 26 ноя[-/+]
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64-year-old Vladimir Makey held the position since 2012

Belarusian Foreign Minister Vladimir Makey, died suddenly on Saturday, news agency Belta has reported, citing the ministry’s spokesman, Anatoly Glaz. He had held his position for a decade.

The news outlet has not provided any details about the circumstances or causes of the 64-year-old's death. He was scheduled to meet his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov in the coming days.

A career diplomat, Makey worked with the Belarusian Foreign Ministry since 1993 after graduating from Austria’s Diplomatic Academy of Vienna. He represented Belarus in the Council of Europe and served as an adviser to the Belarusian ambassador to Paris in the 1990s.

In the 2000s, he worked as an aide to President Aleksandr Lukashenko and headed the presidential administration between 2008 and 2012 before taking up the position of foreign minister.

Just one day before his death, Makey met with the Vatican’s ambassador to Minsk, Ante Jozic. The meeting marked the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the Vatican and Belarus. The minister and the ambassador discussed bilateral relations, as well as the position of the Catholic Church in Belarus, the ministry said at the time.

????| #Макей, Апостольский Нунций @VaticanNews подтвердили стремление к укреплению ? межконфессионального диалога, активизации сотрудничества в различных сферах для достижения дальнейшей положительной динамики взаимодействия pic.twitter.com/7siVlBvcYh

— МИД Беларуси ?? (@BelarusMID) November 25, 2022

In early November, the minister visited India, where he met with diplomats and entrepreneurs. Makey also discussed bilateral trade and economic cooperation with his Indian counterpart, Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, according to the Belarusian Foreign Ministry. On the topic of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, the two diplomats called for a “speedy resolution through peaceful means,” the ministry added.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said that Moscow is shocked by the news of the senior diplomat’s passing.

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62. Chinese tech giant responds to espionage claimsСб, 26 ноя[-/+]
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Hikvision has denied that it could supply British customers' data to third parties

Chinese telecommunications giant Hikvision has rejected a claim that Beijing could use its products for spying, following Britain’s decision to restrict the use of its security cameras at government sites.

In a statement to news agencies, Hikvision, the world’s biggest CCTV provider, said it was “categorically false” to portray it as a security threat.

“Hikvision is an equipment manufacturer that has no visibility into end users’ video data,” the company stated, adding that it cannot transmit data to third parties.

We do not manage end-user databases, nor do we sell cloud storage in the UK.

The company’s equipment is widely used in the UK. According to a 2021 Reuters report, at least half of London boroughs owned cameras made by Hikvision or Dahua, another Chinese telecom giant.

Read more
RT
US bans Chinese tech imports over ‘risk’ to national security

British cabinet office minister Oliver Dowden announced on Thursday that civil servants had been instructed not to install Chinese-made video surveillance equipment at “sensitive sites” or link them with “departmental core networks.” He cited security risks, suggesting that Beijing could use the devices for espionage.

The US Federal Communication Commission (FCC), meanwhile, updated its blacklist on Friday, banning the sale or importation of surveillance gear by Hikvision, as well as Huawei, ZTE, Dahua, and Hytera. The FCC also cited national security threats to explain the move.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Mao Ning told reporters on Friday that Beijing “always encourages” Chinese companies to follow local and international laws. “We are firmly against some people’s moves to deliberately overstretch the concept of national security to wear down Chinese enterprises,” she said, promising that Beijing will defend the interests of its businesses overseas.

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63. Crypto facing tougher regulation – watchdogСб, 26 ноя[-/+]
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The FTX platform’s bankruptcy has underscored the need for stricter oversight, according to IOSCO

The crash of the FTX exchange has made regulating the cryptocurrency industry a more urgent matter, according to the new chair of the global securities watchdog IOSCO.

Jean-Paul Servais told Reuters that targeting such ‘conglomerate’ platforms will be the focus for 2023.

In an interview with the news agency, he said regulating crypto platforms could draw on principles from other sectors which handle conflicts of interest, such as at credit rating agencies and compilers of market benchmarks, without having to start from scratch.

While regulators have been slow to write new rules for crypto assets such as Bitcoin, the implosion of the FTX exchange could help change that, Servais said. “The sense of urgency was not the same even two or three years ago. There are some dissenting opinions about whether crypto is a real issue at the international level because some people think that it's still not a material issue and risk.”

The chief executive added: “Things are changing and due to the interconnectivity between different types of businesses, I think it's now important that we are able to start a discussion and that's where we are going.”

The Madrid-based International Organization of Securities Commissions (IOSCO) coordinates rules for G20 countries and others. The body, which has already set out principles for regulating stablecoins, will now reportedly focus on platforms which trade in them.

Read more
Sam Bankman-Fried
FTX boss accused of using offshore funds after bankruptcy

According to Servais, crypto ‘conglomerates’ such as FTX have emerged, performing multiple roles including brokerage services, custody, proprietary trading, and issuance of tokens all under a single roof, thereby giving rise to conflicts of interest.

“For investor protection reasons, there is a need to provide additional clarity to these crypto markets through targeted guidance in applying IOSCO’s principles to crypto assets,” Servais said, adding that the IOSCO intends to publish a consultation report on those matters in the first half of 2023.

FTX, which is based in the Bahamas due to loose tax laws, collapsed on November 11 in a scandal that has cost crypto investors more than $11 billion. The debacle followed reports of mishandled customer funds and abandoned acquisition plans by rival exchange Binance.

The scandal has triggered a crisis of confidence in the cryptocurrency market and caused the value of assets including Bitcoin to sink.

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

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64. Kosovo demands FIFA action over Serbian World Cup flagСб, 26 ноя[-/+]
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Football officials took issue with images from the Serbian team’s dressing room in Qatar

The Football Federation of Kosovo (FFK) has called on FIFA to take action after accusing Serbia of an “aggressive” act with the display of a flag at the World Cup in Qatar.

Images circulating on social media showed the flag hanging in the Serbian team’s locker room prior to their opening World Cup match against Brazil on Thursday.

The banner showed an outline of Kosovo and the colors of the Serbian flag across it. The slogan “there will be no surrender” was written on the banner.

The FFK published a demand to FIFA on its website on Friday, railing against what it described as a “chauvinist act.”

“It is unacceptable that this act is passed over in silence and we insistently demand that FIFA strictly apply its rules and punish the Serbian Football Federation for this aggressive act contrary to the values that football transmits,” the message added.

The image of the flag was shared on social media. © Twitter

Kosovo is a province of Serbia which was occupied by NATO after its 1999 bombing campaign. Its ethnic Albanian provisional government declared independence with US backing in 2008.

While the EU has urged Belgrade to recognize Kosovo’s independence, Serbia has vehemently declined to do so. Russia is among the countries which do not recognize the region as a separate state.

Kosovo became a FIFA member in 2016, and political rows involving the region and Serbia have spilled over into football in the past.

Swiss players Granit Xhaka and Xherdan Shaqiri – both of whom are ethnic Albanians – were fined by FIFA after making the ‘double-headed eagle’ salute during a World Cup match against Serbia in Russia four years ago.

The gesture was seen as a reference to the eagle on the Albanian flag.

Read more
Serbia will have Russian support at the World Cup.
Russia sends World Cup support to Serbia

The current row comes amid tensions between Serbia and its breakaway province over the license plates used by vehicles.

An EU-brokered deal was reached in Brussels earlier this week, under which Serbia is expected to stop issuing ‘KM’ license plates for Kosovo cities, while Pristina has vowed to stop persecuting Kosovo Serbs who have Serbian-issued license plates.

On the pitch in Qatar, Serbia will be hoping to pick up a first win at the 2022 World Cup when they play Cameroon on Monday.

Following that is another potentially heated match with Shaqiri, Xhaka and Switzerland on Friday.

Serbia lost their opening Group G game 2-0 against Brazil, after a second-half double from forward Richarlison.

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65. Greta Thunberg sues SwedenСб, 26 ноя[-/+]
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The eco-activist has joined a class action lawsuit against the state over its allegedly flawed climate policies

A group of more than 600 Swedish young people, including environmental activist Greta Thunberg, has sued the nation’s government for its insufficient efforts in tackling the climate crisis.

On Friday, a demonstration called by the youth organization Aurora marched through the Swedish capital to lodge the class-action suit with the Stockholm District Court. The group wants the judiciary to rule that Sweden has violated its citizens’ human rights by pursuing inadequate climate policies.

“We are 636 young people in Aurora who are suing the Swedish state for insufficient climate action,” Thunberg wrote on Twitter on Thursday, adding that “when the state carries out climate policy that threatens our human rights, it breaks the law.”

Later, she also noted that Black Friday, which marks the start of the Christmas shopping season but is also a symbol of overconsumption, “is the perfect day to sue the state” over the climate. “So that’s what we did. See you in court!” the activist added.

Read more
Greta Thunberg salutes after giving a speech in Glasgow, Scotland, November 5, 2021
Greta Thunberg calls for downfall of capitalism

Prior to the lawsuit, Aurora wrote an open letter addressed to several high-ranking Swedish officials, including Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson and Climate Minister Romina Pourmokhtari, demanding, among other things, that Sweden “takes its fair share” in reducing greenhouse gas emissions in order to limit the increase in the global average temperature to 1.5 degrees C (2.7 F) as compared to pre-industrial levels.

According to a climate law adopted by Sweden in 2017, the nation’s authorities have a duty to do their best to curb emissions of greenhouse gases to reach net-zero by 2045.

However, the new Swedish government formed in October scrapped the Environment Ministry in a widely criticized move, while relegating its duties to the Ministry of Enterprise and Innovation. Its new budget has also been slammed for measures that may increase emissions from the transport sector.

In 2019, the Netherlands’ Supreme Court upheld a ruling that ordered the nation’s government to do much more to cut carbon emissions, insisting that it is obligated to protect its citizens’ human rights in the face of climate change.

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66. US bans Chinese tech imports over ‘risk’ to national securityСб, 26 ноя[-/+]
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The restrictions target telecom giants Huawei and ZTE, along with several other firms

Washington has banned the import and sales of new telecommunications equipment from China’s largest manufacturers due to “an unacceptable risk” they allegedly pose to US national security.

According to a statement on Friday from the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the ban targets technology products made by China’s telecom giants Huawei and ZTE, surveillance equipment maker Dahua Technology, video surveillance company Hangzhou Hikvision Digital Technology, telecommunications equipment manufacturer Hytera Communications, as well as their subsidiaries and affiliates.

The FCC is committed to protecting our national security by ensuring that untrustworthy communications equipment is not authorized for use within our borders, and we are continuing that work here. These new rules are an important part of our ongoing actions to protect the American people from national security threats involving telecommunications,” FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel said in a statement.

The agency noted that the new regulation applies to future approvals of equipment imports and sales. However, it also stated it could revoke previously granted approvals.

All five Chinese companies were added to the FCC’s so-called “covered list” in March this year with the purpose of restricting their access to the US market. The FCC said at the time the firms could be used by Beijing to spy on US citizens.

READ MORE: China slams US trade policies

Huawei has so far declined to comment on the ban, while ZTE, Dahua, Hytera, and the Chinese embassy in Washington did not immediately respond to media requests for comment. However, earlier this year, the Chinese embassy accused the FCC of “abusing state power” and “maliciously attacking” Chinese telecom companies.

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67. Ovechkin edges closer to NHL landmarkСб, 26 ноя[-/+]
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The Russian scored in the Washington Capitals’ win against the Calgary Flames

Alexander Ovechkin is just ten goals away from catching Canadian icon Gordie Howe in second place on the all-time NHL scoring list, after the Russian had a goal and an assist in the Washington Capitals’ 3-0 victory over the Calgary Flames on Friday night.

Ovechkin scored goal number 791 of his NHL career in the third period at the Capital One Arena, making the most of a power play by firing a wrist shot past Flames goalie Jacob Markstrom from the left circle.

Ovechkin, 37, is closing in on Howe’s tally of 801 goals in second place in the all-time NHL records, with Wayne Gretzky top of the charts on 894.

The goal on Friday was Ovechkin’s 11th of the season, while he has also registered 10 assists.

Russian forward Evgeny Kuznetsov was also on target for the Capitals, scoring the team’s second goal after T.J. Oshie had got them underway in the opening period.

READ MORE: Russian star reaches NHL milestone

The Capitals have now won two straight after snapping a four-game losing streak, and next travel to Metropolitan Division leaders the New Jersey Devils on Saturday night.

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68. Ex-cardinal taped call with Pope Francis – mediaСб, 26 ноя[-/+]
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Details of the secret recording have emerged during a major fraud and embezzlement trial

A former high-ranking cardinal on trial for abuse of office and misuse of church funds secretly recorded a sensitive phone call with Pope Francis, a Vatican court heard on Thursday.

According to several news outlets, the conversation, which was taped by Giovanni Angelo Becciu and played during the trial, dealt with spending the Vatican’s money on the release of a nun captured in Africa.

Once a close adviser to the pope, the Italian-born Becciu was sacked and stripped of his cardinal privileges in 2020 amidst a controversy over the loss-making purchase of a luxury apartment block in London.

Becciu has held several top positions in the Vatican, where he oversaw donations and the canonization of saints. He is among ten people currently charged with financial crimes, including funneling church money through offshore funds and companies. He denies any wrongdoing.

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FILE PHOTO
Fired top official sues Vatican

The defendant recorded the call with the pope in July 2021, when Francis was still recovering from major intestinal surgery, the court was told. Becciu asked the pope to confirm a ransom payment for the release of a Colombian nun who had been kidnapped by Al-Qaeda-linked militants in Mali.

“Did you or not give me the authorization to start the operations to free the nun?” Becciu asked during the call, as quoted by AFP. The pope was said to have responded that he “vaguely” remembered but asked Becciu to put his request in writing.

The nun named Gloria Cecilia Narvaez Argoti was abducted in 2017 and freed in October 2021. Becciu testified in May that Francis signed off on spending up to $1 million on the release of Argoti.

Libero Milone, an auditor formerly hired by the Vatican to examine its finances, sued the church this month for pressuring him to resign in 2017 over accusations of embezzlement and spying. Milone, together with Ferruccio Pinocco, a fellow auditor dismissed around the same time, alleged that the Vatican tarnished their reputations. Milone told the New York Times he believes the evidence used against him was planted by Becciu.

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69. Football boss explains why Russia wants to stick with UEFAСб, 26 ноя[-/+]
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Speculation in the Russian media has suggested that the country could move to the Asian Football Confederation

Russia is aiming to remain part of UEFA and sees more benefits in staying with the European organization than moving to its Asian counterpart, according to football official Aleksandr Alaev.

Russian teams are currently banned from UEFA competitions at all levels following a decision imposed alongside FIFA at the end of February because of the conflict in Ukraine.

Reports in Russia have suggested that the Russian Football Union (RFU) could seek to move to the Asian Football Confederation (AFC), where it would presumably be more welcome and avoid similar sanctions.

But Russian Premier League president Alaev has detailed why his country would be better off with UEFA.

“We are members of UEFA, although we are suspended from competitions,” Alaev told RIA Novosti this week.

Read more
The 67,000-seater Gazprom Arena in St. Petersburg was due to host the final.
UEFA settles debts with Russia – official

“As a fan, I would like us to play in Europe. Unfortunately, politics intervened. Nobody knows how the situation will develop further, whether we will return to Europe.

“From a sporting and financial point of view Asia is less attractive. Perhaps, after some time, the question will be different… But Europe is number one, you have to stay there,” Alaev added.

The football official said that any potential move for Russian teams to play in Asian competitions would be “a complex bureaucratic issue” which has not been discussed at official levels.

Elsewhere, honorary president of the RFU, Vyacheslav Koloskov, also dismissed rumors of a move to Asia, saying “there can be no talk of this now.”

UEFA organizes the most prominent club football competition in the world – the Champions League – as well as major national team tournaments such as the European Championships.

Russian clubs have been banned from UEFA competitions for at least the 2022/23 season, while the men’s national team was removed from the qualification draw for Euro 2024, meaning it is set to miss the event in Germany.

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70. Russia now fourth largest forex reserve holderСб, 26 ноя[-/+]
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The country’s holdings, including those frozen by Western sanctions, have surpassed $540 billion

Russia has risen to fourth place among the world’s largest economies in terms of foreign exchange reserves, RIA Novosti calculations published on Saturday show.

In the first nine months of the year, Russia’s holdings, including those frozen by the West due to Ukraine-related sanctions, rose to $540 billion, Central Bank data shows.

This allowed Russia to displace India, which had occupied fourth place since last summer. India’s holdings as of the end of September amounted to $532 billion. The two countries have been competing with each other on this indicator since 2015.

China retained its perennial leadership in terms of international reserves, with a staggering $3.193 trillion in assets at the end of September this year. Second place was held by Japan with $1.238 trillion, and Switzerland came in third with $892 billion in assets.

According to the report, an interesting trend was seen in the lower half of the top ten, in which emerging economies outpaced their developed-market counterparts. Hong Kong was displaced by Saudi Arabia as the sixth largest holder, Brazil moved up to ninth place, pushing Singapore down to tenth. South Korea dropped to number seven.

Germany and the US retained the 11th and 12th spots from last year respectively, with France moving up to 13th, followed by Italy. Mexico moved up three spots to number 15. Thailand, the UK, Israel, Poland, and the Czech Republic rounded out the top 20.

READ MORE: Russia boosts forex reserves

The study was conducted by RIA Novosti based on data from the central banks of the 90 largest economies in the world as of 2021. The final sample included the 50 economies with the largest reserves, which disclosed their data for September in mid-November.

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71. A third of Western howitzers sent to Ukraine out of action – NYTСб, 26 ноя[-/+]
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The inoperable guns are being transferred to Poland for repairs, the report says

Western-made artillery pieces sent to Ukraine are constantly breaking down or being damaged in combat, and this has become a problem for the US Department of Defense, the New York Times reported on Friday, citing sources. To address the issue, the Pentagon, which has provided Kiev with hundreds of the weapons, has reportedly set up a repair facility across the border in Poland.

According to US officials and other people “familiar with Ukraine’s defense needs” interviewed by the outlet, one third of the 350 howitzers that the West has sent to Ukraine are out of action at any given time.

The weapons either burn out due to long periods of overuse or become damaged in combat and cannot be repaired in the field. The task of fixing the equipment has become a priority for the Pentagon’s European Command, which has reportedly deployed a repair facility in Poland.

Repair efforts started in recent months. However, the state of Ukraine’s arms is a closely held matter among US officials, the report says, adding that its sources refused to provide any further details on the program.

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A Ukrainian recruit holds a Javelin anti-tank weapon during a five-week combat training course in the UK on October 11, 2022.
US running low on arms to give to Ukraine – CNN

Maintenance in Poland usually involves swapping out the howitzers' barrels among other repairs, according to the NYT. Ukrainian officials, meanwhile, reportedly say that they want the workshops to be set up closer to the frontline so that the guns could return to combat sooner.

On Friday, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg insisted that the alliance has not conducted any work inside Ukraine, claiming that this proves that it is not party to the hostilities. However, in October, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that Western military assistance to Ukraine makes it a participant in the conflict.

Since the start of Russia’s military operation in Ukraine in late February, Western countries have been supporting Kiev with billions of dollars in security assistance. The US, Ukraine’s largest backer, has provided weapons, including artillery, to the tune of more than $19 billion since the onset of hostilities.

According to figures released by the Pentagon, as of November 23, the US had committed 142 of the 155mm howitzers and up to 924,000 artillery rounds for the guns. US aid has also included 36 of the 105mm howitzers and 180,000 artillery rounds. Moscow has repeatedly stated that Western arms shipments only prolong the conflict.

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72. Major upset as women’s MMA juggernaut loses $1 million showdownСб, 26 ноя[-/+]
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Kayla Harrison relinquished her undefeated record in a shock loss to Larissa Pacheco

The world of mixed martial arts has been stunned after Kayla Harrison – one of the most dominant forces in the sport – suffered the first defeat of her career in the final of the 2022 PFL Championships in New York on Friday night.

Two-time defending champion Harrison had been the overwhelming favorite to clinch another $1 million payday against Pacheco – the Brazilian fighter she had beaten on two previous occasions on the way to compiling a 15-0 professional MMA record.

But Friday was Pacheco’s night at Hulu Theater in Madison Square Garden, as she stunned the crowd with a unanimous decision victory, 48-47 on all three scorecards, to clinch the PFL women’s lightweight title.

American Harrison, 32, had mostly demolished all her previous opposition since transitioning to MMA as a double Olympic judo gold medalist.

Talk had already turned to what her plans with the PFL would be in 2023, with the assumption that she would again be crowned the promotion’s lightweight champion.

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Kayla Harrison watched on as Amanda Nunes was beaten at UFC 269. © Twitter @ESPN
‘F**k!’ MMA juggernaut Harrison in disbelief as ‘mega-million-dollar’ Nunes fight collapses in front of her eyes (VIDEO)

Harrison had started strongly against the 28-year-old Pacheco, imposing her strong grappling and seemingly setting up another routine win.

But Pacheco enjoyed increasing success with her striking, even if Harrison rallied in round three and took the fight to the ground.

The championship rounds were close, although Harrison faded noticeably as Pacheco dug deep before edging the contest on the cards.

“It’s a culmination of a career,” Pacheco said of her win.

“A culmination of a dream. It means the world to me.”

Pacheco improved her record to 19 wins from 23 bouts, with PFL bosses surely set to face calls for a fourth fight between the Brazilian and Harrison next year.

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73. Neymar World Cup injury revealedСб, 26 ноя[-/+]
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The star came off during his team’s opening match against Serbia

Neymar will definitely miss Brazil’s next World Cup match and could be absent from the team’s third group-stage game in Qatar as well, according to reports.

The forward was forced off in the 80th minute of Brazil’s opening 2-0 win against Serbia on Thursday after suffering a right ankle injury.

Team doctor Rodrigo Lasmar said on Friday that Neymar and defender Danilo had undergone scans and would both miss the Group G encounter with Switzerland on Monday.

“Neymar and Danilo went through an MRI on Friday afternoon and we found ligament damage in the ankle of both of them,” said Lasmar.

“They will miss the next game for sure and we will be cautious as they will undergo treatment in order to try to get them in shape so they can play again in the World Cup.”

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Neymar was forced off against Serbia.
Brazil sweating on Neymar World Cup fitness

According to Reuters, Neymar will also be ruled out of Brazil’s third group-stage game against Cameroon on Friday.

That means the star faces a race to be fit for the knockout stages, should Brazil qualify as expected.

The 30-year-old, who has already indicated this will be his last World Cup, shared a social media message to assure fans he would do “everything possible” to feature again in Qatar.

“Nothing in my life came easy and I’ve always had to work for my dreams and goals. I have never wished anyone anything bad and always helped who needed,” wrote the Paris Saint-Germain striker.

“I’m injured, yes it’s not nice, it will hurt but I’m sure I will have the chance to come back because I’ll do everything possible to help my country, my team-mates and myself.”

Neymar has suffered World Cup injury agony before, missing the semifinal against Germany on home soil in 2014 after fracturing a vertebra in the quarterfinal against Colombia.

Five-time World Cup winners Brazil earned an opening win against Serbia in Qatar thanks to a second-half double from Tottenham Hotspur winger Richarlison – the second of which was an acrobatic contender for goal of the tournament.

Tite’s team are among the favorites in Qatar and are on a 16-match unbeaten run.

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74. Finland to return sanctioned Russian propertyСб, 26 ноя[-/+]
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Several hundred Russian freight cars were seized by the Finnish authorities earlier this year

The Finnish authorities have decided to give back Russian railcars detained earlier this year due to sanctions, Moscow’s trade mission in Finland said on Friday. According to its data, more than 800 loaded and empty railcars were seized as of early November.

The decision to return the railcars was made by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on November 15 following an appeal from Finnish railway operators and the Finnish Transport and Communications Agency (Traficom). According to the appeal, the storage and maintenance of the trains turned out to be too costly and difficult for the rail system operators. In addition, it was noted that some of the railcars contained hazardous substances.

On November 15, 2022, the Finnish Foreign Ministry decided to return the seized property exceptionally for reasons of reducing costs and security risks to the country’s transportation system,” the Russian trade mission said in its statement.

It noted that the Finnish bailiff service has already notified a number of Russian companies that own the railcars that they will be returned. The railway operators will conduct inspections of the trains and prepare them to be moved across the Russian-Finnish border. No specific dates for this have been announced.

Read more
RT
Russia mulls swapping frozen assets – finance minister

In late May, Helsingin Sanomat newspaper reported that Finland was seizing €80 million-worth of Russian property, including more than 1,000 freight railway cars which occupied about 20km of tracks. The news outlet noted at the time that among the confiscated cargo were about 1.3 tons of acetic acid worth €1.4 million, 248 tons of butyl acetate, and iron ore pellets.

In June, Reuters reported that a total of 865 Russian railcars had been detained in Finland, citing the Finnish state railway operator, VR, and a letter from Russian Railways. The seized equipment largely belonged to Russian companies affected by the Ukraine-related EU sanctions. Among them were Uralhim-Trans, whose former owner, Dmitry Mazepin, fell under EU sanctions in March; Rusagrotrans, part of Demetra Holding, whose controlling stake was previously owned by sanctioned Russian lender VTB, as well as Russia’s largest transport leasing company, GTLK; and Alfa Bank’s transport leasing division.

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

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75. Russia blasts US over LGBTQ law 'interference'Сб, 26 ноя[-/+]
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Diplomats have condemned American attacks on a bill banning "propaganda" related to "non traditional lifestyles"

By criticizing Russian legislation banning LGBTQ, pedophilia, and sex-change propaganda, US officials are interfering in the nation’s internal affairs, Moscow’s embassy in Washington said on Friday. It also urged the US to respect the views of the Russian people.

In a statement, the embassy said it had noted “the statements of numerous of US officials” criticizing the bill, which was approved by Russia’s parliament on Thursday.

“We consider such statements as gross interference in our internal affairs,” the diplomatic mission said, adding that “Russia consistently stands for the protection of traditional family values” and rejects “attempts by Western states, led by the United States, to impose pseudo-liberal and perverted ideas about human rights on other countries.”

The embassy asked the US to respect the decision of Russian citizens “to adhere to moral guidelines” that have been embraced by many generations and are “the basis of Russian civic identity.”

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Deputies at the plenary session of the State Duma of the Russian Federation.
Russia moves closer to total ban of ‘LGBTQ propaganda’

On Thursday, the Russian State Duma passed the third and final reading of a bill completely banning LGBTQ propaganda. The bill ‘on the protection of traditional values’, which was supported by all 397 MPs, criminalizes the promotion of “non-traditional sexual relations” in advertising, books, movies, and media.

The bill envisages hefty fines for violators, with individuals facing a penalty of 400,000 rubles ($6,600), and up to 5 million rubles (around $83,000) for corporate entities, for LGBTQ propaganda. The proposed fines for the promotion of pedophilia are double these amounts, while foreign actors who fail to comply with the legislation would face expulsion from Russia.

The bill has not yet entered into force but is expected to be signed by President Vladimir Putin.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken called the legislation “another serious blow to freedom of expression and the human rights of LGBTQI+ persons in Russia.”

Prior to the vote in the State Duma, Blinken urged Russian lawmakers to withdraw the bill and “respect the human rights and dignity of all.” State Duma Chairman Vyacheslav Volodin urged MPs to respond to him by expressing their opinion in the vote.

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76. Zelensky slams ‘lies’ from Ukrainian officialsСб, 26 ноя[-/+]
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The president has singled out Kiev authorities for mishandling power outages

Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky has criticized authorities in Kiev for dropping the ball on makeshift relief stations for residents left without electricity following Russian strikes on the country’s energy infrastructure. Distortions and lies in official reports about the emergency shelters are inexcusable, he said.

In a video address on Friday, Zelensky announced that more than 4,000 so-called ‘invincibility centers’ had been set up across the country, where people can find heat, water, first aid and an internet connection. However, only a handful of such shelters in Kiev were properly equipped as around 600,000 families were still without power in the capital, he added.

“I expect quality work from the mayor’s office,” Zelensky said. “No one will forgive the charade with the invincibility centers in Kiev. I ask you to be more serious. The same goes for the lies in reports at various levels.”

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NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg
Stoltenberg notes ‘horrific start to winter’ for Ukraine

While the president did not detail his concerns, Kiev Mayor Vitaly Klitschko said on Friday that more than 400 heating stations have been set up in schools and other places.

The Zelensky administration has had a strained relationship with Klitschko, an ally of the previous president, Pyotr Poroshenko. In 2019, the capital’s legislators asked the government to sack the mayor, but he remained in office and won re-election the following year. Ukrainian media further reported several times in 2021 that Zelensky had planned to fire Klitschko.

Russia intensified strikes on the Ukrainian energy sector, including thermal power plants and power lines, in early October after a truck explosion damaged the strategic Crimean bridge. Russian President Vladimir Putin blamed Kiev for the incident, which he described as a terrorist attack on Russian soil.

Zelensky and other Ukrainian officials have accused Russia of deliberately killing civilians. Moscow, however, maintains that its forces only attack targets linked to Ukraine’s military capabilities.

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77. Goldman issues stock market warningСб, 26 ноя[-/+]
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The bear phase is not over yet, according to the investment bank

The current rally in global stocks is temporary, according to Goldman Sachs, which forecasts a market bottom in 2023. The Wall Street bank’s strategists cite “typically consistent” indicators when saying that the bear market phase is not over yet.

“We continue to think that the near-term path for equity markets is likely to be volatile and down before reaching a final trough in 2023,” they wrote in a note to clients.

The investment bank noted that while valuations had fallen this year, they had mostly done so in response to rising interest rates. Goldman added that investors haven’t yet priced-in earnings losses from a recession.

The strategists expect the S&P 500 index to end 2023 at 4,000 points, which is just 0.9% higher than Friday’s close. Europe’s benchmark Stoxx Europe 600 was projected to finish next year about 4% higher at 450 index points.

The projection follows a recent stock rally, driven by a softer US inflation reading and news of easing Covid restrictions in China. In the past month alone, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 10.6% and the S&P 500 has climbed 6.6%. The sharp rebound since mid-October followed a volatile year for global markets as central banks embarked on aggressive rate hikes to combat surging inflation.

READ MORE: Chinese stock market awakens

Goldman’s analysts expect Asian stocks to outperform next year, with the MSCI Asia-Pacific excluding Japan ending the year 11% higher at 550 points.

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78. EU energy crisis to last for years – FTСб, 26 ноя[-/+]
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The bloc is facing difficulties replacing Russian gas supplies

The EU's energy problems will last for years if demand for gas remains high but new supplies are not secured, the Financial Times reported on Friday, citing industry executives and strategists.

The experts warned that even fully filled gas storages ahead of the winter months cannot guarantee that sufficient supplies will be available next summer and for the following winter.

EU nations managed to fill their gas storage facilities to 90% at the end of September, when heating demand typically begins to increase. This came despite the reduction in Russian supplies amid Ukraine-related sanction pressure.

“We are in a gas crisis, and we will continue to be in a little bit of a crisis mode for the next two or three years,” Sid Bambawale, the head of liquefied natural gas for the Asia region at Vitol, told FT at the Commodities Asia Summit in Singapore. “So let’s not develop a false sense of security.”

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RT
Germany plans to slap energy firms with more tax – Reuters

The analysts cited by FT suggest the EU needs to drastically reduce energy demand and find additional supplies of gas for the region.

According to Russell Hardy, chief executive of Vitol, gas prices would have to stay high enough to suppress demand from the industrial sector over the summer in order for storages to be refilled.

The major energy crisis facing the bloc comes after it imposed several rounds of sanctions on Russia, which was once its largest natural gas supplier. The energy crunch in the region was dramatically exacerbated in early July following the first disruptions of Russian supplies to a number of EU countries. The reductions in deliveries were attributed to issues with the maintenance of turbines for the Nord Stream pipeline due to the sanctions imposed against Russia. The pipeline was subsequently sabotaged in September, rendering it inoperable.

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79. Elon Musk mulls ‘alternative’ to Apple and GoogleСб, 26 ноя[-/+]
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The billionaire said he could launch his own smartphone if Twitter is booted off popular platforms

Twitter chief Elon Musk has said he is open to creating his own “alternative” smartphone in the event tech giants move to deplatform his social media site, suggesting he could be left with no other option.

Responding to a proposal from conservative pundit Liz Wheeler that the billionaire should “produce his own smartphone” if Apple and Google were to kick Twitter off of their app stores, Musk said he would not rule it out, though voiced some reluctance toward the concept.

“I certainly hope it does not come to that, but, yes, if there is no other choice, I will make an alternative phone,” he said on Friday.

I certainly hope it does not come to that, but, yes, if there is no other choice, I will make an alternative phone

— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 25, 2022

Musk, who completed a $44-billion purchase of Twitter last month, has repeatedly declared his intentions to protect free speech on the site, even announcing a “general amnesty” for suspended accounts “provided that they have not broken the law or engaged in egregious spam.”

However, critics have condemned Musk’s takeover, with some insisting it will foster a wave of ‘hate speech’ and right-wing extremism on the social media platform. In a report published by the Washington Post on Thursday, a number of activists and “online trust and safety experts” said the entrepreneur would “open the gates of hell” on Twitter, some even demanding Google and Apple ban the site on their app stores entirely.

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FILE PHOTO: Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., speaks about Twitter on Capitol Hill in Washington, April 28, 2022
Musk announces Twitter amnesty

“Apple and Google need to seriously start exploring booting Twitter off the app store,” Alejandra Caraballo, an instructor at Harvard Law’s cyberlaw clinic, told the outlet, adding that reinstating banned accounts would be “existentially dangerous for various marginalized communities.”

“People who engaged in direct targeted harassment can come back and engage in doxing, targeted harassment, vicious bullying, calls for violence, celebration of violence. I can’t even begin to state how dangerous this will be,” Caraballo continued.

Musk has hit back at detractors, saying Twitter will never allow calls to violence or other posts which break the law. He noted that suspended users would be brought back “slowly” and only after a “manual review,” arguing the move would help to make the site “a forum for the peaceful exchange of views.”

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80. Germany plans huge tax on 'green energy' profits – BloombergСб, 26 ноя[-/+]
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The additional revenue will finance subsidies for households and businesses to pay gas and power bills

The German authorities are set to introduce a windfall tax of 90% for some clean power generators in an effort to fund a previously approved consumer aid package, according to a draft law seen by Bloomberg.

Under the proposed legislation, which is scheduled to be voted on in the upper house of the country's parliament on December 16, the government will skim earnings above €130 per megawatt-hour for solar, wind and nuclear.

The tax will reportedly be applied to power producers based on the fuel they use, with lignite plants to be taxed on earnings above €82 per megawatt hour, while for oil plants the threshold will be €280. The policy will apply for ten months, backdated from September 2022 to June 2023 and could be prolonged until the end of 2024.

The lawmakers expect the new legislation to secure the necessary funds to finance the €54 billion energy subsidy package aimed at introducing a cap on gas and electricity prices for companies and households in 2023. The aid for gas and electricity bills will be partially subsidized by the windfall tax, from which Belin hopes to raise a "double-digit billion-euro amount," officials told the agency.

The news hasn’t been welcomed by renewable energy producers and energy lobby groups, both of which expect the new levy to hinder investments in the sector, which is seen as vital to wean Germany off fossil fuels purchased abroad.

READ MORE: Germany plans to slap energy firms with more tax – Reuters

The legislation will inevitably “suffocate” companies in the renewables sector, which have been pouring a lot of money into new technology, according Andreas Jung, a lawmaker from the Christian Democrats, as cited by Bloomberg.

The legislation comes as profits generated by energy firms have been soaring due to record high power prices in Germany.

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81. Canada’s Trudeau defends crackdown on protestsСб, 26 ноя[-/+]
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The liberal PM said demonstrations are “worrisome” when they seek direct “changes to public policy”

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has insisted his government was right to invoke sweeping emergency powers to quell mass street protests against Covid-19 mandates early this year, saying that drastic measures were needed to “keep people safe.”

Addressing an official commission created to investigate Trudeau’s decision in February to activate the Emergencies Act for the first time in Canada’s history, the PM argued it was a “tough” but necessary decision given the chaotic demonstrations gripping the country at the time.

“First of all, what if the worst had happened in those following days? What if someone had gotten hurt?” he asked. “What if, when I had an opportunity to do something, I had waited and we had the unthinkable happen?”

Though Trudeau noted he was willing to have dialogue with some protest leaders, the PM said that holding such negotiations could have set a bad “precedent” for the future of Canadian democracy, suggesting that street demonstrations should not seek to directly affect government policy.

“I’m worried about setting a precedent that a blockade of Wellington Street can lead to changing public policy... We have a robust functioning democracy and protests, public protests, are an important part of making sure Canadians are getting messages out there and highlighting how they feel about various issues,” he said.

But using protests to demand changes to public policy is something that I think is worrisome.

Trudeau went on to say it is his job as prime minister to “to keep Canadians safe,” and that his choice to use the emergency powers was made on the “collective advice” of his cabinet.

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Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. © Alexey Furman/Getty Images
Justin Trudeau wants freedoms for Ukrainians that he won’t allow Canadians to enjoy

Dubbed the Freedom Convoy, the protests kicked off last January and endured for a little over one month. Though more typical protest rallies erupted across the country, many long-haul truck drivers also staged blockades at sites along the US-Canada border as they demanded an end to various pandemic restrictions, namely vaccine and mask mandates.

Trudeau sharply denounced the convoy, slamming the blockades for disrupting the regular flow of goods, and even going as far as to say the protesters posed a threat to Canadian democracy. His decision to invoke the 1988 Emergencies Act authorized police – and, theoretically, the military – to take harsher action against demonstrators, including the seizing of trucks, bank account shut-downs, and the suspension of insurance.

The move was especially controversial among conservatives and civil liberties organizations, prompting the government to create a ‘Public Order Emergency Commission’ to investigate whether the decision was appropriate. Trudeau’s testimony on Friday capped off six weeks of hearings before the commission, which still has yet to reach a final conclusion about whether the PM was justified in using the Emergencies Act.

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82. Missiles strike US base in Syria – PentagonСб, 26 ноя[-/+]
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The incident comes amid Turkiye’s ongoing military operation against US-allied Kurdish militias

An American military outpost in Syria has come under rocket fire, according to US Central Command, which condemned the yet-to-be-identified attackers for undermining the region’s “hard-earned stability” amid rising violence between Türkiye and local Kurdish factions.

At least two projectiles targeted a US “patrol base” near the town of al-Shaddadi in northeastern Syria late Friday night, CENTCOM said in a brief statement, offering no details about who might have carried out the assault.

While the US military remained silent about the type of missiles used in the attack, it noted that a “third unfired rocket” was later discovered by the Kurdish forces at an “origin site,” indicating that it was not a cross-border strike and the projectiles were fired from a relatively close location.

“The attack resulted in no injuries or damage to the base or coalition property,” the military said. CENTCOM spokesman Joe Buccino added that attacks “of this kind place coalition forces and the civilian populace at risk and undermine the hard-earned stability and security of Syria and the region.”

Friday’s rocket attack comes just days after the Pentagon voiced “deep concern” about Ankara’s ongoing military action, claiming that Türkiye’s strikes “directly threatened” US personnel stationed at another base in Syria.

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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan speaks during the launch ceremony of the third ship in Pakistan MILGEM Corvette Project, November 25, 2022 in Istanbul, Turkiye.
Erdogan brushes off US warnings

Speaking earlier on Friday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan declared that his country would continue its operations “no matter who terrorists collude with.” Ankara’s defense chief, Hulusi Akar, also responded to the US warning, insisting “it is out of the question for us to harm coalition forces or civilians” and that Türkiye’s sole mission is to go after terrorist groups.

Türkiye launched Operation Claw-Sword in Iraq and Syria last week, carrying out air and artillery strikes on Kurdish groups it regards as terrorist cells in retaliation for a November 13 bombing in Istanbul, which left six people dead.

Washington has long collaborated with Kurdish fighters in the area under the umbrella of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) militia, and maintains around 900 soldiers in Syria’s northeast despite years of objections from the government in Damascus. An SDF commander insisted that Washington has a “moral duty” to prevent a possible ground incursion by its NATO ally Türkiye.

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83. Putin sets priorities for Russian defense industryСб, 26 ноя[-/+]
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Ukraine's reliance on Western arms presents an opportunity for Moscow, president insists

Russian defense giant Rostec plays a key role in ensuring the country's “technological sovereignty,” but needs to take advantage of real combat experience in countering Western weapons in Ukraine, President Vladimir Putin said on Friday.

Rostec has been responsible for the development, production, and export of high-tech products, not only for the military but for civilian use as well, Putin noted at a reception celebrating the conglomerate’s 15th anniversary.

“The experience that we have gained in the course of conducting the special operation [in Ukraine] and countering modern Western models of military equipment is very good and needs to be used to improve the quality, reliability, and combat characteristics of some types of our domestically produced weapons,” the president explained.

Putin said the “number one” task right now is to do everything to fully deliver on the needs of the military, in particular “every company and platoon deployed in the special military operation.”

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FILE PHOTO. Ukrainian servicemen fire with a French self-propelled 155 mm/52-calibre gun Caesar towards Russian positions.
Ukraine a test range for Western arms – defense minister

Heightened military production should also provide an impetus for related civilian industries, he said, while internal competition between development bureaus should pave the way to making the best models of equipment that has already shown its value in combat.

The 2007 decision to establish a “powerful industrial flagship” turned out to be fully justified, Putin said. Rostec currently consists of some 700 subsidiaries, which employ over 450,000 people.

Responding to claims by some analysts that Russia was running out of weapons and ammunition, former President – and current deputy chair of the national security council – Dmitry Medvedev said last month that the West “shouldn’t hold its breath.” Factories are working round-the-clock to turn out tanks, guns, missiles, and drones, he added.

Read more
RT
Ex-Russian president warns Western analysts on weapons stocks

Meanwhile, Kiev relies mainly on supplies delivered by the US and its allies. Ukrainian Defense Minister Aleksey Reznikov described his country last month as a “proving ground” where Western countries can see which of their weapons perform the best against Russian troops, “like a competition.”

NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg admitted to CNN in September that the bloc’s members had significantly depleted their own weapons stockpiles by sending arms and ammunition to Ukraine, and called for military production to be boosted.

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84. EU gives Serbia ‘contradictory’ demands – PMСб, 26 ноя[-/+]
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Belgrade is expected to sanction Russia over Ukraine’s territorial integrity, but give up its own in Kosovo

The EU is making “contradictory” demands on Serbia when it comes to values and principles, Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic said on Friday. While Belgrade is committed to joining the bloc, it’s difficult to square the insistence of Brussels on Ukraine’s territorial integrity while expecting Serbia to violate its own.

Brnabic spoke with reporters in Belgrade following her meeting with Emanuele Giaufret, the head of the EU mission in Serbia. At one point, she was asked to address the “recommendations” recently adopted by the European Parliament.

“One recommendation says Serbia can become an EU member only if it agrees to sanction Russia, because Russia violated the territorial integrity of an internationally recognized state,” Brnabic said. “But the other recommendation is that we can continue on our European path only after giving up our own territorial integrity,” that is, by recognizing the independence Kosovo’s provisional government declared in 2008.

If territorial integrity is inviolable, why is Serbia being asked to violate its own, Brnabic asked.

So bringing up the inviolable territorial integrity of internationally recognized states such as Ukraine or Serbia, in the recommendations of certain MEPs, is completely contradictory in terms of values.

Making such demands “does no favors to our European path, or to EU enlargement,” nor do they increase the EU’s popularity in Serbia, she added.

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Aleksandar Vucic
Serbian president feels no ‘joy’ over EU-brokered deal

Brussels has pressured Serbia since February to “harmonize its foreign policy” with the EU and impose sanctions on Russia over the conflict in Ukraine. Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic has repeatedly defended his policy of independence and neutrality. Serbian public opinion is overwhelmingly opposed to sanctioning Russia, or joining the EU if it means giving up Kosovo.

Despite “certain disagreements,” Serbia will “continue to gradually harmonize and promote European values,” Brnabic said. “We are devoted to EU membership and think the Union is the best place for our citizens and the economy.”

Giaufret told reporters that Serbia’s progress depends entirely on “rule of law” reforms and the outcome of talks with Kosovo.

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85. Ukrainian city names street after Nazi collaboratorСб, 26 ноя[-/+]
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Vinnitsa is replacing world-famous Russian author Leo Tolstoy with Stepan Bandera

The city council of Vinnitsa in Ukraine announced on Friday it was renaming one of its streets after WWII Nazi collaborator Stepan Bandera. The local authorities described their drive to rid the city of all toponyms linked to Russia as a “process of decolonization.”

The street previously bore the name of Leo Tolstoy, the 19th-century Russian author of world renown. Vinnitsa authorities said they paid “special attention” to memorializing those they described as “heroes of the national liberation struggle.” Bandera, who led a nationalist movement responsible for many atrocities against Russians, Jews and Poles in WWII, is regarded as a national hero by the current Ukrainian authorities.

Another street was named after Ivan Treiko, one of the generals” and the military intelligence chief” of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA), a paramilitary group that also collaborated with the Nazis. Warsaw in particular has blamed the UPA for the genocide of Poles in Volhynia and Eastern Galicia. The ethnic cleansing operations against Poles were ordered by Nazi Germany and carried out by paramilitary units that consisted primarily of ethnic Ukrainians.

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RT
Kiev street renamed to honor neo-Nazis

A total of 232 toponyms have been changed as part of the “decolonization” campaign in Vinnitsa and neighboring towns, the city council said, praising itself as one of the “most active participants” of this nationwide drive.

Ukraine’s capital, Kiev, has renamed one of its streets after the notorious Azov regiment, which has had open neo-Nazis in its ranks. That street previously bore the name of the Soviet Marshal Rodion Malinovsky. Ukrainian by origin, Malinovsky liberated much of southern Ukraine, including his home city of Odessa, from the Nazis in 1943-1944.

READ MORE: Ukrainian mayor worried by growing anti-Russian hatred

In June, the mayor of Odessa expressed his concern over the growing enmity for “all things Russian” amid the prolonged conflict between Moscow and Kiev.

The removal of references to Russia from street names and other institutions has been a trend in Ukraine since the 2014 Maidan coup, but intensified after the launch of Moscow’s military operation.

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86. Russia explains why it won't declare Ukraine a 'terrorist state'Сб, 26 ноя[-/+]
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Kiev has mounted a campaign to have Western states apply the label to Moscow

Russia will not designate Ukraine a “terrorist state” despite “outrageous” breaches of international humanitarian law by Kiev, Deputy Foreign Minister Oleg Syromolotov told journalists on Friday.

Moscow rejects any doctrine that suggests a nation can be declared “terrorist” and sees no reason to adhere to a “flawed” policy used by the West, he insisted.

The doctrine of ‘state terrorism’ is exploited by the US and other Western countries to justify interfering in the internal affairs of others, which violates the UN Charter, the deputy minister noted. It is also used to “legitimize their unilateral coercive measures violating the principle of sovereign equality of all nations,” Syromolotov added.

Russia has always considered such unilateral sanctions “unacceptable,” the high-ranking diplomat stressed.

Terrorism as a criminal act always involves individual criminal responsibility of those involved in making attacks, Syromolotov explained, adding that only individuals and not entire nations can be held accountable in such cases. Designating Ukraine a terrorist state now would be “legally flawed” in nature, he explained.

We will not become similar to the international law violators.

The diplomat also blasted a recent resolution by the EU parliament that called Russia a “state sponsor of terrorism,” saying this was part of an “information and political campaign waged by the West against our nation,” one which had nothing to do with the real fight against this international threat.

Amid the ongoing conflict with Russia, Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky has repeatedly referred to Russia as a “terrorist” state and called on other nations – particularly in the West – to designate it as such. In mid-October, he asked the Council of Europe’s Parliamentary Assembly to do so before it adopted a relevant resolution. Zelensky once again urged the “world” to recognize Russia as a “terrorist state” earlier this week.

READ MORE: Russia is not ‘state sponsor of terrorism’ – US ambassador

However, Washington, Ukraine’s top military backer in the conflict, has been reluctant to meet Kiev’s request so far. On Tuesday, US Ambassador-at-Large for Global Criminal Justice Beth Van Schaack said that the country simply could not designate Russia a “state sponsor of terrorism” as it does not meet the relevant criteria.

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87. Putin weighs in on root cause of Ukraine conflictСб, 26 ноя[-/+]
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The Western-backed Maidan lit the fuse for almost a decade of turmoil, the president claims

The ongoing conflict in Ukraine would never have happened if there hadn't been a coup in Kiev in 2014, Russian President Vladimir Putin insisted on Friday. He was referring to the violent overthrow of the elected president Victor Yanukovich.

Speaking to mothers of Russian soldiers, Putin stressed that the Maidan resulted in direct foreign control over Ukrainian institutions, which Russia has no choice but to oppose.

At the turn of the century, Russians were told everything would be great if they accepted outside control, and started “playing on someone else’s field,” Putin said. It was those outsiders seeking to control Russia that have created the current situation, “including in the zone of the special military operation,” he added.

Without naming the West specifically, Putin said the outsiders had significant influence in Ukraine as well, but after 2014 they gained total control over the country.

I understand that we have not gathered here for serious discussions of political issues, but still, if there had not been a coup d'état in Ukraine in 2014, none of this would have happened. Simply none of it.

The US “midwifed” the Maidan protests, in the infamous words of Deputy Secretary of State Victoria Nuland, resulting in a successful power grab, fueled by nationalists. Putin described them as “open neo-Nazis” who glorify WWII Nazi collaborator Stepan Bandera, killer of Russians, Poles, Jews and “everyone down the line, on Hitler’s orders.”

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Russian President Vladimir Putin meets with mothers of Russia's servicemen participating in the military operation in Ukraine, ahead of Mother's Day at the Novo-Ogaryovo state residence, outside Moscow, Russia.
Putin meets mothers of Russian troops

“That’s who, that’s what, our boys in the zone of the special military operation are fighting,” the Russian president said. He argued that many Ukrainians opposing them “do not even understand what they are doing."

“They are playing someone else's game, but we have to fight for our interests, for our people, for our country. And that’s what we’re doing,” the Russian president said.

Russia sent troops into Ukraine on February 24, citing Kiev’s failure to implement the Minsk agreements, designed to give the regions of Donetsk and Lugansk special status within the Ukrainian state. The protocols, brokered by Germany and France, were first signed in 2014. Former Ukrainian president Pyotr Poroshenko has since admitted that Kiev’s main goal was to use the ceasefire to buy time and “create powerful armed forces.”

In February 2022, the Kremlin recognized the Donbass republics as independent states and demanded that Ukraine officially declare itself a neutral country that will never join any Western military bloc. Kiev insists the Russian offensive was completely unprovoked.

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88. Musk reveals purpose of new checkmark colorsСб, 26 ноя[-/+]
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Blue, gray, and gold checkmarks will distinguish different kinds of Twitter accounts this time around

Twitter CEO Elon Musk said on Friday that his long-promised verification system for paid subscribers would be “tentatively” rolled out next week. Musk has thus far struggled to introduce a working means of verifying Twitter’s user base.

“We’re tentatively launching Verified on Friday next week,” Musk wrote in a tweet, explaining that under the forthcoming system, individuals will receive a blue checkmark to denote their verified status, companies will receive a gold check, and government accounts will be marked with a gray tick.

Individuals affiliated with organizations will receive a badge showing this, provided the organization gives its approval, the billionaire added in a follow-up tweet.

Musk explained that all individual users will receive the same blue checkmark, whether they are celebrities or regular users, all of whom pay $8 per month for the mark and some added functionality on Twitter.

Sorry for the delay, we’re tentatively launching Verified on Friday next week.

Gold check for companies, grey check for government, blue for individuals (celebrity or not) and all verified accounts will be manually authenticated before check activates.

Painful, but necessary.

— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 25, 2022

“All verified accounts will be manually authenticated before [the] check activates,” Musk continued, calling this step “painful, but necessary.”

Musk has promised to overhaul Twitter’s often opaque process of verification since before he purchased the platform for $44 billion last month. By selling checkmarks to anyone willing to pay $8, he hoped to solve two problems: Twitter’s declining revenue and the proliferation of non-human ‘bot’ accounts.

READ MORE: Musk announces Twitter amnesty

However, he suspended the paid subscription service earlier this month when droves of newly verified users impersonated high-profile accounts – including US defense contractors and Musk’s own electric vehicle company, Tesla – to post misleading information. Musk had previously launched a separate “official” checkmark to distinguish noteworthy accounts, before announcing that he had “killed” the feature, only to reintroduce it for some accounts in the wake of the impersonations.

Musk said that he would provide a longer explanation of the new system next week.

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89. Serbia responds to border shootoutПт, 25 ноя[-/+]
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A firefight between human traffickers on the Hungarian border prompted sweeping police action

Serbian gendarmerie have detained 829 migrants who were in the country illegally, as part of Friday’s crackdown prompted by an overnight firefight on the border with Hungary. At least one migrant was seriously injured in the shoot-out, which the interior ministry in Belgrade said involved rival groups of human traffickers.

A total of 689 people were detained near Horgos, a village of some 4,000 residents on the Serbia-Hungary border. Another 140 people were rounded up in Belgrade as part of the same operation, the interior ministry said.

“We will have zero tolerance to those who abuse our hospitality,” said Interior Minister Bratislav Gasic. “The lives and property of Serbian citizens shall be protected.”

Gasic, previously the head of Serbia’s counterintelligence, said his visit was a signal to the population of northern Serbia that the police was serious about protecting them from illegal migrants and “criminal people smugglers,” according to Tanjug news agency.

The detained migrants will be sent to shelters in southern Serbia, the police said, adding that “regular checks” will be conducted going forward, to ensure the safety of both local residents and the migrants themselves.

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Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban.
Orban angers neighboring countries with ‘irredentist’ scarf

Friday’s round-up was triggered by videos posted on social media, one of a firefight in the woods outside Horgos, another showing two migrants walking around with assault rifles. Police said “multiple” suspects were arrested in relation to the shoot-out, while six people were detained on-site, including a 20-year-old with two gunshot wounds to the chest.

According to an RT Balkan investigation, “several thousand” migrants have camped out in a forest that was once a favorite picnic spot for the locals, but has turned into a “no-go zone” in recent years.

Migrants from all over the world seeking to claim asylum in the EU have traveled to Serbia before attempting to cross into Hungary. Hidden among them have been the perpetrators of terrorist attacks in Madrid, Paris and Wuerzburg, RT Balkan noted.

Budapest has responded by building a fortified border fence.

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90. Videos of executed Russian POWs appear authentic – UNПт, 25 ноя[-/+]
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The execution of prisoners is a war crime, said High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Turk

Videos showing Russian soldiers apparently executed by Ukrainian forces appear genuine, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Turk stated on Friday. He called on Kiev to fully investigate what Moscow has described as an outright execution.

The footage, consisting of two clips stitched into one video, surfaced on social media last week. It shows a dozen unarmed Russian servicemen surrendering to Ukrainian troops and lying down on the ground, a separate man apparently opening fire on the Ukrainians, and the first dozen soldiers lying dead in pools of blood.

“Our Monitoring Mission in Ukraine has conducted a preliminary analysis indicating that these disturbing videos are highly likely to be authentic in what they show,” Turk said in a press release. “The analysis…underlines the need for independent and detailed forensic investigations to help establish exactly what happened.”

The Russian Ministry of Defense described the footage as evidence of “the deliberate and methodical murder” of the soldiers, with the Russian Presidential Human Rights Council calling the incident a “demonstrative and audacious crime.”

Read more
RT
More Russian soldiers released from Ukrainian captivity (VIDEO)

Kiev has promised to investigate the incident, but Deputy Prime Minister Olga Stefanishina claimed last week that it is “very unlikely” that the clips show a deliberate execution, and Ukraine’s Prosecutor General accused the Russian soldiers, who were unarmed, of “imitating a surrender” in order to ambush their captors.

Turk acknowledged that Ukraine has opened an investigation, and called on Kiev to make sure that the probe “is seen to be independent, impartial, thorough, transparent, prompt and effective.”

The UN commissioner also called on both sides “to issue clear instructions to their forces that there should be no retaliation, no reprisals, against those they take as prisoners of war,” and reminded both militaries that the “summary execution” of prisoners constitutes a war crime.

“Order your troops to treat those who surrender and those they detain humanely,” he told commanders.

In addition to executing the captured Russians, Ukrainian commanders have murdered their own men for refusing to follow orders, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Friday. Putin declared that Russia is “dealing with a neo-Nazi regime” in Ukraine, which operates in “a completely different moral atmosphere.”

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91. Zelensky’s wife claims Ukrainians ready to sufferПт, 25 ноя[-/+]
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Freezing cold and electricity shortages “are not the worst thing,” she told the BBC

Ukrainians are ready to withstand heating and power outages for years if the country is eventually allowed to join the EU, First Lady Elena Zelenskaya has claimed. She was interviewed by the BBC on Friday.

Speaking to the British broadcaster after weeks of Russian strikes on Ukraine’s energy facilities, Zelenskaya said that Ukrainians were “ready to endure” a punishing winter if the country’s bid for EU membership was successful.

President Vladimir Zelensky’s wife cited a recent poll which reportedly found that 90% of Ukrainians would put up with power and heating shortages for two or three years if the country could become a member of the European bloc afterwards.

“We've had so many terrible challenges, seen so many victims, so much destruction, that blackouts are not the worst thing to happen to us,” she told the BBC.

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RT
Zelensky’s Crimea threat proves Ukraine doesn't want peace – Kremlin

Encouraged by European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, Ukraine applied for EU membership in February, and was accepted as a candidate for accession in June. However, Kiev cannot join the bloc while engaged in armed conflict with its neighbor, and some member states have pointed out that the nation will have to root out corruption, clean up its human rights record, and strengthen the rule of law before it can be considered for membership.

As the temperature drops in Ukraine, Russia continues to strike targets of military significance across the country, including power plants and gas facilities. A wave of large-scale missile attacks on infrastructure objects were reported in Kiev, Kharkov, Odessa, Lviv, and other cities on Wednesday.

Kiev Mayor Vitaly Klitschko stated on Thursday that 70% of the Ukrainian capital was left without power following the strikes, while the CEO of Ukraine’s largest private power utility called last week for citizens to consider leaving the country for winter to reduce the burden on the damaged grid.

Russia has been targeting Ukraine’s energy facilities since October 10, after accusing Kiev of “terrorist” attacks on Russian infrastructure, including the strategically important Crimean Bridge. The missile and drone campaign has focused on “targets directly or indirectly related to [Ukraine’s] military potential,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Thursday.

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92. Erdogan brushes off US warningsПт, 25 ноя[-/+]
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The Turkish president vowed to go after terrorists “no matter who they collude with”

Türkiye is determined to “root out” terrorists no matter where they are or who they regard as partners, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan declared on Friday.

His comments come after Washington protested to Ankara about an airstrike that “directly threatened” US troops working with Kurdish militias in Syria.

“No matter who terrorists collude with, Türkiye will always hold them accountable for every drop of blood they shed,” Erdogan said in a speech at the Istanbul Shipyard. The Turkish president joined Pakistani Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif for the ceremonial inauguration of the ‘PNS Khaibar’, one of the four corvettes Islamabad has commissioned from Türkiye.

Erdogan also said that “no one can lecture Türkiye, which is the only NATO ally that fought Daesh hand to hand and was victorious,” referring to the terrorist group Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS).

Since Sunday, Ankara has carried out air and artillery strikes, dubbed Operation Claw-Sword, in northern Syria and Iraq. Its targets are Kurdish militias that Türkiye holds responsible for the November 13 terrorist attack in Istanbul that killed six and wounded 81 people. On Wednesday, Turkish planes bombed a location just 300 meters from a US base near Hasakah, prompting the Pentagon to accuse Türkiye of endangering its troops and the fight against IS.

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A smoke rises from an oil depot struck by Turkish air force near the town of Qamishli, Syria, November 23, 2022
US claims NATO ally ‘directly threatened’ American troops

“Recent air strikes in Syria directly threatened the safety of US personnel who are working in Syria with local partners to defeat ISIS and maintain custody of more than ten thousand ISIS detainees,” said Pentagon press secretary Patrick Ryder. He added that continued escalation threatened the “years-long progress” of the US-led coalition.

Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar responded on Friday by saying that Ankara is only targeting terrorists and that “it is out of the question for us to harm coalition forces or civilians.”

The US State Department previously acknowledged that all territory controlled by IS had been liberated in March 2019. Washington continues to maintain an estimated 900 troops in Syria, without permission of the government in Damascus or the UN.

Earlier this week, Erdogan said Türkiye’s objective was to create a “buffer zone” along the Syrian border, specifically mentioning the cities of Tall Rifat, Manbij and Kobane. The 30-kilometer strip was the stated objective of the 2019 Turkish incursion into Syria, which drew condemnation from some NATO allies and sanctions from the US.

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93. K-pop star sentenced for sex crimesПт, 25 ноя[-/+]
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Singer Kris Wu was found guilty of raping three intoxicated women

A Beijing court has sentenced Canadian-Chinese singer Kris Wu to 13 years in prison for raping three women at his home in 2020, while they were under the influence of alcohol. The singer was also found guilty of tax evasion and organizing an illegal orgy.

Wu, known in China as Wu Yifan, shot to fame as a member of Korean-Chinese pop group EXO and enjoyed a lucrative solo career after leaving the band in 2014. The 32-year-old was arrested last year after an 18-year-old student publicly accused him of coercing her and other girls, some under the age of 18, into sex.

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Seungri (Lee Seung-hyun) formerly of South Korean band
South Korean court jails K-pop superstar for three years in prostitution, embezzlement and gambling scandal

The Chaoyang District People’s Court in Beijing found Wu guilty of raping three women at his Chinese residence in late 2020, "when they were drunk and did not know or [were] not able to resist,” according to a court statement seen by the BBC. Wu was sentenced to 11.5 years in prison for these rapes, and an additional 11 months for “assembling a crowd to engage in sexual promiscuity” in 2018.

Wu was also fined 600 million Yuan ($83.7 million) for tax evasion, and will be deported to Canada after serving his sentence.

Born in China and raised in Canada, Wu was one of China’s biggest celebrities before his arrest and conviction. After his split from EXO, he starred in nearly a dozen Chinese movies, judged variety shows, raised money for charity, and worked as an ambassador for 15 brands – including luxury marques like Bulgari, Louis Vuitton, and Porsche.

Wu’s downfall came as the Chinese government launched a crackdown on the excesses of celebrity culture. At a state-organized symposium in Beijing last September, celebrities and entertainment industry figures were urged to “oppose the decadent ideas of money worship [and] hedonism,” and to “abandon vulgar and kitsch inferior tastes.”

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94. Putin expresses regret over DonbassПт, 25 ноя[-/+]
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Reunification with Russia should probably have happened earlier, the president told the mothers of soldiers

The Donbass republics should probably have rejoined Russia sooner, Russian President Vladimir Putin said at a meeting with the mothers of troops involved in the military operation in Ukraine on Friday. In such a case, fewer lives might have been lost, the president stressed.

“There might not have been so many casualties among civilians, there would not be so many children killed,” the Russian leader suggested. He maintained, however, that back in 2014, Russia did not have a full understanding of the situation in Donbass or of the true sentiments of the locals.

“[We] believed that we might still be able to reach an agreement and … reunify Donetsk and Lugansk with Ukraine within … the Minsk Agreements,” Putin noted, adding that Russia was “genuinely working towards that.”

Commenting on the matter further, the president blamed the 2014 coup in Kiev for the subsequent crisis in Donbass and the conflict between Russia and Ukraine. “If not for the coup d’état in Ukraine in 2014, none [of this] would have happened,” he said.

Read more
Russian President Vladimir Putin
Ukrainian troops used as ‘cannon fodder’ – Putin

Brokered by Germany and France, the Minsk Agreements were first signed in 2014 in the wake of the ousting of then-President Viktor Yanukovich, which plunged Ukraine into a conflict between the post-coup government in Kiev and the Donetsk and Lugansk regions. Having subsequently become the respective people's republics, the territories declared their independence from Ukraine the same year.

The accords were designed to give the regions of Donetsk and Lugansk special status within the Ukrainian state. Yet, their implementation was stalled – something Moscow repeatedly blamed on Kiev. Former Ukrainian president Pyotr Poroshenko has since admitted that Kiev’s main goal was to use the deal to buy time and “create powerful armed forces.”

In February 2022, the Kremlin recognized the Donbass republics as independent states and demanded that Ukraine officially declare itself a neutral country that will never join any Western military bloc. On February 24, Russia sent troops into Ukraine, citing Kiev’s failure to implement the Minsk agreements. Putin spoke at that time of the need to protect the Russian-speaking population of Donbass.

This autumn, four formerly Ukrainian territories, the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics, as well as Kherson and Zaporozhye Regions, were incorporated into Russia following referendums.

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95. Ukrainian troops used as ‘cannon fodder’ – PutinПт, 25 ноя[-/+]
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The Russian leader slammed the "moral atmosphere" in Kiev’s forces

Russian President Vladimir Putin says his country is not fighting against the people of Ukraine, but instead is facing down their leadership and outside forces who are using the country as a proxy.

He claimed that Ukrainian soldiers are being used as cannon fodder by what he called the "neo-Nazi regime" in Kiev.

Speaking to the mothers of Russian servicemen on Friday, the president said that those who supply Ukraine with weapons and fund the Kiev government have no consideration for Ukraine’s losses.

Meanwhile, those who do not fall in line with orders are executed on the spot right in front of their comrades, Putin insisted, citing information supplied to him by primary sources.

“Our boys have seen this firsthand. The bodies of the executed are just left to lie there. Just recently there was another case – five people were shot right in front of the lineup, those who refused to go or left their positions,” the president said. He appeared to be referring to an incident reported by Russia’s Defense Ministry last week, in which Kiev allegedly sent nationalist militants into the village of Belogorovka to “put things in order” and intimidate Ukrainian servicemen, a number of whom had refused to follow orders and were shot.

There is a completely different moral atmosphere [in Kiev’s forces],” Putin noted, adding that this once again confirmed that “we are dealing with a neo-Nazi regime, without any exaggerations.”

The president said that in light of such a situation, Moscow is further reassured it is doing the right thing by protecting the people who live in the territories that have recently joined the Russian Federation.

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Russian President Vladimir Putin meets with mothers of Russia's servicemen participating in the military operation in Ukraine, ahead of Mother's Day at the Novo-Ogaryovo state residence, outside Moscow, Russia.
Putin meets mothers of Russian troops

Last month, Russia incorporated the Donetsk and Lugansk People's Republics, as well as the former Ukrainian regions of Kherson and Zaporozhye, after these territories held referendums on joining Russia.

Russia sent troops into Ukraine on February 24, citing Kiev’s failure to implement the Minsk agreements, designed to give the regions of Donetsk and Lugansk special status within the Ukrainian state. The protocols, brokered by Germany and France, were first signed in 2014. Former Ukrainian President Pyotr Poroshenko has since admitted that Kiev’s main goal was to use the ceasefire to buy time and “create powerful armed forces.”

In February 2022, the Kremlin recognized the Donbass republics as independent states and demanded that Ukraine officially declare itself a neutral country that will never join any Western military bloc. Kiev insists the Russian offensive was completely unprovoked.

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96. Close Putin ally to join tech giantПт, 25 ноя[-/+]
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Yandex is set to undergo a major restructuring, with Alexey Kudrin expected to take a leading position in the company

Russia’s top tech giant, Yandex, may soon carry out a corporate restructuring and split its domestic and international businesses, the company announced on Friday. It also revealed that Alexey Kudrin, Russia’s former finance minister and presidential adviser, will join the company’s top management team.

Its parent company in the Netherlands will soon withdraw from the shareholders and change its name, while control over the Russian part of the business will be transferred to local management.

Aleksey Kudrin, a longtime ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin and the current head of the Audit Chamber, is expected to take a leading position in the company by the end of the year.

According to some media reports, Yandex N.V. announced on Friday that its board members had formed a “special committee” to explore the sale of Russian products and the spin-off of its other divisions.

“Yandex N.V. is considering the possibility of splitting the main part of the business, including a number of international business areas, into a separate group of companies that will retain the Yandex brand,” the company said in a statement.

READ MORE: Putin offers tax incentives for use of domestic technology

The company’s new cloud computing, self-driving cars and education projects would spin off into separate foreign ventures under the control of Yandex N.V., Russian media outlets reported. At the same time, Yandex emphasized in its statement that all of these projects would also continue to work in Russia.

The new structure will allow Yandex to “focus on creating innovative technological products and services, as well as to develop the company in the interests of its users, employees and shareholders.”

Yandex is known for its internet browser, which is more popular than Google in Russia. The company also has a major share of food delivery and taxi-hailing apps in the country.

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

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97. Macron’s electoral campaigns under investigation – mediaПт, 25 ноя[-/+]
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French prosecutors have launched a probe into suspected illegal financing

French President Emmanuel Macron’s 2017 and 2022 election campaigns are reportedly under investigation by the National Financial Prosecutor’s office. The probe is focused on illegal financing and suspicions of wrongdoing surrounding contracts with a US-based consulting firm.

The investigation was announced by the prosecutor’s office in a Twitter post on Thursday. Prosecutors did not confirm the probe was targeting Macron’s campaigns, but said they were trying to bring clarification to the issue following media reports. French newspaper Le Parisien has suggested that Macron’s 2017 campaign was linked to US consulting giant McKinsey & Company.

Campaign funding in France is strictly controlled and funding of presidential bids by private companies is illegal. Individual contributions are also heavily regulated.

While the prosecutor’s statement does not mention Macron or his party by name, it says that a judicial inquiry was opened late last month into alleged “inconsistent campaign accounts” and the underbilling of work performed by consultancy firms during recent electoral campaigns. Macron has long faced scrutiny over his alleged ties to McKinsey, dating back to his first election bid in 2017.

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Catherine Colonna, Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs.
French FM calls for more EU autonomy from US

Prosecutors also say they have opened an investigation into suspected favoritism in relation to these campaigns after Le Parisien pointed to suspicious “conditions” under which public contracts were granted to McKinsey by the elected French government.

According to a four-month investigation led by French senators and published in March, the government had signed contracts worth at least $2.4 billion with consultancy firms since 2018. The report suggested that since Macron came into power in 2017, government ministries had more than doubled their expenses on consulting services.

The Justice Ministry has another ongoing investigation examining suspected tax fraud committed by the McKinsey group, which was opened in March. The consulting agency has denied the allegation and insisted that it “respects French tax rules that apply to it.”

Responding to the launch of the criminal probes, Macron also denied any wrongdoing and said he had “nothing to fear” and claimed that the “core of the investigation” was not about him. Previously, the president said he was “shocked” by the suspicions of tax evasion by consulting firms his government had hired.

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98. Merkel explains why she wasn’t surprised by Russia’s offensive in UkraineПт, 25 ноя[-/+]
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The Minsk Agreements became “eroded” and the EU was reluctant to talk to Moscow, the former German chancellor told Der Spiegel

Former German Chancellor Angela Merkel says she was not surprised when the conflict between Russia and Ukraine broke out in late February. The retired leader was speaking to Der Spiegel in a lengthy interview published on Thursday.

“It did not come as a surprise,” Merkel told the outlet. By then, “the Minsk Agreements were eroded,” the former chancellor stated, referring to the 2014 ceasefire deal brokered by Germany and France, which were designed to give the eastern regions special status within Ukraine.

She also said her efforts to establish another dialogue platform for Russia and the EU in 2021 had come to nothing.

“I wanted, together with [French President] Emmanuel Macron, to create an independent European discussion format with Putin through the European Council,” Merkel said, explaining that she faced opposition from other members of the EU’s top body.

“I no longer had the strength to assert myself,” she noted, as everyone knew she was about to step down. She faced the same problem on her farewell visit to Moscow, sensing she no longer had the ability to influence Putin, for whom she said “only power counts.”

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Former German Chancellor Angela Merkel speaking on stage at the Berliner Ensemble theatre in Berlin on June 7, 2022.
Lasting peace in Europe only possible with Russia’s input – Merkel

The former German leader said she “wished for a more peaceful time” after her departure and would have “pushed for [her initiative] further” had she decided to lead her party into the 2021 parliamentary elections and won.

The former chancellor also acknowledged that she had not moved forward “even a millimeter” in resolving not only the Ukraine crisis, but the tensions between “Transnistria and Moldova, Georgia and Abkhazia,” as well as the crises in Syria and Libya. “It was time for a new approach,” she said.

Merkel, however, defended her opposition to admitting Georgia and Ukraine into NATO, arguing that she “bought time” for Kiev to better prepare for the Russian offensive.
However, Merkel still believes that Berlin should not be “the first nation to send state-of-the-art tanks” to Kiev, warning that it would only damage Berlin’s relations with Moscow. “Russia would then be only further set against Germany,” she said.

Merkel faced criticism at home over the conflict for supposedly making the German economy too reliant on Russian gas. The ex-chancellor defended her decisions, saying that buying gas from Moscow was the best way towards a green future and the move away from coal.

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99. EU fails to reach agreement on Russian oil price cap – BloombergПт, 25 ноя[-/+]
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Attempts to agree a deal have stalled as some member states called it “too generous” to Moscow

EU leaders failed once again on Friday to reach an agreement on setting a price ceiling for Russian crude oil shipped by sea, sources told Bloomberg.

The deadlock persists as members are split over how low the maximum price should be to effectively cut Moscow's oil revenues.

Several nations, including Poland and the Baltic States, oppose the European Commission's proposal to set a $65 to $70 per barrel limit, claiming it is “too generous.” While Poland is proposing a $30 cap, member states with major shipping industries like Greece and Malta insist the ceiling should not be below $70.

According to anonymous sources cited by the agency, diplomats are optimistic they can finalize the deal soon. Brussels is under pressure since EU sanctions on Russian oil are scheduled to come into force on December 5.

The possibility of a regular price review has reportedly been floated as a potential compromise.

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RT
Russia warns it will withdraw oil supplies to ‘price cap’ countries

If approved, the measure would be implemented together with the Group of Seven nations, and would ban Western companies from providing insurance, brokerage or financial assistance to ships transporting Russian crude, unless the cargo is purchased below an agreed price. It is hoped the ceiling would allow Russian production to remain at pre-sanctions levels, avoiding turmoil in global oil markets.

The levels under discussion have been criticized by some strategists, who say that Russia has been selling its oil at steep discounts after European buyers opted to shun the deliveries from the sanction-hit nation. That means the potential price cap at a higher level would in fact allow business as usual for Moscow.

Russia has threatened to stop exporting oil to countries that support the price cap. That could drive global oil prices higher, as the country is the world’s second largest exporter.

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

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100. ‘Squid Game’ star charged with sexual misconduct – mediaПт, 25 ноя[-/+]
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O Yeong-su is reportedly accused of harassing a woman in 2017

‘Squid Game’ actor O Yeong-su has been indicted on charges of sexual misconduct, Korean media reported on Friday. Police earlier closed the case against him, but his accuser still insists she was inappropriately touched by O.

He was indicted without detention on Thursday, over an incident that allegedly took place in 2017, according to Korea’s Yonhap News Agency.

Police already opened an investigation into the incident last December, but closed it without filing charges in April. Prosecutors re-opened the case at the request of the alleged victim, the news agency explained, citing judicial officials.

An official with the Suwon District Prosecutor’s Office told AFP that the report on O’s indictment “is not factually incorrect,” but did not give further details.

Read more
'Squid Game' (2021) Dir: Hwang Dong-hyuk © Netflix
Squid Game is making a real-life comeback

O denies any wrongdoing. “I just held her hand to guide the way around the lake. I apologized because she said she wouldn’t make a fuss about it, but it doesn’t mean I admit to the charges,” he said in a statement, referring to the alleged victim.

Hitting Netflix last year amid an explosion of Western interest in Korean film and music, ‘Squid Game’ was a runaway success for the streaming service, pulling in more than 111 million viewers worldwide in its first month. The series, which depicts downtrodden Koreans playing life-or-death versions of children’s games against each other for cash, has been renewed for a second season.

O won best TV supporting actor at the 2022 Golden Globe Awards for his role in the series, becoming the first Korean-born recipient of the award.

Following the indictment, the Korean Ministry of Culture pulled a TV infomercial promoting its policies that featured O.

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