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Hier — 22 janvier 2020RT - Daily news

Don’t lock him up! Trump says (Bill) Clinton ‘shouldn’t have been impeached’

Par RT

US President Donald Trump has come out with a surprising defense of his fellow impeached president, Bill Clinton, claiming he has always thought the former leader “should not have been impeached.”

In between repeatedly defending himself as “the only one who’s ever been impeached and he didn’t commit a crime,” Trump spoke up in Clinton’s defense, arguing that the former president should not have been impeached in 1998 either.

I think,

"Bill Clinton should have not been impeached."

"With me there's no, lying, no crime"

Donald Trump talks about his impeachment. pic.twitter.com/rePv3IDGsI

— Global Politics🌏 (@Globalpoliticss) January 22, 2020

What he did was nothing good – there was a lot of lying going on – but with me, there’s no lying, no nothing, they don’t even have a crime,” Trump said during the World Economic Forum on Wednesday. He insisted he was merely “sticking up for Clinton” when he called independent counsel Ken Starr, who led the investigation of the former Arkansas governor, a “lunatic.”

His opinion of Starr has changed since meeting the lawyer – “a terrific man” who joined his own legal team earlier this month – but Trump insisted his thoughts on Clinton have remained the same, apparently unswayed by his bitter 2016 presidential contest with the former president’s wife. Clinton was ultimately impeached for lying under oath and obstruction of justice stemming from answers over his extramarital affair with intern Monica Lewinsky. While two other articles of impeachment were brought, including abuse of power, they did not pass the House. The Senate ultimately acquitted Clinton of both articles of impeachment in 1999, allowing him to finish his second term in office.

A handful of the starring figures in Trump’s impeachment were present during Clinton’s, often with dramatically different takes on the subject based on their party loyalties. When South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham (R) tried the House’s case against Clinton in 1998, he claimed a president need not even commit a crime to be impeached, a view he had completely reversed by 2020. Meanwhile, House Judiciary Committee head Jerry Nadler (D-New York) went from believing in 1998 that both parties must support impeachment or it lacks legitimacy – and calling Clinton’s impeachment a partisan “lynching” – to enthusiastically supporting the partisan proceedings now unfolding against Trump.

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© Reuters / Handout
Trump lawyers & intel committee head Schiff accuse each other of obstructing as Senate impeachment trial begins

Trump was impeached earlier this month by the Democrat-controlled House for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress relating to his allegedly withholding military aid to Ukraine to compel prosecutors to reopen an investigation into a natural gas firm linked to his chief Democratic rival Joe Biden. The Senate impeachment trial officially began Wednesday after an onerous 12-hour debate over ground rules for the proceedings.

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  • 22 janvier 2020 à 19:44

UK’s House of Lords passes Withdrawal Agreement to allow Brexit by end of January

Par RT

Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Brexit bill has cleared its final parliamentary hurdle after Britain’s upper house of parliament passed the legislation on Wednesday.

The move comes some three and a half years after the referendum in which a narrow majority voted for the UK to leave the EU, having joined in 1973. The referendum sparked a tumultuous period in British politics including the resignations of two Tory prime ministers and two general elections.

Earlier on Wednesday, the House of Commons overturned changes made to the legislation by the House of Lords which would have included protections for child refugees following Britain’s exit from the EU. The House of Lords later passed the legislation without pushing the proposed changes. 

The bill now just needs Royal assent from the British monarch before passing into law.

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© AFP / Adrian DENNIS
Want a free trade deal with the US? Then align with Washington not Brussels on foreign policy, former Trump aide tells BoJo

The UK has been granted a number of extensions to the initial Brexit deadline of March 29, 2019 by EU chiefs after a series of failures by both Johnson and his predecessor Theresa May to pass the negotiated agreement through parliament. Withdrawal agreement legislation was finally passed by the House of Commons following the Conservative Party's election success in December in which the Tories secured parliamentary majority.

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  • 22 janvier 2020 à 19:38

The thin line between fashion & bad taste: Most bizarre figure skating costumes of all time (PHOTOS, VIDEO)

Par RT

With the great variety of programs staged in figure skating, athletes’ scrupulously chosen outfits are an inseparable part of the image they try to portray on the ice. But sometimes their fashion choices leave fans astonished.

RT Sport recalls the most bizarre figure skating outfits which either spiced up or completely ruined their programs, making them literally unforgettable in every sense.

OKSANA DOMNINA AND MAXIM SHABALIN: ABORIGINAL COSTUMES

Oksana Domnina and Maxim Shabalin were one of the most remarkable ice-dancing duets of Russia, with memorable routines and perfectly matched music being their forte.

Oksana Domnina and Maxim Shabalin © Sputnik / Vladimir Baranov

But in 2010, the pair’s desire to create something unusual ended up embroiling them in an international scandal.

The skaters chose an aboriginal theme for their Olympic routine, which triggered criticism from Aboriginal Australians.

Oksana Domnina and Maxim Shabalin © Sputnik / Vladimir Baranov

The pair’s bright red loincloths, brown bodysuits, and eucalyptus leaves were deemed offensive and lacking in authenticity.

Responding to the criticism, Shabalin stressed that the program was inspired by the world’s aboriginal cultures, not Australia’s in particular.

BETINA POPOVA AND SERGEY MOZGOV: POWER RANGERS FASHION

Arguably the most extravagant duet in Russian figure skating, Betina Popova and Sergey Mozgov haven’t yet won international awards, but have made the entire figure skating community discuss their eye-catching routines.

Betina Popova and Sergey Mozgov © Sputnik / Alexei Danichev

Last season, they amazed fans with their costume choice, appearing in tight-fitting bodysuits which covered them from head to toe.

Skating to the music from martial arts fantasy ‘Mortal Kombat’, they imitated a fight on the rink, sending the crowd into frenzy.

The pair failed to qualify for the national team this year due to health problems.


EVGENI PLUSHENKO: SEX BOMB

Two-time Olympic champion from Russia Evgeni Plushenko is not only remembered for his incredible figure skating skills, but also for his unique artistry and acting talent, which sometimes perhaps even deserved an Oscar nomination.

Along with multiple exhibition routines created by the skating master, ‘Sex Bomb’ stands apart as one of the most popular routines in the sport’s history.

Performed in the 2000-2001 season, the dynamic program saw Plushenko slowly stripping, revealing his specially-made muscular suit underneath.

The routine became an international hit, with Plushenko’s fame rivalling that of the original performer of the song, Tom Jones.

Núnca me cansaré del Sex bomb de Plushenko 🙄 pic.twitter.com/L6UyjNN5xx

— Dulce no tan dulce- (@Dulce3pm) June 12, 2017

Even after his retirement, Plushenko still shows off the routine on figure skating tours, but now he is accompanied by his son Alexander, who has also embarked on a figure skating career.

KATARINA WITT: DRESS CODE CHANGER 

Figure skating legend Katarina Witt, who dominated women’s skating in the 1980s, dictated her own rules on and off the rink, forcing the ISU to change the dress code requirements.

Competing at the 1988 Olympics in Calgary, the skating diva donned a blue body-hugging outfit with feathers instead of a skirt, which barely covered her bottom.

Following her tremendous performance, which brought the East German skater her second Olympic gold, the ISU introduced ‘the Katarina Rule’, which requires all female competitors to have a skirt covering their hips and buttocks.

ELIZAVETA TUKTAMYSHEVA: ‘STRIPTEASE TREND’

Russian figure skater Elizaveta Tuktamysheva launched the ‘striptease trend’ last season, stealing the show at the Skate Canada Grand Prix by putting on a racy performance to the tune of Britney Spears’ ‘Toxic’.

Elizaveta Tuktamysheva © AFP/ GEOFF ROBINS

The skater stripped off her flight attendant jacket during the gala show, showing off her black lingerie, a move that generated a lot of discussion after the performance.

Tuktamysheva’s raunchy dance was a huge hit on social media, inspiring other skaters to try out new risqué routines along with provocative outfits which made their performances highly memorable, especially among male fans.

Elizaveta Tuktamysheva © Sputnik / Alexander Vilf

ANTON SHULEPOV: AUSCHWITZ-THEMED UNIFORM

Russian male figure skater Anton Shulepov found himself at the center of a scandal this season after his Auschwitz-themed outfit was included in the list of best costume award nominees.

The 23-year-old staged an emotional free-program set to music from the movie Schindler’s List. He chose a costume that included elements of a Nazi guard uniform and a concentration camp prisoner’s outfit.

Anton Shulepov © AFP / JUNKO KIMURA-MATSUMOTO

Shulepov’s costume design provoked outrage among figure skating fans who considered his style to be offensive.

Along with a striped uniform worn by concentration camp prisoners, Shulepov’s costume also had a Yellow Star of David, a badge that was used to identify Jews during the Nazi era.

The Russian figure skater Anton Shulepov wore a costume that was half Nazi guard uniform and half Jewish Holocaust inmate uniform.

I humbly nominate this photo as the mascot of the "both sides" brigade. pic.twitter.com/ILSvJr7CGE

— Alex (@JewishWonk) December 2, 2019

After an avalanche of complaints, the International Skating Union removed Shulepov’s costume from the list of nominees.  

EKATERINA RUBLEVA: EMBARASSING WARDROBE MALFUNCTION

Russian ice dancer Ekaterina Rubleva made headlines in 2009 when her dress tore midway through her performance at the European Figure Skating Championships.

Rubleva and her partner Ivan Shefer were demonstrating their compulsory dance when a strap on the skater’s backless pink dress unexpectedly broke, exposing her right breast.

Ekaterina Rubleva of Russia loses her top © REUTERS / Johannes Eisele

The mishap didn’t prevent them from finishing the routine, though Rubleva did become that day’s top news story from the event.

SARA HURTADO AND ADRIAN DIAZ: INSPIRED BY PICASSO 

Spanish ice dancers Sara Hurtado and Adrian Diaz staged a Picasso-themed program while competing at the 2014 Olympics in Sochi.

The first Spanish pair to qualify for the Olympics paid tribute to the renowned artist, with Hurtado’s dress including several of his masterpieces in its design.

Sara Hurtado and Adrian Diaz © AFP / Damien Meyer

The duo, who interpreted the love story between Picasso and Dora Maar, mesmerized the Russian audience, who responded with thunderous applause.

Despite achieving success on the international stage, the pair parted company in 2016, and Hurtado teamed up with former Russian skater Kirill Khaliavin, who now represents Spain.

Sara Hurtado and Adrian Diaz © AFP / Damien Meyer

  • 22 janvier 2020 à 19:16

#MeToo setback: French court finds assault accuser guilty of defamation

Par RT

French author Ariane Fornia has been found guilty of defamation, after a former government minister challenged her claim of sexual assault. The verdict is another blow for the #MeToo movement in France.

A Paris court ordered Fornia, the daughter of former minister Eric Besson, to pay a symbolic one euro in damages and 3,000 euros in legal fees to Pierre Joxe, a former socialist minister who Fornia defamed with an allegation of sexual assault.

In 2017, Fornia accused Joxe – now 85 – of sexually assaulting her during an opera performance in Paris seven years earlier. She did not make an official complaint, but wrote about the encounter in a blog post, describing how “He slides his hand inside my thigh, goes up to my crotch...I utter a cry of muffled indignation. Ten minutes later, he starts again.”

Poursuivie en diffamation par Pierre Joxe, Ariane Fornia fixée sur son sort ce mercredi #Société https://t.co/3t0H8LPODP

— Le Figaro (@Le_Figaro) January 22, 2020

Fornia’s accusation made national news, coming at the height of the MeToo movement. The same year, the New York Times reported that more than a dozen women accused film mogul Harvey Weinstein of assault, harassment and rape, and the hashtag #MeToo became a rallying call for a national outcry against similar stories of male misbehaviour, from the benign to the illegal and morally repugnant.

Joxe has been accused of sexual impropriety by more than one woman, but outright denies all the charges. He mounted the case against Fornia in 2018, after the author refused to retract her accusation and issue him an apology.

Also on rt.com
Weinstein (center) - truly diminished, or playing a role? © Reuters / Eduardo Munoz
As Harvey Weinstein trial begins, Hollywood dutifully feigns the outrage it kept quiet for the years he operated

The court’s decision is the latest blow for the MeToo movement in France, where it is more commonly referred to as the ‘#BalanceTonPorc’ or ‘Rat on your Pig’ campaign. The campaign’s French originator, Sandra Muller, was found guilty of defamation in September, when a court ordered her to pay €15,000 euros in damages and another €5,000 in legal fees to a television executive she claimed sexually harassed her at a cocktail party in 2012.

The executive, Eric Brion, admitted that he had come on to Muller at the party, but outright denied the charge of harassment and said he backed off when he realized Muller was uninterested in his advances. His lawyers told the court that he had simply exercised “his right to flirt.”

The Muller case threw the MeToo campaign into an unflattering spotlight in France. In an open letter published in the newspaper Le Monde, a hundred prominent French women, including actress Catherine Deneuve, called its supporters “puritans,” and argued that prosecuting men for minor indiscretions robs them of their “indispensable freedom” to play the game of seduction.

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The "MeToo" campaign has seemingly spread to all the levels of the western society, including the European Parliament.
French #MeToo trial shows there is no winner in the battle of the sexes

The movement has not been criticized in the US as extensively as it has in France. As Deneuve’s letter made front-page news in France, actress and Weinstein accuser Asia Argento claimed that its authors had been “lobotomized” by their “interiorized misogyny.” 

Later that year in Washington, multiple unfounded accounts of sexual assault would be used by politicians, pundits and celebrities in an attempt to derail the confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

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  • 22 janvier 2020 à 19:01

UD Ibiza vs Barcelona: Five reasons why Barca could suffer an upset against the team on the party island in the Copa del Rey

Par RT

Barcelona will be without Lionel Messi in their second match under new coach Quique Setien away to high-flying 3rd-tier team playing on an artificial pitch on an island. Here are five reasons why Ibiza will be no party.

The match is being played on artificial turf

Far from the home comforts of Camp Nou, Ibiza play on a latest generation artificial pitch. This synthetic style of pitch has drawn criticism from some coaches and purists, but is ideal for clubs that need an ultra-reliable surface in all weather conditions and want to let other clubs use their ground, which can be valuable in providing added revenue.

🔢👕 All set and ready to perfection in our dressing room! 💪👊🐂

📢 ¡VAMOS IBIZA! 📢

#IbizaBarça 🏆#CopaDelRey#VamosIbiza 💙 #IAMIBIZA pic.twitter.com/Qcb2U0sg1t

— UD Ibiza English (@ibizaud_en) January 22, 2020

“They won’t be used to the artificial surface,” reckons veteran striker and winger Sergio Cirio, a prolific threat who has a strike rate of almost a goal every other game since joining the club in 2017.

"We have to try to use that. We have to approach the games as we do in the league and try to use the home ground advantage and make life really hard for them.”

Star players are missing and a replay cannot save them

Lionel Messi and Gerard Pique have not travelled with Barca and Sergio Busquets is suspended. They won’t be able to rely on Busquets being back for a replay, either, as the format of the Copa del Rey has changed this season so that ties take place over a single leg.

That means, as Setien put it in Barca's official match preview“there will be no room for errors.” “The conditions won’t be what we are used to,” accepts the new coach.

“In the long term, this format is good because it means fewer matches, but these games are potential banana skins. Two legs would be better for us.”

Barca do, however, still arrive with a strong squad, including the likes of youngsters Carles Perez and Ansu Fati, who have shown they can hurt teams at a much higher level with mature performances in this season’s Champions League, where the latter this season became the tournament's youngest ever scorer.

Ibiza are flying high and have already caused an upset

Third in Segunda Division B with a nine-point gap over fourth-placed Pena Deportiva, Ibiza have lost just once in their last dozen matches and are nine without defeat.

In their last Copa del Rey match, they beat Albacete - the club against whom Messi scored his first goal for Barca - 5-3 on penalties following a 1-1 draw at the Estadi Municipal de Can Misses.

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© Global Look Press / Imago-images
Return their fabled attacking flair, cure away-day woes – Quique Setien’s five major challenges as new Barcelona boss

“We were able to beat a side from the second division,” says coach Pablo Alfaro. “They are not on the level of Barcelona, obviously, but they are a side that competes at a higher level than we do.”

The home side enter off the back of two 1-0 wins. Rather than dealing an unwelcome distraction to the squad, Ibiza’s players were determined to do well in the pair of Segunda B matches preceding their brush with superstars.

“When we were drawn against Barcelona, we knew that we still had two league matches to go before the game,” says Cirio.

“So we focused on those games first and achieved our aim by taking six points.”

They face opponents with momentum and massive motivation

Winger and defender Kike Lopez has no doubt that the hosts will arrive more determined than Barca.

“Look, in terms of enthusiasm and being pumped up for the game, they won’t beat us,” points out the 32-year-old, who came through Real Valladolid's youth system and has spent much of his career in Division B.

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© Global Look Press
'Leo has everything, he didn't need anything from me' – Ronaldinho on Lionel Messi

“I’m convinced of that. We will try to play our style of football, try to put on a near-perfect performance and hope that it won’t be their day.

"There are a number of factors that have to come together but our aim is to compete at the maximum level possible.”

Alfaro has given an insight into his players’ thinking. “I believe that we would never forgive ourselves if we didn’t give 100 percent of our abilities and didn’t give everything we can. Our side tomorrow will be the best we can put out.”

The fans and atmosphere will galvanize Ibiza

The sold-out Can Misses has increased its capacity by almost 2,000 to just shy of 6,500 for Barca’s visit, bringing in one of the DJs the island is known for, Manu Gonzalez, on a special night for a club that was only formed in its current guise in 2015.

“The whole island is behind us, so that’s a big plus for us,” points out Cirio. “It’s our excitement and duty to make sure that all the excitement is not in vain and wasted.”

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© ZUMAPRESS.com / Global Look Press
Messi: My rivalry with Ronaldo 'will be remembered forever'

Hundreds of children from football clubs all around the island were invited to their last cup win. “The atmosphere against Albecete was electric so you can imagine what will happen against Barcelona,” warns Alfaro.

“We will try to keep the flame alive the way we lit it the other day. That’s our intention.

"We have nothing to lose - we can only win, whatever the result will be.”

  • 22 janvier 2020 à 18:45

Five Star leader Di Maio steps down as shaky Italian coalition seeks to avoid snap election

Par RT

Luigi Di Maio has resigned as leader of the anti-establishment Five Star Movement in a step that will shake up Italian politics and prompt fears of a snap election after months of internal party dissent and coalition infighting.

“It is time to rebuild,” Di Maio said in a speech in Rome confirming his departure as M5s leader. He added that he had worked to grow the movement “and protect it from the profiteers and traps along the way,” but “I have completed my task” and others must now step in to take on the role. 

Despite his resignation, Di Maio insisted he remains fully committed to the party, and said the government “must go on” and have time to fix “the mess made by those who governed for 30 years before.”

Earlier, ministers of the co-governing Five Star Movement (M5S) met to discuss strategy ahead of crucial regional elections in Emilia Romagna and Calabria, where the party is expected to face defeat to the right-wing League party led by Matteo Salvini.

The 33-year-old insurgent politician is expected to remain on as foreign minister for the coalition government which looks to be on increasingly shaky ground. 

M5S won more than a third of the vote in national elections in 2018, allowing it to enter into a rocky coalition government with Salvini’s League, but Di Maio’s popularity has been waning since then. 

He regularly clashed with Salvini, who ultimately left government leaving Di Maio to form an alternative and similarly uncomfortable coalition with the centre-left Democratic Party (PD) — a move intended to avoid snap elections which Salvini had hoped to use to capitalize on the League’s rising support.

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League party leader Matteo Salvini welcomes former Italian PM Silvio Berlusconi on stage during an anti-government demonstration in Rome, Italy, October 19, 2019. © Reuters / Remo Casilli
Salvini’s euroskeptic League party triumphs in local vote

Recent polls put M5S at around 16 percent and lawmakers have been abandoning the party in their droves. More than 30 have left Five Star’s parliamentary group since the government was formed in September, with some leaving voluntarily and others being expelled — and many of those who remain have been eager for a change in leadership and worried about a party split. Meanwhile, the League is polling at around 31 percent, while PD is polling at 19 percent and warning its coalition partner to get its act together.

Di Maio was criticized by the M5S founder for seeming to pick fights with his coalition partners, Bloomberg reported. He has also been criticized for taking on too much by attempting to fulfill the roles of foreign minister and party leader simultaneously.

During his speech on Wednesday evening, Di Maio confirmed that Vito Crimi, head of the internal rules committee, will stand in as caretaker leader until a new leader is chosen in the coming months.

The ruling M5S and PD will now seek to avoid a coalition collapse, as a snap election triggered by Di Maio’s departure could ultimately see Salvini’s League sweep to victory and into power.

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  • 22 janvier 2020 à 18:39

ICYMI: Trump takes on Greta in Davos – suspicious optimism v warnings of apocalypse

Par RT

The one percent gathering in Davos for their annual celebration of being wealthy have been treated to some top end entertainment in the Swiss mountains – front row seats for Donald Trump versus Greta Thunberg.

The two heavyweights of the environmental debate brought their divergent views with them:  the suspicious optimism of Trump that the world isn’t about to burst into flames, and the apocalyptic warnings of Greta that it has already reached boiling point.

ICYMI’s Rite On takes a look at the two messages.

For more, follow #ICYMI on FacebookTwitterInstagram and YouTube.

  • 22 janvier 2020 à 18:25

Scientists find Earth’s oldest asteroid crater from 2.229 BILLION years ago which ‘may have ended an ice age’

Par RT

An innocuous crater in Yarrabubba, Western Australia has been identified as the oldest known extraterrestrial impact site on Earth, with researchers calculating that the natural structure dates back a whopping 2.229 billion years.

Researchers from Curtin University tested minerals found in rocks at the site. The zircon and monazite crystals in the rocks themselves contain tiny amounts of uranium, and by measuring the uranium's very specifically-timed decay into lead, the team was able to calculate exactly how old the crater is.

© NASA

The 70 kilometer (43 miles) diameter crater was actually discovered in the outback in 1979, with scientists mapping the area's magnetic field to determine the exact extent of the weather-worn structure. The recent mineral analysis means the site is now believed to be at least 200 million years older than the next oldest alien impact – the Vredefort dome in South Africa.

The impact was so powerful it may have knocked our planet out of one of its ‘Snowball Earth’ periods prior to the strike. 

“The age of the [crater] corresponds pretty precisely with the end of a potential global glacial period,” lead researcher Christopher Kirkland said. “So the impact may have had significant changes to our planetary climate.”

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Illustration © Pixabay / Alexander Antropov
Australian desert FIREBALL may actually have been ‘MINIMOON,’ say scientists

The team calculated that the space rock struck a kilometers-thick ice sheet, releasing huge amounts of water vapor into the atmosphere and adding to the planet's warming during the Proterozoic era, long before complex life had formed on the planet. 

“Obviously we were very excited just with the age itself,” Kirkland added. “But placing that right with the context of Earth's other events makes it become really very interesting.”

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  • 22 janvier 2020 à 18:12

‘Desperate liar’: Bojo ignites SNP outrage after roasting Scotland’s record on education & branding MP a ‘rocketing pheasant’

Par RT

British PM Boris Johnson provoked the wrath of the Scottish National Party in the House of Commons following his damning assessment of the state of education in Scotland and directing a jibe toward their Westminster leader.

During Prime Minister’s Questions on Wednesday, Johnson laid into the SNP and their record on education in Scotland, before seemingly taunting Ian Blackford and telling them to stop being “obsessed” with a 2nd independence referendum. 

Perhaps the honorable gentleman [Ian Blackford] who is about to rise to his feet like a rocketing pheasant will explain why his party are so obsessed with breaking up our union rather than delivering for the children and pupils of Scotland.

SNP MP angrily brands Boris Johnson 'desperate liar' as PM criticises party's record in Scotland https://t.co/YwywuOdZZ8

— Yahoo News UK (@YahooNewsUK) January 22, 2020

As Blackford was being called to speak, one of his SNP colleagues next to him was heard labeling Johnson a “desperate liar” three times.

Using such language in the chamber would normally be considered “unparliamentary,” meaning the House Speaker would normally call on the MP in question to withdraw their remarks. However, the unidentified lawmaker seemingly got lucky, as Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle appeared to not pick up on the incendiary comments.

It’s not the first time an SNP MP has branded the UK prime minister a liar. In June 2019 Blackford himself claimed in the House of Commons that Johnson had “made a career out of lying,” prompting uproar on the Conservative benches.

Also on rt.com
(L) SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford © Reuters / Reuters TV; (R) Tory leadership candidate Boris Johnson © Reuters / Peter Nicholls
‘Made career out of lying’: SNP’s Blackford slams ‘incompetent’ Boris Johnson in Parliament (VIDEO)

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  • 22 janvier 2020 à 17:51

What the halloumi? Library tweets photo of rotting slice of cheese used as ‘bookmark’

Par RT

Staff at the University of Liverpool Library were stunned to discover a rotting slice of processed cheese being used as a bookmark, sparking much amusement and revulsion on Twitter.

A disgusted staff member tweeted a photo of the cheese with a simple piece of advice to students: “This is not a bookmark.” 

This is not a bookmark. pic.twitter.com/oy7tqM3aJv

— Uni of Liverpool Library (@LivUniLibrary) January 21, 2020

The tweet quickly racked up an un-brie-lievable amount of likes as users shared their own stories of similarly odd library bookmark finds — including slices of buttered bread, sandwich wrappers, raw bacon and even a wad of cash (although that one was probably a mistake).

OMG after over 30 years in libraries, this is a new one. I've had a rasher of streaky bacon (raw), a condom (in its packaging, fortunately) a slice of toast (buttered) and £85 in notes. Separate occasions/customers. I managed to track down the owner of the cashand return it 😁

— 🕷Argentology®🕷 (@Argentologist) January 21, 2020

same energy pic.twitter.com/p4usAsBs8S

— UC Berkeley Library (@UCBerkeleyLib) January 21, 2020

The cheese slice in queso-tion was “disconcertingly warm and liquid” and was discovered "somewhere between American history and geography,” associate director Alex Widdeson told the BBC. Widdeson added that while students are allowed to eat cold food in the library, it is preferable that they refrain from using “snacks as bookmarks.”

I found this one in one of our libraries. pic.twitter.com/CJjlFTRHVd

— Robert Stokkel (@r_stokkel) January 21, 2020

The staff member who made the dairy alarming discovery was apparently so surprised that they forgot to note which book the slice had been decaying in, but Twitter had some grate ideas.

“Perhaps they were reading Jane Gruyere,” one suggested. It might have been inside John Steinbeck's "East of Edam," another tweeter quipped.

There’s no word on who the culprit might have been, but it’s safe to say they weren’t acting very mature-ly and the library is probably cheddar off without them.

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  • 22 janvier 2020 à 17:50

‘Obvious malicious intent’: Tulsi Gabbard hits Clinton with defamation suit over ‘Russian asset’ smear

Par RT

Democratic presidential hopeful Tulsi Gabbard is suing two-time White House runner-up Hillary Clinton over her claim that Gabbard was a “Russian asset,” alleging that the lie hurt not just her campaign but the entire election.

Clinton “lied about her perceived rival Tulsi Gabbard… publicly, unambiguously, and with obvious malicious intent” when she claimed Gabbard was "the favorite of the Russians," the campaign alleges in the suit, filed on Wednesday in the federal Southern District of New York. While Clinton isn’t technically running against Gabbard in the 2020 contest, the filing drily notes that the role of president is “a position Clinton has long coveted, but has not been able to attain.” 

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© Reuters / Brendan McDermid / Gretchen Ertl
‘Innocent mistake’? CNBC replaces Andrew Yang and Tulsi Gabbard with generic Asian man, white senator

The filing alleges Clinton harmed not just Gabbard but also “American voters” and “American democracy” by pushing the baseless smear, citing “scientifically conducted opinion surveys” indicating that millions of potential voters believed Clinton’s claims due to her status as a political insider and authority figure with likely access to non-public information. Over 200 articles have been published amplifying the smear since Clinton first uttered it in an October episode of Democratic strategist David Plouffe’s ‘Campaign HQ’ podcast, and the campaign estimates the former secretary of state’s attacks cost Gabbard $50 million in lost donations, lost votes, and reputational damage.

While Clinton never retracted the inflammatory claim that Gabbard was working for the Kremlin – despite a formal request from the Hawaii congresswoman’s campaign – her representatives did attempt to retrospectively muddy the waters. After Clinton spokesman Nick Merrill verified that she was indeed referring to Gabbard with a snarky “if the nesting doll fits” after Clinton’s initial comments in October, he subsequently backpedaled, trying to claim that Clinton meant Republicans – not Russians – were pulling the candidate’s strings. The resulting “corrections” streamed unevenly through the media, confusing no one bar a few copy-editors.

The Gabbard campaign has requested a jury trial in addition to legal restrictions on republishing the smear, and also seeks at least $50 million in compensatory, punitive and special damages. The filing painstakingly lays out Gabbard’s history of service to her country, indicating that Clinton could not possibly have believed the Iraq war vet and House Foreign Relations Committee member was “the favorite of the Russians,” and must therefore have been deliberately lying. It cites Clinton’s “long-time grudges” as the likely rationale for the attack, recalling that Gabbard resigned her post as vice chair of the Democratic National Committee in protest and voiced support for Clinton’s rival Bernie Sanders after it emerged that the DNC had put its thumb on the scale in the 2016 primary contest to help the former New York senator.

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Sanders campaigning for Clinton in 2016 after she secured the Democratic Party's nomination © Reuters / Brian Snyder
Paging pot, this is kettle: ‘Nobody likes him,’ Hillary Clinton says of ‘divisive’ Bernie Sanders

Clinton has not publicly responded to the lawsuit as of Wednesday afternoon. The former First Lady has shown no signs of letting go of 2016-era rivalries, however, recently claiming in an interview that “no one likes” or wants to work with Sanders, who recently polled as the most popular member of the US Senate.

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  • 22 janvier 2020 à 17:44

UFC Paris? Francis Ngannou's dream back off the ropes as France legalizes MMA under boxing bosses

Par RT

As the host of the 2024 Olympic Games, the home of UFC heavyweight world number two Francis Ngannou, and a country with a proud combat sports tradition, the outlawing of MMA in France since 2016 has been a curious situation.

Following a delay to decide which sporting federation would oversee the reintroduction of the sport, fans, fighters, pundits and organizers have welcomed the announcement of the French Boxing Federation as the guardians of the newly-legalized sport in France.

The news is a significant step toward what promises to be an explosion in MMA events and participation across France, moving from underground interest to mainstream discipline and entertainment in the same way it has across many other countries in recent years.

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© CFMMA
Fighting for survival: MMA practically banned in France

Legal MMA fights are expected to be held there this year, marking a return to formal action for the first time since the French Ministry of Sport banned ground strikes three-and-a-quarter years ago as part of a series of stipulations including the prohibition of cage fights.

Kickboxing, karate, and wrestling had reportedly been among the federations bidding to take MMA under their wing, as well as judo – led by authorities that had been accused by French former BAMMA champion Tom Duquesnoy of playing a key role in MMA being banned.

According to the International Mixed Martial Arts Federation, boxing leaders will “supervise the first phase” of the development of the sport in France, with the Ministry of Sport likely to take a view next year on whether to create an independent MMA federation.

⚡ BREAKING NEWS

🇫🇷 French Sport Ministry chooses Boxing as host federation for MMA.

More on this historic French MMA announcement ⬇️ https://t.co/CaDRtWmF76

— IMMAF (@IMMAFed) January 21, 2020

Despite the official ban, around 40,000 people are thought to take part in MMA in gyms and premises around the country, which has undoubtedly encouraged Minister of Sports Roxana Maracineanu to reconsider the ruling since her appointment in September 2018.

“For many years, France had been an exception,” Maracineanu told Le Parisien about the legalisation of MMA. “This reality had to be taken into account in order to better supervise and apprehend it."

At 33, Ngannou, who fights unbeaten Jairzinho Rozenstruik in Ohio on March 28, will yearn to headline a UFC card in Paris.

“We are dreaming, all of us are dreaming to have UFC Paris one day,”  the Cameroonian-Frenchman said in the months following the ban, observing that UFC’s status in France made it “so difficult” for fighters and their commercial capabilities.

Francis Ngannou © AFP / Greg Baker

Having sparred with Mike Tyson and challenged Tyson Fury in 2019, Ngannou will have an important role to play in MMA blossoming in France.

For now, the IMMAF is talking in terms of best behavior, issuing a statement focused on education programs and creating “culture and values.”

“Partnering with boxing will be a massive boost in the growth of MMA in France,” predicted Densign White, the boss of the IMMAF, nodding to 2024.

“This is a major step in the ongoing campaign by IMMAF for international recognition of MMA as a sport with Olympic values.”

  • 22 janvier 2020 à 17:42

Greek island residents protest overcrowded migrant camps

Par RT

Local residents, business owners and officials launched on Wednesday a day of protest on the Greek islands hardest hit by migration. They demanded that the Greek government ease the severe overcrowding at refugee camps, AP reported.

Most stores were closed and public services were halted on the Greek islands of Lesbos, Chios and Samos, where the camps in some cases have more than 10 times the number of people they were built for.

Regional governors and mayors plan to travel to Athens on Thursday to present their demands. Island authorities are urging the government to step up migrant transfers to the Greek mainland.

They are also seeking further information on the plans to build additional facilities that would be used to detain migrants listed for deportation.

  • 22 janvier 2020 à 11:43

Israel’s electric company ends power cuts to West Bank as Palestinians pay debt

Par RT

Israel’s state-owned electric company said on Wednesday it was ending power cuts to the occupied West Bank. The decision was made after the Palestinians’ main power distributor paid off a chunk of their debt.

Israel Electric Corp (IEC) began sporadic, three-hour power cuts on December 18 to press for payment of some $519 million owed by the Jerusalem District Electricity Company (JDECO). IEC stopped the cuts after JDECO transferred $214.2 million of debt accumulated by the Palestinian Authority since 2016.

Palestinians in the West Bank rely on IEC for over 95 percent of their electricity supply. The cuts led to power outages in the cities of Ramallah and Bethlehem, affecting an estimated 130,000 people.

The Palestinians have tried to reduce their “dependence on Israel for energy,” in part through state- and private sector-funded solar energy projects and plans to build their own power plants, Reuters said.

  • 22 janvier 2020 à 10:11

Migrant caravan shrinks at Guatemala-Mexico border amid deportations

Par RT

The number of migrants stuck at the Guatemala-Mexico border continues to dwindle as detentions chip away at what remains of the latest caravan, AP reports.

The first buses of migrants left Tecun Uman, Guatemala overnight to repatriate migrants to their countries. On Tuesday, Mexico began flying and busing hundreds of migrants who had crossed into the country back to Honduras.

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador recognized the success of his government’s strategy on Wednesday, noting that many of the migrants had begun to voluntarily return to their countries.

US Department of Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf commended Mexico’s actions in a statement.

  • 22 janvier 2020 à 17:09

Masks and airport checks for Chinese SARS-like virus are there to keep population calm – no government can stop its spread now

Par RT

As the Chinese coronavirus spreads rapidly around the globe, governments worldwide are making a show of doing something. But are their measures effective, or just exercises in population control?

On Wednesday, the World Health Organization may declare an international public health emergency. Whether or not they do this will greatly affect the response of both the Chinese government and others in dealing with the outbreak of the 2019-nCoV virus that has already infected hundreds and killed nine.

Person-to-person transmission

Prior to Monday, the only known cases of the virus were all from people who had been in Wuhan — suggesting they all caught it at the illegal wildlife market thought to be ground zero for the plague. As the virus has an animal origin, it was hoped at first that it could only jump from the animal source to humans.

But now we know the virus can be transmitted from person to person, things look much bleaker. In the last few days the virus has spread to Taiwan, and there has been one confirmed case in Seattle, USA. Screening efforts are to be stepped up by Australia, Russia and the UK for passengers arriving from Wuhan. One man in Australia has been quarantined.

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A policeman wearing a mask walks past a quarantine notice about the outbreak of a novel coronavirus in Wuhan, China at an  airport in Tokyo, Japan, January 20, 2020.
Global pandemic, here we come? Deadly Chinese coronavirus arrives in US as Russia, India & others boost border screenings

The airport checks so far seem to be simple temperature tests, as one of the symptoms of the virus is fever. This is hardly a sure-fire way of stopping a single microscopic particle from entering a country. If governments were really serious, surely they would be cancelling flights from Wuhan’s international airport by now. But perhaps they are waiting for the Chinese to act first, so as not to be seen as hauling up the lifeboats.

Martial law coming to Wuhan?

China’s National Health Commission Vice-Minister Li Bin has told people not to enter or exit the city of Wuhan, but this means little unless it is enforced. Reportage from Wuhan itself has been scarce, so it is difficult to gauge the mood on the ground there. Are people panicking and trying to leave? So far there have been no reports to that effect, or of military intervention in Wuhan. But the Chinese government will be considering all options as they seek to control the situation.

And they will not hold back. In 2009, an outbreak of flu saw schoolchildren with high temperatures sent home, and passengers entering the country put into quarantine for up to a week if they had flu-like symptoms. For 2019-nCoV, now is the most critical stage for prevention and control, before cases of the virus exponentially increase, but it could be that the Chinese believe that the virus is already beyond their control.

© Getty Images / Anadolu Agency

Mr Li has had to admit the virus is contagious by respiratory tract—in other words, coughs and sneezes. This is the easiest way for a virus to spread, and there is practically nothing that can be done to slow or stop it. Hand sanitizers and facemasks will never be ubiquitous, and in any case, do they even work? A 2012 study showed that, while washing your hands is effective against the flu virus, merely wearing a face mask did not make a statistically significant difference to rates of infection.

As if to prove this, at least 15 medical workers in Wuhan are now infected. These people would have been taking every precaution, swaddled in quarantine gear and face masks, implying that the virus is easily making the jump from person to person.

Is there anything that does work?

Hopefully we will never know what it takes to stop a highly contagious and deadly disease from spreading throughout the world. It could look like the Hollywood science fiction movies about such things—soldiers patrolling the streets with cities on lockdown, medical services stretched beyond breaking point, and sick people unable to access the few available doctors. Unless such a plague emerges, it is probably not even worth restricting travel or screening passengers at airports.

Such measures have more to do with hope than with reality, and perhaps with people’s perceptions. Modern people want to feel as if they have control over every situation, or that there are some measures the government can take to protect them. But in truth, beyond personal precautions like washing your hands and cooking meat thoroughly, if you become infected you have only your immune system to save you. So the schools will continue to be shut, the soldiers rolled out and the gas masks distributed. But this particular enemy cannot be shot at, locked up or bargained with. Meanwhile, shares in Chinese face mask manufacturers have risen by 10%.

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  • 22 janvier 2020 à 16:44

‘Depression detector’: Researchers develop new tool to identify teens at risk of mental health problems

Par RT

Researchers from King’s College London have developed a new tool to predict which teens are most at risk of developing depression when they turn 18, based on a comprehensive set of factors.

The researchers studied over 2,000 Brazilian 15-year-olds, using 11 factors including family relationships, drug use, academic success or failure, as well sex and skin color to provide a composite risk score. 

According to Dr. Valeria Mondelli of King’s College London, who co-authored the study, the research marks an “important first step” in improving detection of and treatments for depression.

At @SkyNews to discuss our NEW @idea_mq paper OUT TOMORROW on @JAACAP introducing our tool to identify adolescents at risk of #depression Great work by @ckieling @tbmrocha @HelenLFisher #collaboration Pelotas E-risk Dunedin studies @MQmentalhealth @The_MRC @acmedsci @KingsIoPPN pic.twitter.com/E3hycGdM6r

— Valeria Mondelli (@MondelliValeria) January 21, 2020

The researchers tried to go beyond traditional methods of diagnosing mental health risks in young people and compiled their data with risk scores used to predict other health problems, such as the Framingham cardiovascular risk score which assesses heart attack risk. 

The tool was found to be less effective at predicting the mental health risks for children in those in the UK and New Zealand (1,144 British 12-year-olds and 739 15-year-olds from New Zealand), but this was attributed to a dearth of information and different mental health assessment methodologies used in those countries.

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Feeling nervous? Blame evolution for making human brain more susceptible to anxiety, study suggests

Co-author Dr. Christian Keiling of the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul in Brazil said that local variations need to be considered when developing such predictive tools. 

Roughly 17.3 million adults, or seven percent of the US adult population, has had at least one major depressive episode, according to National Institute of Mental Health statistics.

The research was published in the journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.

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  • 22 janvier 2020 à 16:31

‘Respect the rules’: French President Macron snaps at Israeli police in Jerusalem (VIDEO)

Par RT

French President Emmanuel Macron gave Israeli police officers a tongue-lashing in Jerusalem, after the cops entered the French Church of St. Anne in the city’s old quarter.

Footage shared on social media captured the altercation, which took place during Macron’s visit to the Crusader-era church on Wednesday. Though situated in the Old City of Jerusalem, the church belongs to the French government, and Israeli officers had apparently tried to enter the premises ahead of Macron.

“Everybody knows the rules!” Macron shouted, speaking English. “I don’t like what you did in front of me. Go out!”

Coup de colère de #Macron contre la police israélienne à Jérusalem. Dans les pas de Chirac en 1996 pic.twitter.com/DKP5ICThTK

— Ava Djamshidi (@AvaDjamshidi) January 22, 2020

“Please respect the rules as they were for centuries,” he continued. “They will not change with me.”

Macron is not the first French leader driven to anger by Israeli security. During a 1996 visit to the Old City, Jacques Chirac snapped at the armed Israeli police surrounding him and preventing Palestinians from approaching him. “I’m starting to have had enough of this,” he shouted in French. “What, do you want me to go back to my plane and go back to France? Is that what you want?”

At the time, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the increased security was necessary following the assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin a year earlier. Critics in the media disagreed, saying it was intended to demonstrate to Chirac that Israel was firmly in control of the city’s historic quarter, where the vast majority of the population are Palestinian.

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French President Emmanuel Macron stands next to Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara during their meeting in Jerusalem, January 22, 2020. © Reuters / Ronen Zvulun / Pool
France will be ‘inflexible’ over Iran’s nuclear ambitions – Macron

The Church of St. Anne was built in the early 12th Century, on a site believed by crusaders to be the childhood home of the Virgin Mary. It fell into disrepair during the Ottoman rule of Palestine, and was eventually given back to Napoleon III by Sultan Abdulmecid I as a token of gratitude for French support during the Crimean War.

Macron’s visit to the church came during his first official visit to Israel, for discussions with Netanyahu and to mark the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz concentration camp.

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  • 22 janvier 2020 à 16:29

European Commission head von der Leyen says new US trade deal possible ‘in a few weeks’

Par RT

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen on Wednesday said a trade accord between Europe and the United States was possible within weeks. “Overall I had a very good conversation with” US President Donald Trump, von der Leyen told reporters on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos.

“We are expecting in a few weeks to have an agreement that we can sign together,” AFP quoted her as saying. She added that the deal would cover trade, technology and energy.

US President Donald Trump on Wednesday threatened to impose high tariffs on imports of cars from the European Union if the bloc doesn’t agree to a trade deal, Reuters said.

Trump previously threatened to place duties on European automobile imports, with the intent of receiving better terms in the US-Europe trade relationship. The president has delayed imposing the tariffs a number of times.

  • 22 janvier 2020 à 16:23

Advice from Trump: US is clean & beautiful, Greta; please go and fight those trashing the Pacific Ocean

Par RT

When President Donald Trump mentioned Swedish ecological activist Greta Thunberg, everybody held their breath. However, he kept his cool, simply telling her not to focus on America’s environmental issues and focus on other places.

Some environmental enthusiasts looked forward to the World Economic Forum the way sports fans wait in anticipation for a big game. US President Donald Trump and Swedish ecological activist Greta Thunberg, two irreconcilable eco-rivals, were given the opportunity and venue to duel it out over climate change.

On Tuesday, Thunberg blamed world leaders for the “inaction” which is fueling the flames while “Our house is still on fire.” Trump then lashed out at the climate “prophets of doom” – without, however, mentioning Greta by name.

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© REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
Trump rejects environmental ‘prophets of doom’ and their ‘apocalyptic predictions’ in Davos speech (VIDEO)

At a press conference on Wednesday, he was asked for his thoughts on the young Swedish activists’ critical position towards America’s environmental stance.

The US already has “very good environmental numbers,” Trump said, adding that the numbers on air are “tremendous.” But, according to the president, not all countries are lucky enough to be so “clean and beautiful” – so that’s where Greta should focus her efforts.

We’re clean and beautiful and everything’s good but you have another continent where the fumes are rising at levels that you can’t believe. I think Greta ought to focus on those places.

At the UN General Assembly held in September last year, another indirect comment exchange between Thunberg and President Trump made headlines. Thunberg used the occasion to accuse world leaders of stealing “her childhood” with their “empty promises” on the climate agenda.

“She seems like a very happy young girl looking forward to a bright and wonderful future,” Trump tweeted in a seemingly mocking reply.

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Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg watches US President Donald Trump arrive at UNGA in New York, September 23, 2019
Thunberg vs Trump: Showdown at UNGA sparks memes & snark

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  • 22 janvier 2020 à 16:23

Can cryptocurrencies protect countries from US sanctions? RT’s Boom Bust finds out

Par RT

RT’s Boom Bust has sat in with the CEO of cryptocurrency aggregator Bitsian to discuss how nations facing tough US sanctions have been exploring cryptocurrencies in attempt to shield their economies from damage.

“These countries are looking at this as a way to avoid sanctions, but also these are countries, where their own sovereign currencies are facing huge amount of devaluation and lack of trust by their own people,” Raakhee Miller told Boom Bust.

The CEO said that countries such as Venezuela and Iran face a “flight-to-quality” so bitcoin becomes more trustworthy for people to keep their assets. However, it is still unclear if this will help to fully skirt the economic restrictions.

“[If] this is a means to avoid sanctions and to make their banking system more sanction-proof is yet to be seen, because at the end of the day the currencies are backed by the same sovereign currencies which are facing these issues. So, it remains to be seen whether this will be effective in any major cross border transactions,” Miller said.

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

  • 22 janvier 2020 à 15:41

Lebanon faces a ‘catastrophe,’ new PM Diab says

Par RT

Prime Minister Hassan Diab said on Wednesday that Lebanon faces a ‘catastrophe,’ after his newly unveiled cabinet held its first meeting. It is expected to tackle the twin challenges of a protest movement and a nose-diving economy, AFP said.

Diab, who replaced Saad Hariri as prime minister, vowed to meet the demands from the street but demonstrators were unconvinced and scuffled with police overnight.

The 61-year-old academic admitted that the situation he inherited was desperate. “Today we are in a financial, economic and social dead end,” Diab said in remarks read by a government official after the new cabinet’s inaugural meeting in Beirut.

French President Emmanuel Macron, one of the first leaders to react to the formation of the new government, said he would “do everything, during this deep crisis that they are going through, to help.”

  • 22 janvier 2020 à 14:39

‘Without it we will die’: Denied expensive medication for 3yrs, Russian family fights (and wins) against rare genetic disease

Par RT

Diagnosed with a genetic disease that slowly eats away vital organs, and brushed aside by health bureaucrats, a family in Nizhny Novgorod have fought to obtain a crucial but expensive drug – a battle they are now winning.

As millions of children across Russia prepared to open their Christmas presents, 12-year-old Ivan Lobanov, a resident of a small hamlet near Nizhny Novgorod, turned the camera on and began to speak, his voice calm and lips stiff.

“I have a serious disease, the Fabry disease. I inherited it,” the pale, intelligent-looking boy is heard to say in the video. “My mother is sick, my cousins are sick, [as are] my uncle and grandmother,” the boy said, bending his fingers.

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File illustration © GlobalLookPress.com
‘Prime editing’: Scientists unveil new tool to DESTROY genetic diseases

“I know that the medicine is expensive and we will never buy it on our own. But everyone has the right to life. Without medicine, we will die,” he added in despair.

Intended for Vladimir Putin and shared on social media, Ivan’s cry for help has become a turning point for him and his family, who spent three years fighting for a life-saving medication refused to them by their clinic. But for some of the family, it came all too late.

Fabry: A rare killer

Like many people who test positive for deadly diseases, the seven blood relatives – whom Ivan had asked to help – learned of their diagnosis by accident.

A blood test and subsequent DNA sample taken from one of the seven back in 2016 showed initial symptoms of Fabry. Later that year, the deadly diagnosis was confirmed in all of them by leading Moscow and St. Petersburg hospitals, Natalia Fedina, Ivan’s 32-year-old mother, told RT Russian.

Once back at home, the woman had the diagnosis confirmed by the nearest clinic. She – and her loved ones – had every reason to sound the alarm.

Discovered in 1898 by a German dermatologist, Fabry slowly consumes the kidneys, heart, blood system and skin, often causing unbearable body pain. It was almost a century before the first specific treatment for Fabry disease was invented and approved – but decades of clinical research didn’t make the drugs any more affordable.

READ MORE: Unique surgery: Russian hospital performs first successful lungs and liver transplant

The annual cost of fabrazyme and replagal – two Western-made medicines developed to stop the disease from progressing – is around US$100,000 per patient. And this is where the life of Ivan and his immediate family hung in the balance.

‘There’s no such disease’

Natalia recalls how she asked local authorities to cover expenses for the costly medicine under a healthcare scheme technically available to every Russian free of charge.

All of a sudden, the appeal was rejected by the local health ministry officials, who claimed the diagnosis was wrong because... the clinic didn’t have a geneticist among their staff.

But Natalia believes the authorities simply denied the treatment for seven relatives because the total costs would be overwhelming, given that the drug needs to be injected twice a month and is prescribed for life.

The clinic’s management and their superiors tried to prove the patients were healthy. “They would say: ‘There’s no such disease, what have you come up with?’” Natalia shared.

‘My son says he can’t take it anymore’

Fabry starts taking a heavy toll in early childhood, and this is what Ivan must cope with every day. “Vanya, he has his kidney damaged, his arms and legs suffer from severe pain,” his mother says.

You know, he comes back from school and says: ‘I can’t take it anymore, I’ll be in the wheelchair soon or die’.

Once symptoms recede, the 12-year-old may live a fairly normal life, playing computer games and dreaming of seeing the world.

Ivan usually play video games as he can't do sports. © RT

“I want to travel abroad and go to the sea, maybe Egypt or Tunisia,” Ivan wistfully told the RT crew and smiled, but then broke off and got serious: “My arms and legs ache in the heat. You don’t sit still when travelling abroad, you walk or go sightseeing – but I can’t do so, it doesn’t work that way.”

‘My uncle died to save us all’

As health officials played bureaucratic ping-pong, Natalia, Ivan and the relatives managed to receive the medication through a charitable organization for half a year. But since the treatment must not be interrupted, their symptoms deteriorated.

Eventually, the mother had to quit her job, and her uncle sadly died. “51 isn’t the right age to die, he wasn’t going to die,” Natalia said, standing near his grave. “He went to the treatment on his own and came back in a casket.”

The pair visit a grave of their relative who lost his fight against Fabry. © RT

But after his death – and, probably, Ivan’s footage – something began to change. Natalia was contacted by local health authorities who assured her that the medicine is on its way to the local clinic and the treatment is due to start soon. She was also promised that an inquiry will be launched into their case.

“After his death, things started to move. The health ministry and hospitals, and everyone drew attention to us,” the woman says of her uncle. “He sacrificed his life to save us all.”

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  • 22 janvier 2020 à 15:01

UFC fighter says his sex life is the reason for failed drugs test

Par RT

UFC newcomer Dequan Townsend has said that sex could have resulted in the positive test that earned him a six-month ban following his debut defeat against Dalcha Lungiambula last year – a fight he took at three days' notice.

Townsend claimed his positive test for cocaine and fentanyl metabolites could have been caused by “different sexual activities” in the build-up to his debut UFC defeat against Dalcha Lungiambula in June.

The middleweight, who took the fight at three days’ notice and later accepted a six-month ban from testers at the USADA, has admitted he was “hanging around the wrong crowd” but insisted there are “thousands of different ways that things can get into your system.”

Townsend suggested that he could have come into contact with the banned substances through his day job as a registered nurse and told MMA Fighting: “One of the most common ways is [through the] mucous membrane.”

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“If you sleep with somebody or engage in any sexual activity with someone who is a user or who does what they do on the side or whatever, it can get into your system through sweat, different sexual activities.

There’s different ways it can get into your system. That’s one way. But as I said in general, it was three days’ notice...I obviously wasn’t aware or extra careful because I didn’t plan on fighting in the UFC.”

The 33-year-old completed a drug rehabilitation program while serving his sentence for the substances, which are not classified as performance enhancers under USADA rules.

“Me personally, I am not a drug user,” he insisted. “I don’t discriminate, I don’t judge anybody who does drugs personally. What they do in their free time is what they do in their free time.

I took the classes. I was mindful of the information that was given to me, and I just pretty much want to put the whole thing behind me.”

The third fight on the #UFCMinneapolis prelims sees newcomers Dalcha Lungiambula (@Dalcha_Champion) and Dequan Townsend (@tarantula_T) square off at light heavyweight. https://t.co/cptdgpCXAk pic.twitter.com/FJ1haObJBx

— MMA Junkie (@MMAjunkie) June 29, 2019

Townsend took the fight at the last minute after a long campaign to compete in the UFC following a seven-year professional career that included 17 wins by knockout or submission.

The Michigan fighter, known as the Tarantula, questioned the necessity of publishing certain drug test results, arguing: “There’s in-competition and out-of-competition, it’s completely different.

You can test for certain things out of competition, and it’s not publicized and they don’t consider it as a violation. That’s what I was told.

I’m not sure how that really works, I just feel like the in-competition tests should be the only ones that are released, and those are the ones that are truly important.

Unless it’s performance-enhancing drugs like steroids or other major situations where they shouldn’t be taken.”

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He bullishly suggested that the publication of his results would spur him on when he fights Bevon Lewis at UFC Raleigh on Saturday.

“Obviously, when it was released, everybody has their comments, everybody has their opinions,” reflected Townsend.

“And I just let people think what they want to think. I use their opinions to fuel me as more motivation to overcome more obstacles, fight, be a better performer, and just get my hand raised.”

  • 22 janvier 2020 à 14:57

Trade war ignited? UK risks wrath of US after vowing to go ahead with digital tax on tech giants like Google and Facebook

Par RT

British Chancellor Sajid Javid has committed the UK to enforcing a digital services tax on global tech companies, despite threats from the US that they may respond by putting “taxes on their car companies” – risking a trade war.

Speaking on a panel – alongside US Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin – at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland on Wednesday, Javid doubled down on government plans to implement a two-percent levy on revenues made by global tech giants like Facebook and Twitter in the UK.

We plan to go ahead with our digital services tax in April. It is a proportionate tax, and a tax that is deliberately designed as a temporary tax.

Javid’s comments drew the ire of Mnuchin, who hit out at the proposals, branding them “discriminatory” against US companies.

In what was ostensibly a veiled threat aimed at his UK counterpart, the US treasury secretary warned that if his country’s digital companies face “arbitrary taxes,” then in response they would “consider putting arbitrary taxes on their car companies.”

Trade threats are flying today in #Davos

US Treas. Sec. Mnuchin: "If people want to just arbitrarily put taxes on our digital companies, we will consider arbitrarily putting taxes on car companies"

UK's Sajid Javid: "We plan to go ahead w/our digital services tax in April"

— Heather Long (@byHeatherLong) January 22, 2020

The threat of imposing tariffs on UK car manufacturers comes at a critical moment in UK-US relations, as PM Boris Johnson’s government looks to strike favorable post-Brexit trade deals with a number of countries around the world.

It comes after France agreed to delay their plans to introduce a digital tax on big tech firms like Google and Facebook, after Washington threatened to retaliate with a levy on French cheese and champagne sectors.

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  • 22 janvier 2020 à 14:50

‘Unprofessional and political’: Tehran slams Asian Football Confederation’s decision to move matches out of Iran

Par RT

Tehran has sharply criticized the decision by the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) to move matches set to take place in Iran to the UAE, describing the venue change as politically motivated.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s chief of staff, Mahmoud Vaezi, condemned the confederation’s actions as “unprofessional,” local media reported on Wednesday. “As we examine it we realize this has become a political issue,” Vaezi added.

The AFC announced that Champions League games scheduled to be hosted by Iranian teams Shahr Khodro (against Bahrain’s Riffa) and Esteghlal (against Kuwait SC) on Tuesday had been re-scheduled to January 25, and would be moved to the United Arab Emirates “because of ongoing security concerns and the decision of several governments to issue travel warnings” to Iran.

AFC Statement!#ACL2020 pic.twitter.com/cGa9ETIDIT

— #ACL2020 (@TheAFCCL) January 22, 2020

According to the Iran football federation’s website, four clubs competing in the tournament have vowed to not play their matches if they are prevented from hosting games in their country. Also, Tehran promised to file a complaint with the Court of Arbitration for Sport, local media reported citing the deputy sports minister.

Several states issued travel warnings to Iran in the beginning of January, as the situation in the region escalated after a US drone strike killed top Iranian military commander Qassem Soleimani.

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  • 22 janvier 2020 à 14:36

Muddle-Eastern diplomacy: White House confuses Iran and Iraq in YouTube blunder

Par RT

As President Donald Trump sat down with the world’s movers and shakers at Davos, White House staff clearly weren’t paying much attention, mistaking Iraqi President Barham Salih for his Iranian counterpart.

“President Trump Participates in a Bilateral Meeting with the President of the Republic of Iran,” the title of a YouTube video published by the White House on Wednesday proclaimed. 

Hell had not frozen over, however, and Trump had not secretly met with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani unbeknownst to the world’s media. Instead, the video clearly showed Trump meeting with Iraqi President Barham Salih.

Iraq’s President identified as the President *of Iran* - quite the blunder from the White House. Or was it intentional. pic.twitter.com/hy2IjYgEZg

— Ranj Alaaldin (@RanjAlaaldin) January 22, 2020

Indeed, Trump clearly introduces “the president of Iraq” in the first three seconds of the clip.

But the staffer who titled the video can perhaps be forgiven for his or her mistake. After all, they’re far from alone. As tensions soared between the US and Iran earlier this month and war seemed inevitable, a Politico poll found that 77 percent of Americans couldn’t locate the Islamic Republic on a map of the Middle East. On a zoomed-out map of the world, only two percent of respondents correctly guessed Iran’s location.

To be fair, at least they didn’t mix up Austria and Australia, a mistake made not only by George W. Bush in 2007 but also CNN in 2016, when it announced Australia was building a fence along its non-existent border with Slovenia.

Whatever the reason, the White House realized its mistake and corrected the video’s title later on Wednesday morning.

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  • 22 janvier 2020 à 14:34

‘Make Trump Small Again’: Swiss protester targets Trump’s helicopter with giant banner (PHOTO)

Par RT

US President Donald Trump is no stranger to protest, but he may not have expected giant banners to great him as he flew over the Swiss cantons in his helicopter en route to the World Economic Forum in Davos this week.

Upon learning that Trump’s fleet of choppers would fly over his meadow ahead of the gathering in Davos, Hebi Dobler, 52, who runs a sawmill in Wernetshausen, leapt into action, purchasing as much field paint as he could lay his hands on.

Weil US-Präsident Donald Trump auf dem Weg ans WEF über seine Wiese fliegt, hat ein Wernetshauser in grossen Lettern drauf geschrieben «Make Trump small again». Doch als Trump kam, schwebte Nebel darüber. Jetzt hofft er auf eine zweite Chance https://t.co/qf7DIMOK3p pic.twitter.com/AXS27xOwlQ

— Züriost (@zueriost) January 21, 2020

Dobler then spent the next few hours painting a simple but effective message in eight-meter letters: “Make Trump Small Again,” a play on Trump’s infamous campaign slogan, “Make America Great Again.” 

“There are certainly a lot of people with good ideas there. But in the end it doesn’t work. A huge effort, a lot of pomp, but little effect,” Dobler said of the World Economic Forum, while pointing out that the paint he used is not harmful to the environment, unlike the business and world leaders clamouring to appear green and environmentalist while arriving in their droves via private jet – and helicopter.

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Alas, while Trump and his chopper fleet flew over Dobler’s meadow on Tuesday morning, their view of the protest was obscured by fog. “Force majeure,” said Dobler. 

The president’s return journey will come even closer, so Dobler is crossing his fingers that he can mock Trump while delivering a wider message to anyone else flying overhead. 

Meanwhile, another gigantic notice greeted Trump as he flew to the economic event, this time with a more targeted message to “Fight climate change not Iran” emblazoned on a 35-meter banner from a viewpoint above Lake Walen. The banner was hung by a Swiss environmental NGO based in Zurich called Campax.

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  • 22 janvier 2020 à 14:32

Tesla becomes biggest automaker in US history by market cap despite struggling to scratch out a profit

Par RT

Electric car maker Tesla became the first $100 billion publicly listed US carmaker on Tuesday. It eclipsed the combined value of US auto giants General Motors and Ford, despite generating far less revenue than its competitors.

The company’s shares climbed as much as 1.4 percent in after-hours trading on Tuesday to $555 after closing the regular session up 7.2 percent.

Tesla has seen its stock more than double in the last three months, fueled by a rare quarterly profit in October of just $143 million, as well as news of production ramp-up in its China factory and better-than-expected annual car deliveries.

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Tesla's market value is surprising considering that its revenues are dwarfed by its non-electric rivals. Its yearly revenue for the quarter ending September 30, 2019 was $6.3 billion, a 7.63 percent decline year-over-year.

Ford Motor Company's revenue for the same period was almost $158 billion, but the automaker's market cap is about a third of Tesla's, standing at $36.5 billion as of Wednesday.

General Motors revenue for the twelve months ending September 30, 2019 was $144.8 billion and the company is valued at around $50 billion.

Tesla's $100 billion valuation means a huge payout for CEO Elon Musk if the firm’s market value stays above the mark for a sustained period.

Analysts, however, wonder how long the stock rally will continue for, with some calling it “extremely unusual.”

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Bernstein analyst Toni Sacconaghi said in a note seen by Market Watch that he looked back 40 years at instances where similar large-cap stock moves have occurred.

According to him, while it is not unheard of in other sectors, the sharp gain “is extremely unusual in the autos and industrial sectors.” The analyst who rates Tesla stock the equivalent of neutral, pinpointed three examples before Tesla’s run. Those are Ford Motor and Daimler in the wake of the global financial crisis, and Fiat Chrysler in 2017.

The aftermath of those “periods of dramatic outperformance” is mixed, Sacconaghi said. “On net, we continue to believe near-term risk/reward is skewed to the downside for Tesla.”

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

  • 22 janvier 2020 à 14:02

‘Simply unacceptable’: Police break up Kansas college basketball brawl after punches fly and chair wielded as weapon (VIDEO)

Par RT

A US college basketball game ended with both benches brawling and a player wielding a chair as a weapon after an incident in the final second sparked a violent conclusion to the University of Kansas’s 81-60 win over Kansas State.

The Jayhawks’ Silvio De Sousa stared down the Wildcats’ DaJuan Gordon in a fiery final few minutes to the match which saw both teams shove each other off the court and into the disabled seating area at the university’s Allen Fieldhouse home.

De Sousa blocked the shot while slamming Gordon to the ground, then earned a foul for abusing his opponent in an incident that caused State’s Antonio Gordon and David Sloan to confront him.

That incited uproar from the benches and a scrap in which De Sousa could be seen brandishing a stool above his head while police officers and the coaching teams tried to take control as the accompanying band played on.

The refereeing team consulted screens in an attempt to deduce who was responsible for the violence and what punishments should be applied.

A new rule in college basketball means that matches have to be finished this season, irrespective of the amount of time left in a match.

Only five players from either side played out the remaining tenth-of-a-second of action, as a chorus of boos rang out due to the absence of their dismissed and disgraced players.

Baffled commentators said there was “no point” in the game resuming and speculated that the decision to do so was “probably a gambling thing.”

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De Sousa picking up that stool is terrible,” they added.

Responding to the angry finale, Jeff Long, director of athletics at the university, called the fight “simply unacceptable” and “not reflective of who we are.”

He added that he would review the ruckus alongside coach Bill Self, league organizers the Big 12, and Kansas State to decide “appropriate consequences”.

  • 22 janvier 2020 à 13:50
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