Russian customs seize 4kg gold chain

A huge gold chain, weighing almost four kilograms, has been seized by customs officials in the city of Yekaterinburg in Russia.

  • A passenger flying to the United Arab Emirates used the ‘green corridor’ at the city’s Koltsovo airport, indicating that he had nothing to declare. But an X-ray of his cabin baggage revealed a large metal object, the Urals Customs Administration said in a statement on Wednesday.
  • It turned out to be a hefty gold chain made of unsoldered rings, estimated to be worth around 10 million rubles (almost $164,000).

The man claimed it was intended for personal use and that he usually wore it on his neck.

A temporary ban on the export of blanks, semi-finished products, or scrap precious metals has been in place in Russia since September 1 due to them being “essential for the domestic market,” amid the conflict in Ukraine and Western sanctions.

  • The seized chain will be evaluated by experts before a final decision is made.

Source: RT

Russian ex-president comments on retracted EU claim about Ukraine losses

The self-censorship of European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen’s speech, in which she mentioned Ukrainian casualties, is “humiliating” for the bloc and shows it is nothing but a US puppet, former Russian president Dmitry Medvedev said on Wednesday.

“It is obvious that ‘Aunt Ursula’ was slapped upside the head by her bosses in Washington,” Medvedev said in a post on VK. “Seemed to hurt, too. It looks extremely humiliating.”

“There is no EU, there is only the 51st [US] state.”

The president of the EU executive body had claimed in a speech that 100,000 Ukrainian soldiers had died in the fighting so far, along with 20,000 civilians. Soon afterward, however, the tweet about it on von der Leyen’s account vanished. The reference was also removed from the transcript of the speech on the European Commission’s website, and edited out of the video the EC shared on social media again.

The self-censorship was subsequently confirmed, with spokeswoman Dana Spinant saying the number had been an “estimation” from “external sources” and referred to all casualties – those killed and wounded combined. Spinant also thanked everyone who “pointed out the inaccuracy” in von der Leyen’s original speech.

Medvedev served as the president of Russia between 2008 and 2012, and then as prime minister until 2020, when he accepted the post of deputy chairman of the National Security Council.

He has been an outspoken critic of the West since the start of Russia’s military operation in Ukraine.

  • On Tuesday, he said NATO was a “criminal entity” that should repent for its crimes against humanity and be dissolved. Earlier this week, he commented on his Telegram account that the “marriage” between the EU and the US is headed for a divorce due to Washington’s “economic cheating.”

Source: RT

Poland to charge Ukrainian refugees for housing

Ukrainians who have fled to Poland, because of the ongoing conflict with Russia, will have to start paying for their housing and food next year, the government in Warsaw has announced.

  • The Polish authorities said on Tuesday they plan to introduce the new rules from March 1, 2023.

The amendments to the law on support for Ukrainians will go before parliament soon, and is expected to pass without complications.

According to the proposal, refugees living in state accommodation centers for longer than 120 days will have to cover 50% of the cost up to 40 zlotys ($8.87) per day, per person.

After 180 days, the sum will increase further to 75% of the cost, up to 60 zlotys ($13.2) per day.

  • Children, the elderly, disabled people, pregnant women and caretakers of three or more children will be excluded from the rules.

Controls on benefits provided by Poland to Ukrainian refugees will also be tightened. The government plans to withhold money from refugees leaving Polish territory, with those not returning in 30 days losing their right to residence and benefits altogether.

With Poland itself facing a cost of living crisis, Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said the proposed measures are aimed at making sure that “Polish taxpayers pay as little as possible for an expected next wave of refugees.”

  • Around a thousand Ukrainians are arriving in Poland on a daily basis, Morawiecki said, adding that he expects the influx to increase as the situation in the neighboring country keeps deteriorating.

Warsaw has been one of the strongest backers of Kiev since the launch of the Russian military operation in Ukraine in late February.

  • Poland has reportedly donated half of its tanks as well as other weapons to Vladimir Zelensky’s government. It has also accepted around 1.4 million Ukrainian refugees, while calling on the EU to ramp up its anti-Russia sanctions.

Source: RT

Kiev reacts to redacted EU assessment of its casualties

A claim that Ukraine has lost more than 100,000 personnel in the conflict with Russia has been deleted from the Twitter account of European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.

Kiev had objected to the figure, saying it was up to President Vladimir Zelensky and top Ukrainian officials to voice such numbers.

  • Zelensky’s spokesman, Sergey Nikoforov, told Ukrainian media on Wednesday that such “sensitive” information should only be made public by the country’s top military commander General Valery Zaluzhny, Defense Minister Aleksey Reznikov, or the president himself.

Earlier in the day, the head of the EU executive branch cited an assessment that more than 100,000 Ukrainian troops and over 20,000 civilians have been killed in the conflict with Russia.

  • The video statement has since been pulled from her Twitter account and replaced with a new version, which omits the figures. Von der Leyen did not identify the source of the assessment.

Earlier in the month, US General Mark Milley, who serves as the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said that over 100,000 soldiers may have been killed and wounded on each side of the conflict, with 40,000 civilians killed as collateral damage.

Milley, speaking at the Economic Club of New York, said that the winter season would cause hostilities to go “static” and open “a window of opportunity” for negotiations.

The call for diplomacy reportedly outraged officials in Kiev, who pledged to continue fighting against Russia until it fully regains pre-2014 positions.

In her Wednesday address, von der Leyen urged the UN to convene a special tribunal to try Russia for its alleged crimes against Ukraine.

  • The Commission chief also shared the EU’s plans to invest seized Russian national reserves and “oligarch” money for profit that would later be used to rebuild Ukraine. She estimated Ukraine’s damage at €600 billion ($621bn) so far, which dwarfs the €319 billion ($330bn) of Russian funds blocked by the EU.

The assets would only be unfrozen after anti-Russia sanctions are lifted, to be paid in compensation to Ukraine, the official stated.

Top Russian officials, including President Vladimir Putin, have criticized the freezing of assets by the US and its allies, including the EU.

  • At first, they devalued national reserves denominated in dollars and euros through inflation, and later “pawed and pocketed” them, Putin remarked in October.

Source: RT

EU chief’s comment on Ukrainian military losses retracted

  • A claim about the number of Ukrainian soldiers killed during its conflict with Russia has been removed from a speech by European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen on the executive’s official website.
  • “More than 100,000 Ukrainian military officers have been killed so far,” she said during an address earlier on Wednesday, adding that around 20,000 civilians had also died in nine months of fighting. The source of this information was not provided.

However, the reference to Kiev’s death toll soon disappeared from the text of the speech on the European Commission’s website.

  • It was also cut from a video of the address on the website and on von der Leyen’s account on Twitter.

The editing was noticed by some media outlets and social media users, who compared the two versions of the statement online. The move was then officially confirmed by the European Commission.

The EU executive body’s spokeswoman Dana Spinant took to Twitter to thank those who had “pointed out the inaccuracy” in von der Leyen’s speech.

  • “The estimation used, from external sources, should have referred to casualties, i.e. both killed and injured, and was meant to show Russia’s brutality,” she wrote.
  • In late September, Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu stated that Ukrainian losses had by then amounted to more than 61,000 troops, which was ten times greater than Russia’s.

Source: RT

Austrian grocers to hand out food rations during blackouts

Austria unveiled emergency measures on Tuesday to secure food and other essentials for people in the event of blackouts this winter.

The plan, published on the country’s Ministry of Agriculture, Regions and Tourism website, decrees that all grocery stores are to remain closed on the first day of a potential blackout.

  • On the second day, stores are to remain closed but act as centres from which bags of fresh produce will be given to residents, between 10:00 am and 3:00 pm.

Additionally, the stores will offer prepared bags with water, long-life bread, canned goods, convenience products, and candles to be sold for cash.

Baby items and hygiene products will be made available on request.

  • From day three, only products from the dry range will be offered, for safety reasons.

All major Austrian retailers have agreed to the scheme, including Spar, Maximarkt, Billa, Penny, Lidl, Frisch, Unimarkt, M-Preis, and others.

  • Residents were advised to stock up on food with a long shelf-life and keep a 14-day supply at home, as well as to keep small denominations of cash in the amount of around €100 per family member.
  • The scheme was prepared in coordination with the Austrian Chamber of Commerce (WKÖ), the National Bank of Austria (OeNB), and the energy ministry, as well as representatives from the food retail industry and the association of Austrian municipalities (Österreichische Gemeindebund).

While officials stressed that the food supply in Austria is currently secure and the risk of a power shortage is “very low and unlikely,” they noted that “new potential challenges require timely preparation in order to be ready for a crisis.”

“Our food trade industry is a responsible one and has already proved its ability to overcome the crisis. The solution presented today in the event of a possible mass blackout is a model for the whole of Europe and shows that our food industry is ready for the crisis as part of the system of critical infrastructure,” the head of the association of food retailers Christophe Tamandl said, commenting on the plan.

Source: RT


The EU and NATO: bringing back the very best of WWII! You should check in your country, that they have similar precautions.

  • And by the way. I like to shop in Hungary. They have nice wine and food and in average a little cheaper than in Austria. You should visit Heviz the thermal see. Really nice.

100,000 Ukrainian soldiers have died in conflict – EU

European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen has presented the total number of losses estimated to have been suffered by Ukraine in its conflict with Russia.

“More than 100,000 Ukrainian military officers have been killed so far,” von der Leyen claimed on Wednesday, while adding that around 20,000 civilian lives have also been lost amid the fighting, which has continued since late February.

The head of the European Commission didn’t reveal the sources of the information she provided.

In late September, Russia’s Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu stated that Ukrainian losses had to date amounted to more than 61,000 troops, which was ten times higher than those of Russia.

In her address, von der Leyen also proposed to set up a specialized, UN-backed court to investigate and prosecute what she described as “Russia’s crime of aggression.”

  • She also said that a special structure would be created by the EU to manage and invest 300 billion euro (nearly $311 billion) in Russian Central Bank reserves and 19 billion euro of Russian business figures’ assets, which the EU froze after the outbreak of the conflict. The plan is to use the proceeds from those activities to rebuild and assist Ukraine, according to the commission president.

Source: RT

Books to replace toys in Russian ‘Happy Meals’

Re-branded McDonald’s restaurants in Russia, now called Vkusno i Tochka, (Just Tasty), will start selling their own version of a Happy Meal in December, which will offer books instead of toys, according to a company statement cited by business daily RBK.

  • The Kids Combo meal will be available in Novokuznetsk, Novosibirsk, Berdsk, Barnaul, Tomsk, Kemerovo, and Krasnoyarsk starting December 12, the company announced on Tuesday.

Sales throughout the rest of the country are planned to begin in January.

The meal will include a choice of nuggets, cheese snacks, a classic burger, salad, carrot sticks, and apple slices, as well as a drink. But there will be one important change.

“As a gift, every Kids Combo set will have one of 14 exclusive books with various puzzles and mazes by the CLEVER publishing house,” the restaurant chain said, adding that books of this kind contribute to the development of memory, logic, and attention span of children.

The McDonald’s Happy Meal usually comes with a toy.

  • In March, McDonald’s shut down its Russian outlets after operating in the country for more than three decades due to Western sanctions. Later, the fast-food giant announced it was selling its restaurants in the country to one of its licensees. The restaurant chain was later rebranded Vkusno i Tochka.
  • Putting books in McDonald’s kids’ meals is not new. The company did this in the past in Russia and in other countries where it operates.

Source: RT

Former Chinese leader Jiang Zemin dies aged 96 – state media

Jiang Zemin, who led China into the 21st century, passed away on Wednesday in Shanghai, according to state media.

  • Concerns for the 96-year-old’s health had been raised by his absence from the 20th Communist Party congress last month.

Jiang was at the helm of the Communist Party from 1989 to 2002 and was the first national leader since Mao Zedong who was not personally part of Mao’s generation of revolutionary fighters.

  • He was widely perceived as a compromise candidate to replace Deng Xiaoping, whose reformist term was marred by the mass protests on Tiananmen Square and the government crackdown that followed.

Under Jiang’s leadership, China continued its progress towards becoming an economic and political powerhouse.

He oversaw the nation’s accession to the World Trade Organization in 2001 and the handover of Hong Kong to China in 1997.

The city had been a British colony for almost a century as a result of the Opium Wars.

  • Beijing pledged to maintain a “one country, two systems” arrangement after the return of its territory. The scheme allowed Hong Kong to maintain a large degree of self-rule in internal affairs, while ceding to the central government issues of national defense and foreign policy.
  • Jiang stepped down from his leadership positions over the course of several years from 2002 onward, making way for the Hu Jintao administration. He is credited with overseeing a peaceful transition of power, in contrast to the more chaotic shifts seen previously in China’s modern history.

The statesman’s last public appearance was in October 2019, when he stood beside President Xi Jinping and other dignitaries during a parade marking the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China.

According to his obituary, he battled with leukemia and suffered from multiple organ failure prior to his passing.

Source: RT

Israel to the FBI: No Thanks

There is something deeply unsettling about the recent trend of the US Federal Bureau of Investigation to be interposing itself in cases of violence involving dual citizens here with American citizenship.

Most notable was the recent decision of the Biden Administration to have the FBI take it upon itself to investigate the shooting death of Palestinian journalist Abu Akleh, caught in the crossfire between Palestinian Arab terrorist gunmen and IDF soldiers in Jenin.

Despite an extensive and ultimately inconclusive investigation by the IDF, the Americans thought it was important, necessary and somehow salutary to, in effect, have the last word by unleashing the FBI to find out what “really” happened.

And now, we learn that the FBI has decided that it needs to be involved in investigating the bombing incident in Jerusalem in which dual Israeli/American citizen Naomi Pilichowski was injured. Again, there have been extensive investigations by Israeli law enforcement professionals, leading to the inevitable question of what added value the American investigation would provide.

The attitude to these investigations was succinctly summed up by Naomi’s father, the highly impactful educator Uri Pilichowski: “It’s a huge mistake for the FBI to get involved…We’re a sovereign country.”

This self-evident statement says it all. We are a sovereign country; these incidents took place here where we are in the position to exercise discretion and competence as to their investigation.

They thereby made two mistakes.

There are several implications of the American intrusiveness – none of them good. On its face, there is a certain skepticism being conveyed as to the professionalism or the objectivity of any Israeli investigations.

It would be one thing to harbor those sentiments with an adversary or about a repressively closed society, but with a supremely open, meticulous and friendly country such as Israel, the concern seems completely misplaced.

More likely, however, there are more subtle and ultimately more troubling reasons for the overtures. One is to reflect a Biden Administration concession to the Progressive Democrats who now dominate the Democratic Party.

  • And that is to acknowledge that Israel cannot really be trusted.
  • Another is to build on the modus operandus that our previous government adopted vis a vis the Americans: deference bordering on cravenness.

Perhaps, the Americans have been hoping that they can continue the full court press that resulted in the Lebanon Maritime Agreement, with Israeli leaders willing to defer to American policies and sensibilities.

In their overwhelming desire to show the world that they were the anti-Netanyahus, and would thereby restore bi-partisan American support for Israel, our previous government leaders bent over backwards to be accommodating and deferential to American interests.

They thereby made two mistakes.

Our previous government leaders bent over backwards to be accommodating and deferential to American interests.

One was enabling Americans to assume that they could impose their interests and run roughshod over ours.

And the more fundamental mistake was to think that they could restore the good feeling and benevolence that they assumed Bibi had destroyed.

  • This latter mistake was both great hubris and mind boggling naïvete: our leaders completely misunderstood that Bibi was a convenient target, but that the real target was Israel itself.

In other words, no amount of self-abasement by the likes of Bennett and Lapid was going to make Progressives like Israel.

The more one considers the events and the larger environment, the more these concerns seem viable. After all, there have been attacks on American Israelis for years, particularly in Jerusalem and in Judea and Samaria. Where was the FBI then?

Did the FBI investigate the infamous bombing of the Café Hillel on Emek Refaiim Street in Jerusalem during the Second Intifada?

  • Is the overture to investigate the bombing that injured Naomi Pilichowski somehow intended to dilute and deflect the concerns over the interest in investigating the shooting of Abu Akleh?

Ultimately, Naomi’s father has it right: we are a sovereign country.

Our new government (representing, ironically, the return of the Netanyahu bogeyman) needs to make clear to the Americans that while we value our friendship and our alliance, and while we welcome American concerns as to our own policies and what happens here, we alone will will determine what has happened here and why.

  • This is what sovereign countries do. They remind other countries that they are not vassals of anyone.

Bennett and Lapid were right about one thing: our relationship with the United States needed repair. But the repair is the exact opposite of what they thought was needed.

Israel needs to look America in the eye and say: sure, we are smaller than you, but you need us as much as we need you. And on that basis, let’s work together as mutually respectful equals.

Source: Douglas Altabef – Arutz Sheva

Ukrainian servicemen of 80th Brigade being punished for execution of Russian POWs in Makeevka

Last week, a video published confirmed another war crimes of Ukrainian servicemen against Russian prisoners of war.

  • At least 12 captured Russian servicemen were killed in the village of Makeevka by servicemen of the 80th separate airborne assault brigade of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.

Continue reading “Ukrainian servicemen of 80th Brigade being punished for execution of Russian POWs in Makeevka”

Mental health issues rising among youth in England

Mental health issues are increasing among children and teenagers in England, a new NHS Digital report shows, predicting a sharp increase in mental disorders among 17- to 19-year-olds in 2022.

  • Published on Tuesday, the report found that one in four young Britons are now experiencing issues, including emotional or behavioral problems, compared to the one-in-six rate recorded in 2021.

The survey sampled some 2,866 children and young people who are aged between seven and 24.

  • Among those aged seven to 10, prevalence of a potential mental disorder was nearly twice as high in boys – 19.7% against 10.5% in girls.
  • Among the older 17- to 24-year-old age group, the prevalence was much higher in young women – 31.2% compared to only 13.3% in young men.

Teenagers of both genders showed similar results, with the figure hovering around 20%.

Researchers linked the increase in mental health issues to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Co-author of the survey Dr Tamsin Newlove-Delgado, a senior lecturer at the University of Exeter, said the pandemic “has been quite a shock to the system in terms of impact on young people’s education, family, home lives and socializing.”

  • The ever-rising cost of living and “wider global uncertainties” are also having an impact on young people’s mental health, Newlove-Delgado noted, adding that 17- to 19-year-olds are going through “a time of quite stressful change.”
  1. Researchers also drew a link between social and economic issues and mental health.

“There are strong associations between poor health – both physical and mental – over housing insecurity, financial insecurity [and], sadly these days, food and heating insecurity, and we certainly see that cross-section here,” report co-author Tamsin Ford, a professor with the University of Cambridge, said.

British charities quickly spoke up about the NHS findings, urging the UK government to act before it is too late.

  • London risks “failing an entire generation unless it prioritises investment in young people’s mental-health services,” the mental health charity Mind said.

“Young people and their families cannot be sidelined any longer by the government, who need to prioritise the crisis in youth mental health as a matter of national emergency,” Mind interim CEO Sophie Corlett stated.

Source: RT

Serbian president comments on Ukraine conflict twist

The conflict in Ukraine may last for several more winters, Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said on Tuesday, adding that a ceasefire of some kind would be welcome but is unlikely.

  • He commented on the hostilities while visiting Norway, a NATO member that he said Serbia should emulate in terms of technology and economic development.

A question about Ukraine came during a lengthy interview with Serbia’s TV Pink. Earlier this month, Vucic had told the same outlet that the battle for Kherson would be the “Stalingrad” and a turning point of the conflict – only for Russia to evacuate from the city to the left bank of the Dnieper River.

“When many people began to think that the war is over and that Ukraine is winning, the Russians started to fight better,” Vucic said.

“I’m not saying they’ve got some kind of advantage, though. This will last for a long while, and I expect the next winter and even the one beyond to be far worse than this one.”

  • Asked to comment on the Russian missile attacks on Ukrainian infrastructure, Vucic said that both Moscow and Kiev are using everything they’ve got at their disposal, because “there is no love in war.”

The Serbian president added that while he personally would be happy to see a ceasefire and some kind of solution to the fighting, none of that was up to him.

  • “I’m neither a Russian nor a Ukrainian – it’s up to them to resolve this – nor an American to meddle into the whole thing,” Vucic said.

The EU has been pressuring Serbia to “harmonize” its foreign policy with Brussels and sanction Russia, but Vucic has insisted on an independent and neutral course for Belgrade.

Russia has supported Serbia’s refusal to recognize its breakaway province of Kosovo as an independent state, something the EU demands as a prerequisite for membership talks. Kosovo was originally occupied by NATO troops in 1999.

  • After a tour of Oslo and Trondheim, Vucic told reporters he was “glad Norway is our partner” and that Serbia could “learn a lot” from the Scandinavian country.

Source: RT

Washington approves $1 billion arms sale to Qatar

US President Joe Biden’s administration has approved a long-delayed weapons deal with Qatar, agreeing to supply the Middle East ally with $1 billion worth of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).

The US State Department announced its go-ahead for the deal on Tuesday, just as the American and Iranian teams were starting the second half of their World Cup soccer match in Doha.

  • The sale includes 10 advanced drone systems, 200 drone interceptors and related equipment.

Qatar made its request for a UAV purchase, including MQ-9 Reaper drones, in 2020.

Despite Doha’s close ties with Washington, including hosting the US Central Command’s forward headquarters and the Pentagon’s air operations center for the region at Al Udeid Air Base, US officials were slow to approve the deal.

  • Even as Qatar hosted thousands of refugees and helped ease the chaotic US withdrawal from Afghanistan last year, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani’s government struggled to get clear answers from the Biden administration on what was holding up the UAV transaction.

The Pentagon encouraged approval of the sale, citing Qatar’s reliability as a trusted partner, but State Department officials were concerned that other countries in the region, including Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, would be angered, according to media reports last year.

  • Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt cut off relations with Qatar in 2017, accusing the country of supporting terrorists.

The US had a falling-out with Saudi Arabia this year, after Riyadh allegedly reneged on a secret deal to boost oil supplies ahead of this month’s midterm congressional elections. Biden responded by pledging to re-evaluate the US-Saudi relationship, saying, “there will be consequences.”

  • The UAV sale will “support the foreign policy and national security objectives of the United States by helping to improve the security of a friendly country that continues to be an important force for political stability and economic progress in the Middle East,” the State Department said in a statement. It will “improve Qatar’s capability to meet current and future threats by providing electronic and kinetic defeat capabilities against unmanned aircraft systems.”

The US-supplied drones will help Qatar monitor its vast natural-gas infrastructure and prevent terrorist attacks.

  • Doha had aimed to complete the purchase in time to beef up security for the World Cup.

Source: RT

US coach apologizes after Iran flag scandal

The head coach of the US men’s national soccer team, Gregg Berhalter, has apologized after a row involving an altered Iranian flag overshadowed the build-up to the two countries’ crucial World Cup meeting in Qatar.

  • Iran reacted angrily at the weekend after a social media post from the official account of the US men’s national team (USMNT) featured the World Cup Group B standings and the flags of the respective nations – but with Iran’s flag missing the central emblem of the Islamic Republic.

US soccer officials subsequently told the media that the gesture was a show of support for the protests which have broken out in Iran in recent weeks following the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini in police custody.

A legal adviser to the Iranian Football Federation responded by telling national news agency Tasnim that the organization would complain to FIFA, with the media outlet claiming that the US could be punished with a 10-game ban.

Speaking at a press conference on Monday, US head coach Berhalter attempted to quell tensions ahead of the crucial game at Al Thumama Stadium on Tuesday.

  • “We had no idea about what US soccer put out. The staff, the players, we had no idea,” Berhalter told the media.
  • “All we can do is apologize on behalf of the players and the staff. But it’s not something that we were a part of.”

The 49-year-old added that his team’s full focus was on a game that is set to determine which of the two teams reaches the knockout stages in Qatar.

“Of course, our thoughts are with the Iranian people… the whole country, the whole team, everyone, but our focus is on this match,” said the coach.

The Iranian flags displayed on the USMNT social media accounts now feature the correct version with the emblem of the Islamic Republic, with the offending post since deleted.

Heading into the last round of Group B games on Tuesday, England lead the way on four points from two games, following a 6-2 opening win against Iran and a goalless draw with the US.

The Three Lions are well placed for a spot in the knockout stages and meet Wales on Tuesday, with the Welsh on a solitary point after their opening draw with the USA was followed by a dramatic late defeat to Iran.

Iran lie on three points, with the US trailing on two points after successive draws in Qatar.

Iran’s participation in Qatar 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 last 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 in September 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.

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

Source: RT

Moscow lodges complaint to Vatican

Russia’s ambassador to the Vatican has filed a complaint over an interview given by Pope Francis, in which he accused troops of Chechen and Buryat origin of particular “cruelty” during Moscow’s military offensive in Ukraine.

Alexander Avdeyev said he visited the Vatican’s diplomatic service late on Monday to deliver the note.

  • “I expressed indignation at such insinuations,” the ambassador said, referring to the Pope’s comments. “Nothing can shake the solidarity and unity of the multinational Russian people,” he told RIA Novosti news agency on Tuesday,

In his interview on Monday with the Jesuit magazine America, Pope Francis claimed that “the cruelest [among those fighting in Ukraine] are perhaps those who are of Russia but are not of the Russian tradition, such as the Chechens, the Buryati [sic] and so on.”

  • Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova responded that the pontiff’s words were “no longer Russophobia. It’s a perversion on a level I can’t even name.”

Alexey Tsidenov, the leader of Buryatia – a Russian Buddhist republic in southeast Siberia – said Pope Francis’ comments were “strange, to say the least.”

  • The speaker of Chechnya’s parliament, Magomed Daudov, advised the Pope to listen to the people of Donbass, to whom Chechens, Buryats and representatives of other nations of Russia have become “saviors.”

A source in the Vatican told Russia’s TASS news agency on Tuesday that the Pope “didn’t want to offend the nations of Russia in any way.”

The Holy See “greatly values its good relations with Russia and hopes to continue the course towards their development,” he stressed.

  • The Vatican will now check how accurate the translation of the pontiff’s words was, according to the source. Pope Francis, who is from Argentina, gave the interview in Spanish and it was later translated to English.

Source: RT