Russia vetoes UN sanctions on African country

All UN sanctions against Mali will end on August 31, after Russia vetoed the proposal by France and the UAE to have them extended. Vassily Nebenzia, Russia’s ambassador to the UN, said that the draft completely disregarded the concerns of both Bamako and Moscow.

  • The Franco-Emirati draft would have extended both the sanctions and the mandate of the UN Expert Group charged with monitoring Mali, through August and September 2024, respectively. It received 13 votes in the UN Security Council, but failed because Russia voted against it. China abstained.

The council rejected Moscow’s alternative draft, which would have ended the Expert Group mandate immediately and given the sanctions a “final” 12-month extension. Japan voted no, and 13 other members abstained.

  • According to AP, Moscow went after the Expert Group because its latest report criticized the Russian private military company Wagner, accusing it of “violence against women, and other forms of grave abuses of human rights and international humanitarian law” to “spread terror among populations.”

Bamako has justified its outreach to Wagner Group by saying the Russian security advisers were far more effective against jihadist insurgents – unleashed across the Sahel in the wake of NATO’s 2011 regime-change intervention in Libya – than the French or the UN.

  • The Franco-Emirati draft “took absolutely no account of the concerns of the Malian side and the position of the Russian Federation,” Nebenzia said after the vote, explaining his veto.

Nebenzia reminded the Security Council that Mali itself requested the sanctions against eight individuals in 2017, as part of a peace process. The Russian resolution, he said, “takes into account the position of the African members of the Council” that the sanctions should remain in effect for some time in order to promote the implementation of the peace agreement, but “not turn into an instrument of external influence on domestic political processes in Mali.”

France, the former colonial power in Mali, has already withdrawn all of its troops from the West African nation at the insistence of the military government in Bamako.

Mali has also given some 15,000 UN peacekeepers and civilian staff until December 31 to depart the country.

  • “We hope that in the future, sponsors of resolutions will prioritize a pragmatic approach and the interests of the host country in order to avoid unnecessary confrontation in the Security Council,” Nebenzia added. “Especially in the circumstances where a compromise agreement could have been made if certain delegations had the political will to do so.”

Source: RT

Top Zelensky aide rules out peace talks with Russia

Negotiating with Russia is “out of the question” until the situation on the battlefield changes, Mikhail Podoliak, a top aide to Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky, has said.

Moscow “continues to delude” itself that it will be able to hold on to the territories it captured from Kiev, Podoliak claimed in an interview with Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera on Wednesday.

The Russian side must “suffer significant tactical defeats on the front line” to develop “a more realistic assessment of the situation,” he assessed, and only after that could some peace talks begin.

Ukraine’s much-anticipated counteroffensive, which was launched almost three months ago with the goal of cutting Russia’s land bridge to Crimea, has failed to deliver those “significant tactical defeats” to Moscow.

  • According to Russian estimates, Kiev’s losses by early August amounted to more than 43,000 troops and nearly 5,000 pieces of heavy equipment. Ukrainian officials have so far only reported the seizure of several villages that aren’t part of the main Russian defense lines.

Podoliak was asked specifically if he was ready to discuss the status of Crimea, which has been part of Russia since 2014, when the peninsula held a referendum on seceding from Ukraine following a violent coup in Kiev.

He responded by referring to earlier statements by Zelensky, who claimed that officials in Moscow must be put into a situation in which they would have to “choose between losing everything or abandoning Crimea.”

This could only be achieved by Ukrainian forces reaching the borders of the peninsula and destroying the weapons that allow Moscow to keep it under its control, the aide explained.

Despite ruling out any talks with Moscow, Podoliak insisted that Russian President Vladimir Putin saw “our willingness for dialogue as a weakness that should be exploited to his advantage.”

Russia has been saying for months that it is ready to look for a peaceful settlement to the conflict at the negotiating table. However, it pointed out that a lack of desire to engage in diplomacy from either Kiev or its Western backers leaves it no other choice but to keep working towards achieving its goals in Ukraine on the battlefield.

Last fall, Zelensky signed a decree officially banning him from talks with Putin.

The Ukrainian leader has been promoting his so-called ten-point peace plan, which calls for Russia to withdraw to borders claimed by Kiev, pay reparations, and submit to war crimes tribunals. Moscow instantly rejected the proposal as “unrealistic.”

Source: RT

Prigozhin plane crash may have been deliberate – Kremlin

Russian investigators are not ruling out foul play in the plane crash that killed Wagner boss Evgeny Prigozhin, and will consider every possible scenario, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov has told journalists.

  • “It is obvious that different versions exist and are being considered. Among them is the one [involving a] deliberate atrocity,” he said on Wednesday, urging the media to wait for official updates from investigators.

Asked about a Reuters report, which claimed that Moscow had declined an offer of assistance from the Brazilian aviation authority, Peskov said there could be no discussion on any international aspect and indicated that the investigation would be conducted domestically.

The business jet that crashed in Tver Region last Wednesday was produced by Brazilian plane manufacturer Embraer.

  • All ten people on board were killed, including the Wagner boss and some of his closest associates.

Since the flight was domestic, Russia is not obliged to investigate the crash under international rules,

Reuters noted in its report. International incidents are normally scrutinized under the authority of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and involve the manufacturer.

  • “If they say they’ll open the investigation and invite Brazil, we will participate from afar,” Air Brigadier Marcelo Moreno, who heads Brazil’s Center for Research and Prevention of Aeronautical Accidents (CENIPA), told the news agency.

Prigozhin’s death came two months after he staged a brief mutiny, marching his Wagner Private Military Company forces towards Moscow with the stated goal of replacing top military commanders.

Russian president Vladimir Putin branded him a traitor at the time, but agreed to a deal in the interests of avoiding major bloodshed. This allowed Prigozhin and his loyalists to leave Russia. Putin has repeatedly stressed that most Wagner members were patriots, whose service on the battlefield made them heroes.

  • Some Western media have claimed that Moscow may have been behind the plane crash in which Prigozhin died. The Kremlin has dismissed such “speculation” as “a total lie,” while Putin has promised a thorough investigation of the incident.

Source: RT

EU sanctions body not sure Prigozhin is dead – media

The EU is monitoring the situation following the death of Russian businessman Evgeny Prigozhin, and has yet to make a decision whether to lift the sanctions it imposed against him, Russian media have reported, citing the European Commission.

The Daily Storm news outlet said it had received a statement from the press service of the EU’s executive branch claiming it had yet to see “reliable confirmation” of Prigozhin’s death.

  • “The decisions of the [European] Council are taken unanimously, while discussions among member states are confidential,” the remarks, quoted in Russian, said.

Prigozhin was killed along with some of his close associates and the crew of his private jet, when the aircraft crashed in Russia last Wednesday.

Russia’s Investigative Committee confirmed the identities of all the victims on Sunday, after DNA tests were conducted. His funeral took place on Tuesday in St. Petersburg.

The controversial tycoon and his enterprises had been hit by several rounds of Western sanctions. The US first targeted Prigozhin in 2016 for alleged election meddling.

The EU did the same in 2020, citing his role as the head of the private military company Wagner Group, which at the time stood accused of supplying weapons to Libya, in violation of a UN embargo.

His family members also ended up in the crosshairs after the outbreak of the Russia-Ukraine conflict last year.

In March, his elderly mother Violetta Prigozhina secured a ruling from the EU’s second-highest court to overturn personal sanctions against her, after the court said the restrictions were “based solely on their family relationship.”

Brussels has sanctioned relatives of a number of Russian businessmen under the premise that the actual targets may attempt to shield their assets by transferring ownership.

Source: RT

Zelensky threatened by possible military coup – former CIA analyst

Failures on the battlefield could push the Ukrainian military to move against President Vladimir Zelensky, retired CIA analyst Larry Johnson has said.

  • “Zelensky very well could be ousted in a coup within the next three to four weeks, because of the great disgruntlement among troops on the eastern front,” Johnson told Redacted host Clayton Morris in an interview posted over the weekend.

Ukraine’s grand offensive in Zaporozhye, launched in early June with Western-trained troops and NATO-supplied tanks and armored vehicles, has failed to achieve a breakthrough anywhere.

Additional brigades, intended to exploit the intended breach, have been deployed to continue the frontal attacks instead, to the point that the US and its allies are publicly airing their frustrations with Ukrainian tactics.

Johnson is not the first American analyst to speculate about the military turning on Zelensky. Earlier this month, former US Marine officer Scott Ritter said the likelihood of a military coup was growing with each destroyed Ukrainian brigade.

“We could be reaching a Kerensky 1917 moment, where the military just says ‘We’re done’,” Ritter told MOATS host George Galloway.

He also brought up a recent Politico article, which laid out who would run Ukraine if Russia somehow assassinated Zelensky.

According to Ritter, however, Moscow has no intention of going after Zelensky, as he might be replaced by someone even more hardline.

  • Johnson told Redacted that the way the conflict is going, Ukraine’s survival as a country was “in great doubt.” Kiev is already entirely dependent on the West, and its needs will only grow while its capabilities will continue to shrink, the former CIA official said.

The US strategy for the conflict was to trap Russia in an unwinnable war and induce regime change in Moscow, according to Johnson.

Instead, “that’s going to happen to Ukraine,” and Washington will have to figure out how to “back away” from the conflict, because it has massively underestimated Russia’s economic and military strength.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov reasoned along similar lines earlier this month, saying in an interview that Ukraine’s Western patrons are publicly committed to “fight until the last Ukrainian” but have a history of abandoning their allies and proxies, from South Vietnam to “Ashraf Ghani’s regime in Afghanistan in 2021.”

  • Faced with Western concerns about his legitimacy if he cancels the 2024 presidential election, Zelensky has proposed holding the vote – but demanded funding from the West to do so.

The Ukrainian leader has also voiced fears that he might be abandoned by the West if Ukraine goes too far in attacking Russia. His aide Mikhail Podolyak has since argued that the US and its allies have given their blessing for attacks on “occupied territories” – meaning Crimea, Donetsk, Lugansk, Zaporozhye and Kherson.

  • Since Crimea voted to rejoin Russia in 2014 and the four regions did the same last September, Moscow considers them no less Russian territory than Belgorod or Kursk, which have also been targeted by Ukraine.

Source: RT

Russian MOD claims destruction of Ukrainian landing force

A Russian Navy attack jet has sunk four boats transporting a force of Ukrainian commandos, the Defense Ministry in Moscow announced early on Wednesday.

  • “At around midnight on August 30, a naval aircraft of the Black Sea Fleet destroyed four military speedboats carrying a landing force of Ukrainian special operatives, numbering up to 50 men, in the waters of the Black Sea,” the Russian Defense Ministry statement said, without giving a more precise location.

Earlier this month, Moscow published a video of a Russian military jet destroying a Ukrainian speedboat off the coast of Snake Island, near Odessa.

  • The watercraft was identified as a Willard Sea Force boat, sold to Kiev a decade ago by the US-based Willard Marine. Ukraine had purchased several versions, capable of carrying anywhere from six to 26 troops each.
  • Last week, Ukrainian military intelligence claimed to have landed a group of commandos on the coast of Crimea, to raise a flag on the country’s independence day.

The Russian Defense Ministry did not comment on the alleged incident, while some Russian social media reported the destruction of a Ukrainian raiding party in a firefight with local security forces.

Ukraine continues to claim Crimea, even though its residents had overwhelmingly voted to return to Russia in 2014, following the US-backed coup in Kiev.

Source: RT

Toyota reveals why it suspended all assembly plants in Japan

Japanese auto giant Toyota has announced it will resume operations at domestic assembly plants on Wednesday after a 24-hour stoppage caused by a system glitch.

The company continues to investigate the cause of the disruption, which began on Monday and prevented Toyota from processing orders for components.

Production is expected to return to normal at each of its 14 plants in Japan from the start of the second shift on Wednesday, the company said.

The plants together account for about a third of the automaker’s global production, according to Reuters calculations. Toyota delivered almost 10.5 million cars worldwide last year.

  • “It is our understanding that the malfunction of the system was not caused by a cyberattack. However, we will continue to investigate the cause,” Toyota stated.
  • “We would like to apologize once again to our customers, suppliers, and related parties for any inconvenience caused by the suspension of operations.”
  • Toyota’s operations were suspended for a day in 2022 when a supplier was hit with a cyberattack, causing problems with ordering parts. The car giant then resumed operations using a back-up network.

Source: RT

Wagner boss buried in St. Petersburg – media team

The late leader of the Russian Wagner Private Military Company, Evgeny Prigozhin, has been laid to rest at the Porokhovskoye cemetery in St. Petersburg, the deceased businessman’s media team announced on Tuesday.

The funeral ceremony was held behind closed doors, with only close relatives and friends of Prigozhin in attendance.

The exact location of the Wagner chief’s tomb has yet to be confirmed, but his media team said everyone was welcome to visit it at the graveyard.

Prigozhin was killed alongside some of his closest associates, including leaders of the Wagner Group, as well as the crew of his private jet, which crashed in Russia last Wednesday.

The cause of the incident is currently being probed by the Russian authorities, with the country’s Investigative Committee confirming the identities of all the victims on Sunday following DNA tests.

  • Images circulating online suggest that the late Wagner boss has been buried alongside his father, with a wooden cross erected on the grave. Russian flags and those of the private military company were flown by Prigozhin’s tomb, the photographs show.

Source: RT

Ukraine considers elections to boost Zelensky’s popularity – El Pais

Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky may call elections next year in order to shore up his democratic bona fides, several anonymous sources told El Pais on Monday.

Ukraine is currently under martial law, meaning elections are prohibited, but Zelensky himself spoke about the possibility of holding them in a television interview on Sunday.

  • “The logic is that if you are protecting democracy, you must also protect it during the war. And one way to protect it is elections,” he said.

Ruslan Stefanchuk, the president of the Rada, also hinted last month that an “update of the law would take place soon” because “democracy cannot stop.” The Zelensky ally, whose term expires in October with the rest of his parliamentary colleagues, acknowledged the message had been passed down from “Europe and others.”

According to El Pais, this was a reference to Kiev’s American backers in the Republican and Democratic parties. A bipartisan contingent of US senators consisting of Democrats Elizabeth Warren and Richard Blumenthal and Republican Lindsey Graham visited Kiev last week to push for elections as “necessary for democracy,” with some critics of Washington’s open-checkbook policy apparently having commented that Ukraine was “not so different from Russia” because it had abandoned the pretense of democracy in wartime.

Internal issues may also push Zelensky to call a vote, according to some Ukrainian analysts. Commentator Mark Savchuk told El Pais that the anti-corruption platform Zelensky ran on (which memorably catapulted his television alter-ego to political stardom in ‘Servant of the People’) has not become reality and that this is impossible to conceal from the average Ukrainian.

The real purpose of holding elections in 2024 would be to give Zelensky the best possible position for negotiating to end the conflict with Russia, anonymous sources close to the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry told the news outlet.

  • Kiev’s counteroffensive, launched in June, is increasingly considered a dismal failure among its Western allies, with minimal territorial gains despite serious personnel and equipment losses.

The outcome of any election is almost certainly a foregone conclusion, as Zelensky banned all opposition political parties less than a month into Russia’s military operation and consolidated all potentially adversarial media outlets into one state-backed platform.

  • No potential challengers have come forward, and none are likely to, according to El Pais.

Despite this certainty, it is unclear how an election could fortify Zelensky’s appearance as a popular candidate.

More than six million Ukrainians have fled the country, making vote-counting all but impossible, and some 700,000 are involved in defense-related tasks they cannot easily abandon to vote. Concerns about attacks on voting sites may also keep voters away.

Zelensky himself acknowledged on Sunday that he has seen no plans to facilitate safe voting for those on the front lines.

Source: RT

This Indian chess prodigy shocked the world. RT reveals the story of the people behind his success

At the recent Chess World Cup, it was a middle-aged woman without much knowledge of the intricacies of this cerebral game who grabbed the headlines. It was a role for which N. Nagalakshmi – the mother of 18-year-old Indian grandmaster Rameshbabu Praggnanandhaa, the youngest-ever World Cup finalist – was least prepared.

Praggnanandhaa created a sensation at the World Cup in Baku last week, beating the second and third seeds before taking top seed Magnus Carlsen all the way to a tie-breaker in the final.

  • Praggnanandhaa – nicknamed Pragg – was only the second Indian ever to reach the World Cup final, after the legendary Viswanathan Anand.
  • After several days and four intense games, Carlsen eventually prevailed to win the World Cup title for the first time in his gilded career. However, the fact that chess prodigy Pragg dragged the Norwegian to a tie-breaker was celebrated back in India, and symbolically coincided with the nation’s Chandrayaan-3 mission landing on the Moon.

But it wasn’t only Pragg who made headlines in India and beyond. His mother, Nagalakshmi, has been traveling with him and cooking for him since he began playing competitive chess at the age of seven. I first interviewed the chess genius when he was just starting out with his career. Now, exclusively for RT, I’ve spoken to Pragg’s father and sister – who is also an international-level chess player – about the role Nagalakshmi played in making chess-loving India proud.

Mom’s long journey

Nagalakshmi’s photos from the venue in Baku, Azerbaijan, went viral globally. Even hard-nosed chess professionals were moved by the image of the mother fondly watching her son at a press conference. She wasn’t even aware that someone was photographing her. In one sense, the unassuming lady from Chennai in India’s southern state of Tamil Nadu upstaged her son’s achievement of becoming the youngest finalist in World Cup history.

Pragg is a chess prodigy in the truest sense. Aged 10 years and nine months, he became the youngest international master (IM) in the world in 2016.

While that accolade has since passed to someone else, Pragg was the first Indian to set a chess world record. He would go on to become the second-youngest person ever to achieve the status of grandmaster, behind Russia’s Sergey Karjakin, at the age of 12 years and 10 months in 2018.

Nagalakshmi has been accompanying Pragg and his elder sister R. Vaishali to tournaments outside India for more than a decade. Her newfound fame is somewhat startling for the family.

  • “I have heard more questions about my mother’s presence in Baku than Pragg’s achievement in the Azerbaijani capital,” said Vaishali, 22, laughing.

Nagalakshmi’s image has made a strong impression around the world because of its emotional appeal.

“I’m proud to hear many people talk about my mother because she symbolizes the spirit of all mothers who accompany their chess-playing children to tournaments in India. My mother has worked incredibly hard all these years because she has had to take care of her two globe-trotting children,” Vaishali told RT.

According to Vaishali, constant travel has taken a toll on her mother’s health. “But nothing can stop her from helping us. My father’s role is no less significant, as he books our flight tickets and hotel rooms meticulously. He is our in-house travel expert. If Pragg and I are able to concentrate on our chess, the credit must go to my parents,” Vaishali said.

No pressure for success

Nagalakshmi and her husband, A. Rameshbabu, first sent Vaishali to chess training to allow her to learn something interesting. Her natural feel for the game meant she regularly started taking part in age-group tournaments.

Pragg was full of energy during that period and his parents needed an outlet to make him sit in one place. As he regularly accompanied his mother to Vaishali’s chess classes, Pragg, too, showed an interest in the game. The rest, as the record books would attest, is history.

Indian parents can be pushy. From selecting their children’s sport to choosing their spouses, they want a role in everything. Children are expected to make their parents’ sacrifice worthwhile through success. Not a virtuous cycle, psychologists would say.

But Nagalakshmi and her husband seldom push their children hard for medals and trophies.

“We have never put our kids under pressure for success,” Rameshbabu said.

“How can someone keep winning all the time? Results are secondary. My wife and I are keen that they enjoy their game.”

Never gave up

Rameshbabu, who works in a bank in Chennai, cannot walk without assistance as a result of polio in one leg. So the onus is on Nagalakshmi to accompany Pragg and Vaishali on foreign trips. She doubles up as a cook for her children. After losing to five-time world champion Carlsen in the World Cup final, Pragg acknowledged that his mother’s presence was a great help at the lengthy tournament.

Rameshbabu and Nagalakshmi had to endure hardship early on as they struggled for money to get Pragg and Vaishali foreign exposure and vital ranking points. Playing chess is inexpensive but becoming a world-class player is not.

Rameshbabu is the only earning member of this middle-class family.

The fact that a non-playing member, Nagalakshmi, had to be on the plane on almost all trips abroad made his job tougher. After Pragg started winning, sponsors began to loosen their purse strings, easing Rameshbabu’s financial worries.

Vaishali, who is four years older than Pragg, has seen her parents struggle financially. “Even though it wasn’t easy for them to support the careers of two, they never gave up. Fortunately for us, results aren’t important for them but the process is. Our parents encourage us to work hard. Never once have I felt the pressure to perform. I would say their hard work has made me more responsible,” she added.

Vaishali is proud of her brother’s stellar achievement in Baku. “I’m thrilled that he has qualified for the Candidates tournament, from which one qualifies for the World Championship. For chess players, the World Championship is the ultimate goal and knowing that Pragg is a step away from realizing his dream is a joy,” she said.

Rameshbabu said his wife has contributed to 90% of Pragg’s success.

“Determination is the cornerstone of Nagalakshmi’s life. Once she decides to do something, she will complete it without worrying about the hurdles she might face. At the same time, she will think deeply before making a decision and there is no question of her going back. My job is easy. I will say ‘yes’ to whatever she says because I know she would always be right,” he added.

S. Thyagarajan, Vaishali and Pragg’s first coach, has had a firsthand view of the family for a long time.

“I have known them since around 2007. Rameshbabu and Nagalakshmi haven’t forgotten their struggle to support the careers of Vaishali and Pragg early on. That’s why they remain endearingly simple even when their children have become stars in chess,” he said.

Thyagarajan said the contribution of Nagalakshmi in making Pragg a world-class player cannot be described in words.

“I would say she is the main reason for the success of Pragg. I still remember how much she traveled every day to ensure that her children attended chess classes during their formative years. After dropping them off in the morning, she would go home and cook food to bring to my coaching center again during lunch,” he said.

According to the coach, Rameshbabu and Nagalakshmi are model parents.

“I have never seen parents like them in my life. They are an inspiration to everyone. I use their speeches to motivate the parents of children training in my academy. There is wonderful chemistry between the husband and the wife, as they continue to steer the careers of their children in the way they should,” he added.

Thyagarajan has seen overzealous parents destroy the careers of their children.

“Many parents interfere in coaching without knowing anything about chess. Rameshbabu and Nagalakshmi never do that. They trust the coaches. Above all, they know their chess knowledge is minimal and they cannot add any value to coaching. I have never seen them put pressure on Vaishali and Pragg; they only pray for their children’s success,” he added.

When Praggnanandhaa was seven years old, he wrote down his rather difficult name to a reporter and exclaimed that he had five As. When the reporter patted him on his back, saying he was a grade-A student, Pragg retorted that he was in the Class Two G section (in India it is common for primary school students to mention their section along with their class). Now he is old enough to know that he is a grade-A player. ‘Amma’, which means ‘mother’ in the local Tamil language, also starts with an A, by the way.

Source: T.N. Raghu – RT

Biden to ask US Congress to fund new COVID vaccine

US President Joe Biden has announced that he plans to request additional funding from Congress to develop a new COVID-19 vaccine, adding that it is likely everybody will be encouraged to take the new shot.

Speaking to reporters on Friday, the president was asked if the White House was planning a response to a reported uptick in COVID cases.

  • The US Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) had previously announced a 21.6% increase in COVID-related hospitalizations and a 21.4% increase in COVID-related deaths in recent weeks. The numbers are, however, still far below the levels seen during the pandemic.

Biden responded by stating that he has already signed off on a proposal to have Congress fund a new vaccine “that is needed, that’s necessary, that works.”

“It will likely be recommended everybody get it no matter whether they’ve gotten it before or not,” he added.

The president’s announcement comes after CNN suggested last week that people should mask up again as the US Center for Disease Control (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) warned of a surge in coronavirus cases and new variants.

  • “If you’re at high risk of serious illness or death from COVID-19, it’s time to dust off those N95 masks and place them snugly over your nose and mouth to protect yourself from a recent uptick of the virus,” CNN wrote, citing “a growing number of experts.”
  • On August 17, the CDC announced on X, formerly Twitter, that it was tracking a new “highly mutated lineage of the virus that causes COVID-19” called BA.2.86. The agency said it had detected the virus in the US, Denmark, the UK, and Israel.

The WHO confirmed on the same day that the BA.2.86 variant was “under monitoring” due to the large number of mutations it carries, but noted that only a handful of sequences of the variant had been reported so far.

  • The organization reiterated its calls for better surveillance, sequencing, and reporting of COVID cases, but did not call for any mask mandates or lockdowns.

Nevertheless, some institutions in the US – such as the Morris Brown College in Atlanta, Georgia, several hospitals in New York, and the Lionsgate film studios – have already begun to reinstate mask requirements for anyone on their premises.

Source: RT


Why the West allowed Japan to get away with the Fukushima water dump

Tensions between China and Japan are escalating after Tokyo started dumping radioactive water from the Fukushima Nuclear Plant into the ocean.

  • Beijing, which insists the water is a hazard to the environment, has banned the import of seafood from Japan in response – and although South Korea’s right-wing, pro-Japanese government has sidestepped the issue, it has caused public outrage in the country.

The United States, as well as the pro-Western media, back Tokyo’s decision and insist that the discharge is safe, including through a deliberately misleading narrative that China dumps more “nuclear water” of its own into the ocean than Japan does, ignoring the facts that

1) there has been no nuclear disaster in China and

2) the isotopes involved are different. Despite this, the campaign to downplay China’s concerns as hypocritical and politically motivated has been coordinated.

The Fukushima water-dumping saga nonetheless reveals China’s lasting sensitivities about Japan, and in contrast, displays how the West is willing to defend Tokyo no matter what.

How, for one, do you think the media would have reacted if China were responsible for such a disaster? The response to COVID-19 is a helpful template, with Beijing still being accused of a “cover up” and a “lack of transparency” over the origins of the pandemic and demands being bandied around that China “must pay” for its impact on the rest of the world. We can only imagine the concerted political outrage that would follow if Beijing were the one releasing potentially dangerous nuclear wastewater into the ocean.

These contrasting reactions show us how, in political terms, Japan enjoys great privileges that China does not. One is able to get away with murder while the other is condemned for jaywalking (even when it’s only allegations).

The Empire of Japan committed grave historical atrocities during its war against, and occupation of, parts of China.

The best-known of these is the Nanjing Massacre of 1937-1938, when an estimated 200,000-300,000 Chinese were murdered at the hands of the Japanese.

From China’s perspective, the Nanjing Massacre was perhaps the single worst act of foreign aggression in modern history, which scarred the country’s public consciousness.

  • Worse still is the perception, which is also shared in Korea after its own occupation, that Japan never truly had to atone for its crimes, there was no justice for the aggression and atrocities committed by Tokyo during this era.

This lack of justice stems from the fact that Japan, unlike Nazi Germany, surrendered unilaterally to the US, which took the opportunity to immediately make the state its own strategic vassal in East Asia.

In doing so, the US opted to give Japan a new constitution, but keep its leadership and society completely intact for fear of a communist takeover, which stood in contrast to the denazifaction of Germany, where former Nazi leaders were put on trial, jailed and executed, with its ideology completely dismantled and outlawed. Japan may have suffered from two atomic bombings, but it was otherwise rebranded and whitewashed, never having to come to terms with what it did. This history sowed great resentment in China.

Since that time, Japan has remained a highly privileged member of the G7, the primary US partner in Asia, and therefore a tool of containment against Beijing.

Washington has seen the country as key to expanding NATO’s influence inside Asia, and is also keen to marshal South Korea into a trilateral alliance, something President Yoon Suk-yeol is perfectly happy to do. As a result, it is a strategic design of the US that Japan faces no repercussions for the mismanagement of the Fukushima disaster, and the subsequent water dumping, whatsoever. For China, this becomes a venting opportunity against Tokyo for its alignment with the US and Beijing’s inability to undermine its reputation. Thus, the water issue has become hyper-politicised.

China’s perspective, however, is dismissed as mere propaganda. This is because, as evident from the above, the West does not care about Japan’s historical atrocities in China.

While the West takes the opportunity every year to remind the world of the Tiananmen Square events of 1989, little to no attention is being paid to the memory of the Nanjing Massacre. This in turn reveals the structural inequalities between how China’s voice and perspective is ignored, but Japan is given a comfortable, protected status. While Japan is admired, China is loathed. It goes without question that concerning Fukushima, Beijing would never be allowed to get away with the same things, which is also a reminder of how “outrage” is manufactured, selective, and politically motivated. What China can do may be in any case branded a threat and crime against the entire world, but Japan? Nothing to worry about.

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

Source: Timur Fomenko – RT

Users of X report problems with the site

Social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter, was down for thousands of users in the US on Monday evening.

Downdetector, which tracks outages by collating status reports from several sources including users, said that as of 7:24 p.m. ET, there were more than 17,000 reports of outages in the United States.

  • Users said that they could not load messages on the platform, receiving an error message instead.

A reader based in Canada told Israel National News that he, too, temporarily experienced issues on the site around 7:00 p.m. ET, but the issue had since resolved itself.

In February, users of Twitter reported widespread problems, saying they received error messages as they tried to post tweets.

More than an hour after the disruptions started, the company said on one of its accounts that it was aware of the problems and was working to fix them.

While Twitter has had some outages in the past, including a major outage that lasted about an hour and a half in 2020, the February outage marked the first major issue reported with the site since it was purchased by Elon Musk.

Source: Arutz Sheva

German regional leader calls for repair of Nord Stream

The leader of the German state of Saxony has argued that the Nord Stream 1 natural gas pipeline linking to Russia, which was ruptured in an underwater explosion last September, should be repaired.

Minister-President Michael Kretschmer warned that unless action is taken soon, sea water will damage the conduit beyond repair.

In an interview with Germany’s WirtschaftsWoche magazine published on Monday, Kretschmer said: “It is important because this infrastructure can secure our energy supply in five or ten years.”

  • He insisted that it is the “most normal [thing] in the world that the pipeline is repaired, that is, the water is removed and it is sealed and thereby secured for starters.”
  • The Saxony leader stressed that no one knows what the situation will look like in a decade from now, and that “keeping as many options open for yourself as possible would be a sign of a smart politician.”

Back in June, Economy Minister Robert Habeck warned that Germany may have to scale back or even shut down some of its industrial capacity, should deliveries of Russian natural gas through Ukraine stop next year.

He said authorities in Berlin should not disregard the economic risks from energy shortages.

  • Doubts remain as to whether Ukraine and Russia will renew a contract for gas transit to Europe, set to expire at the end of 2024, as the conflict continues.

Habeck explained that while Germany has mostly weaned itself off Russian energy, other EU member states, such as Austria, Slovakia, Italy, and Hungary are still very much dependent on Russian gas.

Should supplies from Russia be discontinued, Berlin will be obliged to come to their rescue under the EU’s gas-sharing rules, creating problems for industrial consumers at home, the minister noted at the time.

The Nord Stream 1 gas pipeline and one leg of Nord Stream 2 were destroyed in a series of near-simultaneous blasts off the Danish island of Bornholm in the Baltic Sea in late September last year. In February this year, veteran US journalist Seymour Hersh claimed that the US was behind the sabotage.

Reports in the German media over the summer have suggested that authorities in Berlin suspect the possible involvement of the Ukrainian secret service in the pipelines’ destruction.

Source: RT

Unul dintre muncitorii nepalezi aflați la ATI, după explozia de la Crevedia, a plătit 4.300 de euro ca să muncească în România. Soția lui nu știe nimic despre el

Într-un document oficial, trimis pe 27 august de Ministerul Afacerilor Externe din România către Ambasada Nepalului din Berlin, se precizează că „există o mare probabilitate ca doi cetățeni nepalezi să fi fost răniți” în exploziile de la Crevedia, indicându-se și numele lor.

  • „Pentru că cei doi sunt tratați la secția de Terapie Intensivă a Spitalului Bagdasar Arseni din București, nu este posibil să fie confirmată identitatea lor la acest moment”, mai precizează documentul văzut de Libertatea. Nepalul nu are ambasadă în București, cererile fiind procesate de Ambasada Nepalului din Berlin.
  • Cei doi au 39, respectiv 34 de ani.

Un medic de la Spitalul Bagdasar Arseni ne-a spus că unul dintre nepalezi a fost transferat în străinătate, cu arsuri pe 30-40% din corp, și că celălalt, cu arsuri pe aproximativ 90% din corp, a rămas la Terapie Intensivă, cu șanse mici de supraviețuire.

  • În total, patru cetățeni nepalezi munceau la stația de gaz. Erau angajați ai firmei Flagas SRL, dar figurau scriptic ca angajați la alte puncte de lucru decât cel în care se aflau, a precizat procurorul general Alex Florența.

Starea de sănătate a celorlalți doi ar fi bună, conform informațiilor obținute de Libertatea, însă le-au ars documentele.

Rudele au aflat de pe Facebook Unul dintre cei doi grav răniți este Deepak*, un bărbat în vârstă de 34 de ani din sud-vestul Nepalului.

A venit la muncă în România la mijlocul lui martie anul acesta. Am discutat cu mai multe rude ale bărbatului. Acestea au aflat de pe Facebook că Deepak a fost rănit în explozie.

Soția lui nu fusese contactată de nicio autoritate până luni la prânz. „Mă simt atât de rău și nu mă pot opri din plâns”, i-a spus ea reporterului Libertatea.

A vorbit cu soțul ei ultima dată înainte de accident. „Vă rog să ne spuneți cum se simte”, a adăugat ea, cu disperare.

  • Pe avizul lui de muncă emis de Ministerul Muncii din Nepal apare „general worker”. Urma să lucreze doi ani în România, pe un salariu de 550 de dolari, 8 ore pe zi, 6 zile pe săptămână.
  • Firma de intermediere din România, care e trecută și ca angajator, este Work Inn Locations SRL. Pentru locul de muncă în România,

bărbatul a plătit agenției de recrutare din Nepal 610.000 de rupii nepaleze, echivalentul a 4.300 de euro, spun rudele lui. Bani împrumutați de la bancă.

  • Deepak are doi copii mici, o fetiță de 5 ani și un băiat de 2 ani. „Să ai o călătorie sigură spre România”, i-a scris soția lui pe Facebook în martie, când a plecat din Nepal, postând două fotografii cu el.

Contactat de ziar, Nawa Raj Pokharel, consulul onorific al Nepalului la București, a spus luni dimineață că nu are informații oficiale despre starea nepalezilor răniți. Întrebat despre starea celor doi muncitori nepalezi, dr. Florin Bica, purtătorul de cuvânt al Spitalului Bagdasar Arseni, a spus că nu intră în atribuțiile lui să dea astfel de informații, că centralizează datele pentru Ministerul Sănătății și ne-a recomandat să întrebăm acolo. Ministerul Sănătății nu a răspuns până la momentul publicării articolului.

*Numele muncitorului a fost schimbat pentru protejarea identității.


NATO’s Ukraine strategy has failed – ex-Italian PM

NATO’s attempts to inflict defeat on Russia in the Ukraine conflict have completely missed their mark as Moscow continues to stand tall amid Kiev’s faltering counteroffensive and Western sanctions, former Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said on Saturday.

  • Writing on Facebook, Conte, who leads the Five Star Movement party, noted that the year and a half of hostilities between Moscow and Kiev had shown that it was time to “put aside the optimistic assessments… fueled by a superficial as well as deafening war propaganda” in the West.

The strategy of the US-led military block, which has so far hinged on massive military aid to Kiev and the “logic of escalation,” has failed to bring about the much-hoped-for demise of the Russian military, Conte said. He recalled that Ukraine never managed to push Russian forces back from Artyomovsk (known as Bakhmut in Ukraine), a key Donbass stronghold that Russia captured in May after months of fierce fighting.

  • “There has been no disintegration of [Russia’s] military and paramilitary departments, there has been no retreat due to the Ukrainian counteroffensive,” the ex-prime minister stressed, adding that Western hopes for domestic political turmoil in the country also failed to materialize.

Meanwhile, the harsh sanctions imposed by the West on Russia “have not bankrupted it or crippled its economy,” Conte continued, noting that the long-stated goal of isolating Moscow “has by no means been achieved.”

To underscore his point, the politician pointed to the recent BRICS summit – Russia is a member – which ended with an unprecedented expansion of the group.

  • In addition to this, Conte claimed that the Ukraine conflict “has exposed the EU’s inability to develop an effective common strategy and to express autonomous political and economic leadership.” Instead, it has become yet another indicator of the bloc’s kowtowing to the US.

Conte’s comments come as the Ukrainian counteroffensive has failed to gain any significant ground despite more than two months of fighting. According to Moscow, Kiev has lost more than 43,000 service members and nearly 5,000 pieces of military equipment since the start of the push.

The former Italian prime minister, who held the office from 2018 to 2021, has in the past repeatedly called for peace talks between the belligerents in Ukraine while opposing further arms deliveries to Kiev, warning of a potential escalation.

Source: RT