Clashes, arson & mass arrests as riot police struggle to contain anti-lockdown rage in the Netherlands (VIDEOS)

Some 240 people have been arrested as unrest spread to at least 10 municipalities across the Netherlands, with riot police using water cannons, batons, dogs and horses to break up unauthorized anti-lockdown gatherings and riots.

Police faced off with curfew-defying crowds in The Hague, Amsterdam, Eindhoven, Enschede, Venlo, Stein, Roermond, Oosterhout, Breda and elsewhere across the nation for the second day in a row on Sunday. 

READ MORE: Rowdy youth torch Covid-19 testing site in Netherlands as nighttime curfew triggers unrest (VIDEOS)

At least 190 people, including minors, were detained in Amsterdam alone, where some 1,500 protesters gathered at the central Museum Square, according to local media.

While most of the demonstrators were peaceful, some sitting on a field with their banners, authorities declared the entire gathering was illegal under the current Covid lockdown rules, and police forcefully dispersed it using water cannons and batons.

In Eindhoven, hundreds of protesters clashed with police, pelting fireworks and rocks at officers and police vans, while mounted cops charged the crowd and used tear gas against the demonstrators.

Meanwhile, a group of rioters in Enschede tried to smash windows at the Medisch Spectrum Twente, forcing the hospital to request additional security.

Later in the evening, multiple fires were burning in the streets of The Hague, with rioters reportedly setting a police motorcycle ablaze after forcing an officer to flee.

The mayor of Venlo was forced to issue an emergency order, after an unruly mob roamed the streets smashing storefronts, shooting fireworks and throwing stones.

Dutch Royal Military police were deployed to contain the unrest in Stein and Roermond.

Multiple acts of vandalism were also reported in Oosterhout.

Authorities in neighboring Breda and Tilburg both issued emergency decrees, giving police more power to restore public order.

Previously, following clashes on Saturday night, police arrested 25 people, while 3,600 more were fined for violating the lockdown orders.

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Source: RT, Clashes, arson & mass arrests as riot police struggle to contain anti-lockdown rage in the Netherlands (VIDEOS)

Irony meets hypocrisy? When it comes to UNION vote, Amazon argues that in-person ballots are crucial for valid & fair election

After a year of hearing Jeff Bezos’s Washington Post hammer Donald Trump for decrying mass mail-in voting, conservatives were puzzled to see another Bezos company, Amazon, cite “serious and systemic flaws” with such ballots.

In this case, the online retailing behemoth is arguing that in-person voting is needed for a “valid and fair” election when employees at one of its warehouses in Alabama vote whether to unionize. Amazon has asked the National Labor Relations Board to delay the union vote for 6,000 warehouse workers so it can be held in person.

Mail-in voting was meant to provide a safer option amid surging Covid-19 cases, just as the US presidential election supposedly needed to allow for mass mail-in ballots to be cast amid the pandemic. Former President Trump argued in the months leading up to the November 3 election that heavy reliance on such ballots would make the contest more susceptible to fraud. He later blamed his loss to Democrat Joe Biden partly on such ballots.

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The Washington Post called Trump’s warnings “a fusillade of falsehoods” and said his statements on the issue were “muddled and dishonest.” In the election’s aftermath, the newspaper repeatedly called Trump’s fraud claims “baseless” and “debunked” and lamented last week that millions of Americans continue to believe “the lie that lingers.” The Post joined other mainstream media in calling the 2020 election “the most secure in US history.”

Amazon also was involved in defending the integrity of Biden’s election victory, banning conservative-friendly social media app Parler from using its servers partly to ensure that voices alleging fraudulent mail-in voting couldn’t be heard.

The hypocrisy of Amazon’s argument on mail-in voting when the election concerns unionization of its work force wasn’t lost on social media users. “That’s the most hilarious thing I’ve seen all day,” one commenter said on Twitter. “Who knew vote by mail could be an issue? Oh, the irony.” Another said, “Mail-in voting: good enough for the American people but not for Amazon.”

Seattle radio host Jason Rantz agreed, saying, “It’s remarkable that Amazon insists on in-person voting, not mail-in, for workers deciding on a union. They argue mail-in election could disenfranchise dozens or hundreds of voters.”

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Another observer saw no humor in Amazon’s actions. “This type of irony and hypocrisy isn’t funny,” he said. “It’s disgusting, and it’s tearing our nation apart.”

Adding to the irony was the fact that the Bezos empire’s divergent stances on mail-in voting apparently confused the censorship program at Twitter. When journalist Jack Posobiec tweeted about Amazon’s argument that mail-in voting has “serious and systemic flaws,” Twitter mistook it as being about the presidential ballots, restricted the message and attached a warning, saying “this claim of election fraud is disputed.”

Amazon’s union vote was scheduled to begin on February 8 by mail. “We believe that the best approach to a valid, fair and successful election is one that is conducted manually, in-person, making it easy for associates to verify and cast their vote in close proximity to their workplace,” a company spokeswoman told USA Today.

Amazon’s founder, Bezos, is the world’s second-richest man and bought the Post in 2013. Bezos has feuded with Trump since at least 2015, and Amazon waited until Biden’s first day in office, January 20, to propose helping the federal government speed distribution of Covid-19 vaccines. The timing prompted conservatives to ask where Amazon was a month earlier, when thousands of Americans were dying from the virus daily amid a slower-than-planned rollout of the vaccines.

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Source: RT, Irony meets hypocrisy? When it comes to UNION vote, Amazon argues that in-person ballots are crucial for valid & fair election

Mexican President Lopez Obrador contracts Covid-19, suffers ‘mild symptoms’


Source: RT, Mexican President Lopez Obrador contracts Covid-19, suffers ‘mild symptoms’

California church known for anti-LGBT beliefs is BOMBED… and county official's answer is ‘unity’ to address ‘hate issues’

A church east of Los Angeles that had been branded as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center because of its anti-LGBTQ views has been damaged in an IED attack, prompting a county official to essentially blame the victim.

Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda Solis noted that “violence is never the answer, even in response to hate speech,” but her plan of action following Saturday’s bombing of First Works Baptist Church in El Monte was to call for community leaders to come together to “address hate issues.”

The FBI is investigating the attack, in which a homemade explosive device was apparently thrown into the church. Responding to the scene shortly after 1am local time, firefighters encountered smoke coming out of the windows and saw the front of the building vandalized with graffiti.

The controversial civil rights non-profit SPLC has been tracking First Works Baptist as an alleged hate group going back to at least 2019. The watchdog similarly condemned the Family Research Council for alleged anti-LGBTQ bigotry, partially inspiring an August 2012 attack by a gunman who sought to kill as many employees there as possible but was disarmed after shooting a security guard.

READ MORE: Vice is promoting a SPLC ‘hate map’ of Confederate monuments. This has led to violence before

First Works Baptist had been under threat of attack. The Rev. Bruce Mejia reported an arson threat to police two weeks ago, and a protest against the church had been planned for Sunday. Threatening messages against Mejia can still be seen on Twitter. An online petition signed by more than 15,000 people demands that Mayor Jessica Ancona recognize the church as a “hate group” and “take them out of our city.”

Mejia reportedly called Saturday’s bomb attack “a little bump in the road” and said it won’t “deter us from doing what we always do.” The church held its Sunday service in a residential backyard on Sunday. A message posted on First Works Baptist’s Facebook page Saturday morning quoted Romans 12:19, saying, “Avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.”

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The SPLC has accused Mejia of calling for the government to round up gay people for mass executions.

Mejia bills First Works as a “fundamental, soul-winning” Baptist church that believes in the King James version of the Bible. “We believe that hard preaching changes lives,” he said in a video introducing the church. First Works believes “homosexuality is a sin and an abomination which God punishes with the death penalty,” according to the church’s website. 

However, branding the belief that homosexuality is a sin as “hate speech” would condemn a wide swath of conservative Americans. The Southern Baptist Convention, the largest Protestant denomination in the US with over 14 million members, has said that LGBTQ individuals are “inconsistent with God’s holy purposes in creation and redemption.”

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Source: RT, California church known for anti-LGBT beliefs is BOMBED… and county official’s answer is ‘unity’ to address ‘hate issues’

‘Badge of honor’: Arizona GOP censures state's governor and Rep. McCain for Trump opposition

Arizona Republicans expressed their displeasure with Rep. Cindy McCain, former Sen. Jeff Flake, and Gov. Doug Ducey for the trio’s opposition to Donald Trump during and after the presidential election.

Flake and McCain both endorsed Joe Biden during the race, a controversial move that broke from their party, though neither seems to regret the decision. McCain went on to be one of 10 Republicans in the House to vote to impeach Trump for a second time following the US Capitol riot.

She called the censure from her state party a “badge of honor.”

“It is a high honor to be included in a group of Arizonans who have served our state and our nation so well … and who, like my late husband John, have been censured by the AZGOP,” she said on Twitter. “I’ll wear this as a badge of honor.” 

McCain’s late husband, John, was also censured by the Arizona GOP in 2014 for having an increasingly liberal record. He also would go on to publicly feud with Trump before his death in 2018.

Gov. Ducey was listed along with Flake and McCain for Covid-19 lockdown restrictions in the state, with the party describing him as having “dictatorial powers.”

All three were pictured together at Biden’s inauguration earlier this month, with Flake describing the trio as “good company.”

Responding to the announcement from the Arizona GOP, Flake said he is “just fine being on the outs.”

Being censured is mainly a symbolic move, but it is the latest sign of trouble for Republicans who have opposed the president. Due to her impeachment vote, McCain will now be facing a primary challenger when she is up for reelection.

Kirk Adams, the chief of staff for Ducey, questioned the censures and the future of the party’s loyalty.

“This is a time for choosing for Republicans. Are we going to be the conservative party?” he said. “Or is this a party … that’s loyal to a single person?”

Arizona is a typically conservative state but it flipped in Joe Biden’s favor by a narrow margin last year. It is one of many states with results Trump claimed were due to voter fraud, though his allegations were shot down in numerous court battles. 

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Source: RT, ‘Badge of honor’: Arizona GOP censures state’s governor and Rep. McCain for Trump opposition

Trump to use millions in campaign cash, threat of third party to stop Republicans voting to impeach – report

Former President Donald Trump is reportedly planning on leveraging the threat of supporting primary challengers and starting a third party to keep Senate Republicans from voting to impeach him.

With an impeachment trial looming next month and numerous Democrats already putting their support behind the House’s article of impeachment, Trump is in a difficult position. 

According to a Washington Post report, one of the ways the former president plans on fighting back in his trial, in which he is accused of inciting an insurrection, is using his potential support primary challengers to Republicans as a way to convince them to not join Democrats in voting to impeach. There is also the looming threat of him starting a third political party, which could be a devastating blow to an already fractured Republican Party. 

“Trump advisers also say they plan to recruit opposing primary candidates and commission polling next week in districts of targeted lawmakers,” the Post reads, citing anonymous sources who have been speaking to the president in the days since he left the White House.  

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Trump has $70 million in campaign cash that will help him in these efforts. 

Supporters of the Republican stormed the US Capitol on January 6, leading to a riot that left five people dead, including a police officer. Trump spoke to a crowd in Washington DC hours before events at the Capitol and continued to push election fraud allegations, telling them to “fight like hell” – details critics have used to accuse him of inspiring the deadly protest. 

How Trump’s impeachment trial will play out remains to be seen as even Republicans appear to be split on their support. Senators like Marco Rubio have hinted they will vote against impeachment, but others such as Mitt Romney have not given indication as to where they stand, though the Utah senator did say what Trump is accused of is an “impeachable offense.” 

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Source: RT, Trump to use millions in campaign cash, threat of third party to stop Republicans voting to impeach – report

Riot cop visits hospital to apologize to woman he kicked in stomach during intense protests in St. Petersburg

The pair seen in the viral clip which caused so much outrage on social media have met again as the riot police officer came to the hospital to apologize to the woman whom he kicked in the stomach during protests in St. Petersburg.

A short video, made during a rally demanding the release of opposition figure Alexey Navalny on Saturday, showed a woman standing in the way of three officers in riot gear as they were escorting a detained man. “Why did you grab him?” she asked them, but instead of an answer received a harsh kick in the stomach from one of them and collapsed on the ground.

The woman, later identified as 54-year-old Margarita Yudina, was rushed to hospital from the scene after hitting her head on the pavement. Russian media reported that the medics described her condition as “serious” as she sustained a concussion and a head trauma.

On Sunday, Margarita was already feeling well enough to accept visitors, with one of them being the very cop who delivered her the blow.

He came to the woman’s ward with a bunch of flowers and delivered “deepest and sincere apologies.”

The officer explained that several minutes before the incident somebody in the crowd sprayed gas in his face and he couldn’t properly see what was going on due to his helmet’s visor being all misty.  

“I swear to you that it’s a shocking situation for me. When I learnt what had happened it became a personal tragedy,” he explained.

The apology was accepted. The woman told the officer that he shouldn’t worry and that things can sometimes happen under the influence of “adrenaline.”

“Everybody is alive. The flowers are so nice… It’s fine. Godspeed,” she said.

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Riot police stand in formation during protests in St. Petersburg, January 23, 2021. © Olga Maltseva / AFP
Russian police launch probe after riot cop filmed kicking woman in stomach amid Navalny protests in St. Petersburg

After the outcry on social media, St Petersburg police opened a probe into the kicking incident. The riot cop wasn’t the first visitor in Margarita’s ward on the day as local senior police chief, Colonel Sergey Muzyka, also came to apologize, saying that what happened to the woman was “unacceptable.” Authorities have promised to provide any necessary help to the victim.

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Source: RT, Riot cop visits hospital to apologize to woman he kicked in stomach during intense protests in St. Petersburg

Reporter critical of Antifa flees US amid threats as ‘POLITICAL REFUGEE,’ decades after his parents arrived as asylum seekers

Journalist Andy Ngo, whose parents fled to the US from Vietnam in 1978, has become a political refugee himself, fleeing to London, saying he received death threats from Antifa over his coverage of the movement.

“For a number of months now, there’s just been increasing threats of violence against me, promises by Antifa extremists to kill me,” the Portland native said Saturday night in a Sky News interview. Local law enforcement authorities did nothing about the alleged threats, even when Ngo provided names of the suspects, he said.

“It’s pained me a lot, temporarily having to leave the country and home that settled my parents who came there as political refugees,” Ngo added.

Ngo came to increased prominence after he was attacked by a mob of Antifa protesters in 2019. There have been no arrests in connection with that attack – in which Ngo was beaten, robbed and hospitalized with a brain injury – even though it was caught on camera from various angles and the journalist’s lawyer provided names of suspects to police.

Some Antifa members have condemned Ngo for “enabling fascism” and exposing them to danger by reporting their names and posting their arrest photos. He was vilified by Rolling Stone magazine, which branded him as a “right-wing troll” and said he tries to “demonize” Antifa.

Hatred towards Ngo apparently escalated even further with the upcoming publication of his book, ‘Unmasked’, which chronicles Antifa’s history of violence and its “radical plan to destroy democracy.”

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Powell’s City of Books, the Portland retailer which is touted as the world’s largest independent bookstore, was targeted by protesters after saying earlier this month that it would refuse to stock Ngo’s tome on its shelves but would continue selling it online. Demonstrations outside the flagship Powell’s store in Portland were sometimes violent and dragged on for at least a week, forcing the massive retailer to close early and evacuate employees and customers out the back door.

The protests, which some observers called “modern-day book burning,” may have had an unintended consequence by bringing more attention to ‘Unmasked’. The book, which is scheduled for release on February 2, is already the No. 1 seller in several political categories on At one point earlier this month, it was the overall top seller by the online behemoth.

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Ngo said the same Democrat politicians who have condemned and magnified the January 6 US Capitol riot were silent “at best” when Antifa and Black Lives Matter plagued Portland with 120 days of riots, including violent attacks on a federal courthouse, last year. He said some even promoted crowdfunding efforts to get rioters out of jail, while others described federal law enforcement officers as “Trump’s Gestapo and secret police.”

Rioting in Portland was so bad on President Joe Biden’s Inauguration Day that 15 Antifa activists were arrested, nearly half of whom had been busted and released for similar crimes last year, Ngo said. “This is a nightmare version of Groundhog Day,” he added.

Reminded that Biden had called Antifa “an idea, not an organization” during last year’s presidential campaign, Ngo pointed out that documents leaked to him show Antifa’s organizational setup, including processes for recruiting, radicalizing and vetting new members.

“Very sad,” author Julia Smith said of Ngo’s fleeing to London. “This is not the America his parents sought.”

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Source: RT, Reporter critical of Antifa flees US amid threats as ‘POLITICAL REFUGEE,’ decades after his parents arrived as asylum seekers

National Guard to remain in Washington, DC until MARCH to provide security for impeachment trial – report

Some 5,000 National Guard troops will reportedly remain deployed in Washington, DC throughout former President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial, staying in the capital until mid-March. However, discontent is brewing in the ranks.

According to an anonymously sourced Politico report on Sunday, a contingency force of 7,000 National Guard troops will stay in DC until Trump’s trial begins in February, after which 5,000 will stay put until the trial concludes, likely in the middle of March.

Politico’s sources said the deployment was necessary due to “impeachment security concerns,” yet the troops say they’ve been given little information about their mission, which one guardsman said is “very unusual for any military mission.”

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Some 25,000 National Guard troops were deployed to the city following a pro-Trump riot on Capitol Hill earlier this month. The troops stayed on guard through President Joe Biden’s inauguration, even as the supposed threat of further pro-Trump rioting and “extremism” never materialized.

Morale among the troops has since plummeted. Several thousand soldiers were evicted from Capitol Hill following Biden’s inauguration and forced to sleep in an unheated parking garage, and nearly 200 have tested positive for Covid-19. Nourishing food is reportedly scarce, with even ready-to-eat rations in short supply.

“Even if they do arrive all on time, the calories are just not there for the amount of work we put in and time we’re spending on our feet, in the cold, in full gear,” one Guard member told Politico.

Another compared the troops’ living conditions to those of wartime. “Quite frankly this is not a ‘combat zone’, so combat conditions shouldn’t apply,” one guardsman and Afghanistan veteran told the news site.

The deployment has angered some Republicans, who see it as a piece of Democrat-orchestrated political theater, rather than a security necessity. At least eight Republican governors, among them Florida’s Ron DeSantis and Texas’ Greg Abbott, have called their states’ troops home. “They’re soldiers,” DeSantis told Fox News on Friday, “they are not [House Speaker] Nancy Pelosi’s servants.”

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In addition to the soldiers remaining behind, the US Capitol is still surrounded with a twelve-foot security fence topped with razor wire, and plans are in the works to make the fencing a permanent fixture.

The heightened security in DC is as politically divisive as Trump’s upcoming impeachment trial: for Democrats it is a symbol of the threat posed by pro-Trump “domestic terrorists” and justification for tough new surveillance laws, while for Republicans it demonstrates Biden’s unpopularity and lack of mandate to govern.

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Source: RT, National Guard to remain in Washington, DC until MARCH to provide security for impeachment trial – report

Trump loses Dr. Birx too as she claims admin presented ‘parallel’ data and graphs on Covid-19, ‘always’ considered quitting

Dr. Deborah Birx has joined Anthony Fauci as another member of the Coronavirus Task Force in criticizing Donald Trump, claiming she “always” considered resigning and some in the administration believed Covid-19 was a “hoax.”

In a Sunday interview with Face the Nation, Birx got candid on her time with the Trump administration, suggesting disinformation was being pushed about the ongoing pandemic.

“I saw the president presenting graphs that I never made,” Birx said, putting blame on unidentified advisers who did not take Covid-19 as seriously as she did.

Though she says Trump appreciated the “gravity” of the situation, she claimed others did not. 

“Someone inside was creating a parallel set of data and graphics that were shown to the president,” Birx said.

There were people in the White House, she added, that “definitely believed that this was a hoax.”

Birx said this friction led to her “always” considering resigning her position on the task force.

“I had to ask myself every morning, is there something that I think I can do that would be helpful in responding to this pandemic and it’s something I asked myself every night,” she said, revealing colleagues who had known her for decades saw her as politically aligned with the former president. 

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Birx’s new interview stands in contrast to her time in the White House when she found herself defending Trump multiple times as Democrats accused him of not taking the pandemic seriously and spreading “disinformation.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California) even specifically targeted Birx in August and aligned her with the former president.

“I think the president has been spreading disinformation about the virus and she is his appointee, so I don’t have confidence there,” she told ABC at the time.

Birx, who also served under George W. Bush and Barack Obama, resigned her position last week as President Joe Biden took office. 

Leading up to her resignation, Birx was one of many government officials to be accused of violating the very Covid-19 restrictions she was promoting to the public. In December, she warned Americans to be “vigilant” and to keep holiday celebrations limited to “your immediate household,” but traveled to Delaware and met with three generations of her family, mixing multiple households. 

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Another prominent member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, Dr. Anthony Fauci, has also become much more critical of Trump since the shift in power. Though he claimed he was “not muzzled” while Trump was in office, he’s now alleged that he was prevented from appearing on certain news networks and feared speaking up at times because there would be retaliation.

Unlike Birx, Fauci has remained in his position as head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and continues being a leading health official on the pandemic, giving a White House press briefing this week. 

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Source: RT, Trump loses Dr. Birx too as she claims admin presented ‘parallel’ data and graphs on Covid-19, ‘always’ considered quitting

‘Absolute meddling’: Kremlin condemns US embassy’s support for unauthorized rallies, Foreign Ministry demands explanation

The US embassy in Moscow interfered in Russia’s affairs by backing anti-government rallies, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov has said, asking people to imagine the “discomfort” of Washington if Russian diplomats did the same.

Statements coming from the US embassy regarding Saturday’s demonstrations in Russia were “inappropriate,” Vladimir Putin’s press secretary told TV channel Rossiya-1. “Of course, indirectly they represent absolute meddling into our domestic affairs,” he said.

With those publications, the American diplomats also showed their de facto “support for the violation of the Russian law,” since the anti-government protests they spoke about were unauthorized, Peskov pointed out.

If our embassy would act the same way during the riots in the US… it would, probably, cause some sense of discomfort in Washington. So, I always like to recommend our counterparts to project this situation on themselves.

In his further comments on the protests, the Kremlin spokesman said that he respected all points of view but was “absolutely against illegal rallies.” He also insisted that those who supported the government vastly outnumbered the opposition demonstrators.

“Many will be saying now that a lot of people took part in illegal actions. No, just a few people took part in them, while many people vote for Putin… If you compare the numbers, you’ll understand how few people it actually is, though they’re also Russian citizens.”

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Riot police officers disperse protesters during a rally of the Russian opposition in support of Alexei Navalny in the center of Moscow, Russia.
‘Hypocrisy is a tool of US diplomacy’: Russia slams Washington’s claim about ‘suppressing’ Navalny protests

Activists backing opposition figure Alexey Navalny staged rallies in many cities across Russia on Saturday, despite Covid-19 restrictions. Tensions ran high during the protests, leading to clashes with police and arrests.

Navalny was jailed for parole violation on his return from Germany a week ago, having been there recovering from an alleged poisoning in August. The opposition figure has blamed the Russian authorities for masterminding an attack against him, a claim consistently denied by the Kremlin.

Amid the rallies on Saturday, the US embassy in Moscow wrote on Twitter that it supported the right of all people to a peaceful protest and that “the actions of the Russian authorities are aimed at suppressing those rights.”

A day before that, it also posted a notice on its website, advising US citizens in the country to “avoid” the rallies due to “possible dispersal of demonstrators.”

The warning contained a list of a dozen major cities with the locations and the time of the demonstrations. For example, it said that in the capital Moscow the protesters would gather in the center and “march towards the Kremlin.”

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Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova wrote on social media that the American diplomats would have to “explain themselves” regarding the statements.

Similarly to Peskov, Zakharova asked her readers to “imagine what would’ve happened if the Russian Embassy in Washington published a map with protest routes and their final destination being the Capitol, for example.” Such actions would spark “hysteria from the US politicians” and threats to expel Russian diplomats, she insisted.

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Source: RT, ‘Absolute meddling’: Kremlin condemns US embassy’s support for unauthorized rallies, Foreign Ministry demands explanation

Ozil and out: Arsenal outcast Mesut Ozil bids farewell – and vows 'no grudges' after ignominious end to life at Gunners

Mesut Ozil has issued an emotional farewell statement after departing Arsenal for Turkish Super Lig side Fenerbahce after signing a three-and-a-half-year deal with the club.

Ozil has been linked with the Arsenal exit door for the last two seasons, though the player himself has always hoped to stay at the club and force his way back into the first team at the Emirates.

But, after being ruled surplus to requirements, Ozil finally agreed terms on his departure, had his contract canceled by the London and on Sunday signed for Turkish side Fenerbahce, ending his spell on the sidelines in the English capital.

Ozil was one of the top earners at the Emirates, with the World Cup winner failing to make a first-team appearance since March. His initial time at the club was hugely successful as he helped Arsenal end their trophy drought by winning the FA Cup in his first season with the team.

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Piers Morgan hit out at departing Arsenal star Mesut Ozil. © Reuters
‘Lazy, manipulative wastrel’: Piers Morgan rips into departing Arsenal outcast Mesut Ozil

But the $57.5 million signing failed to become a mainstay at the club, with fans and pundits alike criticizing the German international for a perceived lack of effort while on the pitch.

But, despite receiving mixed reviews during his time at the club, Ozil made clear his love for the London team as he issued a lengthy and emotional farewell message via his social media channels.

“Dear Gunners,” he began.

“Nearly 3,000 days. It feels strange to be writing this message after such a long time here in London. Since the moment I arrived, it has felt like home. I was welcomed with open arms by all the Arsenal staff, my teammates, and most importantly the incredible fans.

“I will always be grateful for the trust placed in me by Arsene Wenger in September of 2013. I’ve grown up as an adult in North London, a place I can always call home. I’ll never forget that.

“Being with Arsenal for so long has meant I’ve experienced a big mix of ups and downs. Over 250 games, 44 goals and 71 assists later, it’s time that Arsenal and I finally part ways.

“Together, we ended the club’s nine-year trophy drought, and brought long needed silverware back to the fans who deserved it.

“It is difficult for me to put into words the love I feel for this club and the fans. How could I possibly describe eight years of gratitude in a single letter?

“While I may no longer be playing for the club, I will continue to support them in every game they play. I will be a Gunner for life – no doubt about that. Now more than ever we must all be behind the team. This season is a tough one for every team in the Premier League, and that is why we must all back the current squad and staff no matter the results.

“For me, it’s been amazing to see some of the boys from Hale End coming through into the first team setup. As we all know, they are the future of our club, and I wish them every success!

“Hearing my name chanted around the Emirates will forever give me goosebumps, and the memories I’ve made putting on this jersey will stick with me for life.

“Much has been written about my time at Arsenal, especially in recent months. Arsenal is a club of class and prestige, something that I felt every time I walked onto the pitch. Players, staff and management always come and go – but the club’s values and fans will remain forever.

“The principles of class, respect and dignity must never be forgotten. It is the responsibility of every single person from the club to make sure they carry out their job in the name of these values.

“As I said, the past few months haven’t been the easiest. Like every player, I want to play every minute of football for my team. In life however, things do not always play out how we expect or want them to.

“But it is important to look for the positives in life and not the negative, which is why I try to live with no regrets and holding no grudges. Being at Arsenal was more than just football, it was about community. As much as I tried to assist on the pitch, I tried to be part of the London community as much as I could too.

“North London took me in as one of its own, and every season I embarked on a different project to bring happiness to this incredible community. Although I might be leaving North London, this will never stop.

“It might be the end of a chapter, but my connection with this amazing club will never fade. It might be goodbye for now, but it’s not goodbye forever.”

Despite being a major part of Arsene Wenger’s plans, Ozil soon found himself on the outside of the first team, looking in, under Unai Emery. And when things failed to improve for him under current boss Mikel Arteta, Ozil finally decided that moving on was the best option for his career.

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Ozil is finally set to leave Arsenal after a protracted standoff with the club. © Reuters
Arsenal £350k-a-week outcast Mesut Ozil ‘agrees deal to terminate contract’ as playmaker set to join Fenerbahce

His departure, described by the club as being for “football reasons” brings his chapter in London to an end, Arteta saying it was a “privilege” to play with and coach him.

“Mesut was at the heart of many great moments for this club over the years, including those three FA Cup final wins,” Arteta said.

“These successes will always be part of our history. We thank Mesut and wish him all the best with Fenerbahce.”

Ozil’s statement drew plenty of reaction from fans, with some wishing him well and others bidding him good riddance.

One said, “When he walked off the pitch in Baku, after been subbed with 30 min to go, he lost me. Totaly unacceptable and indefensible. Deserve nothing after that.”

But the majority of responses were overwhelmingly positive.

One replied, “As far as goodbyes in football go, this has to be the best I’ve read. You bought a smile to my face when I used to watch you play the beautiful game, brought so much to the community in north London and you also bought a tear to my eye with your words when leaving.”

Another added, “All the best for your future. Things might not have worked out towards the end of your time at Arsenal, but the true fans will be grateful for what you did at our club. Some amazing assists and goals. At times you made the game look so easy. So again I say thanks and good luck.”

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Mesut Ozil (left) clashed with Piers Morgan on Twitter during Arsenal's Premier League draw with Leeds © Action Images via Reuters / John Sibley
‘You’ve been FINISHED’: Arsenal outcast Ozil sends fans into hysteria by slamming TV host Morgan during team’s Premier League game

Source: RT, Ozil and out: Arsenal outcast Mesut Ozil bids farewell – and vows ‘no grudges’ after ignominious end to life at Gunners

Dustin Poirier details savage calf-kick strategy which left Conor McGregor on crutches after UFC 257 defeat (VIDEO)

Dustin Poirier’s victory over Conor McGregor at UFC 257 may have ended in an explosive flurry of punches but the brutal calf kicks dished out by the American helped pave the way for his knockout success.

Poirier finished McGregor with a barrage of big shots midway through the second round at the Etihad Arena on Fight Island in Abu Dhabi, but the Irishman would later say he had first been disabled by the excruciating damage done by kicks to his lower right leg.

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Poirier stunned McGregor on Fight Island. © USA Today Sports
UFC 257: Dustin Poirier KNOCKS OUT Conor McGregor in second round on Fight Island (VIDEO)

“That calf kick. I’ve never experienced that, and it’s a good one,” McGregor said after arriving at his post-fight press duties hobbling and with the aid of a crutch.

“My leg is completely dead. Even though I felt like I was checking them, they were just sinking into the muscle at the front of the leg and it was badly compromised.

“It’s like an American football in my suit at the moment… The leg was compromised and I didn’t adjust. And that’s it. Fair play to Dustin and I’m very happy for him.”

Speaking to ESPN’s Brett Okamoto, Poirier and coach Mike Brown detailed the thinking behind the calf kicks which helped the lightweight star avenge the defeat he suffered at McGregor’s hands in their first fight back in 2014.

“[Dustin] kicks hard as f*ck,” Brown joked before the 32-year-old Poirier laid out the strategy in more depth.

“I kick hard and Conor has a wide stance, so we thought it would be hard to check,” the fighter said. 

“I started kicking through his check, because he wasn’t checking correctly, it was still the muscle part of his calf, he wasn’t turning his shin all the way outward, so it wasn’t shin to shin.”

“Even when he checked, he was getting the bad part of the kick.

“And I know from experience, I’ve been crippled with those kicks from Jim Miller, I’ve been hurt with those a few times, the swelling in your calf has nowhere to go, it’s not like in your thigh where it can spread out, you get compartment syndrome and the swelling gets stuck in pockets, and it’s so painful.”

McGregor certainly felt the effects long after the bout, later sharing a picture of himself with his injured leg elevated as he relaxed on a yacht.

The Irish former two-weight champion has issued a call for a trilogy with Poirier, although with lightweight king Khabib Nurmagomedov expected to vacate his title, UFC boss Dana White has suggested he would look to book ‘The Diamond’ in a scrap for gold with new arrival Michael Chandler.

READ MORE: ‘New king in town’: Michael Chandler DESTROYS Dan Hooker inside one round at UFC 257, calls out Khabib

Making his UFC debut, three-time former Bellator champion Chandler scored a spectacular win of his own in the co-main event on Fight Island, finishing the usually resilient Dan Hooker inside the first round.  

Whoever Poirier faces next, they can’t say they haven’t been forewarned about the devastating calf kicks in his formidable arsenal.  

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Khabib Nurmagoemdov is unlikely ever to rematch Conor McGregor after his defeat at UFC 257. © Getty Images / USA Today Sports
Faded force Conor McGregor can kiss goodbye to Khabib rematch – so what next for The Notorious after UFC 257 defeat?

Source: RT, Dustin Poirier details savage calf-kick strategy which left Conor McGregor on crutches after UFC 257 defeat (VIDEO)

Anti-lockdown protesters in Denmark burn effigy of PM, brawl with police (VIDEOS)

Crowds of black-clad protesters have taken to the streets, launching fireworks, torching an effigy of Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen, and clashing with cops.

Hundreds of black-clad protesters clashed with police on the streets of Copenhagen on Saturday night, shooting fireworks at the officers and getting batons in return. Violent demonstrations have become a weekly occurrence in the Danish capital, where lockdown measures were extended at the beginning of the year and where the government recently clamped down further on the size of gatherings permitted.

The group, calling themselves the ‘Men in Black’, torched an effigy of Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen. By the end of the night, at least five people were arrested, Copenhagen police said on Twitter.

Earlier in the evening, RT’s video news agency Ruptly filmed ranks of protesters marching behind a banner reading “Black Clad Resistance.” Carrying flaming torches, the protesters set off flares, with some demonstrators cracking open cans of beer, evidently treating the march as a party.

However, any festive mood was soon broken when clashes broke out. Armored riot police could be seen chasing and tackling some protesters to the ground as sirens echoed overhead.

Similar scenes were reported two weeks ago, when police arrested nine protesters in Copenhagen, after being pelted with fireworks and empty bottles. 

Amid the lockdown, Denmark is pressing ahead with a program of mass vaccination. As of last week, around 2.5 percent of the country’s 5.8 million residents have been vaccinated. Nearly 195,000 cases of Covid-19 have been reported in Denmark, along with 1,970 deaths, according to figures from Johns Hopkins University.

Cases in Denmark have declined steadily from their mid-December high of around 4,000 per day, though deaths have continued to track upwards. As the vaccination program continues, the Danish Health Ministry announced plans to roll out a digital ‘vaccine passport’ early this year.

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Denmark to roll out coronavirus ‘vaccine passport’ for travelers in early 2021

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Source: RT, Anti-lockdown protesters in Denmark burn effigy of PM, brawl with police (VIDEOS)

Senator Cruz’s tweet about watching Disney’s ‘Fantasia’ as a child results in Seth Rogen calling him ‘FASCIST piece of S**T’

Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and actor Seth Rogen came to verbal blows on Twitter, with the former getting himself in hot water for calling the ‘Superbad’ star a “Marxist with Tourettes.”

It all began with a simple tweet from Cruz, who shared an early childhood memory of watching Disney’s ‘Fantasia.’

Responding to a tweet from MGM Studios asking people what their first movie was, Cruz shared a non-political tweet that set off Rogan, an outspoken liberal who has criticized the senator before. 

“Fantasia. It was playing at a film revival. It scared me; I cried—I was 4. My Mom had to take me out. Good times,” Cruz wrote in response to MGM’s tweet. 

The Republican’s admission to liking a movie as a child was apparently too much for Rogen to handle, and he simply had to respond. 

“Everyone who made that film would hate you,” Rogen replied.

Cruz pushed back against Rogen with both an insult and a compliment.

“They’re all dead. So I think we’re good. And Walt Disney was a Republican,” he said. “Even though you behave online like a Marxist with Tourette’s (screaming ‘F U! F U!’ is really, really clever), your movies are typically pretty funny. I’m sure you hate that I enjoy them.”

In separate tweets, Rogen slammed Cruz as a “fascist piece of s**t.” The senator shot back, labeling the actor a “moron” and noting the bias in Hollywood against conservative artists that has been brought up for years by right-leaning filmmakers. 

It was Cruz’s reference to Tourette’s syndrome that drew him the most attention though, with some accusing the Republican of exploiting the condition for an insult – including Rogen, who appeared to suggest he has his own experience with Tourette’s.

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Source: RT, Senator Cruz’s tweet about watching Disney’s ‘Fantasia’ as a child results in Seth Rogen calling him ‘FASCIST piece of S**T’

Rowdy youth torch Covid-19 testing site in Netherlands as nighttime curfew triggers unrest (VIDEOS)

The Netherlands has endured its first night of curfew imposed in a bid to halt the spread of the coronavirus. The restriction was broken at multiple locations with things getting particularly hot in one town.

A group of rowdy protesters gathered in the port area of Urk, 80 kilometers (50 miles) northeast of the capital, Amsterdam overnight, shortly after the curfew went into effect at 9pm. The group was driving cars, honking horns, and waving national flags at the square, footage from the scene shows.

The protesters became rowdy and set a drive-in coronavirus site located at the square on fire. The group then apparently waited for police to arrive to taunt the officers and pelt them with various projectiles.

Minor scuffles between the curfew-defiant individuals and police were also observed in other parts of the town. Some protesters launched fireworks at the officers, who arrived in full riot gear and a sizeable unit of police dogs.

The nighttime unrest was condemned by local authorities. Mayor Cees van den Bos called the events “dramatic” and shameful.

“This is not only unacceptable, but also a slap in the face, especially for the local health authority staff who do all they can at the test center to help people from Urk,” the local authorities said, promising to strictly enforce the curfew in the future.

A similar incident also unfolded in the town of Stein close to the border with Belgium. A group of around 100 young people gathered in the streets, playing music and drinking. When a sizeable police force was deployed to disperse them, scuffles ensued, resulting in at least 14 arrests.

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People eat and drink at the Maly Janek Pub in Jince village, Czech Republic on January 23, 2021.
Czech restaurants & pubs open in defiance of Covid-19 rules, owners to launch ‘political movement’ to circumvent restrictions

Unlike many countries worldwide, the Netherlands took a laissez-faire approach in battling the coronavirus pandemic throughout most of 2020. The situation changed in December, as cases mounted and the government turned to harsher measures, and ultimately to the first curfew since WWII.

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Source: RT, Rowdy youth torch Covid-19 testing site in Netherlands as nighttime curfew triggers unrest (VIDEOS)

China’s century: Yuan to dethrone US dollar as major global currency, trend forecaster tells Max Keiser

China has become the only major economy left standing after the coronavirus pandemic rattled global trade and is set to strip the US of its leading positions soon, Gerald Celente, publisher of The Trends Journal, believes.

Joining Max Keiser in the latest episode of RT’s Keiser Report, Celente said that China is the top trend of this year. It is also projected to dominate the whole 21st century, like the US did after World War II, and is on path to replace America, according to the analyst. 

“The 20th century was the American century, the 21st century is going to be the Chinese century,” he said, noting Washington is more concerned about waging wars, while China is focused on its business. 

He further stressed that the US now resembles England after World War I, when the dollar took the place of the British pound. “I could see in the years ahead the yuan being the major currency of the world, and the dollar becoming the pound, getting pounded down,” the analyst said.

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

Source: RT, China’s century: Yuan to dethrone US dollar as major global currency, trend forecaster tells Max Keiser

Orthodox Jews clash with police in Israel as some religious schools open in violation of lockdown (VIDEOS)

Clashes broke out and arrests were made in three Israeli cities as police moved in to shut down yeshiva religious schools that opened for students despite the coronavirus lockdown. In Jerusalem, water cannons were also deployed.

On Sunday morning, hundreds of Orthodox believers gathered to defend the yeshiva in Jerusalem’s neighborhood of Mea Shearim, a Haredi stronghold in the city. Religious schools that teach the Talmud and the Torah sacred texts are scheduled to open for in-person studies this week, which contradicts the restrictions by the government of PM Benjamin Netanyahu.

As soon as the police arrived, the protesters began tossing foreign objects at the officers and shouting obscenities. They labeled the police “Nazis” and “kapos” – Jews that collaborated with Hitler’s forces during World War II.

There were clashes, which resulted in at least one arrest. The police ended up deploying water cannons to disperse the crowd.

Tensions were also high in the Mediterranean city of Ashdod where dozens of Haredi tried breaking into a local religious school.

The scuffles saw four officers injured and four troublemakers detained, the police said. The demonstrators also blocked traffic and damaged the fence around the yeshiva.

A shocking video from the scene shows a police officer grabbing a young Haredi school boy and throwing him to the pavement before picking him up again and tossing him into the crowd.

Clashes, in which dozens were involved, also were reported in the mainly Haredi town of Bnei Brak. 

On Saturday, the leader of the local religious sect, Rabbi Yisroel Hager, called for schools to reopen, saying that it was “crucial” for his community. However, he retracted his words several hours later, instead urging his followers to abide by health regulations and get vaccinated. 

Following the unrest on Sunday, the police reiterated that it will continue to enforce anti-coronavirus measures “in all communities” despite the protests. The lockdown in Israel, which among other things orders the closure of all educational institutions, will be in place until at least January 31.

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Orthodox Jews have been actively protesting against the Covid-19 restrictions, which hinder their religious practices, since the start of the pandemic, with clashes and arrests happening on a regular basis. At the same time, the Haredi has become one of the groups hardest hit by the virus, with experts blaming neglecting health regulations and the large sizes of their families for such a scenario.

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Source: RT, Orthodox Jews clash with police in Israel as some religious schools open in violation of lockdown (VIDEOS)

Korean scientists may have discovered ‘elixir of youth’ that ‘erases wrinkles’ and could even reverse brain and muscle decline

Researchers have developed a rejuvenating gene therapy for human skin that has the potential to make “ageing a reversible phenomenon.” RT spoke to the lead scientist, Professor Kwang-Hyun Cho, about the astonishing breakthrough.

Scientists at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) have discovered a way to make skin cells “grow younger.” They claim the original technique can be used to “reverse the ageing process and prevent diseases related to ageing and prolong life span.” 

Speaking to RT from KAIST University, Professor Kwang-Hyun Cho, the lead scientist in the study, said  seeing the revitalized skin in the laboratory was “dramatic,” and added that the newly discovered technique “applies not only to human skin but also to our whole body.” 

Professor Cho described his newly developed technique as “opening the door for a new generation that perceives ageing as a reversible biological phenomenon.” It relies on using chemical inhibition and gene interference to “switch off” a molecule that makes cells grow old. The ageing of a cell is called cell senescence. The researchers were able to “reawaken” skin cells in the lab and rejuvenate their ability to repair and divide into newer versions of themselves. 

The results showed that the overall functionality of skin tissue was regenerated, giving the skin a healthy amount of collagen and elastic fibers, ridding the tissue of wrinkles. The promise of the technique could see an end to the ravages of age like dryness, creases, loss of elasticity and thinning skin.

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Cashing in on younger skin

Obviously, South Korea’s booming cosmetic surgery industry is keen to exploit any new medicine that promises to make slack jawlines, age spots, and wrinkled foreheads a thing of the past. They know its value can only increase because the world’s aged population is at its highest level in human history. With an estimated 700 million people over 60, the desire to be forever young can only intensify. 

Seoul-based cosmetics company Amorepacific is already on the case and has begun to develop the technology further with assistance from the scientists from KAIST. Director of research and development at Amorepacific, Park Won-Seok, said this joint research allowed the company to see if the technique had the potential “to reverse the ageing process in the skin.” He added that his corporation will continue to build on the research to “improve the progress of ageing that was previously thought impossible.” Amorepacific is already seeing the benefits of this collaboration with its share price rising steadily since the announcement in late November.

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Masks up = nip and tuck

The world’s fixation with outward appearances has been amplified by our addiction to social media sites like Facebook, TikTok, and Instagram. South Korea could top the leaderboard for today’s ‘beauty-sick’ culture. The term ‘beauty-sick’ was coined by US psychologist professor Renee Engeln, who described a growing tendency to place beauty at the top of an individual’s personal agenda. Meaning people will commit more money, resources, and time towards their appearance than is healthy. 

Fixation on beauty above all has reached epidemic proportions in South Korea, particularly affecting  women, but also a growing number of younger men thanks to the popularity of porcelain-faced boybands like BTS. There has been a surge in demand for cosmetic surgery throughout the coronavirus pandemic with many Koreans using their Covid-19 stimulus handouts for a little nip and tuck. Aesthetic perfection seekers are taking advantage of mandatory face masks and stay at home orders, viewing them as the perfect opportunity to have some work done. Statistics from 2019 by the International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ISAPS) revealed South Korea has the highest density of plastic surgeons in the world, where an estimated 60 percent of females in their 20s have had a cosmetic procedure.

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A chilling recipe for eternal life

Are there any drawbacks?

As uncontrolled cell division could lead to the formation of malignant tumors, I asked Professor Cho if there were any fears that “reawakening” senescent cells could cause cancer. He said that these genetically edited skin cells will be able to renew, without turning cancerous, telling me that his experiments revealed that the “cells proliferated safely upon external growth signals.” When no external growth signals were received, the cells “died by apoptosis.” Apoptosis is the programmed cell death that happens naturally when the human body is in its early development phase. In this way, he says the skin will not have an accumulation of “senescent cells”‘ that can cause inflammation to their surroundings.  

But those hoping to roll back the wrinkles with Professor Cho’s miracle cure will have to have deep pockets. He said that there could be a significant cost in bringing the current procedure to the stage where it can be used in surgeries. His new approach could be market-ready within “five to seven years, depending on the success of future experiments.” However, he claims that by then “it would be able to replace the current plastic surgery for mitigating wrinkles.” Perhaps even more excitingly, with more development, the method may also “reverse muscle loss and brain deterioration” and could even be used as an “anti-cancer therapy.” 

However, the cost factor involved could accentuate the growing divide between the rich and the poor, not to mention blurring the distinction between the young and the old. Conjuring up of images of grandmothers whose youthful facades are the envy of their granddaughters. Or two pensioners meeting, one carrying the deep creases of age, the other flaunting the porcelain skin of a K-pop singer.

This revolutionary new technique may restore the face to its former youth, but will it repair the fragility and insecurity of the person beneath?

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Source: RT, Korean scientists may have discovered ‘elixir of youth’ that ‘erases wrinkles’ and could even reverse brain and muscle decline

Liberals can’t accept US is a ‘leading terrorist state,’ just as Trump supporters can’t accept his election loss – Chomsky to RT

Just like many Trump supporters, US liberal intellectuals exist in a fantasy world in which a leading purveyor of “international terrorism” – the US government – is perceived as a fundamentally benign force, Noam Chomsky told RT.

“Just as you can’t get the Republican mobs to admit that the election was lost, you can’t get liberal American intellectuals to recognize that the United States is a leading terrorist state,” Chomsky told RT’s Chris Hedges.

The facts are that for almost the entirety of its history as a sovereign state, the US has waged a war of aggression against somebody, Chomsky said. The so-called ‘War on Terror’, which Ronald Reagan made the focus of his foreign policy, was Washington dealing with “resistance to US terrorism in Central America and also in South Africa.”

Nelson Mandela was considered terrorist by the US until 2008, long after the apartheid regime was dismantled. The US clandestine war on Nicaragua was ruled by the International Court of Justice a breach of international law.

“What the Reagan administration was doing was the peak of terrorism by our own definitions,” Chomsky said. “But the New York Times ran an editorial saying we can dismiss the judgement of the court because it’s a hostile forum. Why is it a hostile forum? Because it condemned the US.”

Another victim of the US is Cuba, which endured a decades-long blockade and a sustained US campaign to undermine its government and cause an uprising. In the US, those actions are perceived as the CIA hatching silly plots to take away Fidel Castro’s beard. “It was not that, it was a serious terrorist war that almost led to the destruction of the world” with the Cuban missile crisis, Chomsky pointed out.

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The failure of liberal intellectuals to see US policies for what they are is not something buried in the history books or limited to what is happening in foreign lands. The January 6 riot at the Capitol, for example, was not some “crazed mob” of Trump supporters coming “out of nowhere” and being defeated to prove the glory of American democracy.

“There are really serious ills – bipartisan, incidentally, although the Republicans have gone off the spectrum – but those are not being discussed,” he said.

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And this failure is doing real harm to millions of Americans. The ideas of Bernie Sanders, a politician who would easily be considered right-center in a country like Germany, were painted as too radical for the US during the presidential campaign.

“What he is calling for – universal healthcare, free higher education – is just taken for granted by conservative parties in Europe,” Chomsky said. “This is such an insult against the American people to say, you are so backward and reactionary that you can’t have what Mexico has, what France has, what Brazil has.”

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Source: RT, Liberals can’t accept US is a ‘leading terrorist state,’ just as Trump supporters can’t accept his election loss – Chomsky to RT

Germany buys Trump-touted antibody cocktail against Covid-19 at $2,400 per dose – health minister

The German government has purchased 200,000 doses of the drug which was used to treat then-President Donald Trump during his brief stint at a hospital in the wake of a positive Covid-19 test.

“Starting next week, the monoclonal antibodies will be used in Germany as the first country in the EU. Initially in university clinics,” German Health Minister Jens Spahn said in an interview with Bild am Sonntag, which was published on Sunday.

The drug is produced by the biotech lab Regeneron, which is based in the state of New York, from proteins produced by mice bioengineered to mimic a human immune system. It helps neutralize viral particles in a body, helping the organism beat the infection.

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It is supposed to be used for emergency intervention, protecting high-risk patients from serious symptoms and administered after a Covid-19 case is confirmed. Trump was arguably the most famous recipient of the treatment, which he received at the Walter Reed Hospital after testing positive.

The drug called REGN-COV2 remains experimental and quite costly. The US media estimated that the doses supplied under a contract with the US government would cost anywhere between $1,500 and $6,500 per treatment. Spahn said Germany paid €400 million for 200,000 doses, which translates into a price tag of $2,400 per dose.

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The news comes as the German government is being criticized for the slower-than-expected rollout of Covid-19 vaccines. The minister suggested that the Germans “should be careful that 2021 does not become the year of blame” and said politicians and the public shared responsibility for the high infection rates the country experiences today.

As of Saturday, the country has some 275,800 active cases. The total death toll from the disease stands at 51,521.

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Source: RT, Germany buys Trump-touted antibody cocktail against Covid-19 at ,400 per dose – health minister

‘He went crazy’: Russian team disqualified after skier clashes with Finnish rival before PLOWING INTO him at finish line (VIDEO)

The Russian men’s first team were stripped of their bronze medal in the 4 x 7.5 km relay at the Cross-country World Cup stage in Finland after skier Alexander Bolshunov clashed with a rival.

Racing for the finish line in a battle for second spot with Finland’s Joni Maki, Bolshunov found his route blocked off.

Unable to pass, the Russian lashed out with his stick before giving up the chase – but worse was to follow when Bolshunov plowed into his Finnish rival after crossing the line.   

One fan joked that Bolshunov’s antics were more akin to MMA than cross-country skiing, while Russian media outlets described the 24-year-old star – who is a multiple champion in the prestigious Tour de Ski event – as “going crazy” with his actions at the finish line.

Commenting on the disqualification, a report on the FIS website said: “Due to a tight situation in choosing the lines towards the finish, which triggered an unsportsmanlike behavior of Bolshunov against Maki, Bolshunov [was] disqualified and thus the entire Team Russia 1.” 

However, Russia still claimed a medal in Lahti as the nation’s second team was promoted to third, having initially finished behind their countrymen in fourth place.

The Norwegian team claimed victory, while Finland’s podium finish was their first ever in the men’s relay event, thanks to their team of Maki, Perttu Hyvarinen, Ristomatti Hakola and Iivo Niskanen.  

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Russian skier Yulia Belorukova delighted fans with her podium dance. © Twitter @MatchTV / Instagram @yulia_belorukova
WATCH: Overjoyed Russian ski star turns medal ceremony into dance show with brilliant podium twirl

Source: RT, ‘He went crazy’: Russian team disqualified after skier clashes with Finnish rival before PLOWING INTO him at finish line (VIDEO)

Dutch police nab ‘Asia’s El Chapo’, suspected leader of one of world’s largest drug-trafficking operations

Tse Chi Lop, the suspected kingpin of one of the world’s largest drug syndicates, has been arrested in Amsterdam at the request of Australian authorities who have been probing his shadowy narcotics empire.

The Chinese-born Canadian national was arrested without incident at Amsterdam’s Schiphol International Airport, Australia’s Federal Police announced on Saturday. Tse is believed to be the leader of the Sam Gor Syndicate, also known as ‘the company’. The criminal organization has been described by authorities as perhaps the largest illegal drug operations in Asia, earning between $8 and $17.7 billion each year. 

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The cartel is suspected of playing a leading role in the Asia-Pacific methamphetamine trade, which according to some estimates is worth as much as $70 billion per year. Australian law enforcement believe Tse’s organization is responsible for up to 70 percent of all narcotics that enter the country. The syndicate also allegedly traffics methamphetamine, heroin, and ketamine to at least a dozen countries from Japan to New Zealand. 

Authorities claim that Tse operated industrial-scale meth labs in Myanmar, transporting the illicit product concealed as packages of tea. Profits were later laundered through casinos in Southeast Asia, investigators say. 

The 57-year-old allegedly ran the multibillion-dollar operation from Hong Kong, Macao and southeast Asia. Incredibly, the drug kingpin remained largely in the shadows, until warrants for his arrest were issued by both China and Australia in 2019. 

Often compared to infamous drug lords like Joaquin ‘El Chapo’ Guzman and Pablo Escobar, Tse is known for lavish spending and other eccentricities. He is said to have squandered $66 million during one night of gambling, and is said to travel with a security cadre of Thai kickboxers. 

After becoming aware of an international investigation into his activities, Tse reportedly went into hiding in Taiwan, which does not have an extradition treaty with the countries where he was wanted. He was arrested in Amsterdam during a stop-over while attempting to fly from Taiwan to Canada. 

Now in Dutch custody, the Asian drug kingpin faces extradition to Australia. However, Australian officials have not yet revealed the charges they intend to bring against the alleged criminal mastermind. 

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Source: RT,
Dutch police nab ‘Asia’s El Chapo’, suspected leader of one of world’s largest drug-trafficking operations

In outright defiance of UK PM, Scottish leader Nicola Sturgeon's party promises second independence referendum after pandemic

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon is standing by her threat to hold a fresh referendum on independence if her party wins the May elections, despite Boris Johnson saying another one should not take place until at least 2055.

Sturgeon likened UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson to a “cowering tim’rous beastie” – a line from the poem ‘To a Mouse’, about a scared mouse, by Scotland’s national poet Robert Burns – during an interview with the BBC on Sunday. The Scottish leader also accused Johnson of being “frightened of democracy” by opposing another Scottish referendum until at least 2055 – just over 40 years after the last referendum in 2014, when a 55 percent majority of Scots voted against independence.

“The polls now show that a majority of people in Scotland want independence,” Sturgeon declared, adding, “If the SNP win the Scottish election in a few months’ time on a proposition of giving people that choice, then what democrat could rightly stand in the way of that?”

She added, “Boris Johnson clearly just fears the verdict and the will of the Scottish people.”

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Various polls have repeatedly showed that a majority of Scots now support independence, with the most recent placing the number at around 52 percent. It was the 20th poll in a row to show that a majority of Scots support independence.

On Saturday, the SNP revealed in its “roadmap to a referendum” that a draft independence referendum bill “would be enacted if an SNP Scottish Government is re-elected with a majority to do so” in the May 2021 elections. The party claimed that such a referendum would be beyond any “legal challenge” from the UK government, though it stressed that any referendum would only be held after the Covid-19 pandemic.

“If the SNP takes office the Scottish Government will again request a Section 30 order from the UK Government believing and publicly contending that in such circumstances there could be no moral or democratic justification for denying that request,” the roadmap declared, warning, “If the UK Government were to adopt such a position its position would be unsustainable both at home and abroad.”

As explained by the UK Parliament website, a Section 30 order from the Scotland Act 1998 can “grant legislative authority to the Scottish Parliament in certain areas,” either temporarily or permanently, independently from the UK government.

Johnson and his government have vocally opposed Sturgeon’s campaign, however, drafting up their own five-point plan to counter support for Scottish independence.

“Referendums in my experience, direct experience, in this country are not particularly jolly events,” said Johnson earlier this month. “They don’t have a notably unifying force in the national mood, they should be only once-in-a-generation.”

Johnson justified the UK’s independence from the European Union by pointing out that the referendum in 2016 was decades after the previous referendum in 1975 – a significantly longer time gap than Scotland’s seven years between 2014 and 2021.

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Source: RT, In outright defiance of UK PM, Scottish leader Nicola Sturgeon’s party promises second independence referendum after pandemic

Russian police launch probe after riot cop filmed kicking woman in stomach amid Navalny protests in St. Petersburg

Officials are looking into a viral video of a Russian police officer kicking a woman to the ground amid unsanctioned Navalny protests in St. Petersburg. A local police chief reportedly apologized to the victim.

“We are studying this video,” a spokesperson for St. Petersburg police, Vyacheslav Stepchenko, told the Russian RBC news channel. 

A short statement on a local police authority’s website said that a probe has been launched in relation to “an incident involving a woman and a police officer” that had occurred at the same location where the video was made.

A short clip, that caused outrage on social media, shows a woman approaching three officers in riot gear who are escorting a detained man. The woman asks: “Why did you grab him?” An officer responds by immediately kicking the woman in the stomach, knocking her to the ground.

A person who filmed the altercation told a local news website that the woman was peaceful, and had been only verbally condemning officers that were making arrests during the protests. The witness said that the woman hit her head after being kicked. The victim was said to be aged 54.

A local senior police chief, Colonel Sergey Muzyka, visited the woman in hospital on Sunday, the spokesperson for the city’s police told the media. He reportedly “apologized” to her on behalf of police, and stressed that unlawful actions by the officers are “unacceptable.”

There were conflicting reports about the woman’s injuries. The RIA Novosti news agency quoted the hospital as saying that her condition was “serious.” Some other outlets said she had lost consciousness after sustaining a head trauma.

The hospital’s head, Vadim Manukovsky, however, told the Podyom news website that the woman had only “light” injuries, and was awake and “feeling great.”

The police, meanwhile, said they have arrested a person who punched a traffic officer in another viral video that was filmed on Saturday in St. Petersburg. The incident occurred near the square where the protest was taking place.

The police told RIA Novosti that before the altercation, which was caught on tape, the assailant had climbed atop of a tow truck and hit a different officer, who was trying to bring him down.

The city’s investigative authorities reported on their website that a criminal case was launched against the attacker. They said he punched two officers, without mentioning the details about the tow truck.

Supporters of jailed anti-corruption campaigner Alexey Navalny gathered for unsanctioned protests across Russia on Saturday. The organizers failed to obtain permits for the rallies due to Covid-19 restrictions. The protesters clashed with police in some cities. According to OVD-Info, an opposition police-tracking NGO that has received Western funding, 3,435 people were detained in relation to the protests.

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Navalny was arrested earlier this month, pending trial over suspected violations of his probation terms, which date back to a suspended prison sentence in a 2014 fraud case. On January 17, the activist returned to Moscow from Germany where he was recovering from an alleged poisoning. Navalny suddenly fell ill on board a plane in Russia last year.

Russia’s prison service said that Navalny repeatedly failed to show up to a police station for registration in 2020 prior to his arrival in Germany. Officials said he then skipped police visits after being discharged from a Berlin clinic. Navalny argued that he chose to stay in Germany for several more months to continue his rehabilitation. 

German authorities said they found traces of the Novichok nerve agent in Navalny’s system. The activist accused Russian secret services of attempting to kill him. The Kremlin has categorically denied any involvement in the case, and instead claims Navalny is working with foreign intelligence agencies in a bid to smear Russia.

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Source: RT, Russian police launch probe after riot cop filmed kicking woman in stomach amid Navalny protests in St. Petersburg