Croatia erupts in a blush of red as national team tear apart Argentina in World Cup (VIDEOS)

By ethan / June 21, 2018

Croatia fans have lit up their home country in a blush of red in celebration of their national team’s shock 3-0 World Cup win over Argentina in Nizhny Novgorod on Thursday.

READ MORE: Croatia 3-0 Argentina: Modric and co. maul Messi’s misfiring Argentina in shock World Cup rout

Fans from the capital Zagreb to the coastal resort town of Zadar on the Adriatic Sea, set of fireworks dedicated to their heroes on their historic win. 

Second-half goals from Ante Rebic, Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic sealed the win and meant Croatia advanced to the knockout stage from Russia 2018’s ‘group of death’.

The victory meant that Lionel Messi’s and Argentina’s World Cup hopes are now hanging by a thread in Group D. 

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Google’s 11th-hour intervention puts ‘revenge porn’ bill in New York back on ice

By ethan / June 21, 2018

A New York state bill that would outlaw ‘revenge porn’ has been shelved until next year, after a late lobbying effort by tech giant Google succeeded in blocking a vote in the state Senate.

The bill, which existed in legal limbo since 2013, was pushed through the State Assembly after a New York Post article last year highlighted the problem. It would have made the distribution of sexual images without the consent of the person shown punishable by up to a year in jail, and it would have helped victims sue web hosts to remove the images. Governor Andrew Cuomo had vowed to sign the bill once it passed the Senate and made its way to his desk.

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However, after a last-minute lobbying campaign by The Internet Association, working on behalf of Google, senators adjourned for the year without a vote, putting the bill on ice once again until next year.

While Google has its own reporting and takedown policy for improper content already, the company is vehemently opposed to letting the government tell it how to manage such issues.

Carrie Goldberg, an attorney who has been lobbying for the law, said that Google’s pressure campaign “guarantees hundreds if not thousands more victims of revenge porn until the next opportunity to vote — in 2019.”

“Big Tech, especially Google, created the revenge porn problem,” she told the New York Post. “And now, just as we were about to enable victims to demand removal of their most intimate material from the internet via this law, Google renews its abuse.”

Revenge porn can often plague victims long after the photos or videos are taken. In the New York Post article that propelled New York’s now-shelved bill through the state Assembly, one 28-year-old woman told her story.

Lisa M. was 17 when her boyfriend snapped some topless photos of her when she wasn’t looking. Nothing happened until years later, when people in her hometown of Gardner, Massachusetts, saw the pictures on a revenge porn site.

“To see those online was just like a total betrayal of trust, and on top of that, there’s nothing you can do about it — it’s just there, and you can’t take it down, and you don’t know who’s seen it,” she said.

In many European countries, revenge porn is either criminalized or banned under broader privacy protection laws. In the US, most states have some laws against revenge porn. The sponsor of the New York bill, Senator Phil Boyle (R-Bay Shore), has said that he’ll continue fighting to pass the bill.

However, to Goldberg, Boyle’s words are empty as long as lawmakers are in the tech industry’s pocket. “There could be no better showing of what unfettered power big tech has on our government,” she said. “It’s sickening.”

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‘The sheep, not the GOAT’ – Messi & Argentina trolled after World Cup shock

By ethan / June 21, 2018

The internet has reacted with a mixture of scorn and sympathy to Lionel Messi’s latest World Cup misfortune, after Argentina suffered a 3-0 defeat at the hands of Croatia in Nizhny Novgorod.

Messi’s team went down to a crushing defeat in their second Group D fixture, leaving Argentina in real danger of missing out on reaching the last 16 in Russia.

READ MORE: Croatia 3-0 Argentina: Modric and co. maul Messi’s misfiring Argentina in shock World Cup rout

As the debate rages over what Barcelona star Messi’s misfiring performances in Russia mean for his status as arguably the greatest of all time – GOAT for short – some Twitter users were quick to put the boot in. 

Others said they felt Messi had clearly gone missing when his teammates were in their hour of need. 

Some compared the Barcelona star’s poor performances in Russia to rival Cristiano Ronaldo’s blistering start, after the latter scored four goals in two games so far. 

However, some Twitter users placed the defeat firmly at the feet of Messi’s Argentina teammates for their World Cup nightmare.

Others believed the Argentina captain had seen the further misfortune that lay ahead coming, after his apparent anxiety during the national anthems before the game in Nizhny Novgorod. 

Argentina could still salvage their knockout stage hopes, but that will depend on the result of the Iceland versus Nigeria game tomorrow and the last round of group games on Tuesday, when the Argentines face the Super Eagles and Iceland meet an already-qualified Croatia. 

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Obvious reality’? US lawmaker taunts China by calling Taiwan a sovereign state

By ethan / June 21, 2018

A California congressman has put forth a resolution proposing that the US recognize the island of Taiwan as a “sovereign and independent country.” The move is sure to anger China, which considers Taiwan to be a rogue province.

Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-California) submitted a ‘sense of Congress’ resolution to the House Foreign Affairs Committee on Wednesday, urging the US to declare the ‘One China’ policy “effectively obsolete” and recognize the “obvious reality” that Taiwan has been an independent country for over 50 years.

The US should also “aggressively support Taiwan’s full participation in the United Nations and any other international organizations of which the United States is a member, and for which statehood is a requirement for membership,” says the resolution, which was posted on the website of the Formosan Association for Public Affairs (FAPA).

The government in Taipei welcomed Rohrabacher’s proposal. Regine Chen, a senior official at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, told Focus Taiwan news channel that Taipei will “continue to work closely with our friends in the US Congress over the latest developments regarding the proposal.”

Rohrabacher’s initiative comes just a week after the US-funded American Institute of Taiwan (AIT) unveiled its new $ 256 million headquarters in Taipei, over Chinese protests. The US-based nonprofit acts as a de facto embassy of Washington on the disputed island.

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A general view shows the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) new office complex in Taipei on June 12, 2018.  © Sam Yeh

“This trend is highly dangerous for Sino-US relations and regional peace, since the Chinese mainland will make no compromise on the Taiwan question,” Da Wei, director of the Institute of American Studies at the China Institute of Contemporary International Relations, told the Global Times on Thursday.

“China will not retaliate against every single provocative move from the US, but when the provocations have accumulated and reached a specific level, China will no longer keep silent and may take countermeasures, which might surprise the US,” Da told the English-language Chinese daily.

Rohrabacher’s proposal comes at a time when the Trump administration has escalated the trade conflict with Beijing, with tariffs and counter-tariffs on $ 100 billion worth of Chinese and US goods scheduled to take effect on July 6.

Diao Daming, a US expert who teaches at the Renmin University of China, told the Global Times that Rohrabacher’s resolution is part of a trend in Washington, pointing to the January op-ed by the new National Security Adviser John Bolton, who also called for revisiting the ‘One China’ policy.

In March, US President Donald Trump signed a law promoting business and diplomatic exchanges with Taiwan, which also drew protests from Beijing.

The US has adhered to a ‘One China’ policy since 1972. The Shanghai Communique, signed during President Richard Nixon’s visit to China, says that Washington “acknowledges that Chinese on either side of the Taiwan Strait maintain there is but one China and that Taiwan is a part of China.”

The Chinese constitution calls Taiwan “part of the sacred territory of the People’s Republic of China” and calls for “reunifying the motherland.”

Taiwan was ceded to Japan in 1895, following the Chinese defeat in the Sino-Japanese war. US ships ferried the Kuomintang (Chinese Nationalist) forces to the island in 1945, to accept the surrender of the Japanese forces. The island became a refuge for the nationalists in 1949, after Mao Zedong’s Communist forces triumphed in the Chinese Civil War. The Taiwan-based Republic of China lost its UN seat in 1971, however, when the People’s Republic of China was recognized as the legitimate government.

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‘Messi didn’t turn up again’ – Schmeichel as Argentina suffer 3-0 World Cup rout against Croatia

By ethan / June 21, 2018

RT special World Cup host Peter Schmeichel says Lionel Messi “didn’t turn up” as Argentina were routed 3-0 by Croatia in their Group D encounter in Nizhny Novgorod.

Messi and Argentina’s World Cup hopes are hanging by a thread after they were thumped by Croatia thnaks to second half goals from Ante Rebic, Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic.

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© Ivan Alvarado

Croatia’s win booked their placed in the last 16 with one game to spare, while Argentina remain on just one point from their two games after their opening draw with Iceland.

When asked whether the game had been a horror show, goalkeeping great Schmeichel said: “I’m not sure it was a horror movie, why do we care so much about Argentina? We should praise Croatia for what they did tonight,” before going on to criticize Messi’s performances so far at Russia 2018.  

“We talked about the big players, the big stage, when you come to these big events like the World Cup, the big players they perform.

“Today, Messi, who is a big player, didn’t turn up again, like he didn’t in the game against Iceland,” Schmeichel said.

Argentina manager Jorge Sampaoli has openly stated that this is “Messi’s team” – but former Denmark international Schmeichel said that La Albiceleste were now paying for it with the Barcelona star misfiring.  

“When you design your team to be around Messi, then you pay for it, and they absolutely paid for it today, they were smashed by Croatia. The scoreline was a fair reflection of the game,” he said.

The game also saw tempers run high on several occasions, as Argentina became increasingly frustrated.

“A rough game, very hardly played, a lot of tempers flaring, surprisingly enough only six yellow cards, no red cards, we were betting there would be at least one red card,” Schmeichel said.

Argentina goalkeeper Willy Caballero’s howler had handed Croatia the chance to open the scoring when he fluffed a clearance, but there was still plenty to do for striker Ante Rebic, who acrobatically turned the ball home in what was described by Schmeichel as “a beautiful” finish.

He also reserved special praise for Croatian playmanker Luka Modric, who scored his second goal of the tournament and was instrumental in much of his team’s play. “Luka Modric is a big player and he’s turned up in this tournament,” Schmeichel said.  

Argentina will be watching anxiously as Iceland take on Nigeria in their Group D match tomorrow, and a win for the Vikings in particular could spell doom for Messi and co. The final round of group games is on Tuesday, when Argentina face Nigeria and Iceland take on Croatia.    

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‘Call them yourself’: Girlfriend of Kushner’s brother in hot water for urging fans to call lawmakers

By ethan / June 21, 2018

Victoria’s Secret model and girlfriend of the brother of top Trump aide Jared Kushner, Karlie Kloss, got scorched on Twitter for urging fans to “call politicians” to support a US bill limiting the separation of immigrant families.

“Politicizing the lives of these defenseless children is heartless. We have to be the voices for these kids, and I support anyone standing up to do right by them,” Kloss tweeted on Wednesday.

While Kloss’ followers applauded her stance, many were bemused by her call. Critics pointed fingers at her close ties to top US politicians and urged her to call them herself instead. Kloss is the girlfriend of Joshua Kushner, the brother of Trump’s senior adviser Jared.

Others suggested that calling Ivanka Trump, Jared’s wife, would actually have a better effect.

Some users rushed to defend her, arguing that the political standpoints of her and her boyfriend would not be that influential within Donald Trump’s close circle. Joshua Kushner is a long-time Democrat supporter, and he publicly stated that he did not vote for Trump during the 2016 elections.

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Other Twitterati argued, however, that Kloss’ words were not enough by any means and urged her to open up the coffers to fund the initiative to keep migrant families together herself.

Some users pointed fingers at Democrats themselves, stating that the laws that allow the separation of migrant children from their families actually originate from the era of Democratic presidents.

A similar approach to defending the “zero-tolerance policies” has been previously used by Donald Trump himself. The US president blamed “bad legislation” for the issue of separated families, while accusing Democrats of creating the problem in the first place due to a failure to enact tougher border security laws.

The zero-tolerance policies came into force in May, meaning that any adult coming into the US illegally would be prosecuted and any who entered with children would be separated from them while awaiting legal action.

The tough policies against illegal immigrants, specifically the issue of separating families, drew widespread criticism from human rights advocates, including the UN. The campaign against this practice, however, was somewhat damaged by the use of entirely fake and dated – Obama-era actually – photos of children in cages.

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‘I’m confident, but try not to think he’s my son’ – Peter Schmeichel on watching son Kasper (VIDEO)

By ethan / June 21, 2018

Peter Schmeichel has shared his thoughts on the latest round of World Cup Group C action, including the Denmark versus Australia game in Samara involving his son, Kasper, playing in goal for the Danes.

Denmark and the Socceroos shared the spoils in a 1-1 draw, after a penalty from Australia’s Mile Jedinak canceled out a stunning Christian Eriksen opener.

Afterwards, special RT World Cup guest host Schmeichel senior commented on what it’s like for him as a father to watch his son play for the national team.

“I always feel very confident [watching him], and trying not to think that he’s my son, and just enjoying it,” Schmeichel said.

The former Manchester United ‘keeper – who himself won 129 caps for his country and won the 1992 European Championships – quite predictably said that the penalty his son had conceded was dubiously awarded.

The spot kick was given after Yussuf Poulsen handled the ball in the area while contesting a header with Mathew Leckie.

The decision was made with the assistance of VAR, although Schmeichel felt the player did not have his hand in an unnatural position and that there had been no intent.

“If you give that, you will have to give five or six penalties every game, I don’t think that’s the intention,” he said.

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“But Jedinak stepped up and put it past Kasper, who I’m quite familiar with, unfortunately he didn’t save it and the end result was 1-1,” the goalkeeping great added.

Kasper Schmeichel had gone the wrong way for the spot kick, and the goal ended a run of nine hours and 31 minutes without concedeing for the national team. 

The penalty leveled the scores in Samara, canceling out a stunning opener by Christian Eriksen – a player for whom Schmeichel reserved special praise.

“This is some goal… what a finish,” Schmeichel exclaimed when viewing a replay of Eriksen’s rasping volley into the top corner from around 15 yards out.  

“Any day of the week I’d take Eriksen over Neymar,” Schmeichel said, referring to Brazil’s current talisman.   

“This is something I said 6 months ago and I got slated for it on Twitter, but I felt today’s the day [to bring it back], there’s a poll out there on my Twitter, but after I tweeted that Eriksen didn’t play that well.”

Schmeichel also offered his thoughts on the day’s other Group C game in which France overcame Peru 1-0 to book their spot in the knockout stage and send Peru home. “There’s no doubt about the quality of France, they are up there with the best,” Schmeichel said.

READ MORE: France through to World Cup last 16 after knocking out crowd favorites Peru

Group C reaches its conclusion on Tuesday when France meet Denmark in Moscow and Peru take on Australia in Sochi.

France are top of the group on six points, with Denmark on four, Australia on one and Peru without a point to their name. The second qualifying spot is up for grabs between the Socceroos and the Danes.      

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Trump eyes July meeting with Putin as Bolton expected to arrive in Moscow

By ethan / June 21, 2018

Washington and Moscow are “looking at the possibility” of Donald Trump meeting with Vladimir Putin in July, US President Donald Trump has stated.

“We’re looking at the possibility” of a Putin meeting in July, Trump said in response to a reporter’s question at the White House on Thursday. 

Meanwhile, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov stressed to reporters in Moscow that nothing has been finalized.

“When and if we are ready, we will make the announcement,” he said.

Two possible scenarios for the meetings are either before or after the NATO summit in Brussels in July, or after Trump’s visit to the UK on July 13, a source told Bloomberg on Wednesday. The source asked not to be identified, noting that the plans aren’t final. 

It comes after White House National Security Council spokesman Garrett Marquis confirmed in a tweet on Thursday that US National Security Adviser John Bolton will visit Russia next week to discuss a “potential meeting” between Trump and Putin.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov also stated that Moscow is expecting Bolton to visit Russia.

“As far as we know, such a visit [from Bolton] will indeed take place. That’s all that we can say at the moment,” Peskov told reporters on Thursday.

Trump has so far had two meetings with Putin, both of which took place last summer at the G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany.

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‘France won the game, Peru won our hearts’ – Twitter grieves over Los Incas World Cup exit (PHOTOS)

By ethan / June 21, 2018

Twitter has reacted with an outpouring of collective grief after the popular Peruvians were knocked out of the World Cup after suffering a narrow 1-0 defeat against France in Ekaterinburg.

France secured the win thanks to a first-half goal from teenager Kylian Mbappe, which was enough to book Les Bleus a place in the knockout stages with two wins from two games, sending Peru packing without a registering a point their two Group C matches. 

The Peruvians have been a popular presence in Russia, with their masses of fans being the life and soul of the party wherever they have gone.  

READ MORE: France through to World Cup last 16 after knocking out crowd favorites Peru

After their World Cup exit was confirmed with one game still left to play, the Twitterati shed a collective tear.

Pride seemed to be the overriding emotion for many Peruvians, as their team were knocked out of the tournament but had their heads held high at their first World Cup in 36 years.  

Others turned to memes to express themselves after the Peruvians were sent packing.  

Others hoped it wouldn’t be quite so long before the Peruvians return to the World Cup party – with Russia 2018 being their first appearance on football’s biggest stage since 1982.

But alas, Twitter wouldn’t be Twitter without some old-fashion trolling, and some were less than bothered by the Peruvian exit.

Peruvian fans have been out in force in Russia, with some estimates putting their number as high as 80,000.

They have charmed the locals and fellow visitors to Russia with their vibrant support and joyful love of their team and the sport. 

They play their final Group C game against Australia in Sochi on Tuesday, knowing that their fate is already sealed but hoping to leave their legions of fans with a victory to cheer. 

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California cops shoot down bill restricting lethal force

By ethan / June 21, 2018

California law enforcement organizations say they won’t budge on a bill that would limit the situations in which they can use lethal force.

Assembly Bill 931 would raise the standard for the use of lethal force from ‘reasonable’ to ‘necessary.’ If it were to pass, police officers could only kill a suspect if all other options were exhausted.

While the bill passed its first policy committee on Tuesday, police opposition could obstruct its passage through the state’s legislature. The Peace Officers Research Association of California (PORAC), which represents rank-and-file police officers in the state, called the bill “reactionary legislation” that will “handcuff peace officers and their abilities to keep communities safe.”

The current standard, under which an officer can kill a suspect if a ‘reasonable’ officer in similar circumstances would have done the same, is based on a Supreme Court ruling from three decades ago. Bill 931 was introduced in response to the shooting of Stephon Clark in Sacramento in March.

Clark, a 22-year-old black man, was shot 20 times in his grandparents’ back yard while holding his cell phone. Police had mistaken him for a burglar active in the area, and opened fire seconds after asking him to show his hands.

Democrats who brought the bill to the floor consider that restricting police officers’ ability to kill is necessary to address a problem of racism in policing.

“It always blows me away when law enforcement fear for their life only when they’re facing black and brown people,” Sen. Steve Bradford said. “It blows me away me when black and brown men and women don’t even get to the jail. They don’t even get a chance to be arrested.”

However, police say the bill interferes with their already difficult job of making life-or-death decisions on the fly, and in doing so, places the public at greater risk.

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FILE PHOTO: Blakc Lives Matter demonstration in in Sacramento, CA © Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

“Use-of-force incidents occur quickly, and while we have always supported greater training and body cameras, this legislation takes a dangerous new step,” read a statement from PORAC. “The legislation will require officers in every rapidly advancing, extraordinarily dangerous situation to employ a checklist that ultimately places everyone at risk.”

According to a 2011 study, an armed suspect with his gun drawn can squeeze off the first shot at an officer in less than half a second. “The process of perceiving the suspect’s movement, interpreting the action, deciding on a response, and executing the response for the officer generally took longer than it took the suspect to execute the action of shooting, even though the officer already had his gun aimed at the suspect,” the study found.

PORAC also cites the financial cost of retraining some 100,000 California police officers as reason for its opposition, an argument that was rubbished by Democrat Senator Holly Mitchell, who argued that the money could be easily found.

When “law enforcement makes it a priority, we find a way,” said Mitchell.

On the same day that Bill 931 passed its first committee hearing, police in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania shot and killed an unarmed teenager, 17-year-old Antwon Rose.

Rose was pulled over in a car matching the description of a vehicle involved in an earlier shooting, and fled on foot. A police officer opened fire and hit Rose three times in the back. Two firearms were found in the car, but Rose was unarmed as he fled the scene. He was taken to hospital and pronounced dead on arrival.

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