Antifa clashes debate: Same as ‘Batman using violence to prevent greater violence’? (VIDEO)

By ethan / August 17, 2018

Following CNN host Chris Cuomo’s controversial statement that “all punches are not equal,” which prompted accusations that he supports Antifa violence, RT has hosted a debate on whether brute force is sometimes justified.

Speaking during an on-air segment, political and social issues commentator Anthony Brian Logan said the issue of violence is a simple one.

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A protester shouts at police officers guarding the White House on Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, US, August 12, 2018 © James Lawler Duggan / Reuters

“You can’t put your hands on somebody and then hide behind some kind of moral high ground. So don’t touch people if you don’t want to be touched, it’s really just as simple as that. It doesn’t matter what political affiliation the other person is.”

Anarchist playwright Brenton Lengel disagreed, saying that “violence can be used to prevent greater violence.”

He went on to say that “there’s somebody that wears a mask, attacks dangerous people without personal provocation, puts their hands on them, and you know who it is? It’s Batman. This type of behavior is justified in our society…”

When Logan mentioned that innocent bystanders including schoolteachers, police officers, and members of the media often get injured as a result of Antifa violence, Lengel fired back that “the media is also being attacked by [US President] Donald Trump as well.”

WATCH THE FULL VIDEO OF THE DEBATE: 

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Teen fakes her own kidnapping to get $400 from father

By ethan / August 16, 2018

A Kentucky teenager has been accused of going to extreme lengths to get some spending money from her father. Police say she staged her own kidnapping and demanded a $ 400 ransom.

Mark Farley of Corbin, Kentucky went to the police to report his 19-year-old daughter Abbygail missing on Monday. The following day he is said to have received a text message from his daughter’s phone, claiming that she had been kidnapped. Farley subsequently received several more texts from another phone number, which demanded that he pay a ransom for his child’s release.

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© Reuters

The supposed abductors first asked for $ 600 before later dropping the demand to $ 400. They ordered Farley to leave the money at a specific drop-off location.

Farley followed the demands and left the money at the designated spot. However, he had been liaising with the FBI, and federal officers discovered that Abbygail Farley had sent the ransom messages, WYMT reported.

They later traced the texts to an apartment where the teenager was found. She was subsequently arrested and charged with theft by extortion, theft by unlawful taking and disorderly conduct. Police sources told WYMT that she may have demanded the cash in order to serve her drug habit.

READ MORE: US high school students to receive ‘trauma training’ to prepare for ‘mass casualty events’ – report

According to the Lexington Herald-Leader, the girl was known to police. In July, she called emergency services to complain that the same cars were driving past her outside a local gas station. When police arrived, they found her to be under the influence of “a ton of marijuana.”

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Yes, The Big G is following you: Google admits it tracks users when location history is turned off

By ethan / August 16, 2018

Google has confirmed that it still tracks users even after they turn off the “Location History” setting on their device. It comes just one day after the practice was revealed by an AP investigation.

The clarification is mentioned on a Location History help page, which Google changed on Thursday. The once erroneous wording has now been changed to say: “This setting does not affect other location services on your device” and acknowledges that “some location data may be saved as part of your activity on other services, like Search and Maps.”

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© Mike Blake

The page previously only stated that “with Location History off, the places you go are no longer stored.”

The change comes even though a Google spokesperson maintained on Wednesday that the company had provided “clear descriptions” of all of Google’s tools which may record users’ locations.

It comes just one day after AP revealed in a report that Google did indeed still track users when the Location History function was turned off. The news agency looked into the matter after K. Shankari, a graduate researcher at the University of California Berkeley blogged about how her Android device had prompted her to rate a recent shopping trip to Kohl’s despite her location history function being disabled. AP’s findings were later confirmed by computer-science researchers at Princeton University.

While it is possible to completely disable location tracking, doing so is far more complicated than Google initially let on: users have to delete stored location markers by hand, with each one needing to be selected and deleted individually, unless you want to delete all of your stored activity at the same time.

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Party like a Russian: Washington Capitals’ Kuznetsov eats pelmeni out of Stanley Cup

By ethan / August 16, 2018

Newly-crowned Stanley Cup champion Evgeny Kuznetsov, of the Washington Capitals, brought the silver chalice to his home city of Chelyabinsk where he filled the trophy with a traditional Russian cuisine dish – pelmeni.

READ MORE: Ice hockey star Panarin mocks anti-Russian sanctions in tractor video

The Russian-style dumplings were placed in the cup as part of a well-known tradition which sees the NHL champions eating (or drinking) out of the trophy.

Nothing better than finishing off a night… Russian style. Traditional dumplings from the Stanley Cup,” wrote the Keeper of the Cup, Philip Pritchard, captioning the pictures of Kuznetsov tasting the dish.

Earlier on Wednesday, the trophy was displayed at the Traktor Ice Arena ahead of the local KHL preseason tournament, with fans getting a chance to take pictures with the coveted and probably the most-travelled championship trophy in the world.

In July, Caps captain Alexander Ovechkin was filmed eating black caviar from the bowl during his celebrations in Moscow.

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Assange should be given immunity if US wants him to testify – Rand Paul

By ethan / August 16, 2018

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who has spent more than 2,200 days in the Ecuadorian embassy in London, should be granted immunity from prosecution if he agrees to testify in the US, Senator Rand Paul has said.

“I think that he should be given immunity from prosecution in exchange for coming to the United States and testifying,” Paul said in an interview to the Gateway Pundit website.

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WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange at a protest in London. October, 2011 © Luke MacGregor

Paul believes that Assange “has information that is probably pertinent to the hacking of the Democratic emails that would be nice to hear.” But he doesn’t think Assange is likely to come and share it unless given “some type of immunity from prosecution.”

Earlier this month the US Senate Intelligence Committee, investigating alleged Russian interference in the 2016 election, requested that the WikiLeaks editor testify. In a letter delivered to Assange, committee chairman Richard Burr (R-North Carolina) requested that Assange make himself available for a closed interview “at a mutually agreeable time and location.”

Responding to the request, WikiLeaks said on Twitter that its team is “considering the offer but testimony must conform to a high ethical standard.”

Former CIA officer and whistleblower John Kiriakou earlier told RT that he also thinks Assange needs to be given immunity by the committee because otherwise “anything he said before the committee could not be used against him.” He said that many on the Intelligence Committee see the WikiLeaks founder not as a journalist and publisher, but as an enemy of the state.

According to human rights activist Peter Tatchell, the US “wants revenge” for the “embarrassment” WikiLeaks caused it, and hopes it can serve “as a deterrent to others.”

“Someone who’s published that information in the same way that the New York Times or the Guardian publish information, I don’t think they should face a risk of 30 or 40 years in jail in the United States,” Tatchell told RT in July.

READ MORE: Are you being served? DNC officially gives notice of lawsuit against WikiLeaks via Twitter

There have been recent media reports suggesting that Assange will soon leave the Ecuadorian embassy in London, where he’s been ensconced for six years, due to worsening health and political pressure from Ecuador.

Rape allegations made against him, stemming from his visit to Sweden back in August 2010, were the main reason that he sought refuge in the embassy after a warrant was issued for his arrest. 

The WikiLeaks founder maintained that he could be extradited from Sweden to the US, where he would be prosecuted for his whistleblowing activities and would not receive a fair trial. Swedish prosecutors dropped the investigation in 2017, but a British warrant for violating bail conditions still stands.

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US Olympic gymnasts Kocian and Ross join long list of Larry Nassar accusers

By ethan / August 16, 2018

Madison Kocian and Kyla Ross have detailed the abuse they suffered at the hands of disgraced gymnastics national team doctor Larry Nassar, saying they were inspired to do so by the dozens of victims who have come forward so far.

Over the course of the last 18 months, the range of horrific crimes committed by Nassar have come to light. When they examined their own interactions with him, Olympians Ross and Kocian became aware that they too were subject to abuse.

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© Rebecca Cook

Nassar has been handed what is effectively a life sentence for a range of crimes including child pornography and sexual abuse charges and both Kocian and Ross were keen to state that it is never too late to come forward.

“Everyone copes in their own way,” said Ross, a member of the famous ‘Fierce Five’ who won gold at the 2012 London Olympics.

READ MORE: Larry Nassar victims to receive apology from USA Gymnastics CEO

“It doesn’t matter how old you are and what happens to you. I’ve come to the point in my life this is something I want to share my story and move on,” she continued, as quoted by AP.

Both athletes, who have retired from elite gymnastics and now compete at UCLA, say that they were in a state of denial as to the nature of their abuse. Earlier this year, more than 200 women came forward to accuse Nassar of significant abuse.

All five members of the 2012 US Olympic team now say that they were sexually assaulted by Nassar, while Kocian is the fourth member of the 2016 to do the same.

READ MORE: Nassar victim names newborn daughter after MSU detective who led sex abuse case

“You live under a fear of not being able to speak up because this was our only avenue to accomplish our dreams and make the Olympic team,” Kocian said to of the culture in the US gymnastic when they were competing at the Olympic level.

“There are still people at the top that I feel have overseen this issue for a long time and I think that needs to be changed as well as the whole culture around everything,” Kocian said.

“I don’t think enough has been changed from the coaching standpoint. There are still coaches under that abusive style of coaching whether it’s verbal abuse, that’s what enables all of this.”

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US creates Iran Action Group to ‘change regime’s behavior’

By ethan / August 16, 2018

The US is creating a so-called Iran Action Group, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has announced, adding that Brian Hook will lead the group in order to spur “international support for our efforts.”

Speaking at the Thursday State Department briefing, Pompeo claimed that the world is demanding change in Iran’s behavior, so that it “finally acts like a normal country.” He added that Hook will lead an Iran Action Group to “galvanize international support for our efforts.”

Hook said the US wants to “promote a brighter future for the Iranian people,” adding that the “Iran regime has been a force for instability and violence.”

Hook went on to speak about the 12 requirements previously laid out by the US government, which Washington says Tehran must comply with. Those demands include Iranian withdraw from Syria. Pompeo previously has stated that the US would impose the “strongest sanctions in history” if Iran failed to comply with the demands.

Hook said that if Tehran “changes its behavior” in those 12 areas, US President Donald Trump is “prepared to talk to the regime.” When it comes to other countries continuing to do business with Iran, Hook said the US is “prepared to impose secondary sanctions on other governments.”

The US “certainly hopes for full compliance by all nations,” Hook said, while noting that Washington’s goal is to “reduce every country’s import of Iranian oil to zero by November 4.”

When AP’s Matt Lee noted that the announcement of the Iran Action Group is taking place on the anniversary of the 1953 US-backed coup, and asked if this suggested “regime change,” Hook responded that the timing is “pure coincidence” and that the IAG is aimed at “changing the Iranian regime’s behavior.”

European nations and Russia have already spoken out against the US demands to stop doing business with Iran. Ministers from Britain, France, Germany, and the EU wrote a letter to top Trump officials in June, in which they asked for Washington to agree not to punish European industries over their dealings with Tehran.

The letter, posted online by The New York Times, said that “as allies, we expect that the United States will refrain from taking action to harm Europe’s security interests.”

In July, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that the other signatories of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal agree that US sanctions on countries doing business with Iran “is an absolutely illegal and unacceptable policy, but, of course, this can hardly be changed and there will be enough struggle in trade, economic and political spheres.” 

Lavrov also urged the remaining signatories of the deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), to develop ways to keep commercial and economic ties with Iran that “would not depend on US whims.” 

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Arrest warrant issued for husband of UFC fighter after alleged domestic assault

By ethan / August 16, 2018

Donny Aaron, who was criticized in June after it became known he has a swastika tattoo, is currently wanted by US police after allegedly assaulting his wife, UFC flyweight Andrea Lee.

Andy Nguyen, another UFC fighter and a friend of Lee’s, is understood to have filed a police report after Aaron allegedly extinguished a lit cigarette and attempted to choke Lee on August 4, per a report by MyMMANews.com.

The report states that the incident began after the pair watched the UFC 227 card, headlined by TJ Dillashaw and Cody Garbrandt. Nguyen says that Lee ran into their daughter’s room after Aaron allegedly burned her with the cigarette. Lee’s father attempted to intervene, while another person who lives at the premises said that this happens “all the time.”

Nguyen says that she heard further disputes the following morning, saying that a grunt was audible and could hear Lee saying “stop, stop.”

“I opened up the door and was like ‘Donny, leave her alone,’” said Nguyen. “He looked like he was lost. He hadn’t slept in two days. He was drinking for two f***ing days straight. I don’t know what he is on. I’m backing up as he is coming towards me. Andrea was buttoning up her shorts and she was barefoot and ran out the back door.

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“Donny goes back in the house and he’s like ‘I did it again, I did it again.’ I was like, ‘What did you do? Did you kill her?’ Because he has killed someone before. I didn’t know if he grabbed a rock and banged her head. I was scared to walk outside. He was like, ‘No, I made her run barefoot again.’

READ MORE: MMA fighter dies after confrontation with nightclub security

“I told him to give me the keys to the jeep and he refused because he thought she would think it is him and would not stop.”

Nguyen said that Aaron fled the scene as police cars approached.

“The domestic violence has been going on for years,” Nguyen said. “I just never saw it.”

Aaron sparked controversy in June after a photograph showed him sporting tattoos featuring nazi imagery. He made a statement saying that the tattoos “do not represent who I am today.”

Aaron, a former police officer, was charged with murder but later convicted of negligent homicide in 2009 after fatally shooting an unarmed black man outside his home.

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All's fair in love and war: Trump's trade wars analyzed on all fronts of global battlefield

By ethan / August 16, 2018

President Donald Trump vowed to make America great again, pledging to pull the US out of each and every unfair trade agreement, and to even out the trade imbalance with each and every partner.

Trump has shaken the foundations of global trade by breaking deals and imposing tariffs on friend and foe alike. Those countries have retaliated with tariffs on American products, pushing the world closer to an all-out trade war.

RT Business takes a look at how we got here.

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© Andy Clark

TTP

As soon as Trump took to the helm of the world’s largest economy, he proved to be a man of his word. During his first week in office, the US president abandoned the 12-nation trade pact known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) as part of his ‘America First’ agenda, saying that the deal “was designed for China to come in, as they always do, through the back door and totally take advantage of everyone.”

TTIP

The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), which had been negotiated between the European Union and the US since 2013 during the Obama administration, was next on the chopping block. Shortly after taking office, Trump halted talks on the deal, saying that international trade agreements hurt US workers and the country’s competitiveness.

In April, Donald Trump said the US might rejoin TPP. The following July, Washington and Brussels announced plans to restart negotiations for an agreement similar to the TTIP. Though Donald Trump has changed his aggressive rhetoric toward some of America’s trade partners, he has managed to unleash several full-scale trade wars across the globe.

NAFTA

The longstanding trilateral North American Free Trade Agreement, which came into force in 1994 to unify the US, Canada and Mexico, was challenged by President Trump as well. He pledged to renegotiate the deal or break it. In July 2017, the White House provided a detailed list of changes to the agreement. While the deal is at a standstill, the Trump administration opted to slap its neighbors with tariffs on steel and aluminum exports. The measure came into force on June 1.

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© Emmanuele Contini / NurPhoto

Canada

Apart from a 25-percent tariff on steel imports and a 10-percent tariff on aluminum imports, Washington introduced export tariffs of up to 24 percent on Canadian lumber. The measure that came into effect in April 2017 targets several forestry corporations, including West Fraser Mills, Tolko Marketing and Sales, J.D. Irving, Canfor Corporation, and Resolute FP Canada. According to the US, the lumber companies are subsidized by the government, which is not considered to be fair.

Mexico

Steel and aluminum tariffs are still the only trade assault committed by the US against its southern neighbor. However, Donald Trump has repeatedly slammed US companies for basing their production facilities in Mexico. During his election campaign, Trump pledged to impose tariffs – in the range of 15 percent to 35 percent – on firms moving their operations to Mexico.

European Union

The bloc was slapped with the same metal tariffs on the same date as Canada and Mexico. Brussels introduced tariffs worth $ 3.3 billion against US products. Washington pledged to impose a 20-percent tariff on cars imported from the EU, while Brussels threatened additional tariffs on $ 20 billion worth of the US imports. So far, the bloc agreed to buy more US soybeans and LNG in an attempt to avoid further escalation of the trade conflict.

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© Danish Siddiqui

China

Trump’s trade battle against Beijing has been the fiercest. It started in late January with Washington imposing 30-percent tariffs on Chinese exports of solar panels and 20-percent tariffs on exports of washing machines. Later, as “a response to the unfair trade practices of China over the years,” Washington placed a 25-percent tariff on more than 1,300 Chinese products, including flat-screen televisions, medical devices, aircraft parts and batteries. In response, Chinese authorities imposed tariffs ranging from 15 to 25 percent on 128 products it imports from the US. The list included aluminum, airplanes, cars, pork, and soybeans, as well as fruit, nuts, and steel piping.

In July, the Trump administration introduced 25-percent tariffs on Chinese goods worth $ 34 billion. Beijing immediately imposed retaliatory levies in the same amount on US imports. A second round of tariffs on imports worth $ 16 billion took effect earlier this month.

Apart from that, China – along with Russia, India, Japan and Turkey – was targeted with steel and aluminum tariffs. All the targeted nations filed complaints to the World Trade Organization (WTO) and introduced mirror measures.

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US threatens new Turkey sanctions unless jailed pastor released

By ethan / August 16, 2018

Washington has new sanctions ready to go if Turkey persists in refusing to release a jailed American pastor, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said.

During the Cabinet meeting on Thursday, US President Donald Trump said that Turkey hasn’t turned out to be a great friend to the US. Trump also complained about Ankara’s ingratitude in light of the fact that he had secured the release of an imprisoned Turkish national from a country he did not name.

“We have more that we’re planning to do if they don’t release him quickly,” Mnuchin said.

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© Murad Sezer

The announcement comes after Turkish Finance Minister Berat Albayrak assured international investors on Thursday that the country’s banks were healthy and that Turkey would emerge “stronger” from its currency crisis.

Qatar has stepped in to help bolster the Turkish lira, which has been hit hard by the trade war with the US.

Turkish authorities have called on their citizens to sell their foreign currency in order to bolster the lira. Nationalist sentiments are running high, with the hashtags #BoycottUSA and #TurkeyWillPrevail dominating Turkish social networks on Thursday morning, according to Reuters.

Pastor Andrew Brunson, a US citizen who has resided in Turkey for over two decades, was arrested on terrorism and espionage charges as part of Ankara’s probe into 2016’s failed military coup. He is facing up to 35 years in prison if convicted.

Washington and Ankara are also at odds over Turkey’s planned purchase of Russian S-400 air defense systems, to the point where the 2019 US military funding bill blocks deliveries of F-35 fighter jets to Turkey.

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