Fedor Emelianenko v Chael Sonnen Bellator semi-final bout booked for October

By ethan / July 20, 2018

Russia’s Fedor Emelianenko and Chael ‘The American Gangster’ Sonnen are set to square off on October 13 with a place in the Bellator World Heavyweight Grand Prix final at stake.

READ MORE: Alexey Oleynik to face veteran Mark Hunt in main event of UFC’s first Moscow show

Russian legend Emelianenko, considered by many to be the best heavyweight in mixed martial arts history, will face Sonnen in the Nassau Collisseum in Long Island, New York, with the victor facing the winner of  the second semi-final between Ryan Bader v. Matt Mitrione, which is scheduled to take place a day prior.

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Emelianenko, who will be 42-years-old by the time of the bout, has won six of his last seven contests. The sole loss came via first round stoppage against Mitrione, a potential opponent for the Russian in the final if he successfully gets past Sonnen.

‘The Last Emperor’ has a lengthy list of notable victories, having bested the likes of Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, Mirko Cro Cop, Mark Hunt, Andrei Arlovski and Mark Coleman throughout his career.

READ MORE: ‘Can I wrestle with it?’ Conor McGregor feeds and pets tiger in Russia after Putin meeting (VIDEO)

The American fighter, meanwhile, has won successive Bellator fights against MMA legends Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson and Wanderlei Silva and a win against Emelianenko will make it a trifecta of victories against three of the most famous fighters associated with the now defunct Pride Fighting Championships promotion in Japan.

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Trump slams currency manipulation by Brussels & Beijing

By ethan / July 20, 2018

US President Donald Trump stepped up attacks on China and the European Union on Friday, accusing them of manipulating their national currencies and interest rates.

The US, which is currently doing well, should preserve its right to recover what was lost through such practices as illegal currency manipulation and trade deals that were not profitable for the US, the president tweeted.

The latest attack by Trump comes amid escalating trade disputes between the US and its trading partners.

Shortly after taking office, Trump withdrew from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which he said would steal millions of jobs from Americans, while the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), signed by Canada, Mexico, and the United States, is currently being renegotiated.

Trump has also pledged to narrow the US’ trade deficit with China. He accused Beijing of stealing intellectual property, manipulating the yuan, and exposing illegal export subsidy practices. Last month, the White House slapped tariffs on $ 34 billion of Chinese products, which China met with retaliatory duties on US goods.

Trump has also targeted steel and aluminum exports from the EU and has threatened to tax European cars sold on the American market.

The US dollar weakened against the euro, yen and yuan after the president’s tweets. The dollar index, which measures the greenback against a basket of global currencies, was off nearly 0.5 percent before the stock market opened in New York.

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Pussy Riot face charges of illegal use of uniforms after World Cup pitch invasion

By ethan / July 20, 2018

A Moscow magistrate has charged four members of Pussy Riot with the illegal wearing of police uniforms after they stormed the pitch disguised as cops during the World Cup final.

The decision was made Friday by the magistrate in the Moscow district of Khamovniki, the location of the Luzhniki stadium where the France-Croatia showpiece took place on July 15. The match was briefly interrupted by four members of the Pussy Riot group – who later said their actions were designed to highlight the plight of alleged “political prisoners.”

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© Carl Recine

On July 16 the Khamovniki District Court ruled that the protesters were guilty of a civil offense called “violation of spectators’ right during a sports event” and placed them under civil arrest for 15 days. The court also banned the four Pussy Riot members from attending sports events on Russian territory for three years. Defense lawyers have promised to appeal this ruling.

In Russia, the illegal use of uniforms and insignia of state law enforcement agencies and paramilitary organizations is also a civil offense punishable by fines of up to 1500 roubles (about $ 24) and confiscation of the uniforms. 

Three suspects will be tried on July 23 and one on July 25, a defense lawyer representing the group said in comments to Interfax. The Pussy Riot group gained worldwide notoriety in 2012 after three members of this self-styled “punk group” specializing in “actionist protest” were sentenced to two years in prison for “hooliganism motivated by religious hatred and enmity.”

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Ekaterina Samutsevich (C), Maria Alyokhina (L) and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova (R) show the court's verdict as they sit in a glass-walled cage in Moscow court on Agust 17, 2012 (AFP Photo / STR)

They had entered the main Moscow cathedral during a mass and performed the profanity-laden song ‘Mother of God, drive Putin away’ at the altar. A few worshippers who witnessed the incident said that it had offended their religious sensibilities.

After the three protesters served their terms, Pussy Riot suffered internal issues and the group almost broke up, with some members leaving Russia for Western Europe. Of the four suspects in the recent pitch invasion, only Pyotr Verzilov had been mentioned in connection with the “punk prayer” case and other incidents.

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Girl power: Waitress tackles diner who groped her backside in pizzeria (VIDEO)

By ethan / July 20, 2018

A US waitress who put a customer in a chokehold after he grabbed her backside says she’s glad she showed other women how they can stand up for themselves.

Emelia Holden was waiting tables at a VinnieVanGoGo’s restaurant in Savannah, Georgia, when she was touched on the bottom by a handsy patron. The incident was caught on CCTV and shows a man dressed in a red t-shirt move his hand onto the buttocks of Holden as she is looking at a notepad.

Holden can then be seen to burst into action, grabbing the man by the throat before slamming him into a table. According to the 21-year-old pizza restaurant worker, she had just taken a customer’s order when she felt a hand touch her.

READ MORE: ‘Body slam’ cop sparks fury after shocking Texas schoolgirl arrest (VIDEO)

“I took someone’s order and I was getting ready to set them up and then I just felt it,” she told WAFB news. “I was like, ‘nope that’s not going to happen’ and turned around and took the guy down.”

The man in the footage has since been identified as 31-year-old Ryan Cherwinski of Florida, who was apparently on a date with his wife at the time. Cherwinski has been charged by Chatham County Sheriff’s Office with sexual battery over the June 30 incident, reported WSAV.

However, he has reportedly said that the grope was an accident and happened when he tried to move Holden from out of his path. Footage of the restaurant employee’s no-nonsense approach has since gone viral, amassing more than 1 million views online.

The video has also garnered much reaction online, with many people praising the young woman’s actions. “This is just beautiful. What a champion she is. Not even a moment of hesitation,” one person wrote.

“Honestly, the gall of that motherf***er. She would have been well within her rights to smash him a couple more times,” another said.

READ MORE: Dramatic moment teacher body slams student captured on camera (VIDEO)

“He got what he deserved,” a third added. “Don’t touch anyone without their permission.”

Holden said she’s been overwhelmed by support from people. “I’m not glad that it happened, but I’m glad that it’s had such a positive outcome,” she said. “I’m glad that other women can see this and know that you can stand up for yourself.”

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‘I will never forget him’: Evgenia Medvedeva on tragic death of Kazakh skater Ten

By ethan / July 20, 2018

Russian Olympic silver medalist Evgenia Medvedeva has expressed her condolences to the family of deceased Kazakh figure skater Denis Ten, saying she “can’t believe” the news about his death.

This was only two years ago. Denis seemed to be the most cheerful, unusual and one of the most creative people in figure skating,” Medvedeva wrote on Instagram, posting a picture of herself and Ten. “I can’t believe it. I don’t want to and I can’t believe it. My condolences to Denis’ family. I will never forget his laughter.

Tributes and condolences have poured in for Ten, after the news about his tragic death was announced.

My condolences to the family. Denis was so young and beautiful. How could such things happen in this world!!!” the two-time Olympic champion Ekaterina Gordeeva wrote.

Sweet, sweet Denis. You were such a light in this world. Talented beyond description and an incredible joy to have ever known. Your passion for this sport and the creativity that you brought into your every day life will be so overwhelmingly missed. Rest in peace my friend,” US skater Ashley Wagner wrote.

My skating friend, @tenis_den, passed away today. He was so kind to everyone and a huge inspiration to me and so many other people. Murdered in the streets of Kazakhstan. Denis, thank you for showing us how to be a champion. Your time with us was way too short. Love you forever,” wrote US skater Adam Rippon who competed together with Ten at the 2018 Olympics in South Korea.

Ten was stabbed to death on Thursday after a brawl with two men who tried to steal mirrors on his car.

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Going green: China's shift to natural gas will send coal prices crashing

By ethan / July 20, 2018

Chinese authorities have approved an extended program aimed at significantly curtailing coal consumption across the country. The move to cleaner energy will have a serious effect on the entire coal industry.

According to the plan, within three years coal consumption across 82 China’s cities will be slashed by up to 10 percent against the numbers fixed in 2016. Beijing is set to transfer housing and utilities infrastructure and the power supply sector from coal to gas.

The move will definitely lead to a drop in global prices for coal by 2020-2021, according to Director of the Center for Economic Forecasting at Gazprombank Airat Khalikov, as quoted by Russian business daily Vedomosti.

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© Chen Aizhu

Average price for coal was hovering at around $ 103 per ton in the first six months of the current year. After the reduction of coal consumption by China, which is the world’s number one consumer and producer of the fossil fuel, global prices will drop to $ 52–69 per ton, media reports.

Last year, China imported some 188.3 million tons of bituminous coal, coal bricks and rolls, 2.7 percent more against the previous year, according to the country’s customs statistics. Costs of imports grew by 60.8 percent to $ 18.57 billion with the average price per ton reaching $ 99.

Australia became China’s number one coal supplier, exporting 79.91 million tons to the country in 2017, boosting revenues by 75.8 percent to $ 9.87 billion. Indonesia sold 35.28 million tons of coal to China, earned $ 2.47 billion – 20.9 percent more than in 2016. Exports of coal from Russia increased by 36.3 percent to 25.31 million tons, while export revenue grew by 99.2 percent to $ 2.23 billion.

The average price of coal from Australia totaled $ 124 per ton, Indonesia sold coal to China at $ 70 per ton, while Russian coal cost the country $ 88 per ton. China also imported 3.17 million tons of coal from the US at an average price of $ 143 per ton.

China’s move towards curbing coal consumption is reportedly in response to environmental concerns and a declining coal industry in the country. China, the world’s second-biggest natural gas buyer, is expected to account for at least a quarter of all global gas consumption growth between 2015 and 2040, the US Energy Information Administration says.

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'Russophobia runs amok' in US, puts it on edge of war with Russia – Stephen Cohen

By ethan / July 20, 2018

Russian demonization and Russophobia have gripped the US, where politicians would rather impeach Trump than avert a nuclear war with Russia, professor emeritus at both Princeton and New York Universities Stephen Cohen believes.

While US media and establishment still cannot settle nerves after Trump-Putin summit in Helsinki, Cohen, who is also contributing editor at The Nation, and Chicago University professor John Mearsheimer, bashed the Russian bogeyman approach in an interview to Vice news. 

READ MORE: From ‘say again’ to ‘war criminal’: Bizarre pearls of anti-Putin frenzy sparked by Trump’s invite

Cohen has been labelled as Russian president’s apologist, with “tsunami” of attacks on him. However, the scientist says that those people are just uniformed, with Mearsheimer adding many refuse to engage in fair dialogue with both of them merely because they would “lose the debate.”

“We’ve demonized Putin and we’ve putinized Russia, so we’ve demonized Russia. Russophobia is running amok in this country.” Cohen said. “I’ve seen these things from the inside. I’ve re-thought and re-thought how we got to the edge of war with Russia, where we haven’t been since Cuba in 1962. And I have concluded it is 95 percent our own doing.” 

Cooperation with Moscow praised by Trump during the Helsinki meeting, but seen by some in Washington even treasonous, is actually vital, according to Cohen. Despite the US president is “wrong on a lot of things” this particular part is not among them.

“If he means what he said he was right – it would be great to cooperate with Russia. I would go father – it’s imperative,” the professor said.

However, this approach does not fit the tune of US establishment, despite Trump is trying to do and stuck to what “we have demanded of every president – keep us out of war with Russia.”

The hostility towards the two leaders’ meeting and its results is “largely driven by the fact that people want to undermine Trump,” according to Mearsheimer. And the aim to get rid of Trump apparently prevails the world’s peace, his fellow scholar noted.

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© Alexei Nikolsky

“These people would prefer trying to impeach Trump to averting nuclear war or war with Russia. If it’s come to that, Trump is no longer to blame, we are ourselves,” Cohen said.

US & its allies are to blame for Ukrainian crisis

Russian President Vladimir Putin was among those who dared to push his own agenda against American one, Mearsheimer said, stressing the Ukrainian crisis was one of the “main manifestation of that.”

“The evidence is clear that the United State and its West European allies [are principally responsible for the crisis],” he argued.

Going further on the topic, Cohen stressed that the idea to bring Ukraine to the West militarily and economically was “deeply rooted” in Washington to make Russia “nothing more than what [former US President Barack] Obama called ‘a weak regional power.'”

The US would never tolerate the situation similar to Ukraine’s ambitions to join NATO on its own doorstep, Mearsheimer stressed. The professors argued that if the Soviet Union or China had formed a military alliance with Mexico or Canada, everybody would have demanded the US leadership to react and this would be deemed not aggression, but defense.

“Any fool could have told you that by bringing in countries on Russia’s borders with historical grievances against Russia, we’re going to diminish everybody’s national security,” Cohen said.

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Olympic champion Yagudin bursts into tears during Instagram video on ‘great’ Denis Ten

By ethan / July 20, 2018

Prominent Russian figure skater Alexei Yagudin couldn’t hold back the tears as he addressed the death of his former colleague, 2014 Olympic bronze medalist Denis Ten, who was fatally stabbed Thursday.

In an emotional speech published on Yagudin’s Instagram page, the grief-stricken figure skater said he was totally devastated by the tragedy which “should have never happened.” The 2002 Olympic gold medalist also asked the Russian media to let him grieve in peace as he no longer has the energy to comment on the tragedy.

READ MORE: ‘He was unique’: Russian star Sotnikova pays tribute to Ten after Kazakh skater killed

Unfortunately, today a tragedy occurred, which should never have happened,” said Yagudin, as tears flowed down his cheeks. “It is something that we never expected to happen. This is my video address to all the mass media, because I can’t answer the phone calls [to comment on Ten’s death] any more. I also want to address f***g idiots who are writing bul***t about Ten on social media.

We have been crying the whole day because today not just a great figure skater, but a great person passed away. Yury and Oksana [Denis Ten’s parents] we can’t even imagine what you are feeling right now. Forgive us please that we somehow failed to save your kid.”

Denis Ten was killed after an altercation with two men who had attempted to steal rear-view mirrors from his car. The athlete lost three liters of blood and was unconscious when rushed to hospital minutes later. Despite the best efforts of doctors, the skater passed away from severe blood loss.

READ MORE: Suspect in stabbing death of Olympic figure skater Denis Ten detained, admits guilt – prosecutor

Kazakh authorities announced Friday that one of the suspects in the murder, identified as Nuraly Kiyasov, was detained and admitted his guilt. Police officers are now focusing their efforts on finding the second perpetrator, who is still at large.

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Trump says US ready to tax all Chinese imports should need arise

By ethan / July 20, 2018

Washington may slap import taxes on all $ 505 billion worth of Chinese goods should it become necessary if the trade conflict with Beijing escalates, US President Donald Trump told CNBC.

So far, the countries have exchanged levies on mutual imports worth of $ 34 billion. US export duties on Chinese products came into force on July 6 with China retaliating hours later.

“I’m ready to go to 500,” Donald Trump said in an interview with CNBC, stressing that he is ready to tax every Chinese product imported to the US if it is necessary.

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© Bobby Yip

Last year, the dollar amount of US exports from China totaled $ 505.5 billion, according to Census Bureau data. The number is much bigger than the $ 129.9 billion the US exported to China the same year.

“I’m not doing this for politics, I’m doing this to do the right thing for our country,” the president told the agency. “We have been ripped off by China for a long time.”

Previously, economists noted that Beijing wouldn’t be able to emerge the winner in the tit-for-tat game of export tariffs because of the significant trade imbalance. According to some analysts, China could take some other steps to tackle the US trade attack, including cutting US investments, rejecting the country’s oil and gas, dumping the US state debt, as well as devaluing the yuan.

US is “being taken advantage of” on many fronts, including trade and monetary policy, according to Trump, who stressed that he had not introduced the tariffs out of any ill will towards Beijing.

“I don’t want them to be scared. I want them to do well,” the agency quotes the president as saying. “I really like President Xi a lot, but it was very unfair.”

American stock futures took a dive on Friday following the president’s comments. Dow Jones was down 130 points in pre-market trading.

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Rand Paul: hatred for Trump means ‘partisans would rather risk war’ than talk to Russia

By ethan / July 20, 2018

“Trump Derangement Syndrome has officially come to the Senate,” said Republican Senator Rand Paul, as he called on lawmakers to drop their “crazy hatred” of the US president and instead focus on renewed diplomacy with Russia.

The senator from Kentucky made the comments during a House session on Thursday. Taking to the floor to oppose a resolution from Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, which would have demanded Trump sit down with special counsel Robert Mueller as part of the investigation, Paul lambasted “partisan” critics of the president, accusing them of preferring to risk war with Russia instead of giving diplomacy and peace a chance. 

“The hatred of the president is so intense that partisans would rather risk war than give diplomacy a chance,” he said.

“I would rather than we still have open channels of discussion with the Russians,” Paul added.

READ MORE: Flip-flopping Trump vows to be Putin’s ‘worst enemy’ if US-Russia relationship doesn’t pan out

Paul maintained that leaders in Moscow and Washington had always engaged in diplomacy even when they seemed to be on the brink of conflict during the Cold War.

“Does anybody remember that Ronald Reagan sat down with Gorbachev and we lessened the nuclear tensions?” he queried.

He continued: “Kennedy, at the height of the Cold War, had a direct line to Khrushchev, and it may have prevented the end of the world. Should we be so crazy about partisanship that we now say we don’t want to talk to the Russians? Are we not going to have relations with the Russians?”

READ MORE: ‘Absolutely not’: GOP says questioning Trump’s translator would end presidential diplomacy

Paul said that through diplomacy with Russia, the ongoing conflict in Ukraine could come to an end and expressed an eagerness to have Russian help in bringing about denuclearization on the Korean peninsula, but maintained that heaping sanctions while not engaging in diplomacy would not allow that to happen.

“We’re not going to have it if we simply heap more sanctions on and say we’re not going to talk to the Russians and anybody who talks to the Russian has committed treason,” Rand Paul said.

“This has got to stop. This crazy hated of the president. This is crazy partisanship that is driving this. For goodness sakes, we don’t excuse Russia’s behavior in our election, but we don’t have to have war.”

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