US ‘state terror’ in Middle East has ‘little to do with’ defending Americans, says former US marine

By ethan / September 25, 2018

The US war in Afghanistan was built on a “profitable lie” and the “state terror” perpetuated by Washington in its foreign wars has little to do with protecting and defending Americans, a former US marine has written.

There is a “chasm of awareness” that exists between American veterans and civilians who don’t know what war is really like, former marine Lyle Jeremy Rubin wrote in The Nation. Rubin said that he used to “believe every word” from Bush-era officials after the September 11 terror attacks, but that he had begun to start questioning the war even before he was deployed in 2010.

The former marine took aim at liberal media for cheering on US military adventurism and for failing to properly cover wars which cause “needless destruction” and death. In particular, he said that “celebrated commentators” like MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow and Lawrence O’Donnell “fail to cover America’s ongoing wars and the role some of their favorite guests have played in launching and expanding them”.

“There’s kind of a narrow spectrum of opinion that you’re allowed to fall within, but it rarely allows for people like myself who are just simply opposed to these wars altogether,” he said.

In an interview with The Real News, Rubin said that most Americans have a false idea of what war really entails. When they thank military troops for their service, they don’t really know what that means.

“[People] have this idea that we’re defending the country, that we’re defending the everyday life of civilians. But the fact is that what many of us are doing, particularly in the war zones that we’re serving in, is we’re terrorizing desperate populations.”

“That state terror on the part of our own government has very little to do with defending the interests of most Americans,” he added.

Rubin, who served in the US Marine Corps for five years, has since become a member of About Face: Veterans Against the War. He is also a historian studying for a PhD at the University of Rochester, and a member of the Democratic Socialists of America.

The marine-turned-activist said he despaired at the fact that it was now Democrats who are “most inclined” to label those they disagree with as traitors and most inclined to “accept declarations or demands made by a defense establishment that apparently can do no wrong.”

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Jon Jones: I’m excited about potential Gustafsson comeback fight (VIDEO)

By ethan / September 25, 2018

Former UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones told RT Sport he is “excited” about a potential fight against Alexander Gustafsson on his return to professional MMA from a doping suspension.

Jones was handed a backdated 15-month suspension by USADA last week for a failed doping test before his fight with Daniel Cormier in July 2017 – clearing him to return to the UFC from October 28.   

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© Sean M. Haffey

There is still no date set for Jones’ comeback, although UFC boss Dana White has said it will likely be at the start of 2019.

Before the decision on his suspension was announced, Jones himself gave RT Sport an insight into how has been using his time away from the UFC – as well as his thoughts on an “exciting” potential fight against Sweden’s Alexander Gustafsson when he returns. 

“I’ve been training non-stop over this course of a year,” Jones said.

“Muhammad Ali said, ‘don’t count the time, make the time count.’ And I’ve been making the time count by trying to get 1 percent better, every single day.

“I’ve been doing a lot of powerlifting… a lot of kettle bells, Russian kettle bells… and I’ve been doing a lot of boxing. I feel like boxing has been, my physical power, my one-punch knockout power, hasn’t been the best, and my boxing technique hasn’t been the best over the course of my career, so now I’m working on developing power and proper form. I feel like that hole that was in my game has been closed up, and I’m trying to take a weakness and turn it into my strength. I feel like that’s what I’ve done.”

READ MORE: ‘I want to crush his confidence’: Jon Jones targets 2 more victories against Daniel Cormier

Jones also spoke on the rumors that Gustafsson could be the first man up on his comeback.

The pair have history, first meeting in the main event of UFC 165 in September 2013 – a bout which Jones won via decision. Jones says the notion held by some that Gustafsson had got the better of him would further motivate him to face the Swede again – this time  taking things “more seriously.”

“I’ve been hearing about the possibility that Alexander Gustafsson will be the first person I fight when I come back, which I’m excited about,” Jones said.

“A lot of people feel like he beat me the first time we fought, which didn’t happen, it was close, but he didn’t beat me.

“So Alexander Gustafsson is a possible first fight back, I’d love to fight him again and take him seriously this time. The first time I fought him, I wasn’t living life the way a champion should be living life.

“I didn’t train very hard for that fight, I’m not making excuses, but this is just the truth, I could have given it a lot more effort, I got fatigued after the first two rounds, which is something that never normally happens in my fights, so I feel like the next time I fight him, I will finish him.”

Jones’ suspension after the Cormier fight was his second for doping violations, and was the latest in a long line of controversy that has followed him – both in and out of MMA.

The fighter, 31, touched on his current relationship with the UFC hierarchy – including Ari Emanuel, co-CEO of WME, the company which owns the UFC, and promotion president Dana White – something he sees as important to develop as he makes a return to the octagon.   

“My relationship with the UFC is better than it’s been in a long time. Me and Ari Emanuel have a very strong relationship, we talk on the phone at least once a month, sometimes he’ll call me and say ‘how are you doing, how are you feeling?’, send me something for my family, things like that.

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© Sean M. Haffey

“I have the relationship with Ari that I always wanted to have with Lorenzo [Fertitta, former UFC CEO], Lorenzo was a great guy, but we just weren’t close. Me and Ari, I feel like there’s a different vibe between us, that I’m very grateful for and I’ll do my best to try and keep.

“Me and Dana White, it’s me and Dana White. We don’t really talk much, but I’m looking to change my relationship with Dana, I really want to be close to him, and have that relationship where we hang out, we do things together, we talk on the phone, I think I wrote him recently on his son’s birthday… so I want to take steps to develop a stronger relationship with the UFC.

READ MORE: ‘He’s an extraordinary liar, just like Sonnen’: Jon Jones blasts UFC’s Colby Covington (VIDEO)

“Fighting against the UFC while working with the UFC doesn’t help you. Not being tight with your boss does no good, so I really want to change things and become close with the UFC and become a company guy.”

When asked for his thoughts on what kind of shape the UFC would be in on his return – in particular the light heavyweight and heavyweight divisions – Jones said the promotion was “in a good place,” but that his comeback would shake things up significantly.  

“When I get back it’s going to add a lot of excitement to the division. I think the UFC is in a good spot, I really do. Even the heavyweight division, you’ve got Francis Ngannou, you’ve got Derrick Lewis, you’ve Cain Velasquez in there, I think the heavyweight division looks a little more scary than the light heavyweight division at the moment.

“But I’ll wake it up, I’ll stir up some fire when I get back in there,” vowed the fighter, who is 22-1 in MMA and 16-1 in the UFC.   

“I’m kind of in this space now where I feel like I don’t really have things to prove in the cage. I just knocked out Daniel Cormier in my last fight, and some people consider him to be the best fighter that ever lived, so I don’t really feel like I have that much to prove, as far as being a light heavyweight champion and defending that belt,” Jones added

Jones also said he is prepared to take on considerable risks when he makes his return – and could even take his cue from MMA megastar Conor McGregor by looking at lucrative crossover fights.     

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USA Today Sports

“Right now my mindset is more about making money, even those big fights, you know, I watched Conor McGregor fight Floyd Mayweather, and it was high risk, high reward.

“There’s a saying, ‘scared money don’t make money’. I gotta be brave when I get back in the game, and start challenging guys that I could possibly lose to, because that’s what people want to see. 

READ MORE: ‘Who the f*** is that guy?’: Conor McGregor’s most brutal put-downs

“They want to see Jones versus Velasquez, they want to see Jones versus Ngannou, that’s what people want to see, and that’s where my mindset is – Jones versus Anthony Joshua, or Deontay Wilder, you know, that’s what people want to see.”

As part of the same interview, Jones also told RT Sport that he would ultimately like to hand Cormier two further defeats, ending his reign as only the second-ever man to hold titles in two weight classes in the UFC.

Cormier himself appeared to dismiss talk of a trilogy when commenting on the news of Jones’ return, telling Fox Sports“I’ve moved past that. I went about my business. I went and won another title. This guy, I guess now his suspension’s up. So we’ll see what happens.”

It remains to be seen how things will pan out now that Jones’ suspension term has been confirmed – but if it is anything like what MMA fans have seen up to this point, it promises to be an exhilarating ride.  

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Trump weighing antitrust probe into Google, Facebook & Twitter. It’s been a long time coming.

By ethan / September 25, 2018

The White House is considering an executive order targeting Google and social media companies like Facebook and Twitter for antitrust activity, following months of criticism and accusations of bias from President Donald Trump.

The draft order would potentially pave the way for probes into Alphabet Inc.-owned Google, as well as social media companies that have been the focus of Trump’s ire over what he has described as a bias in favor of Democrats and against him personally. 

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© Armin Durgut/Global Look Press

Bloomberg reported on the order’s existence over the weekend, claiming to have seen a draft copy. The White House has since distanced itself from the executive order, with one official saying it was in its early stages and was not the result of any official policy-making process. The draft was emailed to the White House by Luther Lowe, a senior executive at Yelp — which has claimed for years that Google deliberately buries its reviews. Lowe denied writing the document, however.

White House equivocations aside, this kind of action would certainly come as no surprise from the Trump administration. Just last month, Trump told reporters, during an oval office meeting, that Google, Facebook, and Twitter were “treading on very, very troubled territory” and that they “better be careful” going forward. While he didn’t spell out any specific actions he might take, some speculated about potential antitrust action.

It was far from the first time Trump had complained about the companies in question, either.

1. Rigged results?

On the same day that Trump told reporters that Google and the social media networks should be “careful,” he took to Twitter to claim that Google had “rigged” its search algorithms against him by only showing negative news from mainstream outlets. He also promised to address the problem without going into any details.

2. Facebook on ‘Hillary’s side’

Facebook has also been a target of criticism from Trump since his election. He has speculated on Twitter about “collusion” between the social media giant, mainstream TV networks and the “fake news” New York Times and Washington Post which he claims were all “anti-Trump” during the campaign. Last October, he lashed out at Facebook again, saying that it supported Hillary Clinton.

Though Trump did not specifically refer to them, leaked emails between Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg and Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta in the run-up to the 2016 election revealed that Facebook provided research to Clinton in 2015, and that Sandberg met with Clinton privately multiple times and“badly” wanted her to win the election.

3. Twitter ‘shadowbanning’ conservatives

More recently, Trump has taken aim at Twitter over accusations from some prominent pundits and even lawmakers that the platform has been “shadowbanning” conservatives — a practice which involves making their tweets less prominent on user feeds and their profiles harder to find. Trump didn’t pull any punches in his criticism of Twitter, calling the practice “illegal” and discriminatory.

Twitter has denied that it engages in any kind of purposeful censorship of conservatives, but an undercover video recording by conservative watchdog group Project Veritas showed Twitter employees confirming that it is commonplace at the company and gives the platform “ultimate control”.

The draft order does not name any company specifically, but instructs antitrust authorities to “thoroughly investigate whether any online platform has acted in violation” of antitrust laws and states that consumer harm could come through “the exercise of bias” — something which is not typically a feature of antitrust investigations and which could be interpreted as an attempt by the government to regulate political views, Bloomberg reported.

Former Justice Department antitrust lawyer Gene Kimmelman told Bloomberg that such a directive from the White House could be “extremely dangerous” if it “incorrectly associates bias with competition.” However, Hal Singer, a senior fellow at the George Washington Institute of Public Policy, had a different interpretation of the draft. Singer said that the word “bias” in the order did not necessarily mean political bias. Instead, Singer posited that it referred to widespread accusations that companies like Facebook have used their power to point people toward their own products and services.

READ MORE: ‘It can turn around’: Trump would rather tolerate ‘fake news’ than accept ‘censorship’

“Tell me where in the executive order you can locate a kernel of the political speech idea,” he said. “This is purely about competition.”

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'Bravo Luka! Deserved!' – Croatia president Grabar-Kitarović congratulates Modric on FIFA Best award

By ethan / September 25, 2018

Croatian president Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović has congratulated national team captain Luka Modric on his FIFA Best Men’s player award with a “bravo” message to her official Facebook page.

READ MORE: Modric beats Ronaldo & Salah to claim FIFA men’s player of the year award

“Bravo Luka – deserved! Captain, congratulations on your choice for the best player in the world!” the popular president wrote on Facebook following the announcement at the FIFA Best ceremony in London on Monday, where Modric beat off competition from Cristiano Ronaldo and Mohamed Salah.

Grabar-Kitarović stole hearts at the World Cup 2018 Russia with her passionate display of support for the Croatian team as they marched all the way to the final, including wearing the team jersey in the stands at their quarterfinal match versus hosts Russia. 

The team eventually made it all the way to the final, valiantly losing 4-2 to France, but heir efforts had done the tiny Balkan nation proud. Not least those of captain Modric, who was awarded the Golden Ball for the best player at the tournament, presented to him by the president.

READ MORE: 5 times Croatian President Grabar-Kitarovic won hearts at the World Cup (PHOTOS)

The image of Grabar-Kitarović emotionally embracing the defeated skipper while handing him a runners-up medal, as the rain cascaded down on the Luzhniki Stadium turf after the final, became one of the most iconic of the entire tournament.

Despite Modric’s unparalleled personal success on the pitch, there was one area in which Grabar-Kitarovic outdid Croatia’s golden boy; the president was so popular at the tournament, that she recorded a whole 25 percent more social media mentions than skipper Modric, from a record-high 258,326 about Croatia during the final.

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WTO ‘violates every single principle’ on which it is based – Trump

By ethan / September 25, 2018

US President Donald Trump has criticized the World Trade Organization (WTO) and urged to re-shape the global trade.

“Many nations in this hall will agree that the world trading system is in dire need of change,” Trump said speaking to the UN General Assembly on Tuesday.

“Countries were admitted to the World Trade Organization that violate every single principle that the organization is based on”.

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Trump took aim at various trade practices like product dumping, currency manipulation and theft of intellectual property. His administration earlier slammed China for all of these practices.

“We will no longer tolerate such abuse. We will not allow our workers to be victimized, our companies to be cheated and our wealth to be plundered and transferred,” Trump said.

His speech comes a day after a 10-percent import tariff imposed by the US on $ 200 billion worth of Chinese goods came into effect on Monday. China retaliated with $ 60 billion in US goods.

Trump threatened Beijing with further tariffs on around $ 267 billion of imports if Beijing retaliates against the latest measure.

In August, Trump threatened to pull the US out of the WTO if it doesn’t “shape up” and treat Washington better. A US withdrawal from the WTO could be more significant for the global economy than the US-China trade rift, undermining the post-WWII trading system.

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New York Times seeks evidence Russian hackers are fighting for internet freedom in US

By ethan / September 25, 2018

The New York Times is seeking evidence of Russian interference during a debate on placing restrictions on the internet in the US. It’s alleged a public commenting system was invaded by hackers.

The idea of the commenting system is for the public to have a say on proposed law changes, or at least get the feeling that they’re involved. There’s more than a sneaking suspicion that it’s more for show than substance.

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Viral image doctored to show US President Donald Trump handing out a MAGA hat to a hurricane victim

Ironically, the comments which were highlighted as coming from abroad overwhelmingly supported continued freedom of the internet for all, a concept known as net neutrality.

Here is the technical side of what’s going on: The New York Times is suing the FCC for information into whether its public commenting system was abused by hackers and bots. The FCC has ignored a string of Freedom of Information requests.

During the decision process on whether net neutrality should be rolled back in order to give corporations and public bodies the ability to restrict access to the web, 23 million comments from the public were submitted. Pew Research Center found 94% of the comments were submitted multiple times, amid “evidence of organized campaigns” usually using false or stolen accounts.

The concept of net neutrality was introduced under Barack Obama, and means that no company, corporation or body has the right to restrict people from being able to access any part of the internet they like, charge them extra or even slow their connections.

The reason the New York Times is getting involved is because around half a million of the public submissions were tracked back to Russia, although there is no evidence Russians actually sent them. The Times claims in the lawsuit that it wants to “broaden the public’s understanding of the scope of Russian interference in the American democratic system.”

However, analysis from data firm Emprata (in a report funded by some of the biggest internet providers in the US) found almost as many comments came from Germany, which is not mentioned in the lawsuit. It also found that all but 25 emails of the 1.74 million that came from abroad, were against repealing the idea of net neutrality.

TV comedian and host John Oliver on his popular US show called on people to comment on the threat to internet access as well, and that apparently that led to a 3,000% increase in submissions. He’s originally from Britain, so is that foreign interference too?

So in more simple terms: The government and big online companies are attempting to push through laws which restrict access to the internet.

The tech firms who stand to benefit from restrictions to net neutrality, funded research that found that suspicious comments from abroad all called for continued freedom of the internet. Reading between the lines… the ‘foreign enemy’ wants the internet to remain free, so therefore it must be controlled.

What the New York Times is concerned about is alleged comments, which may have come from Russia, that called for continued open access to the internet.

Even as huge US corporations seek to control the web in America, The New York Times is worried about Russia “interfering” in its democracy.

Is the continued hunt for proof of Russian interference in every political decision in the US distracting attention from the issues that are really at hand?

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Russian Grand Prix: All you need to know as F1 heads to Sochi

By ethan / September 25, 2018

Formula 1 rolls into Sochi for the Russian Grand Prix this week, bringing the fast and the furious of the motor racing world to the Black Sea coast.

There will be plenty to look out for on and off the track, including Mercedes star Lewis Hamilton aiming to strengthen his grip on the title and a potential podium cameo from Russian President Vladimir Putin.

RT Sport brings you an indispensable guide to all the action.


British reigning F1 champion Hamilton heads into the race at the Sochi Autodrom with a healthy 40-point lead at the top of the drivers’ standings, bolstered by his dominant victory last time out in Singapore.   

Hamilton and Mercedes made a mockery of Vettel’s status as favorite for the race under the bright Singapore lights, capitalizing on questionable Ferrari team calls – including pit stop and tire choices – to take a win that many thought improbable.

That result continued Hamilton’s title tilt, which he will be looking to build on at a Sochi circuit where he has previously tasted success in 2014 and 2015 – the first two editions of the grand prix at the venue.

The two years since then have both seen Mercedes triumphs – with Nico Rosberg winning there on his way to the world title in 2016, and Flying Finn Valtteri Bottas taking the checkered flag last year, when Hamilton finished fourth.

The races are running out for Vettel and Ferrari to make inroads in Hamilton’s championship lead this season, with only five more outings after Sochi.

If Vettel is going to mount a renewed challenge, the Black Sea coast would be a good place to start.


The 5.8km Sochi track winds its way around the city’s Olympic Park, replete with the accoutrements from the 2014 Winter Games, including the Fisht Stadium which recently hosted games at the FIFA World Cup.

The circuit has the backdrop of the Caucasus Mountains on one side and the Black Sea shores on the other – making it one of the more scenic venues on the calendar.

This year the Russian Grand Prix falls later on the schedule, although temperatures are still forecast to be around 23C (73F) come race day on Sunday.

READ MORE: F1 driver Ericsson survives horror crash at Italian Grand Prix practice (VIDEO)

Drivers will make their way around the circuit 53 times for a total distance of just under 310km. The lap record belongs to Finland’s Kimi Raikkonen, who set a time of 1:36.844 seconds in last year’s race.

Speaking ahead of the 2018 edition, Red Bull star Daniel Ricciardo described the Sochi track as “a pretty unique circuit,” adding that “in some ways it feels like driving flat out in a car park, but it’s a surprisingly enjoyable lap… there’s a lot going on and it’s a layout that keeps you thinking.”

Red Bull teammate Max Verstappen – who will turn 21 on the day of the race – says the Olympic Park has a “unique layout,” and that “the views from parts of the track and the hotels are really nice, on one side you have the mountains and on the other, the sea,” according to the official F1 website. 

Verstappen will likely have to take an engine penalty to Russia from the Singapore Grand Prix, meaning his chances of a birthday win will be greatly diminished. 

READ MORE: F1 star Max Verstappen apologizes for expletive-filled rant during Hungarian Grand Prix

Russia, meanwhile, will be represented by Williams driver Sergey Sirotkin, who is not expected to give the home fans too much to cheer about, having picked up just a solitary point so far this season. 


Sochi is among Russia’s most popular seaside resorts, with thousands flocking to the Black Sea coast to holiday every summer.

The beach towels will be supplemented by the torque of F1 car engines this weekend, and crowds are expected to be in the region of 150,000 across the three days of action.

Russian leader Vladimir Putin has attended proceedings in previous years – including being famously sprayed with champagne by winner Lewis Hamilton in 2015. There is no word yet on whether the Russian president will be making a guest appearance this year, however.  

Race fans flocking to Sochi will be able to enjoy the array of bars and cafes that adorn the Black Sea coast near the circuit.

Rapper Basta – a hit with the locals – will bring the weekend to a close by performing at the after-race party.


Practice 1 begins on Friday, September 28 at 11.00 local time (08:00 GMT). Qualifying is on Saturday, September 29 from 15:00 local time, while the race starts on Sunday, September 30 at 14:10 local time.

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Trump at UNGA: OPEC nations to contribute substantially to military protection from now on

By ethan / September 25, 2018

US President Donald Trump has taken another hit at the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). He has demanded that member states should ‘contribute substantially’ for military protection provided by the US.

Trump’s comments at the UN General Assembly come as oil hit a four-year high of $ 82 per barrel on Tuesday. Earlier, he repeatedly accused OPEC of “pushing for higher” crude prices despite the military protection provided by the US. The US president is against high oil prices, since they result in higher gasoline prices in America.

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© Nick Oxford

Speaking on Tuesday, Trump said that OPEC members were “as usual ripping off the rest of the world.”

“I don’t like it and nobody should like it. We defend many of these nations for nothing and then they take advantage of us by giving us high oil prices… We want them to start lowering prices… we are not going to put up with it, these horrible prices, much longer,” he said.

“We defend many of these nations for nothing, and then they take advantage of us by giving us high oil prices. Not good.”

OPEC, Russia and other producers refused to raise oil output last weekend despite Trump’s demands. Oil supply has been falling as countries are reducing purchases from Iran, whose oil sector will be sanctioned by the US from November 4. The International Energy Agency predicts strong oil-demand growth of 1.4 million barrels per day (bpd) this year and 1.5 million bpd in 2019. Rising demand and plunging supply have resulted in a spike in oil prices.

The average cost of gasoline in the US has risen 60 percent from $ 1.87 per gallon in February 2016 to over $ 3 in September. With US midterm congressional elections in 2018 coming up, high gasoline prices could hurt the Republican Party in swing states, John Kemp, a Reuters market analyst noted earlier.

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Terrorists no longer leaving Russia to fight in Syrian conflict, claims main anti-terrorism body

By ethan / September 25, 2018

International extremist groups are no longer calling on operatives to join the war in Syria, and are instead asking them to remain in sleeper cells in Russia, a senior member of the National Anti-Terrorism Committee has said.

The revelation was announced by the first deputy of the agency’s information department, Andrey Kokourov, at the Tuesday session of the Russian nationwide conference dedicated to countering terrorist propaganda among the younger generation.

The official said that extremists who remain in Russia are mostly choosing to stay in provinces and prepare for terrorist attacks. He also said that the special services had recently noted a tendency for “self-radicalization” among citizens – a process by which ordinary people develop an interest in extremist ideology without external influences.

Kokourov also mentioned the string of attacks on policemen in the Chechen Republic, which were committed by several young citizens (according to police, the youngest member of the gang was just 11). He said that it was not the only example of children joining terrorist groups. However, he did not support this statement with any examples.

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FILE PHOTO: Employees of the Chechen Ministry of the Interior © Said Tsarnaev

Speaking of more recent achievements in the fight against terrorism, the official said that special services and law enforcement agencies had uncovered and liquidated over 50 terrorist sleeper cells across Russia in recent months. He also said that Russian special services prevented 61 terrorist crimes in 2017, including 18 terrorist attacks that were thwarted at an early stage of preparation.

In late August, shortly before the Muslim holiday Eid al-Adha, a group of radicalized children and teenagers carried out several attacks on police in the Chechen Republic, including a suicide bombing. Four of the attackers were killed and one was detained, according to the Russian Investigative Committee.

The head of the Chechen Republic, Ramzan Kadyrov, called the attacks “a conspiracy against the Chechen people,” and said that they were committed on orders from abroad.

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World leaders laugh as Trump boasts of accomplishments during UN speech (VIDEO)

By ethan / September 25, 2018

US President Donald Trump prompted unexpected laughs from world leaders when he told the United Nations General Assembly that the American economy is “booming like never before”.

Trump said that he had accomplished more in two years than any administration ever had, but was surprised when the boast was met with laughter from other leaders in the room.

“I didn’t expect that reaction, but that’s OK,” he said in response.

Trump went on to say that the US is now “stronger, safer and richer” than when he took office in January 2017  and said that his administration is “standing up for American” and “standing up for the world”.

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