Ronal-do’h! Unconvincing Cristiano graffiti in Moscow park could be new rival to airport bust

By ethan / May 26, 2018

A graffiti portrait of Cristiano Ronaldo in Moscow’s Sokolniki Park has raised eyebrows about its likeness to the Real Madrid star, after social media users mocked his appearance, even comparing it to his infamous aiport bust.

The mock-up of wing wizard Ronaldo was part of the Russian capital’s 10th annual ‘Multicolored Moscow’ festival, which was this year dedicated to the World Cup 2018 this summer.

Aside from the festival’s breakdance and streetball competitions, there were graffiti artists showing off their skills with portraits of the world’s elite footballers with one dedicated to the five-time Ballon d’Or winner. But the cross-eyed portrait has raised eyebrows among Twitter users who have slated the picture of the Portuguese player online.

Once social media user likened the portrait to The Simpsons’ Mr Burns’ appearance in the episode ‘The Springfield Files’, in which the character undergoes treatment which leaves him looking like a green-glowing alien.

It is not the first time Ronaldo has been the subject of artwork bearing a questionable likeness to him. Who could forget the bust unveiled last year to mark the airport on Madeira, the island from which Ronaldo hails, being renamed in his honor?

Aside from Ronaldo’s sketchy portrayal, Twitter users also criticized the artists’ decision to depict Russian striker Aleksandr Kokorin in a Dynamo Moscow jersey, despite him having played for Zenit St. Petersburg since 2016.

Perhaps the pick of the bunch was the portrait of Ronaldo’s teammate Isco. Spain playmaker Isco was portrayed rather favorably in the famous red kit of ‘La Roja’. Ronaldo and Isco will be on opposing sides at Russia 2018 when they play in Sochi on June 15.

Fortunately, for the 2017 Confederations Cup last summer, Ronaldo was greeted by a slightly more accurate artwork upon arrival in Kazan, Russia.

He was greeted in the city, that hosted European champions Portugal’s first game in the tournament, with a multicolored mural adorning the side of a Kazan hotel which depicted the striker’s famous wink after Wayne Rooney’s red card in the match v England at World Cup 2006.

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Naked unarmed black man shot dead by Virginia police in disturbing video (GRAPHIC)

By ethan / May 26, 2018

Disturbing bodycam footage shows the fatal shooting of an unarmed and naked black man, who seemed to be “mentally unstable,” by a Richmond, Virginia police officer. The incident is currently being investigated.

On Friday, Richmond city police published the body camera video showing how an officer used a stun gun and then “lethal force” against 24-year-old Marcus-David Peters. Chief Alfred Durham said that the video was released to provide transparency in relation to the incident that occurred last week.


The video shows the victim, who was reportedly a high school science teacher, getting out a window of his car after it struck a tree near an interstate highway. Completely naked, Peters is seen running towards the highway, where he appears to be hit by a vehicle and starts rolling on the ground.

READ MORE: US police release footage of NBA player Brown’s stun-gun arrest (VIDEO)

The officer, identified as Michael Nyantakyi, a 10-year veteran of the force, is heard remarking that the man was “mentally unstable” and calls for back-up.

Peters then gets up and rushes towards the officer, threatening him. At first, Nyantakyi deploys his Taser against the man, but it fails, while Peters seemingly tries to grab the officer’s gun. Gunshots are then heard and the black man is seen limping away and eventually collapsing.

READ MORE: Black woman left topless as Alabama police throw her to floor in Waffle House arrest (VIDEO)

Peters died the next day in hospital and police are now investigating the incident. Peters’ family has publicly called for change in “the way that police handle black men and women” regardless of the officers’ race, while the Richmond police chief has come out in defense of Nyantakyi’s decision to use lethal force.

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Sex kit-ten: Most attractive football kits of the World Cup 2018 (PHOTOS)

By ethan / May 26, 2018

The Russia 2018 World Cup is fast approaching, and the 32 qualified teams are all suited and booted in their respective national colors, ready for the tournament. But who has the sexiest strip?

RT Sport gets the kits out for the lads and takes you through the most aesthetically pleasing jerseys on display this summer.


Iceland burst onto the international football scene at Euro 2016 with their now-famous Viking Thunder Clap and a win over England on their way to the semifinals that drew everyone’s applause. 

But if The Vikings melted hearts at Euro 2016, they are sure to have supporters swooning with their impressive attire for the World Cup.

Their simple but effective number features the country’s retro football association badge perched just above the breast of an all-blue body. Pixelated sleeves create a blurry, fuzzy effect that is achingly retro.

The second and third trips are coloured garish red and pristine white for those wanting an even more quirky look to everyone’s favourite hipster team.

Even the announcement was packaged in a trendy video. Iceland is a notoriously cold country, but their kit for Russia 2018 is undoubtedly cool.


Nigeria’s kit has caused shockwaves in the footballing world. Kit manufacturer Nike has received a staggering 3 million orders for the shirts before they have even hit the shops, generating an incredible $ 255 million in profits for the company so far. 

And it’s easy to see why. One of the few teams in world football to play in green, Nike has altered the traditional emerald shirt colour to a cool, almost tropical shade, filtered with white, all arranged in a collage of mini chevrons.

Football pop culture and fashion Mundial magazine called the kit: ​”An exciting step forward for team apparel. It’s sportswear. It’s made with that audience in mind, ​properly understanding what it is that people who love kits outside of just team association like about them. The colours, the shapes, the pattern: all of it is sharp as f***.”

Who can argue with such words?


Belgium’s so-called ‘Golden Generation’ will be looking like a million dollars in their retro kit. Manufacturer Adidas retained a nostalgic look for their Russia 2018 range, and Belgium’s blend of crimson, black and amber colours make for probably the most beautiful of the bunch.

The screamingly red shirt is complemented by a criss-cross design across the breast, and the neatly arranged diamonds of the Belgian tricolor makes the shirt look like fancy sweet wrapping, fitting for the birthplace of chocolate.

The jerseys will kit out the equally dazzling Premier League stars Kevin de Bruyne, Romelu Lukaku and Eden Hazard at Russia 2018.


Surprisingly, the only South American entry on the list, Colombia, is another one of the beneficiaries of Adidas’ foolproof attractive kit design.

James Rodriguez, Radamel Falcao and Juan Cuadrado will be donning the shirts that evoke memories of former kits worn by iconic figures such as captain Carlos Valderrama and Rene Higuita.

The clever jagged designs running down the sides of the jersey are a smart variation on the same idea of the Belgium shirts from Adidas.


Croatia’s design, inspired by their equally cool national flag, has, by default, ensured that, down the years, the Balkan team has always more or less had a cool kit.

Croatia’s best performance at a major tournament came during their debut World Cup – France 98 – when they reached the semifinal stage, losing 2-1 to France, the host nation and eventual winners.

That game became notable for Laurent Blanc’s red card for pushing Croatia defender Slaven Bilic, and, although the camera replay caught an overreacting and, it also caught Bilic’s effortlessly cool strip.

Nike’s glorious craftsmanship has produced the current incarnation of the famous design, which has been altered to simply feature checkered red and white squares for Luka Modric, Ivan Rakitic and co at Russia 2018.

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European businesses shouldn’t be held hostage by US sanctions against Russia – investor

By ethan / May 26, 2018

US sanctions against Russia are pointless and completely out of order, the President of Thomas Vendome Investment Jean-Pierre Thomas told RT at the St Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF).

Thomas said he does not understand why the European economy should be impacted. “Sanctions are the sole decision of the United States, it’s not the decision of Europe and even the UN,” he said, adding “it’s inacceptable” and “we should get out of this.”

According to him, Washington’s sanctions should not be of any concern for European companies. However, while those companies have branches in the US they are also impacted by sanctions. Washington can penalize any company working in the US if it’s doing business in a sanctioned country.

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© Dado Ruvic

The businessmen suggested that Europe could also introduce counter-sanctions against the US in Europe. And if Russia retaliates against the United States it will be an adequate response, he said. “In this silly game the US understands that the sanctions system is not a good one because the balance of the forces is the best way to negotiate.”  

France is a very strong country and it should take the lead, by speaking out against sanctions. “It should tell the whole of Europe to decrease sanctions step by step or at once which is not so easy because economically we are linked to the US and other parts of the world.”

Thomas stressed that Europe should have its own position and follow its interests in rebalancing relations with the US on one side, and Russia on the other. “If you conduct a poll in France, I’m sure more than 70 percent of people will say they don’t understand why the US has to decide for them.”

He pointed to the fact that numerous French companies, businessmen, and the French president are attending the St. Petersburg forum. That is because French people want to work, they want employment, Thomas explained.

“President [Emmanuel]Macron can’t go against the will of his people like President Vladimir Putin can’t go against the will of Russia. I do understand that the US is acting very cleverly while intervening on behalf of its interests, which is good for them, and I don’t criticize it. What I am criticizing is that we are going against our own interest. That’s not acceptable.”

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Crisis looming over global economy without free trade

By ethan / May 26, 2018

Multilateral free trade is a key to global economic stability, global leaders at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF) have agreed.

Russian President Vladimir Putin warned about the deepest crisis the global economy has ever seen, if protectionism prevails. “The system of multilateral cooperation, which took years to build, is no longer allowed to evolve. It is being broken in a very crude way. Breaking the rules is becoming the new rule,” he said.

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SPIEF logo/TASS Host Photo Agency

The methods for breaking the rules are trade tariffs, technical standards and subsidies, as well as unilateral sanctions, according to Putin. “The ability to impose sanctions arbitrarily and with no control fosters a temptation to use such restrictive tools again and again, right and left, in every case, regardless of political loyalty, talks about solidarity, past agreements and long cooperation,” the Russian president said.

International Monetary Fund (IMF) chief Christine Lagarde said trade barriers can slow down global growth, which is expected to reach 3.9 percent this year. “There are darkening clouds from the risk of a retreat from global trade and multilateral cooperation,” she said. Lagarde warned there are no winners in a trade war, and “protectionism hurts the poor especially hard.”

Longtime US ally France is seeking to make Europe’s economy more independent, according to President Emmanuel Macron. “We must work to boost cross-investments and to achieve financial independence of Europe. It is necessary, if we want to reach our strategic goals, to achieve individual and autonomous financing of these projects and strategies. It is necessary to separate some spheres from geopolitical ones, from politicization,” Macron said at the Forum.

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“We seek European sovereignty, and I think that, in order to achieve it, we need to start with self-sufficiency and sovereignty in the area of financing,” Macron added.The French president also said that he supports measures to compensate the European companies that may suffer from US sanctions on Iran.

The world’s second-largest economy, China, is also seeking to avoid trade wars. “As far as the trade war between China and the United States is concerned, consultations between the two countries are underway … We should avoid a trade war because nobody will win,” Vice President Wang Qishan said Friday.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said trade disputes should be resolved through the World Trade Organization. “I think it is necessary to pay attention to trade in general, in a comprehensive manner, and to act within the framework of the WTO regulations. We are talking about this inside the country, and we also call on the American partners to do this,” Abe said. The PM pointed out that Japan is against the raising of tariffs on steel imports to the US, adding that this could affect US consumers.

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Sesame Street suing creators of movie with puppet sex & murder

By ethan / May 26, 2018

Sesame Workshop has filed a lawsuit against “The Happytime Murders,” a film where puppets have sex, drugs and shoot each other alongside humans. The creators of the iconic kids’ show say it’s being tarnished by the crass comedy.

Sesame Workshop, the parent company behind the long-running show Sesame Street, argued in the complaint filed in New York on Thursday that the STX Productions’ upcoming comedy starring Melissa McCarthy has “diluted and defiled” the pre-school children’s program by exploiting its mark and brand in the movie trailer.

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© Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios / Global Look Press

The red band trailer released earlier in May features an explicit scene of two puppets having sex that involves (what appears to be) ejaculation, McCarthy’s character snorting ecstasy surrounded by gangster-like puppets, and a whole lot of bad-mouthing.

The trailer, which is by no means kids-friendly, makes a reference to the renowned children’s show with the tagline: “No Sesame. Only Street.”

Sesame Workshop argued that STX deliberately dropped its name in the trailer “intent on seeding confusion in the mind of the public” since both the original Sesame Street’s Muppets and “The Happytime Murders” are distinctly different works made by the same company, The Jim Henson Company. The son of late Jim Henson, Brian, is the director of the new movie.

While the situation seems to be no laughing matter to Sesame Workshop, which lamented that “the threat of irreparable injury” posed to Sesame’s brand “cannot be overstated,” the STX has only sniffed at the allegations so far, issuing a response under the name of one of the comedy’s puppet characters, Fred.

READ MORE: Sony forced to apologize for CGI rabbits’ ‘allergy bullying’ in kids’ film (RT DEBATE)

“We’re incredibly pleased with the early reaction to the film and how well the trailer has been received by its intended audience.  While we’re disappointed that Sesame Street does not share in the fun, we are confident in our legal position,” the statement reads, adding that the STX “loved the idea” of joining forces with Brian Henson and the Jim Henson Company “to tell the untold story of the active lives of Henson puppets” away from children’s eyes.

The movie is set to premiere in the US on August 17. However, it may not go that smoothly, as the NYC judge has set the case hearing for May 30.

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US national security requests to Apple more than doubled, transparency report reveals

By ethan / May 26, 2018

Apple has been bombarded with requests from the US government for access to their user data, and the rate is soaring, the company revealed in its biannual report.

More than twice as many requests were filed in the second half in 2017 than the same period the previous year.

In its ‘Report on Government and Private Party Requests for Customer Information’ released on Friday, Apple Inc. said that from July 1 to December 31 last year it received up to 16,249 US government National Security Requests (NSR) that affected some 8,249 accounts.

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© Eric Thayer

The requests include both orders under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) and national security letters (NSLs) issued by the FBI that are not approved by a judge. The companies are prevented by gag orders from notifying users that they provided the government any access to their data under NSLs. The controversial practice has repeatedly come under fire from tech companies, who argue that it constitutes a violation of freedom of speech and leaves law enforcement without any judicial oversight.

Digital rights group Electronic Frontier Foundation has long been embroiled in a legal battle with the Department of Justice over the legality of the letters, having challenged the practice in court on behalf of several US telecommunication companies. Insisting that gag orders are unconstitutional, it says that the practice not only gives the FBI “immense investigatory powers,” but also silences its critics in the telecommunications industry, of which there are many, as they are unable to speak publicly about the letters they have received.

It is unclear how many of the National Security Requests were submitted to Apple under FISA and how many were in fact NSLs since the law also prohibits companies from revealing even the approximate number of FISA requests until a six-month mandatory delay expires.

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© Nigel Marple

Amid the controversy surrounding the extensive use of the divisive investigation tool by the US intelligence community, the number of requests continues to surge. From July to December 2016, Apple reported only 5,999 such requests, which means their number more than doubled last year. Compared to the first half of 2017, when Apple registered some 13,499 requests, the increase amounts to some 20 percent.

The steady growth of the government security requests to telecommunications giants like Apple, Google and Facebook has been a prevailing trend in the last few years, with the number of requests that are accompanied by non-disclosure orders also rising. In its own transparency report covering the first half of 2017, Facebook said that the number of requests with gag orders accounted for some 57 percent of the total number of the US requests it received.

It comes as the US intelligence community report revealed that the National Security Agency has tripled the surveillance of Americans’ phone calls and text messages, collecting over 534 million records last year. The Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) report also noted a slight increase in the surveillance of non-US citizens, from 106,469 to 129,080 individuals. The latter also does not demand judicial authorization.

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Trump says he's having 'very productive talks' with N. Korea on reinstating summit

By ethan / May 26, 2018

US President Donald Trump says “very productive talks” are underway with North Korea on holding the June 12 summit in Singapore. Talks on reinstating the meeting came within 24 hours of Trump’s previously abrupt cancellation.

In a tweet, Trump confirmed that if the elusive meetup with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un does happen, it will likely remain at the earlier scheduled date and place: on June 12 in Singapore.

The potentially unprecedented meeting, a first-ever between a sitting US president and a North Korean leader, has been in the making for months. Trump had been erratic in his statements about the summit during the period, taking his time in narrowing down the time and place, and threatening to cancel or walk out of the meeting if he does not get his way. In the end, he called it off on Thursday, after the North Korean vice-minister of foreign affairs took issue with US Vice President Pence’s threats of a “Libyan scenario” for Pyongyang: what started as a description of how the US helped Libya get rid of its nuke research in 2003, ultimately also came to include the 2011 overthrow and murder of Muammar Gaddafi.

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US President Donald Trump © Kevin Lamarque

With that, Trump’s rhetoric was abruptly back to touting the US’ military readiness and comparing whose nukes are bigger, like he did back in January with his infamous “bigger nuclear button” tweet. All of that, hours after North Korea publicly destroyed its only nuclear test site in a gesture of goodwill.

Then, on Friday, Trump said the summit was on the cards again, summing it up with the phrase “everybody plays games.” If his tweets are to be believed, he was moved by the North’s statement in the wake of the cancellation. Pyongyang said it was willing to sit down“at any time, in any way” to resolve its differences with Washington for the sake of “peace and stability of the Korean peninsula and mankind.”

Earlier, the North itself had threatened to cancel the summit over joint US-South Korean military drills at its border. The exercises have been a part of Trump’s policy of “maximum pressure” on Pyongyang, which also included a slew of crippling economic sanctions and, until recently, regular barrages of belligerent rhetoric.

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Management purge, US oversight & $1.3bn fine: Trump’s terms to reopen ZTE

By ethan / May 26, 2018

China’s telecom giant ZTE will be allowed to buy from US suppliers again if it changes its management team, installs US compliance officers and pays a $ 1.3 billion fine, according to a Trump administration proposal.

The US Commerce Department communicated the terms of the deal to Congress on Friday, Reuters reported, citing an unnamed congressional aide. If ZTE agrees to implement the administration’s demands, the Commerce Department will lift the ban on purchasing US products.

Headquartered in Shenzhen, China, ZTE was handed a seven-year ban on buying US technology components in mid-April. The Trump administration accused the company of violating the 2017 settlement after ZTE was caught shipping US components to North Korea and Iran and ordered to pay a $ 900 million penalty.

President Trump tweeted about the proposed deal on Friday, criticizing the Obama administration for letting ZTE “flourish with no security checks” and adding that Democrats “do nothing but complain and obstruct.”

Trump told Fox News on Thursday that he personally negotiated the $ 1.3 billion fine with Chinese President Xi Jinping in a phone call.

The president’s efforts to negotiate a deal with ZTE have been met with opposition from Democrats, as well as some Republicans. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-New York) and Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-Maryland) have said Congress should stop Trump from letting ZTE do business in the US. Senator Marco Rubio (R-Florida) has likewise criticized the Chinese company as a security hazard.

ZTE is one of China’s leading manufacturers of telecom equipment. It is publicly traded, but the largest shareholder is a Chinese government-run company. US companies provide up to 30 percent of components used in ZTE’s equipment. The ban has reportedly cost the company $ 3 billion so far.

The Trump administration has taken a hard line on renegotiating trade deals with China. Earlier this week, the Pentagon “disinvited” China from participating in the 2018 RIMPAC naval exercises, as Congress launched a series of hearings about the “pre-eminent threat to American security and values” posed by Beijing.

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Musk trolls media with Pravda, confuses Ukraine and Russia

By ethan / May 25, 2018

Silicon Valley magnate Elon Musk is trolling the mainstream media again, reminding them he is serious about setting up a website ranking their credibility.

“Tried to buy, but Russia said no. Turns out they already use it,” Musk tweeted on Friday, linking to a domain in Ukraine.  He’s got a bunch of angry replies saying “Ukraine is not Russia!” in his timeline.

“Turns out is actually owned by Ukraine. For some reason, Russia didn’t bother to correct me,” he added  later.

On Wednesday, Musk floated the idea of establishing a site where the public could “rate the core truth of any article & track the credibility score over time of each journalist, editor & publication.”  The CEO of SpaceX, Tesla and SolarCity has been unhappy with his companies getting bad press recently. He set social media off by quipping he was thinking of calling it Pravda.

Meaning “Truth” in Russian and several other Slavic languages, Pravda was the newspaper of the Russian (later Soviet) Communist Party from 1911 to 1991.

In the end, Musk avoided the Russia-Ukraine dispute entirely by purchasing the domain “” Now he just has to contend with legions of US journalists, editors and publishers unhappy to be in his crosshairs.

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