Boris’s secret-spilling jog the latest event in an inglorious sporting history (VIDEOS)

By ethan / February 21, 2018

Showing apparent disregard for state secrets, Boris Johnson and Australia’s foreign minister were reportedly caught on microphone publicly discussing terrorism and trade among other subjects during a jog in London.

The two were training for a foreign ministers’ relay race at the upcoming Commonwealth Games, which will be held Down Under in April. The bedraggled British foreign secretary struggled to keep up with the ultra-fit Julie Bishop, who runs around 10km every day.  

In the spirit of politics, they were wearing matching ‘Save the Pangolin’ tops to raise awareness about the world’s most trafficked mammal.  

It’s fair to say that Boris’s political career has been marked by a succession of inglorious sporting moments.

Rugby

During his tenure as Mayor of London, BoJo made headlines for tackling 10-year-old Japanese boy, Toki Sekiguchi, while playing rugby. The whole disaster was caught on camera, but there seemed to be no harm done. A smiling Sekiguchi was photographed later with then-Mayor BoJo.

Football

In 2014, Boris was forced to apologize after he sent a young boy flying during a football match outside City Hall.

The group of children had been recruited to play football with the mayor on a plot of grass next to City Hall in order to promote a new report called Better Health for London.

Basketball

In 2013, BoJo became king of the hoops when he pulled off an amazing basketball trick shot while promoting the Euroleague Final Four tournament on the South Bank in London. Never forget.

Table Tennis

BoJo has a long, loving history with ping pong. In 2008, he declared at the closure of the Beijing Olympics that “ping pong is coming home” to Britain for the next Games.

In 2010, ITV joined the then-mayor when he took on pupils at a school in Bermondsey and lost (despite his best efforts). In 2013, he also accepted a challenge to a game from Pippa Middleton.

Ziplining

In 2012, Johnson was left hanging halfway down a zipline in Victoria Park.

Luckily, the whole thing was caught on video in which Big B can be seen gliding along the wire majestically, waving a UK flag in each hand. Though the fun was short lived – soon he became stuck.

“Get me a rope, get me a ladder,” Boris-on-a-wire could be heard yelling. “I think the brakes got stuck.”

Football (again) 

Saving the best for last, Johnson didn’t hold back when he rugby-tackled former Germany international Maurizio Gaudino during a Legend’s match back in 2006. The spear-tackle (head first into the crotch of the football great) sent Gaudino flying as the crowd watched on in disbelief.

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US Supreme Court refuses to broaden protection for corporate whistleblowers

By ethan / February 21, 2018

Whistleblowers who do not report to the Securities and Exchange Commission will not be covered by existing legislation, the US Supreme Court said. The ruling came in the case of a former employee against a real estate trust.

The justices ruled unanimously in favor of Digital Realty Trust Inc. They decided that that the Dodd-Frank Act, a 2010 Wall Street reform law, protects whistleblowers from retaliation only if they have brought their claims of securities law violations directly to the SEC.

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World records & medals: Russian athletes shine on day 15 in PyeongChang

By ethan / February 21, 2018

The 15th competitive day at the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics saw remarkable performances from a number of Russian athletes, who claimed two medals in skiing events and set new records in figure skating.

The success for the Russians – competing as Olympic Athletes from Russia – was set by female figure skaters Evgenia Medvedeva and Alina Zagitova, who were unrivaled in the women’s short program.

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Olympic Athlete from Russia Alina Zagitova © Vladimir Pesnya

Medvedeva opened the final group of skaters and displayed a brilliant routine to music by Chopin, flawlessly pulling off all her elements. Her touching theme about the soul leaving the body at the moment of death was awarded 81.61 points – the highest score ever achieved in the women’s competition.

However, Medvedeva’s world record stood for just several minutes, as her 15-year-old teammate Zagitova managed to beat the score by more than a full point after showing her stunning Swan Lake program.

Zagitova posted 82.92 points, leapfrogging all of her more experienced competitors, including, Medvedeva, whom she had already beaten at last month’s European championship in Moscow.

After the short program, the first two places in the women’s figure skating event are occupied by the Russian pair, who are the main contenders to win gold going into Thursday’s free skating.

Also on Wednesday, Russian freestyle racer Sergei Ridzik added yet another bronze to the team’s medal tally by finishing third in the ski cross event. Despite a serious collision with Canadian athlete Kevin Drury during the final race, Ridzik finished among the medalists. Gold in that event went to Canada’s Brady Leman, while silver was taken by Swiss skier Marc Bischofberger.

In cross-country skiing Denis Spitsov and Alexander Bolshunov settled for silver in the team sprint, losing only to the Norwegians, who have proved to be unbeatable in PyeongChang by winning all but one gold medal contested in the men’s Olympic cross-country program so far.

The Norwegians, however, have been less successful in ice hockey, and went down to a heavy 6-1 defeat against the Olympic Athletes from Russia in the quarterfinal game.

READ MORE: Russian men’s hockey team proceeds to Olympic semi-final after beating Norway 6-1

The Russian squad progressed to the semifinal, where they will face off against Czech Republic, who took a shootout victory over the USA in their respective quarterfinal.

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$20 trillion in free bitcoin: Exchange glitch allows traders to claim cryptocurrency for $0

By ethan / February 21, 2018

A computing error at a Japanese cryptocurrency exchange Zaif has allowed some customers to claim digital tokens for $ 0. This raises further questions about security at crypto exchanges.

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© Lucy Nicholson

The glitch happened with Zaif’s price calculation system and allowed seven customers to obtain digital money for free. Six of the transactions have been voided, and the exchange has been trying to resolve the problem with the seventh customer, who tried to cash out.

As Japanese newspaper Asahi Shimbun reports, this seventh client “purchased” 2,200 trillion yen ($ 20 trillion) worth of bitcoin and tried to withdraw it from the exchange. Bitcoin’s overall market capitalization is just a fraction of what the user wanted to order. All bitcoins in circulation are worth just $ 187 billion.

The Tech Bureau Corp behind Zaif is now facing an investigation into the safety of the system and other business practices from Japanese authorities, the newspaper added. The company has apologized to its customers.

Zaif is among the 16 official cryptocurrency exchanges in Japan. It has already faced checks after last month’s theft of $ 530 million in digital money from another official exchange, Coincheck.

According to Reuters, the registered cryptocurrency exchanges will form a self-regulatory body from April. The body will set out rules for security and advertising, and will set penalties for members who don’t follow the policies, the Nikkei business daily reported.

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Communists seek property confiscation as punishment for serious crime

By ethan / February 21, 2018

Russian Communist Party MPs are seeking the reintroduction of Soviet-era laws under which personal property can be confiscated as a separate punishment and not as a way to compensate damages inflicted by convicts.

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For Social Justice protest rally in Moscow, arranged by the Communist Party and leftist movements © Kirill Kallinikov

In the explanatory note attached with the bill drafted by Communist MPs, the lawmakers said that confiscation of property was applied as a separate punishment under the Soviet Criminal Code and also under the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation until late 2003. After this, confiscation was removed from the law and in 2006 it was brought back, not as a punishment, but as “another measure under criminal law” that can be applied on a limited scale, usually to seize the property acquired by convicts through illegal means and use it to compensate the damages to the aggrieved party.

The new bill allows the confiscation of any personal property of convicts, including items that are not related to crimes that caused the convictions. At the same time, the draft specifies that all norms ordering confiscation of property received through criminal methods must remain in place.

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© Alexey Kudenko

The bill was first brought to public attention in early 2016, when it received a negative review from the Russian government as several international treaties signed and ratified by Russia do not contain direct demands for property confiscation as criminal punishment. The draft also caused some protests from human rights activists, who likened it to “looting homes,” and speculated that the only purpose of the document was to give its sponsors media promotion.

Earlier this month, Communist Party MPs proposed to introduce nationalization, which they described as a forced but compensated confiscation of private property as a way to boost the national economy and security. The list of assets that would be subject to nationalization include land plots, mineral deposits, forests, natural bodies of water, and enterprises in strategically important branches of the economy, such as energy, transport and heavy industry.

At the same time, the bill’s sponsors emphasized that the nationalization of property should not become a form of punishment, or even a way to coerce businessmen into fulfilling certain obligations.

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Ken Livingstone tells RT he was ‘too left-wing for the KGB’ amid Corbyn spy allegations (VIDEO)

By ethan / February 21, 2018

Former mayor of London Ken Livingstone has mocked claims he was an informant for the Soviet Union, telling RT he was deemed “too left-wing” for even the KGB.

Talking to RT’s Bill Dod, Livingstone referred to a number of discussions he had with a communist spy who had posed as a journalist in the 1980s. He said the spy was not trying to extort information from him, but was just trying to pin down what sort of politician he was.

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© Peter Nicholls

“The funny thing is, he thought I was too left-wing. Here you have a KGB agent worried that I’m a bit too left-wing,” Livingstone told RT. “And I’d had that before, I remember it very clearly.

“Jeremy [Corbyn] and myself have been accused of being Trotskyites, Marxists,” he said, adding that the sole reason they entered politics was to “look after our local people.”

The former London mayor’s comments follow allegations made by a former Czechoslovakian spy that were originally printed in The Sun, that Corbyn was an asset for the Eastern-bloc country during the Cold War.

The Labour leader has dismissed the allegations as “nonsense,” while his deputy, Tom Watson, slammed The Sun and the Daily Mail for peddling “propaganda, not journalism.

The former spy, Jan Sarkocy, claimed that Corbyn, along with shadow chancellor John McDonnell and Livingstone, were among 15 senior Labour figures acting as informants for Eastern-bloc agents. He described them as “great sources” for himself and his KGB colleagues.

Livingstone said: “Most of the media haven’t paid much attention to it because it just takes a moment to realize the man is lying.”

He said the allegations were false on the basis that, at the time McDonnell was reported to have shared the information, he was working for a local government and did not become an MP until 10 years later.

He further defended McDonnell and Corbyn from the accusations saying: “The other thing most journalists would realize is that being a backbencher MP when your party is in opposition, you have no access to information at all. All you know as an MP is what you read in the papers or see on TV.”

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Secret Service responding to suspicious vehicle near White House, federal office building evacuated

By ethan / February 21, 2018

US Secret Service agents are responding to a suspicious vehicle near the White House, the agency has announced. The New Executive Office Building has been evacuated.

Part of 17th Street, where the vehicle was parked, has been closed to traffic, the Secret Service tweeted.

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Will Russians be allowed to fly the flag at PyeongChang closing ceremony?

By ethan / February 21, 2018

Russian hopes of marching under the national flag at the PyeongChang Games closing ceremony have been revived after International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Thomas Bach met with a senior representative from the country.

The vice-president of the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC), Igor Levitin, paid a courtesy visit to Bach, with whom he discussed the possibility of reinstating the country’s Olympic body which had been suspended by the IOC for alleged systematic manipulations with doping, Inside The Games reports.

READ MORE: World records & medals: Russian athletes shine on day 15 in PyeongChang

Following the IOC’s ruling to disqualify Russia as a team from the 2018 Games, national athletes with clean doping records were allowed to participate as neutrals under the name Olympic Athletes from Russia (OAR).

The decision regarding the Russian ban will be made on Saturday during an IOC Executive Board meeting. A specially appointed OAR implementation group, which was tasked with monitoring the situation surrounding the Russian athletes in PyeongChang, will give their recommendations on whether to lift the provisional suspension of the ROC.

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Olympic Athletes from Russia Anastasia Bryzgalova and Alexander Krushelnitsky. © Alexey Filippov

Russia’s chances of bearing the national tricolor at the closing ceremony appeared to diminish after Olympic curling bronze medalist Alexander Krushelnitsky tested positive for the banned substance meldonium. Krushelnitsky denied deliberate doping, insisting he had never taken prohibited substances during his career.

The official verdict regarding the Russian curler hasn’t yet been announced, but the scandal has already fueled heated debates led by the Western media that Russia should have been banned from the Games for alleged doping violations which were mentioned in the notorious McLaren report.

IOC spokesman Mark Adams said that if Krushelnitsky’s violation was confirmed, it would be viewed by the OAR implementation group.

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Soros investing more money to fight Big Tech 'menace'

By ethan / February 21, 2018

Billionaire investor George Soros, who has denounced tech giants Facebook and Google as a “menace” and a threat to public health, is reportedly “examining new ways” to tackle their growing power.

A spokesman for his influential ‘Open Society Foundations’ told Axios it provided an $ 180,000, two-year grant to the Open Markets Institute last fall for work around web platforms.

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George Soros © Bernadett Szabo

“The Open Society Foundations has long worked on issues involving the free and democratic flow of information and the ways in which a concentration of power can affect knowledge and communication,” said Open Society Foundations acting Co-Director of US Programs Laleh Ispahani. 

He added that Soros’s recent speech at the World Economic Forum (WEF) “reflected rising concern about the effects of a handful of giant internet platforms having so much influence. 

“We’re certainly examining new ways we might address those concerns in ongoing conversations not just in the US but among our foundation colleagues globally.”

Facebook and Google have become “obstacles to innovation” and are a “menace” to society whose “days are numbered,” said Soros at the WEF. He accused the web giants of deceiving users “by manipulating their attention” and “deliberately engineering addiction” to their services.

They have become too powerful and should be broken up, said Soros. He has warned of an “even more alarming prospect” on the horizon if data-rich internet companies paired their corporate surveillance systems with state-sponsored monitoring.

“This may well result in a web of totalitarian control the likes of which not even Aldous Huxley or George Orwell could have imagined,” he said.

According to the billionaire, the companies which he described as “ever more powerful monopolies” are unlikely to change their behavior without regulation. “Their days are numbered,” Soros said.

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‘He likes Czechs’ — May joins right-wing press attack on Corbyn spy claims (VIDEO)

By ethan / February 21, 2018

UK Prime Minister Theresa May unleashed a zinger at Prime Minister’s Questions, making the mildly witty observation that Corbyn normally asks for the Government to spend money… adding “I know he likes Czechs.”

The Labour Leader responded with a mock yawn.

May’s attempt at humor was referencing recent accusations that Corbyn had provided intel to a Czechoslovakian spy in the 80s, on the day-to-day activities of Margaret Thatcher among other things.

The PM’s comments come as the news broke that Corbyn’s lawyers are demanding a donation to charity and an apology from Tory party vice-chairman Ben Bradley, relating to claims he tweeted that the Labour leader “sold British secrets to communist spies.”

The tweet has since been deleted after pressure from Corbyn’s legal team.

Czech out the rest of the PMQs below:

The Sun published claims by a former Czech agent — Jan Sarkocy — that Corbyn was an asset named ‘Agent Cobb’ during the Cold War. Sarkocy told the paper that he met Corbyn on several occasions, including in the House of Commons.

Sarkocy’s allegations came under increased scrutiny after he alleged Corbyn would keep him posted on Margaret Thatcher while he was a backbencher in the ‘80s.

Svetlana Ptacnikova, director of the Czech security service archive, denied that Corbyn was or had been a paid agent. Ptacnikova told the BBC that their files indicated that Corbyn was seen as a potential contact, but he was not catalogued as an informant.

Theresa May previously addressed the allegations, stating: “It’s for individual members of parliament to be accountable for their actions in the past,” she said.

“Where there are allegations of this sort, members of parliament should be prepared to be open and transparent.”

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