Archive for October, 2019

‘Americans will RESPAWN al-Baghdadi’: Assad casts doubt on ISIS leader’s death, draws parallels with Bin Laden’s killing

Posted by RT on October 31, 2019  |   Comments Off on ‘Americans will RESPAWN al-Baghdadi’: Assad casts doubt on ISIS leader’s death, draws parallels with Bin Laden’s killing

Take any words from US politicians with a grain of salt, Syria’s Bashar Assad has urged, as he cast doubt on the story of the Islamic State leader being killed in US a raid, and compared it to the shady killing of Osama Bin Laden.

The widely publicized US special forces raid that allegedly killed Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of the Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) terrorist group, left more questions than answers and it should not be taken at the face value, the Syrian President cautioned, during a lengthy interview with state media on Thursday.

READ MORE: ‘He died like a dog, like a coward!’ Trump describes GRAPHIC death of ISIS leader al-Baghdadi

Damascus did not participate in the raid by any means, Assad stated, adding that he'd learned about the claim only through media reports. Adding imaginary participants into the operation is likely supposed to give it credibility, he added, while countries on such a list would likely be flattered to be a “part of a ‘great’ operation.”

We do not need such credit. We are the ones fighting terrorism.  We have no relations and have had no contact with any American institutions.

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© Twitter / News_Executive
Russian MoD doubts Trump’s announcement of killing ISIS chief al-Baghdadi, rejects claims it assisted US forces in op

Washington’s loud praise of its own actions, a picture of the ‘hero dog’ that took part in the raid and footage purportedly of the aerial strikes have not convinced Assad if it “actually took place or not.” Moreover, he thought the whole affair suspiciously resembled the 2011 killing of another notorious terrorist – Al Qaeda’s head Osama Bin Laden.

“Why were the remains of Baghdadi not shown? This is the same scenario that was followed with Bin Laden. If they are going to use different pretexts in order not to show the remains, let us recall how [former Iraqi] President Saddam Hussein was captured and how the whole operation was shown from A to Z; they showed pictures and video clips after they captured him.”

The killing of Saddam’s sons was also well-documented and widely publicized, Assad went on to add, suggesting that the Americans “hide everything” about both the killing of bin Laden and that of al-Baghdadi for a reason.

This is part of the tricks played by the Americans. That is why we should not believe everything they say unless they come up with evidence. American politicians are actually guilty until proven innocent, not the other way around.

All in all, it’s unlikely that death of the IS leader – if he really was killed – and even the ultimate destruction of the terrorist group would change anything, Assad said. The root of the problem – the Wahhabi ideology that is “more than two centuries old” would not disappear at once. The radical Islamist thought and al-Baghdadi were merely US tools all along, Assad claimed, adding that those tools could easily be re-purposed elsewhere.

“I believe the whole thing regarding this operation is a trick. Baghdadi will be recreated under a different name, a different individual, or ISIS in its entirety might be reproduced as needed under a different name but with the same thought and the same purpose. The director of the whole scenario is the same, the Americans.”

Also on rt.com
‘Brought to justice’: Pentagon declassifies al-Baghdadi raid VIDEO & DETAILS, confirms ISIS leader’s mutilated body buried at sea

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No bull: WATCH Indians engage in massive COW DUNG fight for Gore Habba festival

Posted by RT on October 31, 2019  |   Comments Off on No bull: WATCH Indians engage in massive COW DUNG fight for Gore Habba festival

Getting smeared in moist bovine discharge is hardly a pleasant experience for most, but revelers at the Gore Habba festival are happy to hold massive cow dung fights, believing it has a healing effect.

The fecal festival is a customary annual event that takes place at the village of Gumatapura, located in southern India. Each year after the Deepavali holiday, the villagers – and anyone willing to join them – partake in a massive excrement-throwing ordeal.

The cow dung – used in rural India for various purposes, ranging from insulating houses to serving as stove fuel – is stockpiled well before the event to ensure that the revelers do not run out of ‘ammo.’ While it might look quite unsanitary to smear your whole body in feces, the devotees believe it is not only harmless, but actually cures diseases.

READ MORE: Cow dung hurled by rival Indian villages to mark ‘war of married gods’ (VIDEO)

“Cow dung is very natural and has a lot of medicinal benefits. Others might say if we throw cow dung at each other we will get some infections or even some disease. But with the trust of our god Beereshwara, we are playing in the cow dung, so nothing happens to us,” one of the villagers, going only by his first name Prabhu, explained.

He added that the festival was all about equality and anyone regardless of their caste or religion can participate. Still, women are barred from the excrement-throwing part, yet they are free to watch the show.

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‘Toyota Cow-rolla’: Indian woman plasters her car with bovine DUNG to cool it down (PHOTOS)

The tradition comes from the belief that remains of a saint were placed in a pit in the village, and took the shape of a Linga (an abstract phallic representation of Shiva), which became covered by cow excrements over time. The deity of the village is believed to value cow excrements too, thus the villagers dump the substance in abundance behind the local temple.

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Trump invades Brexit: ‘We can’t make’ US-UK trade pact with current EU deal & Corbyn’s ‘so bad’ for Britain

Posted by RT on October 31, 2019  |   Comments Off on Trump invades Brexit: ‘We can’t make’ US-UK trade pact with current EU deal & Corbyn’s ‘so bad’ for Britain

US President Donald Trump has waded into the protracted Brexit process, claiming that with the withdrawal agreement at hand Washington “can’t make a trade deal” with Britain. He also picked a side in the upcoming general election.

Speaking to Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage on LBC radio, Trump said that certain elements of the Brexit accord as it stands are problematic for a trade deal between the two countries. 

“To be honest with you, this deal, under certain aspects of the deal, you can’t do it. You can’t trade. We can’t make a trade deal with the UK,” he said. He added that EU officials were “very tough people to deal with.”

Trump called the situation “completely ridiculous” and insisted that the US wants to “do trade” with the UK and that trade between the two “could be four-to-five times higher.” 

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UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks in the House of Commons © Reuters / UK Parliament / Handout / Jessica Taylor
It’s happening! Britain WILL head to polls this winter as lawmakers vote for December 12 snap election

The US president also took time to criticize Jeremy Corbyn, saying that he was sure the Labour leader was a “lovely man” but he is “of a different persuasion, to put it mildly.” Trump said Corbyn would be “so bad” for Britain and take the country “into such bad places.”

Corbyn had previously claimed that UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s planned trade deal with Trump could give American companies access to Britain's National Health Service (NHS), allowing them to drive up drug prices. Trump assured Farage that the US “wouldn’t even be involved” in that and that the America was trying to sort out its own health service problems.

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FILE PHOTO
‘Boris knows how to win’: Trump sure of his ‘friend’ Johnson, despite ongoing Brexit beatdown

Johnson, on the other hand, is “fantastic” and “the exact right guy for the times,” Trump said.

Corbyn hit back at Trump on Twitter, saying that the US leader was “trying to interfere in Britain’s election to get his friend Boris Johnson elected.” Yet, Trump’s comment, that a trade deal with the UK may not be possible under the current Brexit arrangement, is unlikely to be helpful to Johnson during the election campaign.

As for Brexit itself, Trump said even people in the US were sick of hearing about it: “People are tired of hearing about it, we’re even tired of hearing about it over here.”

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Screenshot of a tweet © Twiter / @Melfyboom
#BritainHasExploded and #brexitriots trending, as social media ridicules Brexit deadline-day predictions

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#MeToo moment for India? Bollywood singer blasts music director as ‘ugly pervert’ in viral tweets

Posted by RT on October 31, 2019  |   Comments Off on #MeToo moment for India? Bollywood singer blasts music director as ‘ugly pervert’ in viral tweets

Bollywood star Neha Bhasin has lashed out against top music composer Anu Malik, alleging that she found herself in a "sticky situation" with him as a young artist and branding him an "ugly pervert" in a series of angry tweets.

Bhasin was responding to tweets posted by fellow singer Sona Mohapatra, who was complaining that Malik had been rehired by Sony TV as a judge on Indian Idol – after being fired over accusations of sexual assault, including by her, only a year ago.

The singer-songwriter blasted Malik as a "predator" and said she had "run away from his strange moves" when she was 21. "I didn't let myself get into a sticky situation beyond him lying on a sofa in front of me talking about my eyes in a studio," she said, adding that she had fled the uncomfortable situation with the “ugly pervert” by telling him that her mother was waiting for her.

Bhasin continued railing against “perverts” in the music industry, saying it was “not an easy place as a young girl alone away from family.”

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FILE PHOTO: Indian actress and former adult film actress Sunny Leone © AFP
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Mohapatra accused Sony TV of counting on the "freebie PR" they would get from rehiring Malik. In an open letter to the company, posted online, she said that those who support and fight alongside Malik's accusers are on "the right side of history."

Actress Shweta Pandit has also accused Malik of misconduct, saying he'd promised to give her a song when she was 15, but only if she would give him a kiss. Recounting that story last year, the singer branded Malik a “pedophile.”

Malik denied the allegations last year through his lawyer, but has not yet responded to the latest accusations – and there’s no indication yet that he intends to step back from Indian Idol.

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‘Happy Halloween!’ Thai princess holds up ‘severed Trump head’ in social media post (PHOTO)

Posted by RT on October 31, 2019  |   Comments Off on ‘Happy Halloween!’ Thai princess holds up ‘severed Trump head’ in social media post (PHOTO)

Princess Ubolratana of Thailand took time out of posting various Halloween ensembles to share something a little more provocative: a photo of her holding what looks like a mock severed head of Donald Trump.

The image was shared on her private Instagram account with the caption “Happy Halloween in Sampeng!” 

The 68-year-old had earlier posted images of her various Halloween outfits, dressing up as characters ranging from Disney’s Maleficent to a fortune teller, before sharing the gruesome depiction of Trump. 

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© Pixabay / Alfonso Charles
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Social media reactions to the post range from people finding it “disgusting,” to seeing it as a hilarious, if pointed, Halloween prank, with some commenters suspecting it was in response to the recent US suspension of certain Thai trade preferences.

The royal is far from the first to court controversy over depictions of a decapitated Trump. US comedian Kathy Griffin found herself in extremely hot water in 2016 after she held a bloodied, disembodied Trump head aloft for a photo stunt.

Last year, an art gallery in Portland, Oregon was heavily criticized for featuring a piece depicting the president being beheaded as part of an exhibition.

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Quarter of world pig population could be wiped out this year alone, animal health expert warns

Posted by RT on October 31, 2019  |   Comments Off on Quarter of world pig population could be wiped out this year alone, animal health expert warns

The president of the World Organization for Animal Health has warned that a quarter of the world’s pigs are expected to die from African swine fever this year, compounding fears of possible food shortages and soaring pork prices.

Dr. Mark Schipp made the stark comments Thursday, claiming that it is “the biggest threat to any commercial livestock of our generation.”

In its current form, African swine fever is virtually 100 percent fatal to pig herds, but poses no immediate threat to humans (barring any unforeseen mutations).

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File photo: © REUTERS / Kacper Pempel
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China, which has half the world’s pigs, has been the hardest hit, and authorities have destroyed about 1.2 million pigs there since August 2018, with the price of pork almost doubling since the nationwide outbreak began. US pork sales to China have doubled, despite the now somewhat-cooled trade war, while European pork prices have reached six-year highs.

Rabobank estimates that this year alone, China could lose between 20 and 70 percent of its swine herd or roughly 350 million pigs. 

China is not alone, however, as some 50 countries have witnessed outbreaks of African swine fever including Poland, Russia, South Korea and the Philippines. The multiple outbreaks have created knock-on effect on the prices of other sources of protein as well as feed prices, in addition to downstream products made using pork materials, such as the blood-thinner heparin.

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Workers in protective suits are seen at a checkpoint near a farm where African swine fever was detected in Hebei province, China on February 26, 2019.
Deadly swine fever spreads across all China, threatening massive pork shortage

While progress has been made in developing a vaccine, it has been slow, given that the virus itself is large and has a complex structure, though scientists announced last week that they had finally unravelled it. 

Meanwhile, reports of Chinese swine farmers breeding polar bear-sized pigs that evolve up to 500 kilograms (around 1,100 pounds) are growing, as the situation goes from bad to worse and the industry attempts to counteract the devastation wreaked by the currently incurable virus.

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ISIS names new leader, confirming al-Baghdadi’s death – reports

Posted by RT on October 31, 2019  |   Comments Off on ISIS names new leader, confirming al-Baghdadi’s death – reports

Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) has officially named a successor to its leader Al-Baghdadi, following the US raid on his hideout, thus confirming that the notorious terrorist leader was indeed killed in the operation.

The news came after the Pentagon published drone footage of the US special forces raid, along with some other details of the mission.

Also on rt.com
‘Brought to justice’: Pentagon declassifies al-Baghdadi raid VIDEO & DETAILS, confirms ISIS leader’s mutilated body buried at sea

DETAILS TO FOLLOW

ICYMI: Al-Baghdadi death – Not even killing the head of ISIS can win Trump any credit (VIDEO)

Posted by RT on October 31, 2019  |   Comments Off on ICYMI: Al-Baghdadi death – Not even killing the head of ISIS can win Trump any credit (VIDEO)

The one thing any US president can rely on, whatever is happening domestically, is that they’ll get at least some credit for overseeing the death of the world’s most wanted terrorist. Unless you’re Donald Trump.

When Trump stood before the nation and announced the death of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, you could see he was preparing to bask in the praise that was sure to come his way. However, if he thought he was going to get the kind of praise Barack Obama got following the death of Osama Bin Laden, then he had another thing coming.

For more, follow #ICYMI on FacebookTwitterInstagram and YouTube.

Iraqi PM to resign as violent protests grip the country

Posted by RT on October 31, 2019  |   Comments Off on Iraqi PM to resign as violent protests grip the country

Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi is set to resign amid growing nationwide anti-government protests, Al-Sumaria television has reported.

Up to 250 people have already been killed in the ongoing protests, with demonstrators accusing security forces of violence and heavy-handedness.

In a televised address, President Barham Salih said the PM had "agreed" to submit his resignation — but said he would only resign if a replacement was decided upon to avoid creating a "constitutional vacuum."

Also on rt.com
Protestors celebrate after Lebanon's Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri announced his resignation in Beirut, Lebanon October 29, 2019 © REUTERS/Aziz Taher
As PM Hariri resigns and Lebanon faces a power vacuum, maybe it is time to reassess relations with the US

Salih also vowed Monday to deliver an early election in response to the growing protests after a new electoral law has passed.

Protesters are demanding an overhaul of the country's political system which was implemented following the 2003 US invasion.

Abdul Mahdi's agreement to step down comes as Lebanese PM Saad al-Hariri tendered his own resignation earlier this week following large scale anti-government protests over corruption and economic turmoil.

DETAILS TO FOLLOW

Mouse bridge, surfing in the river, huge spy HQ: German NGO lists mind-blowing ways govt blows taxpayer cash

Posted by RT on October 31, 2019  |   Comments Off on Mouse bridge, surfing in the river, huge spy HQ: German NGO lists mind-blowing ways govt blows taxpayer cash

The German taxpayers union has revealed how the authorities built a rodent bridge, paid for a gold nest, and blew public funds on other extravagant purchases.

The ‘Black Book’ of government spending is published every year by the German Taxpayers Federation (BdSt). It lists 100 examples of what the authors say are the most outrageous and ridiculous ways in which officials spend the taxpayers’ money.

Road bridge for… MICE which they don’t even know how to use

A highway in Thuringia runs right through a hazel dormouse habitat. Fearing that the critters will not be able to cross the road safely, authorities spent about €93,000 ($103,740) on building a separate bridge for them. The constructions require mice to climb up 7-meter (23 feet) wooden rungs and run down a narrow 20-meter (66 feet) passage above the road.

The officials are now wondering whether the mice actually use the bridge or not.

© Staatliches Bauamt Passau / vilshofen-atmet-auf.de

Gold nest artwork which ends up stolen

A primary school in Berlin has commissioned a 24-karat gold nest. Its 74 glistening branches were supposed to symbolize “the ideas and dreams of students and teachers,” while the artwork rested behind bulletproof glass.

Protection did not work though, as the nest was stolen by burglars just six months later. It cost taxpayers €92,500 ($103,340).

Thorsten Goldberg / thorstengoldberg.de

Reprinting ballots to correct typos

The State of Rhineland-Palatinate had to replace hundreds of thousands of ballots due to small but embarrassing spelling mistakes in the names of candidates and parties in this year’s local election. The typos needed to be corrected included ‘Aexandra’ instead of ‘Alexandra,’ and ‘Freidrich’ instead of ‘Friedrich.’ The whole operation cost around €80,000 ($89,355).

‘Guest’ castle where (almost) NOBODY stays

The federal government has been renting the lavish Meseberg Castle to host foreign guests. Spending on security, staff, maintenance, and management of the 18th century Baroque palace, 60km (37 miles) north of Berlin, racks up €5 million ($5,6mn) a year.

Despite the lavish interiors, in the past four years, the palace was busy for only 32 days. This means, on average the castle is used eight days a year, BdSt pointed out. Regular events include important state business such as the chancellor’s Christmas tree handover ceremony.

© Fabrizio Bensch / Reuters

Artificial waves for surfers

Officials in the southwestern city of Stuttgart wanted to find out whether it was possible to create artificial waves in the Neckar River for local surf enthusiasts to enjoy. They ultimately dropped the idea, deciding that the river was too dirty for surfing. The study to discover this cost €93,000 ($103,750).

Refurbishing Navy tall ship

The Defense Ministry has allocated €135 million ($150mn) to renovate its historical tall ship ‘Gorch Fock.’ Originally used for training sailors, the three-mast vessel was under constant repair since 2015, thus earning a spot in several editions of the Black Book. The costs keep mounting, along with the allegations of the misuse of funds, but the military seems to be hell-bent on continuing to spend, BdSt wrote.

© Facundo Santana / Reuters

Berlin’s gigantic spy compound

The HQ of Germany’s main spy agency, the Federal Intelligence Service (BND), moved from its modest villa in Bavaria to a huge new compound in downtown Berlin in February.  

The building took 12 years to finish while the construction costs constantly grew. In the end they reached a whopping €1.1 billion ($1.25bn). On top of that, its blueprints were stolen early in the construction process, and many Germans complained that the architecture looked strange and unappealing.

© Michael Sohn / Reuters

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