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    Ukrainian POWs reluctant to be exchanged – Moscow

    news.movim.eu / RTDailyNews · 11:36 · 1 minute

The captured military personnel do not want to return to the frontlines, the Russian Defense Ministry says

Ukrainian soldiers that were captured as prisoners of war by Russia have decided to remain in the territory controlled by Moscow and allied forces, expressing reluctance to continue fighting, Russia’s Ministry of Defense claimed on Saturday.

Ukrainian prisoners of war belonging to the units of the Naval infantry, National Guard, air assault and ground forces chose to stay in the territory controlled by Russia because of their reluctance to fight and fear of being sent to the frontlines again ,” the ministry wrote on its Telegram channel.

The Defense Ministry said the Ukrainian POWs do not want to be used as “ cannon fodder ” and die on the battlefield while “ carrying out criminal orders ” issued by Kiev.

The Russian military also posted a video of what appears to be an interview with a Ukrainian POW who said he laid down his arms voluntarily and turned himself in to the allied forces.

Read more RT Russia accuses Ukraine of mistreating POWs

According to the prisoner, he has been treated well and does not want to return to Ukraine as part of any future swaps.

Few soldiers manage to surrender voluntarily due to a crackdown by Ukraine’s nationalist battalions, the ministry claimed, noting that the nationalists threaten to shoot any soldiers that seek to abandon their combat positions.

According to the ministry, the POWs have told of rampant corruption among the Ukrainian ranks, the use of intimidation tactics by Kiev, and “ barbaric treatment of civilians who are used by [the] nationalists as human shields on a regular basis .”

Earlier this month, Moscow claimed that it scrupulously observes the Geneva Convention on the treatment of prisoners of war, while Kiev’s forces have tortured, starved, and deprived of medical care Russian POWs. At the time, Russian Deputy Defense Minister Aleksandr Fomin also condemned the West’s unwillingness to hold Kiev accountable for these violations and crimes.

In July, Moscow blamed Kiev, and Ukranian President Vladimir Zelensky personally, for the fatal shelling of a detention facility in the Donetsk People’s Republic. According to the Russian Defense Ministry, a missile strike using the US-made HIMARS multiple rocket launcher killed 50 Ukrainian POWs, injuring another 73.

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    Salman Rushdie ‘on ventilator’ after stabbing – agent

    news.movim.eu / RTDailyNews · 11:34 · 1 minute

The novelist was attacked Friday during a lecture in the US

Award-winning novelist Salman Rushdie was on a ventilator and unable to speak on Friday evening after being stabbed at a public event in New York state earlier that day, his agent Andrew Wylie has said.

The 75-year-old Indian-born British-American author has long been the recipient of death threats from Islamists for his work.

“The news is not good,” Wylie said in an email to the media. “Salman will likely lose one eye; the nerves in his arm were severed; and his liver was stabbed and damaged.”

The author was stabbed in the neck and torso onstage while giving a lecture at the Chautauqua Institution in the US state of New York. Rushdie was airlifted to a hospital by helicopter after the attack.

New York State Police Major Eugene Staniszewski identified the suspect as Hadi Matar, a 24-year-old man from Fairview, New Jersey, who was detained on the spot.

Read more RT ‘Satanic Verses’ author Salman Rushdie attacked with knife

Staniszewski added that police are working with the FBI and the local sheriff’s office to obtain search warrants for the suspect’s backpack and electronic devices. “We don’t have any indication of a motive at this time,” he told reporters, adding that police believe that the suspect acted alone.

In 1989, Iran’s former religious leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini issued an edict calling for the death of Rushdie for writing ‘The Satanic Verses’, a novel many Muslims regarded as offensive to their faith.

The New York Post quoted law enforcement sources on Friday as saying that Matar has made social media posts in support of Iran and its elite military unit, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, and also of “Shia extremism more broadly.”

New York Governor Kathy Hochul condemned the attempt on Rushdie’s life as “an attack on some of our most sacred values – the free expression of thought.”

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    Chelsea legend leaves boyhood club Corinthians over death threats

    news.movim.eu / RTDailyNews · 11:08 · 2 minutes

Willian explained his decision to local media in Brazil

Ex-Chelsea and Brazil forward Willian has left boyhood outfit Corinthians due to receiving death threats, according to the 34-year-old.

After leaving Brazil young for Europe, many aging stars from the "country of football" return to their homeland in the twilight of their careers for a swansong that sees them trying to repay the club that gave them a start in the game and their fans.

For Willian, however, his attempt at this has gone horribly wrong and has seen him hounded out of the club by the Sao Paulo side's passionate supporters who forced him to end his near-one year tenure there after joining from Arsenal as a free agent in 2021.

"I did not come to Brazil to get threatened," Willian explained to reporters from the country's largest media outlet, Globo Esporte.

"Whenever Corinthians lost, and if sometimes I was not doing well in the game, my family received threats and curses on social media.

"My wife, my daughters ... after a while [they] also started attacking my father, and my sister," he added.

With cross-city eternal foes Palmeiras winning back-to-back Libertadores titles in South America's equivalent of the Champions League while also topping the league, Willian was attacked by some Corinthians fans in recent weeks as the 2012 Club World Cup winners were eliminated from the Libertadores and the Copa do Brasil.

Things are slightly improving with the team managed by Vitor Pereira now second in the Brazilian A and six points behind leaders Palmeiras.

But on the eve of a derby between the two arch-enemies scheduled for Saturday night, Willian has terminated his contract as also confirmed by his ex-employers.

Read more RT 'It's an evil world we live in': Arsenal fans angry as Gunners splash out on Willian signing, just days after LAYING OFF 55 staff

"Corinthians accepted the dismissal of the athlete, the anticipation of the end of the contract. Willian alleged private and family problems and the desire to leave Brazil. Corinthians is sorry, but respects the player's decision," the club said in a statement .

Enjoying life in west London for seven years from 2013-2020, before a move north to Arsenal where he spent just a sole year, Willian is now being linked to Chelsea's neighborhood rivals and Premier League new boys Fulham.

By joining them before the close of the transfer window, Willian would also have improved chances of making Brazil's 23-man squad for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar later this year.

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    West will brush Ukraine biolab allegations under the carpet just like those of Kosovo organ trafficking

    news.movim.eu / RTDailyNews · 10:52 · 6 minutes

Western narrative control kicks into overdrive to shift blame, whitewash culprits, or make sure inconvenient lines of questioning are never pursued

In crisis after crisis, Western narrative control kicks into overdrive to shift blame, whitewash culprits, or make sure inconvenient lines of questioning are never pursued

Soon after US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s recent descent on Taiwan, the Russian Foreign Ministry’s spokeswoman, Maria Zakharova, called out Nicholas Burns, America’s ambassador to China, for “keeping an embarrassed silence” regarding the “insolent stunt.”

The silence was quite a change from how vocal Burns had been a mere month prior at the World Peace Forum in Beijing, where he demanded that China stop relaying “Russian propaganda” by “accusing NATO of starting” the conflict in Ukraine. He used the opportunity to accuse the Chinese Foreign Ministry’s spokesperson of “telling lies about American bioweapons labs, which do not exist in Ukraine.”

But that was then and this is now in the West’s ‘rules-based order’, where each occasion requires a new set of rules. Thus, it goes without saying that, for the time being, Burns will also keep an ‘embarrassed silence’ about another potentially tectonic event – the latest, even more damning statement regarding alleged US-run biolabs in Ukraine made by the Russian Defense Ministry on August 4. Lieutenant-General Igor Kirillov, the head of the Nuclear, Biological and Chemical Protection Troops of the Russian Armed Forces, said Moscow was assessing the possibility of US involvement in the Covid-19 pandemic, as well as investigating US-funded research of various other pathogens .

Read more Ukrainian servicemen are at work to receive the delivery of FGM-148 Javelins, American man-portable anti-tank missile provided by US to Ukraine as part of a military support, at Kyiv's airport Boryspil. © Sergei SUPINSKY / AFP Afghanistan all over again: Ukraine’s rampant corruption means the Western supply of weapons is likely to eventually backfire

The reason for Burns’ silence is not difficult to guess – the serious allegations made in Kirillov’s presentation , if properly investigated and proven true, could serve as an indictment of what could be America’s use of Ukraine as a vast pathogen testing ground. And since the Western media mostly chose to ignore it, the ambassador was certainly not going to make a statement they would have to quote, drawing attention to the issue. And now that Twitter has suspended the Russian Foreign Ministry’s account for daring to quote key parts of Kirillov’s media presentation about the possible origins of Covid-19, Burns and company don’t have to say anything at all. If it’s memory-holed by the social media, then it’s as if it never happened.

That’s the modus operandi of the Western elites – it’s not the truth that matters, but successfully managing the narrative so that it doesn’t leave room for doubt in people’s minds. In other words, they think they can do whatever they want.

Perhaps we should remind ourselves of the post-Cold War Western formula announced during the heady days of the early 2000s, an era marked by another famous American political quote , Karl Rove’s “we’re an empire now and, when we act, we create our own reality.” As Tony Blair’s policy adviser, Robert Cooper, nonchalantly put it on the pages of The Guardian in April 2002: “The challenge to the postmodern world is to get used to the idea of double standards. Among ourselves, we operate on the basis of laws and open cooperative security. But when dealing with more old-fashioned kinds of states outside the postmodern continent of Europe, we need to revert to the rougher methods of an earlier era – force, pre-emptive attack, deception, whatever is necessary to deal with those who still live in the 19th century world of every state for itself. Among ourselves, we keep the law but when we are operating in the jungle, we must also use the laws of the jungle.”

Two decades later, despite the rise of both China and Russia and the world’s inexorable evolution to multipolarity, imperial habits die hard – usually until they hit a wall of reality, as is currently happening in Ukraine and is bound to happen in Taiwan. But back to Burns for a moment. He’s far from new in enforcing double standards in the ‘jungle’. Before his present work on poking the Dragon regarding Taiwan, and the Bear regarding just about everything, he distinguished himself as a partisan and apologist of NATO’s illegal aggression against Serbia back in the 1990s, which resulted in Kosovo’s unilateral secession.

Read more FILE PHOTO. A serviceman of the Russian Border Guard Service of the Federal Security Service. Glenn Diesen: In the developing new world order, Russia’s weapons will be pointing West, and its economy directed towards the East

Meanwhile, in 2009, when he was the US under-secretary of state for political affairs, Burns explained to the media that the recognition of Pristina’s independence was in fact an expression of the US’ “interest in good relations with Serbia.” Will he, in due time, express himself similarly vis-à-vis China and Taiwan? Outside the West, it’s all still a jungle to Burns and his ilk, and the ‘natives’ are to be dealt with accordingly. So, in Burns-talk, Pelosi’s Taiwan sojourn and pledge of continuing US support for the island is actually a sign of America’s interest in good relations with China.

Another notable Anglo-American figure visible across the Kosovo-China-Ukraine crisis landscape is the Englishman Geoffrey Nice, who gained international notoriety as a prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), whose sole purpose was to shift the blame for the Western-inspired bloody breakup of that multinational country solely onto the Serbs. In addition to his selective prosecution of former Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic for ‘crimes against humanity’, Nice’s ICTY legacy also includes accusations of destroying evidence related to human organ trafficking in Kosovo.

Nice subsequently offered his legal services to former Kosovo President Hashim Thaci, one of the main figures in not just the trafficking but the alleged “forcible extraction” of human organs of still-living, mostly Serb prisoners, as outlined in a stunning Council of Europe 2011 report , ‘Inhuman treatment of people and illicit trafficking in human organs in Kosovo’. The report also cites anti-drug agencies of “at least five countries” as saying Thaci “exerted violent control over the trade in heroin and other narcotics.” Nice’s subsequent attempt to discredit the report was, however, brilliantly dissected and exposed by American journalist Diana Johnstone as the latest attempt by a representative of “self-righteous Western democracies” to reserve the privileges of a “culture of impunity” exclusively for themselves and their clients. Of course, the clients in the ‘jungle’ still have to pay for the imperial ‘double standards’ umbrella, so in the end, Nice reportedly accused Thaci of owing him “almost a half a million euros” for his work for the Kosovo government.

Zakharova just recently more fully described the house of horrors over which Thaci allegedly presided: “Kosovo is the territory of ‘black’ transplantation. People were dissected alive, taking out internal organs for sale to those people in the West… In the West they stood in line for organ transplant operations. And they began to receive these organs when Kosovo turned into a terrible black hole in which people disappeared, who were not just killed, but killed to sell their internal organs.”

To paraphrase Franklin D. Roosevelt’s immortal words justifying US support for Nicaraguan dictator Anastasio Somoza, they may be sons of b****es, but they’re the West’s sons of b****es.

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    EU proposal to curb Iran sanctions revealed – Politico

    news.movim.eu / RTDailyNews · 10:42 · 3 minutes

The bloc suggested easing the US restrictions on the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps to save the nuclear deal, Politico reports

The EU has proposed watering down the US sanctions on Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) in a move to salvage the landmark 2015 nuclear deal with Tehran, Politico reported on Friday, citing a draft of the agreement.

The text in question was submitted by the EU and negotiated in Vienna by all parties to the accord, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), on Monday after 16 months of talks. For the agreement to take effect, it must be approved by the governments in Iran and the US, which unilaterally pulled out of the deal.

According to Politico, the text’s provisions mean that the US is set “ to make greater concession than expected ” to revive the deal, including easing the US sanctions on the IRGC, an influential branch of the Iranian Armed Forces.

The issue of lifting or diluting the sanctions on the Revolutionary Guard Corps has been especially contentious, since Washington has designated it as a terrorist organization. Earlier, many high-profile US lawmakers and officials spoke against any efforts to drop the restrictions placed on the organization.

Read more FILE PHOTO. Iran's Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian (L) meets Josep Borell, the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy (R), and Deputy Secretary General of the European External Action Service (EEAS) Enrique Mora (2nd-R) in Iran's capital Tehran. Moscow comments on salvaging Iran nuclear deal

Nonetheless, the European initiative, brokered by EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell in close cooperation with his American counterparts, would not remove the sanctions entirely, but significantly curb them, the report says.

According to Politico, under the proposal, non-Americans, including Europeans, would be able to do business with Iranians involved in “ transactions ” with the IRGC in a way that would not trigger US sanctions. In practice, this reportedly means that the EU, which views Iran as a valuable market, would have the opportunity to conduct trade almost unimpeded. One source told the outlet that the IRGC could evade the sanctions by operating via shell companies.

However, the US special envoy for the Iran talks, Rob Malley, denied that the US is willing to budge when it comes to altering standards of enforcing sanctions. He reiterated that Washington is “ not engaged in any negotiation about changing due diligence, know-your-customer ” procedures in this field.

In addition to watering down the sanctions on the IRGC, the European proposal would reportedly allow Iran to swiftly resolve its spat with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Earlier, the UN watchdog, which has been in charge of monitoring Iran’s nuclear program, detected uranium traces at three previously undeclared sites and demanded an explanation from Tehran, which has so far refused to cooperate, Politico claims.

Read more FILE PHOTO. Iran's Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian (L) meets Josep Borell, the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy (R), and Deputy Secretary General of the European External Action Service (EEAS) Enrique Mora (2nd-R) in Iran's capital Tehran. Moscow comments on salvaging Iran nuclear deal

At the same time, Iran insisted that the IAEA should wrap up its probe into the matter, portraying this as a precondition for resuscitating the nuclear deal. The US and EU refused, saying the IAEA investigation is a separate issue not tied to the deal.

However, according to the report, the EU has now agreed to link the UN nuclear probe to the accord. The EU-proposed text apparently reads that Washington and Brussels “ take note of Iran’s intent ” to address the problem by “ re-implementation day ” – the date when the agreement enters into force again.

One diplomat interviewed by the magazine voiced concerns that the approach of the US and EU signals that they are ready to sweep the issue under the carpet in pursuit of the deal, and are willing to “ sacrifice IAEA’s credibility as an independent agency by politicizing its mission in Iran.

On Friday, Mikhail Ulyanov, Russia’s representative at the negotiations, revealed that the talks to salvage the Iran nuclear deal were drawing to an end, with the final text of the deal almost agreed upon. The end purpose of the talks, he said, is to return to the initial 2015 accord with some slight changes that had to be introduced because so much time had passed since the original document was signed.

The initial nuclear deal signed in 2015 by Iran, the US, UK, France, and Germany – as well as Russia, China, and the EU – involved Tehran agreeing to certain restrictions on its nuclear industry in exchange for the easing of economic sanctions and other incentives.

In 2018, however, it was torpedoed by the US under then-President Donald Trump, who unilaterally withdrew from the agreement, saying it was fundamentally flawed. As a result, Iran started gradually reducing some of its commitments under the accord, such as the level of enriched uranium it produces, which could potentially enable Tehran to build an atomic bomb. According to the Iranian authorities, however, this “ is not on the agenda .”

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    WHO to rename monkeypox

    news.movim.eu / RTDailyNews · 10:39 · 2 minutes

The new moniker should not include any potentially offensive meanings, the organization explained

The World Health Organization has appealed for public help in renaming the monkeypox virus in a way that would not imply any derogatory or racist connotations.

WHO is holding an open consultation for a new disease name for monkeypox ,” the agency said in a statement on Friday, inviting people to submit their ideas through an online portal.

Meanwhile, the organization announced that global experts have agreed on new titles for monkeypox virus variants – called clades – to align them with “ current best practices, ” in particular by using Roman numerals instead of regions.

Virus variants should be named in such a way that avoids “ causing offense to any cultural, social, national, regional, professional, or ethnic groups ,” and reduces to a minimum the harm it may inflict upon humans and animals, the WHO explained.

The agency said it has renamed variants of the monkeypox virus and that central Africa’s Congo Basin clade will henceforth be called Clade one (I) and the former West African clade will be referred to as Clade two (II).

Read more People line up at a monkeypox vaccination site on Thursday, July 28, 2022, in Encino, California. US declares public health emergency

The WHO announcement comes after New York City’s health chief Ashwin Vasan urged in late July the global health watchdog to speed up the renaming of monkeypox, saying that the term carries “ potentially devastating and stigmatizing effects on vulnerable communities .”

The state of New York has become a hotbed of the virus, with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reporting 2,295 cases in the area.

Earlier this month, the monkeypox outbreak was declared a public health emergency in the US, with Health Secretary Xavier Becerra urging “ every American to take monkeypox seriously .” As of Saturday, the CDC has registered more than 11,000 of cases in the country.

Monkeypox, which is endemic in parts of West and Central Africa, is similar to human smallpox, a disease eradicated in 1980. Its initial symptoms include fever, headache, muscle aches, backache, swollen lymph nodes, chills, and exhaustion, while those afflicted eventually develop distinctive skin lesions. The latest outbreak began in May among gay communities in several European countries.

The effort to rename monkeypox does not represent a new practice for the WHO. In 2021, the agency announced a new naming system for Covid-19 variants that sought to use Greek letters rather than the names of the countries where the various strains were first detected.

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    Major rating agencies declare Ukraine in default

    news.movim.eu / RTDailyNews · 10:05 · 1 minute

S&P and Fitch lowered the country’s foreign currency ratings to ‘selective default’ and ‘restricted default’

Global rating agencies S&P and Fitch have lowered Ukraine’s foreign currency ratings to ‘selective default’ and ‘restricted default’, respectively, as the country’s latest debt restructuring is seen as distressed.

Earlier this week, state-owned companies Ukrenergo and Ukravtodor requested a two-year freeze on payments on almost $20 billion in international bonds. The country’s overseas creditors agreed to suspend interest payments and postpone the maturity date of the bonds by two years.

This is expected to save Ukraine about $6 billion on payments, Ukrainian Prime Minister Denis Shmygal said, commenting on the move.

S&P reduced Ukraine’s foreign currency rating to ‘SD/SD’ – meaning selective default – from ‘CC/C’.

“Given the announced terms and conditions of the restructuring, and in line with our criteria, we view the transaction as distressed and tantamount to default,” the agency said.

Meanwhile, Fitch cut the country’s long-term foreign currency rating to ‘RD’ (restricted default) from ‘C’, deeming the deferral of debt payments as a distressed debt exchange.

READ MORE: Ukraine may have to close down industries – WaPo

S&P also said it expects the macroeconomic and fiscal stress caused by Russia’s military operation to weaken Kiev’s ability to service its local-currency debt. It therefore downgraded Ukraine’s domestic currency rating to ‘CCC+/C’, from ‘B-/B’. Fitch, meanwhile, kept the country's domestic currency rating at ‘CCC-‘.

For more stories on economy & finance visit RT's business section

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    England battles worst drought in 50 years

    news.movim.eu / RTDailyNews · 09:41 · 1 minute

Using hosepipes has been banned and bottled water is in high demand amid the driest summer in decades

A drought was officially declared on Friday in eight out of 14 areas of England during what has been the driest summer in 50 years, the UK Environment Department said in a statement .

Parts of southwest, southern, central and eastern England, as well as North and South London, have had their status updated following a meeting of the National Drought Group, which includes Environment Agency experts, members of the government, water companies and key representative groups.

The formal declaration of a drought, which was last made in 2018, allows the Environment Agency and water companies to “step up their actions to manage the impacts and press ahead with implementing the stages of their pre-agreed drought plans.” These plans, among other steps, involve taking more water from rivers, imposing temporary restrictions such as on the use of hosepipes, transferring water between different areas of the country and even “ reoxygenating water and rescuing fish in distress where river flows are especially low.

Read more A police officer givers water to a British soldier, London, July 18, 2022 UK hits all-time temperature record

Several major water companies have already announced restrictions on using hosepipes to water gardens, wash cars or fill paddling pools, with violators facing significant fines. The bans affect more than 32 million people in total.

Water companies are urging Britons to contribute to the effort by spending less time in the shower and even, under a radical proposal by Wessex Water, by flushing toilets “only when you need to.”

Amid drought warnings and soaring temperatures – reaching up to 35 degrees Celsius in London – the last few days have seen panic buying of water. Following the government’s drought announcement, some stores have reportedly started rationing bottled water.

According to the Met Office’s forecast, temperatures will fall early next week, with thunderstorms expected in most of England, Wales and Scotland.

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