ISIS claims responsibility for attack on Orthodox church in Chechnya

Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) terrorist group has claimed responsibility for the Saturday attack on an Orthodox church in Russia’s Chechen Republic, which left a worshiper and two police officers dead.

The terrorist group took the credit for the attack, issuing a statement through its online mouthpieces, the SITE Intelligence Group reported Sunday. Four terrorists, armed with blades, incendiary devices and guns, stormed the Church of Michael the Archangel in the Chechen capital, Grozny.

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The attack was thwarted by the security forces which killed all the four attackers during a brief shootout. A worshipper and two police officers were killed during the attack. Both officers were deployed to Chechnya from the Saratov region.

Three of the attackers were identified as residents of the Chechen Republic, while the leader of the terrorist group was from the neighboring Republic of Ingushetia, according to the Chechen leader, Ramzan Kadyrov.

The attackers were aged between 18 and 19 years. The terrorists “received the order [to carry out the attack] from one of the Western countries,” Kadyrov said, citing “intelligence data.”

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New Russian Kalibr cruise missile-capable corvette heads for sailing tests (VIDEO)

Cutting-edge corvette ‘Uragan’ has been deployed to Lake Ladoga for tests before joining Russia’s Baltic Fleet. The ship will boast Kalibr and Onyx missiles, as well as modern electronic equipment.

The ‘Uragan’ corvette has been towed to Lake Ladoga from the Pella shipyard in the city of St. Petersburg, Russia’s Defense Ministry said on Friday. The vessel then proceeded to the sailing tests on its own.

The ship will undergo a full set of checks during its deployment to Lake Ladoga, which will involve thorough tests of its survivability systems, the Defense Ministry said. The ship was launched last July and has been receiving final factory tuning at the Pella shipyard on the Neva river since then. Specialists from the shipyard will be present abroad the ship alongside its crew during the tests on the Ladoga.

READ MORE: New ICBM in 2020, hypersonic glider in 2019: Putin outlines nuclear deployment plans

‘Uragan’ is the maiden vessel of the new project 22800 Karakurt-class missile corvettes. It can be fitted with Kalibr cruise missiles or Onyx anti-ship missiles, while it also has modern artillery systems. Future corvettes in the series are also expected to receive Pantsir-M anti-aircraft defenses.

The new ships are seen as successors to the Buyan-class corvettes line, boasting higher maneuverability and better seafaring characteristics. The new corvette series also has cutting-edge electronic equipment, as well as improved architecture of the hull and superstructure, designed to provide low radar visibility.

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UK delays Abramovich visa renewal – is this Britain’s threatened Russia crackdown?

Roman Abramovich, the billionaire owner of Chelsea Football Club, is reportedly having trouble getting his UK visa renewed.

Abramovich left the UK after his visa expired last month, according to website The Bell. It’s understood that a delay in issuing a new one meant he was not in the director’s box at Wembley on Saturday to watch his side’s 1-0 victory over Manchester United in the final of the FA Cup. It’s led to questions as to whether the situation is part of the UK’s so-called ‘Russia crackdown.’

READ MORE: ‘Kremlin List’ portrays those featured as ‘enemies of US,’ signals ‘breakdown of ties’

Abramovich’s visa troubles come at a time of heightened tensions between the UK and Russia. In March, Britain’s then-Home Secretary Amber Rudd announced that UK authorities would review the visa status of more than 700 wealthy Russians who had settled in the UK. In an address to MPs, Rudd said the Home Office was looking at how Russians on investment visas had acquired their wealth.

The businessman is thought to have been in the UK on an investment visa. While his application has not been refused, a source close to the tycoon told the Financial Times that the process is taking longer than usual. RT.com has contacted the Home Office for comment.

In order to qualify for this particular permit, a person must invest at least £2 million ($ 2.7 million). Abramovich’s £1 billion ($ 1.35 billion) spend on Chelsea more than fulfills this requirement. Visa holders are allowed stay in the UK for three years and four months. After that, the application must be renewed. A visa is compulsory for anyone from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland.

The Russian bought Chelsea Football Club in 2003. His investment in the club has coincided with the most successful period in its history, winning four Premier League titles and one European Champions League victory.

READ MORE: Berezovsky acted with UK intel, paid with life when he decided to return home – Russian prosecutor

In February, Swiss media reported that Abramovich had attempted to gain a residency permit there. The first application was made in the summer of 2016 but was withdrawn last summer. The reasons for the withdrawal of the application are not yet known.

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EU companies may withdraw from Iran, words of support for nuclear deal not enough – FM Zarif

Iranian FM Javad Zarif told the EU energy chief that the bloc must take “practical steps” to strengthen economic ties with Tehran after Washington’s withdrawal from the nuclear deal, saying that “political support” was not enough.

“With the withdrawal of America, [Iran’s] public expectations of the European Union have increased in order to maintain the deal’s gains, and in the current context, the European political support for the accord is not sufficient,” Zarif said as he met Miguel Arias Canete, the EU’s energy commissioner, in Tehran on Sunday, the IRNA news agency reports.

READ MORE: ‘US not economic gendarme of planet’: France suggests EU may compensate firms hit by US sanctions

To provide real support to Tehran, European countries should ramp up economic co-operation and increase investment in the country, Zarif said. While EU member states have expressed their continued commitment to the 2015 nuclear deal, known officially as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), he suggested that ongoing developments signal otherwise.

“The announcement of the possible withdrawal by major European companies from their co-operation with Iran is not consistent with the European Union’s commitment to implementing [the nuclear deal],” Iran’s top diplomat said.

DETAILS TO FOLLOW

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Meet Henry, the robot with ‘superhuman’ sexual prowess, hoping to titillate women

Sexbot creators, RealBotix, are hoping to stimulate the female market with its latest offering – a 5’11” male sexbot called Henry, who promises not only ‘superhuman’ sexual performance but also loving companionship.

The hunky robot is being developed to apparently give women what they want – and not just in the bedroom. Henry will be programmed to listen to you talk about your day, remember your hopes and fears, and cuddle you.

Founder of RealBotix, Matt McMullen, told Wired that this extra layer of companionship particularly appeals to women, citing above-average interest in ‘Henry’ since plans were unveiled earlier this year.

Less than 10 percent of the company’s 300 to 400 orders a year go to women or couples, McMullen said, adding that inquiries about Henry have been notably higher.  

One question women jokingly asked about the sexbot was whether he could take out the trash. This is still some way off, however, as McMullen’s team are still trying to work out how to make Henry walk and talk at the same time.

RealBotix created Henry with the aim of representing both genders and putting an end to complaints that the company was objectifying women.

Henry is due to go on sale next year at a retail price of between $ 11,000 and $ 15,000, depending on optional extras. His silicone body, which weighs only six stone (38 kilograms) is anatomically correct and his manhood can be made to order.

Prospective love interests can then interact with Henry through an app, by which he will crack jokes, recite poetry, and whisper sweet nothings in your ear.

While Henry may already sound like the ideal man to many, he can be customized even further to satisfy more unusual kinks, such as adding elf ears or vampire teeth. The company also offers 13 different kinds of pubic hair and dozens of nipples, including replicas of porn star Stormy Daniels’ breasts for its sexbots.

READ MORE: Sex dolls uncovered: The kinks, quirks and risks of building robolove (GRAPHIC VIDEO)

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Washington wants to drive wedge between Russia, China & Europe – analyst

The real goal behind recent US sanctions is to isolate Russia economically from Europe and Asia, according to an analyst interviewed by RT.

“The most obvious reason for sanctions is to drive a wedge into the relationship between Russia and the European Union, between Russia and China, etc.” said TeleTradeBel analyst Mikhail Grachev.

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The outer wall of the Den of Espionage (former US embassy) in Tehran, 2017 © Feng Wei Photography

According to Grachev, this time Russia should not seek to impose sanctions against American individuals and instead stop the spiral of bilateral sanctions. “Symmetrical answers like deportation of diplomats and closure of consulates are most likely appropriate and are a worthy response. But sanctions against specific personalities will look like a shot in the air,” he said.

“For Russia, in this situation it is more important to maintain one’s own dignity.”

The analyst added that with time, the European Union will realize that the United States is not a trading partner to be trusted. Grachev recalls the recent words by the President of the European Council Donald Tusk that “with friends like that who needs enemies?”

Vladimir Rojankovski, investment analyst at Global FX, agrees that it is the right moment for Russia to strengthen its ties with Europe, when the latter seeks to defend its companies from US sanctions for doing business with Iran.

“Needless to say how much it’s in Russia’s interests to join this party [Europe],” he told RT.

The analyst notes that the US president is ready to get rid of old friends, if they don’t suit his agenda. “The main problem about countering Trump directly is his low level of susceptibility. He is a thick-skinned lifelong cynic, the fact proved by the ease with which he parts with his friends. Remember his former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson? After the latter’s public speech defending the Iran nuclear deal he was mercilessly fired.”

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Only Down Under: Koala caught fishing on Aussie river bank (VIDEO)

A koala has been caught patiently waiting for a bite while fishing on the banks of the Murray River in Victoria, Australia.

The Koala surprised a family, who were taking a break from fishing in the small town of Strathmerton to have a picnic, when it picked up a rod and held it over the water.

READ MORE: Hunt for ‘evil’ culprit after koala nailed to wooden post (PHOTO)

We just turned around and there it was holding onto the fishing pole!said Lorraine Johns, who captured the footage and posted it on Youtube, according to local network 9News .

In the video, the cute koala can be seen sitting on the ground with his feet and paws holding the rod in the water while a woman, presumably Johns, asks: “Catch anything today, mate?” before adding: “Just another day in Australia.”

Johns said the koala stayed with the family for around an hour before retreating back to the wild.

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World Cup Preview: Tight at the top in a competitive Group H

It’s set to be all to play for between Poland, Senegal and Colombia as each harbors realistic ambitions of finishing top of the pile in a tight group at Russia 2018 which has proved popular among the footballing hipsters.

Each team will hold realistic ambitions of progressing from what looks like a tight and competitive Group H backed by an array of attacking talent, though the Japanese challenge has been hamstrung by internal struggles within their football association. How will things play out in a group as tight as this? RT Sport looks at its crystal ball.

POLAND

Poland were in impressive form in qualifying for Russia 2018. They stormed through their group, dropping just five points and scoring an impressive 28 goals along the way – more than half of which were courtesy of frontman Robert Lewandowski.

Poland possess more threats than just that of the Bayern Munich man, however. Napoli youngster Piotr Zielinski is one to watch in Russia this summer, where he will likely be deployed behind Lewandowski as a creative focal point and chief playmaker. Beside Lewandowski will be another Napoli man, Arkadiusz Milik

Veteran defenders Kamil Glik of Monaco and Borussia Dortmund’s Lukasz Piszczek are as dependable as ever in front of Juventus shot-stopper Wojciech Szczęsny. Concerns remain for Piszczek however, as the fullback has yet to find full fitness from a knee injury suffered on international duty last October.

READ MORE: Can Spain and Portugal exorcise World Cup demons in Group B?

Despite boasting one of the finest frontmen in the competition, the Poles aren’t exactly blessed with squad depth. Several key positions in the squad will be filled by players from Poland’s domestic league and they will be faced with a severe step-up in competition if, as expected, they reach the tournament’s latter stages.

Head coach Adam Nawalka, a former Polish international, is one of the more experienced coaches in the competition, having lost just seven games in his near five years in charge of the national side.

This group is wide open and one of the few where each of the four teams has a clear, realistic journey to the next round so Poland will hope to have well and truly stated their case for qualification before their matchday three clash with Japan.

Key Players

Poland captain Lewandowski is a world-class center forward who is capable of providing the firepower necessary to deliver his side into the last 16. The Napoli duo of Zielinski and Milik will also be dangerous but the primary strategy will be to remain defensively sound while carving out chances for their talisman up front.

SENEGAL

Senegal’s qualification for Russia 2018 was not without controversy. Their fixture with South Africa was ordered to be replayed after the referee was found to have attempted to ‘fix’ the result of the game by awarding a bogus penalty to the South Africans.

Senegal won the replayed fixture 2-0. In the end though, it wouldn’t have mattered as Senegal’s strength in depth throughout their squad meant that they would have qualified even if the initial loss to South Africa had stood.

The Senegalese squad has the greatest chance of any African nation of advancing to the tournament’s rarified stages, on paper at least. Sadio Mané has enjoyed a tremendous season as one part of Liverpool’s absurdly talented trio of forwards en route to the Champions League final.

READ MORE: Brazil favorites to emerge from Group E but who will join them?

Mané has bagged 19 goals in a breakout season and if it weren’t for Mo Salah’s wondrous wing wizardry lighting up Anfield this year, he would likely have been in contention for Premier League Player of the Year honors.

In addition to Mané, a significant percentage of the Senegalese ranks is comprised of players who earn their keep in the English Premier League. Captain Cheikhou Kouyaté lines up for West Ham, Idrissa Gueye is a rock in the heart of the Everton midfield, while Oumar Niasse, his teammate at The Toffees, has improved significantly following a slow start to his career in England.

Senegal have a very good chance of topping Group H, particularly if they are able to secure a positive start. While the quarter-finals will most likely be considered the ceiling for a team like this, they will be buoyed by the experiences of similar ‘small’ teams like Cameroon and South Korea who enjoyed unlikely runs to the last four in previous competition.

Key Players

Sadio Mané will be Senegal’s most potent attacking threat, perhaps joined by the likes of M’Baye Niang and Monaco’s Keita Baldé, but without Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly, Senegal wouldn’t be half as threatening. Imposing, strong but comfortable on the ball and with a wide range of passing, the 6ft 4in center half is the archetypal modern day ball-playing defender.

He is a supremely talented athlete, blessed with pace and strength but also with a delicate touch and a keen eye for picking a pass. Speculation suggests that Koulibaly will be putting himself in the shop window this summer and if he plays like he has all season for Napoli, he will have a long line of suitors for his signature.

COLOMBIA

Colombia played above expectations four years ago, comfortably winning their group before crashing out in a tight game with hosts Brazil at the quarter-final stage. This time around they could be poised to do even better as they travel to Russia with a squad arguably more talented and certainly more experienced than last time around.

James Rodríguez was an unknown quantity last time around but now, having achieved stardom at first Real Madrid and now Bayern Munich, he enters the tournament as a legitimate superstar and the focal point of his national team.

After missing Brazil 2014 through injury, team captain Radamel Falcao will play in his first World Cup in Russia this summer and will aim to continue the Indian summer form he has enjoyed in Monaco’s colors following a less than successful spell in England.

READ MORE: Can Russia triumph at home? Examining ‘dangerous’ Group A

At the back Colombia have two talented defenders in Tottenham’s Davinson Sanchez and Barcelona’s Yerry Mina, though inexperience is a worry as the two players have less than 20 international appearances between them, and a lot will depend on if coach José Pékerman opts to bolster his defense or field the more attacking duo of Frank Fabra and Santiago Arias as part of a back four.

Doing so would allow for a system where the likes of James Rodríguez, Juan Cuadrado and Falcao could all be deployed but it would leave significant risk of counter attack from a pacey Senegal side, or Poland’s Zielinski.

Key Players

Top scorer in qualifying, James Rodríguez is Colombian football’s golden boy. He will turn 27 during the tournament, officially entering what many would describe as his ‘prime years’ and he will have quite the stage to showcase his skills.

He was central to Colombia’s heroics four years ago and now, armed with superior teammates, as well as the goal-scoring threat of Falcao to occupy the opposition, he will be an even more dangerous threat this time around.

JAPAN

The Japanese preparations for the World Cup aren’t exactly going swimmingly. New coach Akira Nishino, who replaced Vahid Halilhodzic just two months ago, won’t take charge of the team for the first time until the end of May and will have just two further matches, against Switzerland and Paraguay, before traveling to Russia.

Halilhodzic was sternly criticized by Japanese media for repeatedly dropping the team’s key creative players in Shinji Kagawa, Keisuke Honda and others, instead relying on a more robust, physical presence in the side.

READ MORE: Messi’s Argentina hoping to end run of losing finals – Group D

While they qualified for this summer’s tournament with relative ease with this strategy, new coach Nishino will likely be compelled to reinstall the more famous names back into his side, it is very late in the day to be experimenting with new line-ups and it is difficult to see how a changed team under a new manager can be a cohesive enough unit to see off the more experienced, prepared teams in their group.

With the likes of Honda, Kagawa and Leicester City’s Shinji Okazaki at their disposal, Nishino’s side will be capable of causing problems up front but it seems more likely that this brand of tumult currently underway in Japanese football will expedite their trip home.

Key Players

Maya Yoshida, the Southampton defender who marshals the Japanese rearguard, will be a busy man. He will be facing a top forward – Lewandowski, Falcao and Mané – in each of Japan’s group games in Russia and will need to be at his absolute best to restrict their opportunities in front of goal.

Borussia Dortmund player Kagawa will be Japan’s chief creative outlet should he be selected and will be charged with spearheading what could otherwise be a toothless Japanese attack.

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Nationalist mob attack Thessaloniki mayor at remembrance ceremony (VIDEO)

The mayor of Greece’s second-largest city, Thessaloniki, was attacked by an angry mob of at least a dozen people, believed to be nationalist extremists, during a remembrance event on Saturday.

Yiannis Boutaris was hospitalized following the assault and treated for injuries to his head, back and legs.

Footage from the event shows the 75-year old being heckled by a group of people before he is struck with an object and falls to the ground. The mayor is then kicked while his aides help him up. As he is escorted to his car, some members of the group, including a man wearing a balaclava, kick the vehicle and try to smash the windows.

READ MORE: ‘Macedonia is Greece!’ Thousands march through Athens in country-naming dispute (VIDEO)

Boutaris, who is known for his anti-nationalist views, was attending a flag-lowering ceremony to commemorate the Pontic genocide – the massacre of Pontic Greeks by Turks during World War I and the Greek-Turkish war.

Protesters called for him to leave the event and subsequently attacked the mayor with bottles, according to city officials.

Boutaris was taken to hospital as a precaution. “It was a nightmare. There were several people that attacked me. They were hitting me everywhere,” he told The Greek Reporter. “They were not Pontians. Pontians are my friends,” he added.

The attack has been condemned by Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and the Syriza party, who have described the perpetrators as “far-right bullies who have to face the consequences of their actions.” The main opposition party, New Democracy, also condemned the attack and called on the perpetrators to be “arrested immediately.”

Mayor of Athens Giorgos Kaminis took to Twitter to describe the attack as “shameful,” and voice concerns that it “openly threatens democracy and society.”

READ MORE: Turkish cargo vessel ‘rams’ Greek warship in Aegean Sea

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US has more billionaires than China, Germany & India combined

The number of billionaires worldwide has soared to a record high, according to a new report from wealth data company Wealth-X, which showed that there were 2,754 ultra-rich individuals on the planet in 2017.

The report revealed that the billionaire population and their wealth skyrocketed to record levels last year. They now control around $ 9.2 trillion in wealth – a 24 percent increase from 2016.

The United States accounts for 25 percent of the global billionaire population, as the home of 680 fat cats. This is followed by China, which has 338. Asia overtook North America for the first time as the home of the most billionaires.

“Buoyed by a robust domestic economy, solid equity gains and the high concentration of wealth-creating technology firms, the US added a net 60 new billionaires, with the collective net worth of the 680-strong population rising to $ 3.2 trillion,” the report said.

In total, the richest one percent on the planet owns about half of the world’s wealth, according to Wealth-X. It attributed the significant increase in wealth to a “synchronized upturn” in the world economy and climbing equity markets. 
“In a rapidly shifting geopolitical environment, the influence on the world economy of this most exclusive group of individuals is continuing to rise,” it said.

The research has also found that, across the globe, the number of female billionaires rose more quickly than men over the past year, though male billionaires still outnumber females. They acquired their wealth differently, while women were much more likely than men to become billionaires through inheritance.

In 2017, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos surpassed Bill Gates to become the richest of the rich, with an estimated net worth of $ 112 billion. Gates, who is the second-richest person in the world, was followed by Warren Buffett and fashion designer Bernard Arnault.

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