‘I’ve contacted Russian security service about this bull***’ – football manager on rooster incident

Football coach Aleksandr Grigoryan has contacted Russia’s security service FSB over an incident where a fan of Luch-Energiya Vladivostok, the team he manages, tossed a live rooster at him during a game.

The fan threw the rooster during the second-tier outfit’s away match to FC Fakel Voronezh on Sunday. The visiting fan section then broke out into chants of “Grigoryan is a rooster!” which is loosely translated as “traitor,” in Russian.

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“I’m always grateful for the support from genuine fans, but these people do not have anything in common with them. Because, if you genuinely support a club then you will not think about throwing a rooster at the manager,” Grigoryan said.

“All that they do brings such bull****, and a lot of other managers have started talking about it. They are saying that my position isn’t in line with the supporters. If these people were really interested in the team, they would support it now, but at the end of the season they will have figured that out.”

The coach, whose ethnic origin is Armenian, said he initially did not consider it “manly” to take the matter up with the police, but eventually decided that enough was enough.

He had earlier threatened that the fan would be “jailed” for his actions. Such behavior could carry a prison term of up to 15 days, if found guilty. 

The reason for the protest seems to be that some sections of the Luch-Energiya support have not forgiven Grigoryan for leaving the club for FC Tosno during his first spell in charge in the 2013/14 season, and then going on to manage arch rivals SKA Khabarovsk.

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Embarrassment for May as House of Lords votes for Britain to stay in customs union

The House of Lords has voted for Britain to remain in the customs union with the EU after Brexit.

READ MORE: Good Friday Agreement: Has Brexit put Northern Ireland’s peace at risk?

The vote is an embarrassing defeat for Prime Minister Theresa May, who earlier this year was adamant that Britain’s exit from the EU would involve leaving both the customs union and the single market. Activists are now calling on her government to reopen the issue. Shadow Brexit Secretary Keir Starmer took to Twitter to hail the victory and called for a vote to be taken in the Commons now.

READ MORE: ‘We won’t hold UK hostage over Brexit’: Spain hopes to finalize Gibraltar deal by October

A cross-party alliance in the upper house of parliament put forward an amendment to the UK’s Withdrawal Bill which would require ministers to at least attempt to negotiate the terms of a future customs union arrangement. The legislation passed by a vote of 348 to 225. They will now have to deliver a report on their efforts by the end of October.

While the defeat had been expected by the government, critics believe the size of the majority in favour of staying in the customs union will force the government into a rethink of its stated policy of leaving to pursue free trade deals with other countries around the world.

READ MORE: Leave voters have ‘tears of regret’ as Remainers call for #finalsay

A precondition of customs union membership is that the EU must negotiate on behalf of the union as a whole in trade talks. Member states are not permitted to negotiate trade deals individually, but benefit from having no duties levied on goods travelling within the free trade area.  

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OPCW confirms UN team came under fire in Douma, mission delayed by security concerns

The OPCW fact-finding mission to Douma has been delayed from entering the town after a UN security team came under “small arms fire.” Contrary to a US claim, the watchdog made no mention of delays caused by Russia or Syria.

A group from the UN Department of Safety and Security (UNDSS) tasked with surveying Douma visited two locations in the Eastern Ghouta town on April 17 before deciding to withdraw, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) said in a statement on Wednesday.

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A United Nation vehicle carrying OPCW inspectors in Damascus, Syria, April 17, 2018. © Omar Sanadiki

At the first site, the reconnaissance team was met by a “large crowd,” and “the advice provided by the UNDSS was that the team should withdraw,” a statement released by the OPCW said. At the second site, the team “came under small arms fire and an explosive was detonated.” One Syrian security officer was injured in a resulting firefight, according to a statement by the Russian military. It is not clear who was behind the ambush. After the incident, the security team decided to return to Damascus.

“This incident again highlights the highly volatile environment in which the FFM [fact-finding mission] is having to work and the security risks our staff are facing,” the OPCW’s Director-General Ahmet Uzumcu said in the statement.

Washington had previously accused Damascus and Moscow of blocking the fact-finding team from reaching Douma. However, the statement released by the OPCW made no mention of any interference by the Russian or Syrian governments. In fact, the OPCW said it was working closely with Russian Military Police to review the security situation in Douma.

READ MORE: Moscow slams western media ‘disinformation campaign’ about OPCW experts being denied entry to Douma

This isn’t the first security-related setback for the fact-finding team. The team’s arrival in Damascus was postponed on Saturday after the US, France and Britain launched more than 100 cruise missiles at targets inside Syria.

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‘It happened hundreds of times’: Olympic gold medal gymnast Maroney on Nassar sex abuse

Olympic gold medalist McKayla Maroney says she was molested “hundreds of times” by former US Gymnastics and Michigan State doctor Larry Nassar.

The 22-year-old gymnast originally spoke on the topic last October, when she went public on her Twitter account.

READ MORE: ‘I thought I was going to die’ – US Olympic champion gymnast on doctor’s ‘systematic sexual abuse’

She spoke again about the disgraced doctor during an interview on the Today show, aired on Wednesday.

Talking on the show, Maroney said that Nassar had abused her every time she saw him, ever since her first visit to the doctor. When asked about how many times it had happened, Maroney replied “hundreds.”

“He said that nobody would understand this and the sacrifice that it takes to get to the Olympics. So you can’t tell people this,” she said.

“I actually was like, ‘That makes sense. I don’t want to tell anybody about this,'” she added. “I didn’t believe that they would understand.”

READ MORE: ‘Give me 5 mins with that demon’: Nassar victim father lunges at pedophile doctor (VIDEO)

Nassar, who worked for more than 20 years as the US team physician, was sentenced to up to 175 years in prison after pleading guilty to child pornography charges and 10 counts of sexual assault of minors.

More than 260 women and girls filed lawsuits against the pedophile doctor, saying they were sexually abused. That number includes high-profile American gymnasts such as Olympic champions Aly Raisman, Simone Biles, Mckayla Maroney, Gabby Douglas and Jordyn Wieber.

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Italian officials & German firm face lawsuit over arms sales to Saudi Arabia

A complaint has been filed by a coalition of human rights groups against Italian government officials and a major European arms manufacturer over their alleged involvement in the aerial bombing of Yemen.

The legal action was launched by the Berlin-based European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR), the Yemen-based Mwatana Organization for Human Rights, and the Italian Rete Italiana per il Disarmo. They filed the lawsuit with the prosecutors’ office in Rome.

The lawsuit aims to challenge arms exports by officials from the Italian Foreign Ministry and the local subsidiary of the German conglomerate Rheinmetall, RWM Italia, to Saudi Arabia.

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French soldiers display their weapons during a visit of the French Defence minister at the Satory military camp in Versailles, southwest of Paris, on July 6, 2017. © Geoffroy Van Der Hasselt

The human rights groups focused on the October 8, 2016 bombing in Yemen, which left a family of six dead, including four children. They expressed hopes that concentrating on a specific well-documented incident could increase their chances of success.

“What makes this case special are the remnants found at the site of the airstrike,” Linde Bryk, a Dutch lawyer who worked in Kosovo and is now with the ECCHR, told The Guardian.

According to Mwatana, among the fragments that it found at the site of the 2016 attack on the village of Deir al-Jari in Hudaydah (north-west Yemen) was a suspension lug for holding bombs in place. Mwatana arrived at the site of the bombing the day after the incident to interview witnesses and gather evidence. The human rights organization sent pictures to the Italian news agency Ansa last year.

According to the complaint, the serial number on the lug identified it as part of a batch manufactured in June 2014 by RWM Italia. “This case is emblematic as it not only concerns Italy’s role but the general question on the responsibility of European governments and European arms manufacturers for the consequences of arms exports used by the Saudi-led coalition,” Bryk said.

The civil war which broke out in Yemen in 2015 prompted the Saudi-led intervention. Since then, the country endured what has been called the world’s worst humanitarian crisis. According to the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, almost 6,000 civilians had been killed and 9,500 wounded between March 2015 and February 2018. Millions were left displaced and on the brink of starvation.

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A boy wears a blindfold stained with fake blood as he takes part in an anti-Saudi protest in Sanaa, Yemen November 27, 2016 © Mohamed al-Sayaghi

Statistics showed the Saudi-led coalition conducted over 16,600 air raids, with roughly a third of them targeting non-military sites. Almost 1,500 of them hit residential areas. Amnesty International says at least 36 of them violated international laws and may have constituted war crimes. “Despite the reported violations in Yemen, Italy continues to export arms to members of the Saudi-led military coalition,” said Francesco Vignarca from Rete Disarmo.

She explained: “This is contrary to Italian law 185/1990, which prohibits arms exports ‘to countries engaged in armed conflict.’ Furthermore, it is in contrast with the binding provisions of the EU common position on arms export control and the international arms trade treaty.”

If the Italian prosecutors’ office declines to pursue the October 2016 case, the human rights groups may go to higher courts, including the International Criminal Court, which so far has not been investigating events in Yemen.

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Amber Rudd should resign for ‘misery’ caused by Windrush scandal – Diane Abbott

Home Secretary Amber Rudd should step down over the “lives ruined” by the Windrush scandal, Diane Abbott has said.

The shadow home secretary hit out at her direct opponent saying she should “consider her position” as it emerged that thousands of Caribbean immigrants risk deportation because they lack the necessary documentation needed as part of PM Theresa May’s “hostile environment” policies.

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Caroline Nokes, Britain's immigration minister. © Tim Ireland

“I think she needs to consider her position. There are so many things that have gone wrong,” Abbott said of Rudd. “She has information about who was deported and who was in detention and she needs to make that information public,” she added, according to the Guardian.

Abbott, along with Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, was one of only six Labour MPs to vote against the 2014 Immigration Act, which contains some of the restrictive policies which led to the Windrush scandal.

“This has caused so much misery and has ruined so many people’s lives – and there is so much unity in the House of Commons on both sides of the chamber about this subject – she needs to consider her position,” the Shadow Home Secretary said.

People from the Windrush generation arrived in the UK from African and Caribbean countries between 1948 and 1971. They were allowed in as part of Commonwealth free movement regulations. Despite the 1971 Immigration Act giving indefinite leave to remain to Commonwealth citizens already living in the UK, they are now being denied access to healthcare and threatened with deportation because they have no proof of legal status, proof they never thought they needed.

Jurior Green is among those who has suffered because of the Home Office’s blunder. He broke down in tears on Tuesday as he told the BBC he had to miss his mother’s funeral because he was denied entry back into the UK – despite him claiming he has lived in the UK for 60 years.

He had flown to Jamaica to see his dying mother, before trying to fly back to Britain but was barred from boarding the flight as his visa was not recognized. Stranded in Jamaica, he missed his mother’s funeral as her body was repatriated to the UK.

Rudd apologized over the “appalling” actions of her own department, saying the Home Office may have “lost sight of individuals” and become “too concerned with policy.”

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The PM followed suit, saying “we are genuinely sorry for any anxiety that has been caused,” before reiterating in parliament on Wednesday that there would be a dedicated team of officials working to help the Windrush community prove they have a right to stay. She promised cases would be solved within two weeks of evidence being provided.

It comes as the Tory government is under fire for reportedly discarding thousands of the Windrush generation’s landing cards in 2010 despite civil servants warning it could make it harder to check the right to remain of Commonwealth citizens from older generations.

When Corbyn asked May on Wednesday if she had “signed off” the shredding, the Tory leader hit back saying: “The decision was taken in 2009. As I seem to recall, in 2009, it was a Labour home secretary who was in position.” The claim has led to accusations that May was misleading parliament, as no Labour home secretary was involved in the decision. No. 10 conceded this but added that the PM was simply stating facts. 

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‘Don’t have oral sex, your mouth’s for eating’: Ugandan president warns citizens

The president of Uganda has issued a public warning to citizens of the central African country: Don’t perform oral sex.

Speaking during a televised press conference last week, President Yoweri Museveni spoke of the “wrong practices indulged in and promoted by” groups of non-nationals. “The mouth is for eating, not for sex,” he said, adding: “We know the address of sex. We know where sex is.”

An evangelical conservative, Museveni has led a crackdown on sexual freedoms in Uganda in recent times. His proposal to ban all oral sex follows the signing of the Anti-Homosexuality Act in 2014 which made it illegal to be gay in Uganda. Under the law, repeat offenders were to be sentenced to 14 years in prison and Ugandans were required to denounce known homosexuals.

READ MORE: Uganda says will keep anti-gay law despite West cutting aid

Museveni has made a number of bizarre pronouncements in the past. After signing the act in 2014, Museveni labelled homosexuals as “mercenaries” and “prostitutes” who were behaving gay for money. He also said gay oral sex could cause worms. “You push the mouth there, you can come back with worms and they enter your stomach because that is a wrong address,” he said.

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Russia won’t be cut off from international bank transfer services

Financial messaging system SWIFT will not ban Russia despite sanctions and is staying politically neutral, according to its CEO, Gottfried Leibbrandt, as quoted by Russian media.

Leibbrandt is in Moscow, and has again stressed that SWIFT remains politically unbiased, according to reports by RBC, Vedomosti and other Russian business media.

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The potential exclusion of Russia from SWIFT worried the country’s banks in 2014, when the EU and the US introduced the first round of international sanctions against Moscow over alleged involvement in the Ukraine crisis and the reunification with Crimea. However, SWIFT itself fended off such talk. The question was raised again this April after the latest economic sanctions against Russia.

The position of SWIFT is consistent and professional, says Russian representative on the board of directors of SWIFT, Eddie Astanin. “Earlier in 2014, and also in March this year, SWIFT made official statements that give a clear answer: SWIFT will not respond to pressure attempts and calls to disconnect financial institutions from its network,” he told Vedomosti.

Last year, Russian traffic within SWIFT grew by 40 percent to 116 million messages, and Russia has been on the board of directors of the interbank cash transfer network since 2015, along with 24 other countries, the largest users of the system.

Despite SWIFT’s promises, the Central Bank of Russia has developed an alternative domestic system for transfer of financial messages (SPFS). Russian state tech giant Rostec announced last week it will use the SPFS to make its payments safer.

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TV still main source of news for Russians, but only half believe it

The large majority of Russians says they prefer to get domestic and international news from television broadcasts, but only half see television as their most trusted news source.

A poll conducted by independent public opinion research center Levada in late March this year showed that 85 percent of the Russian population used television as their primary source of news, down from 89 percent in March 2016 and 90 percent in March 2014.

Twenty-seven percent of respondents also named friends and relatives as the main place to get fresh news, while 15 percent named radio, 14 percent named social networks, and 13 percent cited traditional printed newspapers.

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Participants in a spontaneous rally in memory of those killed in a fire at the Zimnyaya Vishnya shopping mall, in front of the Kemerovo administration building on Sovetov Square © Alexandr Kryazhev

Twenty-nine percent of respondents told researchers that they watch news on TV every day, and 42 percent said do so “practically every day.” Nineteen percent said they watch TV news on a weekly basis, and 10 percent said they never turn to this source of information.

As for news on internet sites, 10 percent of Russians said they read them every day, while 23 percent do this almost every day and 19 percent do so once a week.

When researchers asked Russians what the most trusted news sources were, 51 percent named television, 19 percent named personal communication with friends and relatives, and another 19 percent named news sites on the internet. Fifteen percent of Russians have the greatest trust in the news they read on social networks, 9 percent in newspapers and 8 percent on the radio. Ten percent of respondents said they do not trust any of the established news sources.

When answering the question about their attitude to social networks and information distributed through them, 70 percent of Russians agreed that social networks can be a source of important news, but even more people – 72 percent – said they use them to relax and reduce the impact of everyday stress. Thirty percent of respondents called browsing of social networks a “completely useless pastime.”

A different poll conducted by the Public Opinion Foundation in early 2016 showed that back then 48 percent of Russians found online news sources credible. Seventeen percent said they did not trust them and 20 percent of internet users said they did not use the web to get the news.

When asked which source of information they would trust more in the event of conflicting reports, the results were almost even: 32 percent said they found television more credible and 30 percent said the same about news websites.

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