'I didn’t fight against French Algeria to accept an Algerian France': Bardot slams modern-day France

French actress Brigitte Bardot has spoken out against the state of her country, saying that Islamists are “practically everywhere” and that France should not resemble Algeria.

Speaking to the French weekly Valeurs Actuelles, Bardot said that France is not what it once was. “I have been brought up in honor, patriotism, love and respect for my country, and when I see what it has become, I feel desperate,” she said.

The 83-year-old also said that it is “unacceptable” to see burqas become commonplace in France, and Islamists are “practically everywhere.”

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FILE PHOTO: People pray in the street in a suburb near Paris, France. © Alain Jocard

“I did not fight against French Algeria to accept an Algerian France, I do not touch the culture, the identity and the customs of others, let’s not touch mine,” Bardot said.

The former actress didn’t mince her words when it came to her thoughts on the European Union either. “We have to get out of it,” she said. Bardot added that she is a supporter of right-wing National Front politician Marine Le Pen, who has also spoken out against France’s membership in the EU. She went on to note her affinity for former French Prime Minister Francois Fillon, who she described as a “good guy.”

Born in 1934, Bardot was one of the best-known sex symbols of the 1950s and 1960s. She retired from the entertainment industry in 1973, after starring in 47 films. She has established herself as an animal rights activist in recent years. She recently wrote a book, ‘Répliques et Piques,’ embracing a collection of quotations and aphorisms.

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‘A load of bull’: Duterte rejects ICC treaty, calls on more countries to leave

Filipino president Rodrigo Duterte has called on more countries to follow his lead and withdraw from the treaty underpinning the International Criminal Court (ICC).

The firebrand strongman described the treaty as “bull” during an address at a graduation ceremony for army cadets, according to Rappler. “The treaty, if you read it, it’s all bull…,” Duterte said, seemingly stopping short of using the word ‘bullsh*t’. Later he joked about his colourful use of language. “I’ll just say ‘volleyball’ so there’s no issue,” he said.

Duterte vowed to convince others to withdraw from the treaty. The court was created by an EU-sponsored treaty, the Rome Statute. The president claimed that the court was created as a means for Europe to atone “for their sins,”according to the Inquirer. He further claimed that the Rome Statute is “clearly a criminal law.”

Duterte withdrew his nation from the ICC last week following, what he called, “outrageous” attacks by UN officials. The court announced last month that it was opening a preliminary investigation into the tactics and alleged abuses during the country’s war on drugs. The crackdown has reportedly left thousands of people dead since it began in 2016.

Duterte has promised to reject all findings made by the ICC. “They cannot ever, ever hope to acquire jurisdiction over my person,” he added.

Authorities in the south-east Asian country claim that around 4,000 people have been killed as a result of the 19-month crackdown. Human rights groups dispute this figure, however. The Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates (PAHRA) estimates that up to 12,000 people have been killed in the brutal campaign.

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‘Until I'm 100 years old?’ Putin on another election bid

Vladimir Putin has laughed off suggestions that he will seek re-election in 2030 following his landslide victory, according to the preliminary results.

“Let’s count. What, do you think I will sit until I’m 100 years old?” he responded to a reporter’s question after preliminary results showed he won more than three-quarters of the vote. Putin turns 72 in 2024. He would not be eligible to run again in the next presidential election that year. The Russian Constitution limits presidents to two “consecutive” terms, although there is no limit to the number of times one person can be re-elected.

READ MORE: Vladimir Putin decisively re-elected as Russian president – preliminary results

“I am not planning any constitutional reforms for now,” Putin insisted. Asked whether he intended to run again in 2030, he added: “Listen, it seems to me that what you’re saying is a little bit funny.”

Putin has already served two stints as president from 2000 to 2008, and again from 2012 to 2018. The length of the presidential term of office was extended to six years in 2008.

Now leading the count, Putin also told reporters he hopes all political forces in Russia would put the greater good of economic development before their own partisan interests.

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'It's nonsense' to think Russia tried to poison Skripals ahead of elections & World Cup – Putin

Putin dismissed the allegations that Russia was behind the early March poisoning of former double-agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter in Salisbury, speaking with the reporters at his HQ.

He said that it was “nonsense and absurd to claim that Russia would do anything like that before the elections and the World Cup.”


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Voter turnout at Russian polls – why pay attention

Russian politicians, researchers and reporters all attach great importance to voter turnout. To understand this, RT compares preliminary figures from polling stations to those from other countries and other periods in history.

Is there a way to forecast it?

The discussion about future turnout started way before the actual presidential campaign, along with attempts to influence it. Research and forecasts began to appear months ahead of the voting date. 

Major public opinion research centers have conducted polls on the subject and released their forecasts that ranged from 80 percent voter turnout by state-run centers VTSIOM and FOM down to more realistic 52-54 percent by independent Levada Center. Reporters have quoted unnamed sources in the Kremlin that said Russian authorities expected the future turn out to be at 70 percent. At the same time, many researchers and experts pointed at the fact that average people usually make promises to pollsters simply to look good in their own eyes and one should always make adjustments when making forecasts based on opinion polls.

What are Russian politicians’ positions concerning the turnout?

As the elections came closer and hopefuls announced their intent to run, the turnout issue even caused another critical split in the ranks of Russian opposition. Anti-corruption blogger Aleksey Navalny, who is extremely media-savvy but banned from running (ironically, over two criminal convictions that involved corruption), called for “elections boycott” or “voters’ strike” and promised that his nationwide network of rather zealous supporters would promote this idea among the masses.

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Participants of the opposition procession and rally of protest against the Russian election system in Moscow © Maxim Blinov

Navalny claimed that low turnout would undermine the legitimacy of the future president, but other opposition figures, like Grigory Yavlinsky of the liberal party Yabloko and ex-socialite Ksenia Sobchak, who presented herself as a “none of the above” option for those who could not choose from the seven other candidates, argued that Russia has no official turnout threshold in presidential elections and if those who don’t want the most popular candidate to win don’t vote, that candidate would simply win with a larger margin.

Communist candidate Pavel Grudinin argued from a position of political theory, albeit not a Marxist-Leninist one but a common one. He has said that voting is a crucial part of democracy and also a good opportunity to discuss mutual problems and ways to solve them.

Other registered candidates also did not support the calls for boycott, and they were labeled “Kremlin puppets” by Navalny’s allies. In response, the opposition leaders accused Navalny of extreme selfishness and an inability to compromise.  

Vladimir Putin has said that he would be happy with any turnover that would allow him to continue exercising his presidential duties.

What was the turnout at previous polls?

The turnout in Russian presidential elections has been slowly declining since they were held for the first time in 1991. At the time, well over 74 percent of citizens took to the polling stations, a fact that can easily be explained by the legacy of the Soviet regime and its strong and omnipresent political propaganda, the novelty of being able to choose from many candidates and the general feeling of crucial changes in everyone’s lives.

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A woman takes part in the early voting at the Russian presidential election in a remote ethnic Tatar village of Kuskurgul in the Nizhnyaya Tavda district © Sergey Rusanov

In 1996, the turnout already fell to almost 70 percent, and, in 2000, when Vladimir Putin ran for president for the first time, it fell to under 69 percent. In 2004, Putin was reelected when the turnout fell to around 64 percent and in 2012 it happened again, with a 65 percent turnout.

Experts and politicians, including Putin himself, have explained this tendency by pointing to the fact that ordinary people showed less political activity when there was more stability and predictability in their lives.

This thesis received some “experimental” proof in 2008, when Putin could not technically run for president and backed his longtime ally Dmitry Medvedev in the race. The turnout increased to just under 70 percent.

What about other nations?

Comparing various countries is not easy because many nations like Australia, Argentina or Belgium have compulsory voting with not-participation punished by fines. Still, if we have a look at recent national elections in large countries, the voter turnout there was even lower than previously registered Russian results. At the 2016 presidential elections in the United States, with all their scandals, bitter rivalry and allegations of foreign meddling, under 56 percent of citizens decided that they wanted to vote.

The 2017 presidential elections in France, where pro-EU liberal Emmanuel Macron locked horns with nationalist Marie Le Pen saw a turnout of about 75 percent, and the first round was higher than in the second.

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Brides, babushkas and ballistic missiles: Russia’s uniquely Russian election day (PHOTOS/VIDEOS)

With more than 97,000 polling stations nationwide and abroad, Russia’s election day was destined for some unpredictable ballot-casting. From dancing chickens to dressed-up newlyweds, here are some of today’s unique Russian voters.

Family of 30 gets bussed to the polls

A family in the Volgograd Region had to be bussed to their local polling station. The Potapovs – 30 in all – voted together and in high spirits, according to local media reports.

“Today is an important day for the whole country. We choose not just the president, but the leader of the nation, who must be strong and confident in his decisions, be able to adequately respond to external threats and, of course, take care of his people,” said Valentina Potapova, the family matriarch. The mother of nine children, she also has 16 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

Honeymoon in the polling booth?

Eighteen pairs of newlyweds in the Republic of Ingushetia, in the North Caucasus region, found time to choose a president after giving their vows. Local authorities apparently presented the new couples with household appliances, according to local media reports.

In Tatarstan, two newlyweds fulfilled their civic duty immediately after their wedding ceremony – with the bride arriving at the polling station in a flowing white bridal gown.

Famous Frenchie votes

French film star Gerard Depardieu cast his ballot at the Russian embassy in Paris. Depardieu, a friend of Russia, was granted citizenship in 2013.

Get out the vote: Chicken style

For those who were feeling a bit sluggish on Sunday morning, one lucky town had a mini pep rally in front of their polling station. A large dancing chicken greeted voters – and, of course, welcomed selfies.

Russia introduces exotic beach voting

Some 3,500 Russian beachgoers cast their ballot in sunny Thailand. Russian tourists were able to vote in Bangkok, Pattaya and Phuket, as well as in Samui and Hua Hin.

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Navalny accuses Sobchak of running in exchange for 'tremendous sum of money'

As two Russian politicians discussed the future after the presidential election, their discussion quickly turned into a confrontation, with both sides accusing each other of lies, hypocrisy and betrayal of the liberal cause.

The scandal developed when Ksenia Sobchak, the former socialite and now glossy magazine editor, proposed that Aleksey Navalny, the anti-corruption blogger turned opposition activist, should cooperate with the new political party that she wanted to launch. Sobchak tried to win Navalny’s sympathies by reminding him that she also built her political platform around numerous allegations of corruption in the higher echelons of Russian power.

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The response was quick, harsh and unambiguous. “Everything that you have just said are just empty words,” Navalny said in a conversation that was broadcasted live on Youtube. “I don’t want to be a part of a cartoonish opposition that you are painting now together with Putin.”

The activist went on to describe all of Sobchak’s latest activities as “despicable and hypocritical” and then, while still live on internet broadcast, he said that a few months ago Sobchak visited him at home and told him and his wife, Yulia, that she had been offered “a tremendous sum of money” for agreeing to participate in the presidential elections and that she did not know what to do.

This is not true, you are lying right now,” Sobchak parried and told her version of the event, in which she asked Navalny to join an opposition coalition and put forward a joint candidate in the presidential polls.

All of these are lies from the beginning to the end, you were used to turn even more people away from the opposition,” Navalny replied, before calling Sobchak “Putin’s tool.”

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Analyst predicts Bitcoin will hit $91k by 2020

Investors in bitcoin are about to see a turn around in their fortunes. That’s the prediction of analysts at one research firm who claim the value of the cryptocurrency will reach $ 91,000 by March 2020.

Bitcoin has seen its value more than half since hitting a high of almost $ 20,000 in December. On Sunday, one bitcoin cost investors $ 7,366. Now, the researchers at New York-based Fundstrat Global Advisors believe they have mapped out the short and long-term trends of the digital currency, including mining costs, trading trends and other technical analysis.

Published by Forbes, the statistics-based graphic compiled by the company’s Head of Research, Tom Lee, shows the currency’s history of dramatic rises following dramatic falls in value. Lee also developed the Bitcoin Misery Index (BMI), a contrarian indicator, meaning the lower it is on the scale, the greater the likelihood of bitcoin will moving up in price. The cryptocurrency is currently at the second lowest point of the past eight years.

READ MORE: Pump & dump? Crypto market crashes in suspiciously delayed reaction

Lee’s prediction isn’t shared by billionaire investor Warren Buffett who expects bitcoin, and all cryptocurrencies, to come to a “bad ending.” Buffett added that he doesn’t own a single bitcoin and has no plans of investing in it.

The drop in bitcoin’s value was likely sparked by Google’s announcement Wednesday that it will ban all cryptocurrency ads “including but not limited to initial coin offerings, cryptocurrency exchanges, cryptocurrency wallets and cryptocurrency trading advice.”

READ MORE: Cryptocurrency market ruled by lawless code of Wild West – analyst

Google was responding to a move by its main advertising rival Facebook which had announced the ban in January. The cryptocurrency was also probably hit a warning from the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) earlier this month that cryptocurrency exchanges were not regulated.

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Japan unveils new ‘Supreme’ bullet train

A new high-speed bullet train has been rolled out by the Central Japan Railway (JR Tokai). It will debut in 2020 on the Tokaido Shinkansen line, running between Tokyo and Shin-Osaka.

According to JR Tokai, the new Shinkansen N700S or Shinkansen ‘Supreme’ train will be smarter, sleeker and quieter. Test cars will start operating this month.

“The N700S series has been completely redesigned through renovating main facilities and equipment,” Masayuki Ueno, deputy director-general of JR Tokai’s Shinkansen Operations Division, told the Asahi Shimbun newspaper. “We have produced a train that can symbolize a new era for the Tokaido Shinkansen line.”

With a golden ‘Supreme’ logo, the N700S series will have a curvier head profile than the old N700A model. The sharper nose design, called “dual Supreme wind,” will reduce noise when entering tunnels and lessen air resistance.

The 16-car variation train will be 11 tons lighter than the older generation, partly thanks to the new silicon-carbide semiconductors and natural air-cooling system. The train will have a maximum speed of 300km/h – the same as other N700 series trains.

All passenger seats will be fitted with power sockets for electronic devices, while passengers travelling first-class will enjoy 15 percent more leg room. The new design will also include head compartments that light up when a train approaches stations to remind passengers to pick up their belongings.

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Virgin Mary ‘apparition’ attracts hundreds to German town (VIDEO)

Hundreds of devout Christians have gathered at a small chapel in the German town of Unterflossing where they are hoping to catch a glimpse of the Virgin Mary.

Salvatore Caputa, a self-proclaimed Sicilian prophet, said that the mother of Christ would appear at the St. Laurentius Chapel at 4.30pm local time Saturday. Caputa said it would be her third appearance. The last one supposedly came back in September.

A crowd of some 300 people waited patiently for hours in the cold, singing and praying to pass the time. At the declared time, Caputa reportedly dropped to his knees, clutched his rosary beads and stared into the distance.

The Italian mystic claims the apparition asked for prayers of peace and called for people to “open your hearts.” The owner of the church told Deutsche Welle that one other woman witnessed the supposed phenomenon. A number of other people reported smelling the scent of roses, a flower associated with the holy mother.

The Catholic Church doesn’t recognize Caputa or his alleged apparitions and directed members of the clergy to stay away from the ceremony. The Church has previously recognized other apparitions.

The holy mother has apparently appeared a number of times around the world. The Church claims people have seen her in the French town of Lourdes, Fatima in Portugal, Guadalupe in Mexico, and the western Irish town of Knock.

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