‘First there was pain, then joy’: 2 orphans rescued in Iraq reunited with relatives in Russia

Two children brought by their parents to the hellfire of Mosul, but rescued and returned to Russia this week, are now rehabilitating with their newly found relatives in Grozny.

Eight-year-old Adlan Dakaev and nine-year-old Khadija Huseinova have been returned to the arms of their relatives in Grozny, and are now trying to integrate with their peers back in Chechnya from where their parents had abruptly taken them to go to Iraq when they joined the self-proclaimed Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIL/ISIS) terrorist caliphate.

Both Children have lost all of their closest relatives in Iraq. While their fathers were reportedly killed among IS militants, their mothers and siblings perished during US-backed effort to retake Mosul.

Traumatized & unwilling to speak: RT searches for families of 2 new children in Baghdad orphanage

Adlan and Khadija have barely survived – the boy has suffered a shrapnel injury to his leg, while the girl has sustained severe burns. Traumatized and unwilling to speak, both of them have been taken to an orphanage in Baghdad, where other Russian-speaking children are being kept after their parents have either disappeared or been killed.

With the help of Russian and Iraqi authorities, both Adlan and Khadija have been flown to Moscow earlier this week, before traveling onwards to the Chechen Republic to meet their relatives.

READ MORE: 90% of Iraqi children have lost a relative, orphans exposed to rape & abuse – charities to RT

RT has helped initiate the search for the surviving relatives of these and other orphans through a ‘Bring them home’ campaign, which appeals to anyone with information about the children shown in RT videos to contact the channel at [email protected] The special campaign has helped reunite a number of families with the Russian speaking children.

Left without a mother and father, Khadija is now being comforted by her next of kin and a number of her local peers. Although still timid in front of cameras and extremely shy for words, she seems to socialize quite well with other children. Her relatives are relieved to have her home after long absence.

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“I am very grateful to our president for all that he does, for helping our children. If not for him, then most likely they could not take it from there,” Zura Huseynorva, the grandmother of the girl told RT’s Ruptly news agency.

Eight-year-old Adlan seems to be enjoying attention a bit more than Khadija. Back home with his grandparents and other relatives in Grozny, the child seems fully active on camera. His return home is seen as a miracle.

“At first, there was pain, then joy. As soon as we saw him, we could not come back to ourselves. It was very difficult. Thank God he was returned to us,” Adlan’s relative Seyeda Lusumova said.

Russian authorities have so far managed to facilitate the safe return of 18 Russian speaking children, saving the lives of not only Russian but Kazakhstan, natives as well. According to official estimates around 500 Russian speaking children have been discovered in the territories recently liberated from IS terrorists in Iraq.

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Protesters march through St. Louis over ex-cop acquitted of black man’s killing (VIDEO, PHOTOS)

Protests have gone on for a second day in St Louis after a white, former police officer was acquitted of the fatal shooting of a black suspect in 2011. Despite the tension between demonstrators and police, no major incidents were reported.

Hundreds of people briefly marched through the upscale West County Mall Center mall in Des Peres Saturday, chanting “shut it down!”. Authorities were taking steps to close the mall before protesters arrived, and many shops had already metal security screens over their store fronts. Unlike Friday, however, there were no reported incidents between protesters and police.

“We don’t want to see property destruction or see people getting hurt,” Elad Gross, a civil rights attorney, told Reuters. “But this is a protest that addresses injustices not only happening here in St Louis but around the country.”

On Friday, former St. Louis police officer Jason Stockley was acquitted of shooting dead Anthony Lamar Smith, 24, in 2011. Smith was shot five times in his car after being chased by Stockley and his partner on suspicion of being involved in a drug deal. A gun was later found in the car.

READ MORE: St Louis police knock older woman to ground & arrest her (PHOTO, VIDEO)

Stockley claimed he thought Smith was going to shoot him, but it was only the officer’s DNA was found on the weapon and being heard on an internal police car video saying he was going to kill Smith, which led prosecutors to claim the gun was planted.

Stockley waived his right to a jury trial, allowing Circuit Judge Timothy Wilson to consider the verdict instead. In his ruling, Judge Wilson wrote that he was “not convinced” of Stockley’s guilt.

READ MORE: Tear gas & arrests, mayor’s home vandalized in St. Louis after ex-cop acquitted of black man’s death

After the verdict was read out, around 600 people marched from the courthouse to center of St Louis, some waving Black Lives Matter placards. Some of the demonstrators started breaking windows and hurling bricks and bottles at police, and in the resulting chaos nine officers were injured and 23 protesters arrested.

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11 injured after man smashes car into crowd at Boise car show (VIDEOS)

At least 11 bystanders have been injured and taken to hospital after a man driving a Porsche smashed into a crowd following an auto show outside the Boise Spectrum Center in Idaho.

On Saturday, a group of automotive enthusiasts hosted this season’s, but final ‘Cars and Coffee’ event. Hundreds showed up to view the unique cars on show and engage the drivers. People especially stopped by to see Cameron Moore and his Pro1 car.

Just after 10:50am, as the show was wrapping up and vehicles were leaving the parking lot, a Porsche that was part of the show crashed into several pedestrians on the sidewalk.

“Preliminary information shows that the driver of a gray Porsche was accelerating rapidly as he left the car show,” police said. “The driver lost control and ran into the nearby crowd.”

READ MORE: 1 dead after car plows into pedestrians at New York’s Times Square

Eyewitness video of the incident showed the Porsche spinning sideways before striking pedestrians. Screams can be heard while others are seen attending to the victims. Other eyewitnesses recorded the driver as he walked away from the scene.

The driver of the vehicle was then detained. The man was left unhurt and is now cooperating with the investigation. The victims sustained serious but not critical injuries, said Boise Police Lt. Charles LeBar, according to the Idaho Statesman. Boise Fire and Ada County Paramedics immediately responded to the incident.

“Six victims were taken to the hospital by ambulance, five were taken to the hospital in private vehicles,” Boise police said in a statement.

Authorities said an investigation is underway and the evidence will be sent to the prosecutor for “possible charges.”

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‘Are you a pedophile?’ Duterte blasts Human Rights Chief ‘fixated’ on teenage victims of drug war

Are you a pedophile? This is how Philippines president launched his latest tirade against the country’s human rights commission chief, as Chito Gascon seemed to be only concerned about the teenage victims in the nation’s ongoing war on drugs, Rodrigo Duterte believes.

Duterte posed the question to Commission on Human Rights (CHR) Chairman Gascon while speaking in his home city of Davao on Saturday.

“This Gascon he is like a pedophile, son of a b***h. Why are you so fond of teenagers?” the Philippines president said. He then went on to question Gascon’s motives in a rambling onslaught.

“I now have my doubts. Are you gay or a pedophile? Why is this guy suffocated about the issue of young people, especially boys? Are you a pedophile? Do you want the young? You almost cry blood. Of course it’s repugnant. You are so fixated with young males. So I have doubts if you are a pedophile, you are stupid, idiot,” local media Philstar reports Duterte as saying.

Duterte has repeatedly clashed with the agency over his war on drugs policy which has to date claimed more than 7,000 lives, including those of several dozen teenagers.

Duterte then went on to criticize Gascon of not being concerned with other issues afflicting the Philippines, accusing him of serving as a pawn of the Liberal Party and other critics who want him out of the office.

“Every day in Marawi, there are terrorists raping women but you are not saying anything. Always teenager. Teenager, son of a b***h, it is all politics. Can’t you move to other issues that are besetting this country?” he added.

Duterte’s remarks came as his allies in the lower house of congress slashed the CHR’s budget for 2018. The commission had requested 1.72 billion pesos ($ 335119,47) for the upcoming year but the government allocated a measly sum of just 1,000 pesos ($ 20) for the CHR, effectively shutting down the commission.

Critics and opposition figures have suggested the move was retaliation for the commission’s investigation into the thousands of killings during the drug war over the past 15 months. Following the decision, a group of human rights lawyers, known as Artikulo 3, said they are planning to open a bank account to raise funds for CHR.

“We are thankful for the numerous queries and pledges received by Artikulo 3 from groups and individuals interested in donating to CHR. One individual even pledged a personal donation of P100,000 for the agency,” the group’s president Hilda Clave said.  

The president’s drug war is estimated to have killed thousands of people, drawing harsh criticism from rights groups. International NGOs including Human Rights Watch cited a total figure of more than 7,000 dead, while Amnesty International called Duterte “a human rights nightmare.”

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7 detained as rival rallies face off over Confederate statue in Richmond (PHOTOS, VIDEO)

Several hundred protesters have outnumbered and surrounded a small number of activists which assembled at the statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee in Richmond Virginia to protect the historic heritage.

A few dozen activists turned up Saturday morning to an event organized by the ‘Heritage not Hate’ activist group. The protesters are demanding to keep General Lee’s statue at its current location, as the city’s authority contemplate the possible removal of the monument.

When they gathered around the statue of the Confederate hero, they were met by counter activists, which held their own ‘Richmond Stands United’ rally, calling for the removal of Lee’s statue.

Fearing potential violence between the two camps, police increased their numbers and closed off nearby streets. Local news outlets noted that some activists were carrying guns in the open.

READ MORE: Pro-Trump ‘Mother of All Rallies’ eclipsed by Juggalo event in Washington DC (VIDEO)

Police have confirmed the arrest of 7 people from both groups.

“Total of seven individuals arrested during today’s assemblies. No injuries, no accidents,” police said in a tweet.

Heated arguments between counter protesters and rally organizers characterized the day’s events.

READ MORE: Baltimore to keep statue of Star-Spangled Banner composer defaced with ‘Racist Anthem’

Police said they will continue to continue to monitor activity in Richmond, even after after the demonstrations dispersed peacefully. Barriers along Monument Avenue were dismantled shortly after 5pm.

READ MORE: Neo-Confederates’ plan for unpermitted rally has Richmond police ‘preparing for the unknown’

“As assemblies have dispersed into small groups throughout the city, Richmond Police and its regional law enforcement partners continue to monitor these activities and respond appropriately,” police said in a statement.

READ MORE: Columbus statue vandalized in New York’s Central Park

US society has been divided over the fate of Confederate-era monuments. The debate whether to keep historic statues in public places intensified after the August tragedy in Charlottesville, where a ‘Unite the Right’ white supremacist rally and counter-protests resulted in violent clashes.

One person was killed and nineteen injured in a car ramming attack, when James Fields Jr. drove his car into a crowd of counter-protesters. The incident triggered nation-wide protests against right-wingers. Several cities and towns across the US have decided to take down Confederate monuments.

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Entire police dept. ‘relieved of duty’ over suspected murder of 3 Philippines teens

Less than a month after being commended for its contribution to President Rodrigo Duterte’s notoriously violent war on drugs, almost the entire Caloocan City Police Station in the Philippines is to be relieved of duty and sent for retraining.

“Continue your good service to the country, be good examples… Despite our [shortcomings], we certainly are not slowing down especially the war on drugs,” Police Chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa told the officers on August 18 while issuing their commendations for the “highest number of arrested/neutralized top most wanted persons and high-value targets,” as well as the “most number of firearms confiscated in 2016.”

In the intervening 29 days since the ceremony, Caloocan police have been involved in three fatal shootouts with three teenage suspects: Kian delos Santos, 17, Carl Angelo Arnaiz, 19, and Reynaldo de Guzman, 14. The killings caused outrage and major protests in the Philippines.

WATCH MORE: 1,000s join funeral march for teenager shot by police in Manila, Philippines

All officers involved in the shootouts have now been relieved of duty pending internal and criminal investigations.  

In addition, a group of officers allegedly robbed a 51-year-old woman during a warrantless drug raid on September 7 that was captured on CCTV reports the Philippines Inquirer.

The woman had been identified as a drug pusher by a man arrested earlier that day. Police allegedly stole PHP 30,000 ($ 584) worth of cash and watches from the house.

“From what we have seen this has been done or will continue to be done by others so it is best to implement this preemptive measure to avoid similar incidents,” Chief Superintendent Oscar Albayalde told reporters after the footage emerged, as cited by The Philippines Star.

“The reshuffle is a drastic measure but we have to do this to keep them away from their sphere of influence and prevent them from involvement in criminal activities in the future,” Albayalde added.

15 police officers involved in the operation and subsequent robbery have been placed in custody pending both administrative and criminal charges.

“I don’t see a reason why you cannot understand the law and our policy. Our IQ isn’t that low, right? Suffer the consequences of your action. You wasted the opportunity given to you by the government to serve as policemen, not robbers,” Albayalde told the disgraced officers.

Friday’s ‘relief order’ covers roughly 1,200 personnel of the Caloocan Police Department and will be executed in several batches, starting with the officers who carried out the illegal September 7 raid.

The next two sections to be sent for ‘retraining’ were both involved in the shootouts.

Only the newly-appointed Chief Senior Supt. Jemar Modequillo and his deputy for administration, Chief Insp. Ilustre Mendoza, were spared the purge at the scandal-ridden department.

Modequillo took officer on September 5 after his predecessor was relieved following the shooting death of Kian Loyd delos Santos on August 16, reports The Philippines Star.

Over 7,000 people have been killed since Duterte’s now 15-month long drug war began the day he took office, reports Human Rights Watch.  

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Juggalos march in Washington to protest FBI gang classification (PHOTOS, VIDEOS)

Juggalos are holding a mass march in Washington, D.C. to protest their designation by the FBI as a gang.

‘Juggalos’ is the the collective term for fans of Detroit hip-hop duo the Insane Clown Posse. Juggalos can be easily identified by their distinctive black and white face paint and numerous tattoos.

However in 2011 fans of the group were designated a “loosely organized hybrid gang” in the FBI’s 2011 Gang Task Force report. Juggalos claim that since then they have been “subjected to various forms of discrimination, harassment, and profiling simply for identifying as a Juggalo.”

Thousands of Juggalos are expected to travel from all over the country for Saturday’s march, meeting outside the Lincoln Memorial from 1pm. Scheduled until 2am, the event will feature guest speeches and musical performances, most notably by Insane Clown Posse’s Violent J and Shaggy 2 Dope themselves.

READ MORE: Insane Clown Posse takes on FBI and loses: Juggalos classified as gang

The organizers have laid down a series of strict rules for ‘Juggalo Family’ members to abide by on Saturday, including, no littering, no vandalism, no weapons (or anything that could be construed as a weapon), no alcohol, marijuana or drugs, no vehicles of any kind and no signs or flags that promote violence or threats.

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‘Don’t underestimate strength of Catalans’: Mayors march in defiance of Madrid (PHOTOS, VIDEO)

Hundreds of mayors from the Spanish region of Catalonia marched through the streets of Barcelona in an act of defiance to the central government’s crackdown on the upcoming separatist referendum.

More than 700 mayors gathered in Barcelona Saturday to march through the streets of Catalonia’s cosmopolitan capital.

Brandishing maces, chanting “we will vote” and singing “Els Segadors”, the regional anthem, the mayors were cheered on by supporters waving yellow, red and blue Catalan flags.

“Don’t underestimate the strength of Catalonia’s people who have taken the decision to decide,” declared Catalan President Carles Puigdemont.

Catalonia is expected to hold an independence referendum on October 1, despite the plebiscite being declared illegal by the Spanish federal government.

READ MORE: Spain’s state prosecutor orders probe into 700+ Catalan mayors for cooperating with referendum

Earlier, Spain’s Constitutional Court suspended legislation passed in the Catalan parliament which paved the way for the vote.

Nevertheless, 740 of Catalonia’s 948 mayors have pledged to keep municipal buildings open for voting on the day, leading the Spanish public prosecutor to threaten them with arrest.

Police have also raided a printing house and several other premises in search of ballot papers and boxes as well as other materials to be used for the referendum. On Friday, Catalonia’s highest court also issued a warning to seven local newspapers not to print any notices for the independence referendum.

“I think it’s very sad. It’s more than just indignation to see the democratic degeneration of the Spanish state and this feels bad. This is what we regret most of all,” Neus Lloveras, member of the Catalonian parliament, told RT.

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People attend a Catalan pro-independence meeting at Tarraco Arena in Tarragona, south of Barcelona, Spain September 14, 2017 © Albert Gea

However, not all the localities have thrown their support behind the referendum, including Barcelona. City authorities have been forced to sign an agreement that federal money will not be used for referendum purposes. Madrid has threatened to strip Catalonia of its budget if any funds are channeled to the referendum.

Catalonia is sharply divided, with a government poll in July finding that 41.1 percent of people were for and 49.4 percent against independence, although the vast majority agree to holding a referendum to decide the matter.

“The majority of the members of the Catalan parliament are in favor of independence. Eighty percent of the Catalan citizenship is in favor of the referendum of self-determination to ask Catalans whether or not they want independence,” Anna Arque from the EU Partnership for Independence told RT. “We keep offering the Spanish state to be involved and to participate in this democratic exercise, but it’s up to them.”

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Dropping the dollar: Venezuela lists oil price in Chinese yuan

In response to sanctions from Washington, Venezuela has started reporting its oil prices in Chinese yuan, going against the international trend of listing prices in US dollars.

On Friday, the weekly Oil Ministry bulletin published its prices for September in yuan, rather than the US dollar. The price-per-barrel posted on Friday was 306.26 yuan, or $ 46.76 on the more commonly-used exchange rate, up from last week’s price of 300.91 yuan, or $ 46.15.

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© Jason Lee

“This format is the result of the announcement made on September 7th by the President [Nicolas Maduro]… that Venezuela will implement new strategies to free the country from the tyranny of the dollar,” the Venezuelan Oil Ministry said in a statement.

The decision to move to Chinese currency was made last week as a way to get around the sanctions imposed on Venezuela by the US government in August, which froze some Venezuelan assets and prohibited American citizens from doing business with the country.

This has hurt Venezuela’s oil exports at a time when the country is facing a severe economic crisis. At the time, the White House said the sanctions were “carefully calibrated to deny the Maduro dictatorship a critical source of financing”.

“The market is dominated by transactions with the US dollar, and we must develop other ways to conduct international transactions,” Finance Minister Ramon Lobo told VTV earlier.

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© Mihail Metzel

Venezuela’s decision follows plans announced by China to start a crude oil futures contract priced in yuan and convertible into gold, which could lead to the emergence of a new Asia-based crude oil benchmark.

As China is the world’s biggest crude buyer, the new contract may allow exporters to bypass American sanctions by trading oil in yuan, something that has interested countries such as Russia and Iran.

“In 2012, Iran began to accept yuan for its oil and gas payments, followed by Russia in 2015,” political writer Dan Glazebrook wrote in a column for RT in June.

“If this takes off, this could literally spell the beginning of the end of US global power. The dollar is the world’s leading reserve currency, in the main, only because oil is currently traded in dollars. Countries seeking foreign exchange reserves as insurance against crises within their own currencies tend to look to the dollar precisely because it is effectively ‘convertible’ into oil, the world’s number one commodity.”

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‘Narcos’ location scout found riddled with bullets in Mexico

A location manager for the Netflix hit series ‘Narcos’ has been found shot dead in central Mexico where he was scouting for locations for the upcoming season of the show.

Carlos Munoz Portal was found dead in his car in a remote area of Mexico state.

Mexican news outlet Milenio report that he was found with several gunshot wounds on a dirt road in San Bartolo Actopan near the city of Temascalapa. Police are reportedly struggling to figure out how or why Munoz was killed.

“The victim’s car was found in a cactus field. We do not know if he was in Hidalgo and from there they followed him or if he was in the State of Mexico and tried to flee towards Hidalgo,” spokesman for the State Attorney’s office Claudio Barrera said.

“Given the depopulated area we have no witnesses,” spokesman for the State Attorney’s office Claudio Barrera said.

The Mexican Institute of Cinematography (Imcine) issued a statement mourning Munoz’s death.

“We are aware of the passing of Carlos Munoz Portal,” Netflix said in a statement.

“A well-respected location scout, and send our condolences to his family. The facts surrounding his death are still unknown as authorities continue to investigate what happened.”

The experienced location scout had worked on several high profile films including Mel Gibson’s Apocalypto, Fast & Furious and the James Bond film Spectre.

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