Oct 122017

MOSCOW: Russia on Thursday presented a new bank note that shows images of Crimea, the Ukrainian peninsula annexed by Moscow in 2014. The note worth 200 rubles ($3.50) shows a naval memorial in the city of Sevastopol, where Russia’s Black Sea fleet is based, and UNESCO-protected Greek and Roman ruins at nearby Chersonesus. The design also includes a map of the peninsula. The images on the bank note were chosen after a national competition last year to pick symbols of Russia. “The Russian people chose these symbols,” the head of Russia’s central bank, Elvira Nabiullina, told journalists in Moscow. “This reflects the desire of the people of Russia to see these symbols on notes.” She insisted that the new images “will not harm the position of the ruble in any way.” By putting images of Crimea in the nation’s wallets, Russia is capitalising on the wave of patriotism prompted by the peninsula’s annexation in March 2014. It also comes as a defiant response to Kiev and to the sanctions imposed by European Union and the United States that have hit the ruble hard. Putin takes victory lap to annexed Crimea The green-tinged note has now become legal tender, along with a new 2,000-ruble bill that shows Russia’s new cosmodrome in Vostochny in the far east. They are Russia’s first new bank notes since 2006 and the new denominations of 200 and 2,000 rubles aim to speed up cash transactions. The notes will first go into circulation in Moscow, the far east [Read More…]

Oct 072017

SAINT PETERSBURG: Russian police violently broke up a rally in Saint Petersburg as thousands took to the streets across Russia Saturday on President Vladimir Putin’s 65th birthday, urging him to quit power. Heeding the call of jailed opposition leader Alexei Navalny to demand competitive elections, around 3,000 people rallied in Russia’s second city and Putin’s hometown while more than a thousand demonstrated in the centre of Moscow, AFP reporters said. Protests were held in 80 cities around the country. More than 270 people were detained nationwide, according to OVD-Info, a group that monitors politically motivated arrests. But while police in rainy Moscow showed restraint, allowing the crowd of mostly young protesters to march in the city centre in an apparent effort to avoid clashes on Putin’s birthday, the rally in Saint Petersburg ended in violence. Russia’s response: New EU sanctions violate law   Activists chanted “Shame” as helmeted police threw some protesters into police vans, injuring several demonstrators and forcing some to run for cover, an AFP reporter and witnesses said. Igor Klimov, a 20-year-old protester, said he was not happy with Putin. “He has been in power for as long as I can remember and there’s corruption everywhere,” he told AFP. Photographs from the scene showed a woman clutching her bleeding head after being detained by officers at the unauthorised protest. Amnesty International called on Russian authorities to immediately release the protesters and investigate instances of violence. “The Kremlin’s intent is clear – to choke the life out of the protest [Read More…]

Oct 062017
Ruthless Nadal sets up semi-final showdown with Dimitrov

BEIJING: Rafael Nadal got some fibre from a tennis ball lodged in his eye but that did not stop the world number one setting up a China Open semi-final on Saturday with “great guy” Grigor Dimitrov. The Spaniard tamed the big-serving American John Isner 6-4, 7-6 (7/0) on Friday to set up the clash with the third-seeded Bulgarian. Dimitrov booked his place in the last-four on Beijing’s outside hard courts with a 7-6 (7/5), 4-6, 6-2 victory over another Spaniard, Roberto Bautista Agut. The other semi-final will be an intriguing encounter between two rising talents, with temperamental but talented Nick Kyrgios playing starlet Alexander Zverev of Germany. Nadal, 31, the 16-time Grand Slam champion, revved up a gear against Isner to surge through the second-set tie break, although there was concern at one point during the set when he appeared to be suffering an eye problem. “Just something came to my eye, that’s all,” said Nadal, who is chasing a sixth title this year. “I think it was just a hair or something, a hair from the tennis ball. It was bothering me for a while.” “Not important, (but) I am still feeling (it) a little bit by the way,” Nadal, who attempted to wash the suspected fibre out with water, added with a smile. Nadal will face a familiar figure in Dimitrov — the pair practised together at Nadal’s base in Mallorca before the US Open, where the Spaniard won the title for a third time this year. They [Read More…]

Oct 062017

Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz is on a four-day state visit to Russia along with his entourage of 1,500 people, a golden escalator and his own carpets, a person familiar with the matter said. On Wednesday, the 81-year-old king of the kingdom exited his plane out onto his golden escalator which malfunctioned halfway down and forced him to walk down rest of the way where his cavalcade of cars waited for him along with Russian police escorts. This is the first visit to Russia by a Saudi monarch and both the countries have already struck a deal on weapons’ sale and how to stabilise the oil market. Saudi Arabia lifts ban on internet phone calls Around 800 kilogrammes of food has been flown in by a Saudi plane that is travelling daily between Riyadh and Moscow to transport supplies, according to the person. “Members of the royal entourage also replaced some of the hotel staff with their own personnel, who know exactly how they like their coffee made,” he further added. King Salman even brought his own furniture along to the luxury hotels booked by the Saudi government for the visit. Other guests were asked to cancel their reservations and people who lived there permanently even moved out. Embassy statement: Saudis rejects ‘poor Haj arrangements’ claim “The entire hotel is booked through October 8 and isn’t open to the public,” said a doorman dressed in red livery. Even US presidents travel with large entourages that include a bullet proof limousine and [Read More…]

Oct 022017

ROME: Paris Saint-Germain midfielder Marco Verratti has been ruled out of Italy’s World Cup qualifier against Macedonia in Turin next week, the Italian football federation announced on Sunday. Coach Giampiero Ventura has called up Cagliari midfielder Nicolo Barella in his place for the clash on October 6 and a friendly against Albania three days later, the federation said without giving any explanation. Verratti played 79 minutes for PSG on Saturday before being substituted in the 6-2 win over Ligue 1 rivals Bordeaux. Higuain is not a problem, says Allegri Italy are second in Group G behind Spain and look set for the playoffs to qualify for the World Cup in Russia next year. Ventura also called up Chievo striker Roberto Inglese in case Torino’s Andrea Belotti is unavailable after picking up a knee injury playing Serie A this weekend. Squad Goalkeepers: Gianluigi Buffon (Juventus), Gianluigi Donnarumma (AC Milan), Mattia Perin (Genoa) Serie A: Juventus host plucky Chievo Defenders: Davide Astori (Fiorentina), Andrea Barzagli (Juventus), Leonardo Bonucci (AC Milan), Giorgio Chiellini (Juventus), Danilo D’Ambrosio (Inter Milan), Matteo Darmian (Manchester United/ENG), Daniele Rugani (Juventus), Leonardo Spinazzola (Atalanta), Davide Zappacosta (Chelsea/ENG) Midfielders: Daniele De Rossi (AS Roma), Marco Parolo (Lazio), Lorenzo Pellegrini (AS Roma), Federico Bernardeschi (Juventus), Antonio Candreva (Inter Milan), Stephan El Shaarawy (AS Roma), Lorenzo Insigne (Napoli), Simone Verdi (Bologna) Strikers: Andrea Belotti (Torino), Eder Citadin Martins (Inter Milan), Manolo Gabbiadini (Southampton/ENG), Ciro Immobile (Lazio), Roberto Inglese (Chievo) The post Italy suffer Verratti injury blow appeared first on The Express Tribune. Click [Read More…]

Sep 212017

SAN FRANCISCO: Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg said Thursday Russia-linked ads on the huge social network aimed at inflaming tensions around last year’s US presidential election will be given to Congress. News of the decision came with word that Facebook is cracking down on efforts to use the leading social network to meddle with elections in the US or elsewhere. “It is a new challenge for internet communities to have to deal with nation states attempting to subvert elections,” Zuckerberg said in a live video presentation streamed on his Facebook page. “But, we are committed to rising to the occasion.” Zuckerberg announced a series of steps that would help prevent the manipulation of the social network including more transparency on political ads appearing on Facebook. The huge social network enables any advertiser, including political operatives, to target specific groups of Facebook users based on demographics, hobbies, age or other characteristics shared at the social network. The players in Trump’s Russia scandal Some analysts have argued that so-called “dark ads,” the contents of which are not available to the public, could have inflamed tensions and potentially impacted the 2016 election. Zuckerberg said the new steps would address these concerns. “We’re going to bring Facebook to an even higher standard of transparency,” he said. “Not only will you have to disclose which page paid for an ad, but we will also make it so you can visit an advertiser’s page and see the ads they’re currently running to any audience on Facebook.” Facebook earlier this month agreed [Read More…]

Sep 212017

TEHRAN: Iran’s supreme leader on Thursday lashed out against US President Donald Trump describing the speech he delivered at the UN this week as full of “gangster and cowboy” rhetoric. “The reason behind the foolish, very ugly, insolent and disorderly speech with cowboy and gangster wording… is their anger (and) desperation,” Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said in reference to Trump and the US administration. In remarks to a top clerical body, the Assembly of Experts, carried by his website, Khamenei described Trump and the US administration as “having no brains”. “The US president’s remarks are not a source of pride for the American nation and the elite of that country should feel ashamed of… having such a president,” Khamenei said. At UN, Trump says US may have to ‘totally destroy’ North Korea The Assembly of Experts is a body of elected clerics that oversees the functions of the supreme leader and has constitutional powers to select and even dismiss the leader. Trump delivered a scathing verbal attack against Iran in his maiden speech to the UN General Assembly on Tuesday. The US president referred to the Islamic republic as a “murderous regime” and a “depleted rogue state whose chief exports are violence, bloodshed and chaos”. He also called the nuclear deal between Iran and six world powers, including the United States, an “embarrassment” for Washington. Tensions between Tehran and Washington have increased under Trump’s administration. In 2015, Iran reached an agreement with Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the US to curtail [Read More…]

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