Nemtsov killer sentenced to 20yrs behind bars, accomplices to 11-19yrs

A court in Moscow has sentenced five Chechen men found guilty of killing prominent Russian politician Boris Nemtsov in early 2015 to 11 to 20 years in prison.

“Zaur Dadaev was given a 20-year jail sentence and a fine of 100,000 rubles, Anzor Gubashev’s sentence is 19 years in prison and a 100,000-ruble fine, Shadid Gubashev is to serve 16 years behind bars and pay a 100,000-ruble fine, Temirlan Eskerkhanov received a 14-year jail term and a 100,000-ruble fine, and Khamzat Bakhaev was issued an 11-year sentence and a 100,000-ruble fine,” reads the verdict.

The jail sentences will commence from March 2015, when all five were detained.

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FILE PHOTO: Defendants in the Boris Nemtsov murder case at the Moscow District Military Court. © 
Mikhail Voskresenskiy

The convicted will serve their sentences in a maximum security prison. Apart from the jail sentences, all except Dadaev have also been assigned additional punishment of two extra years of restricted freedom after serving their jail terms.

In late June, the jury found that investigators had proved that in late September 2014, the five suspects agreed to kill Nemtsov in exchange for 15 million rubles (currently $ US250,000).

All five convicted denied any guilt.

Investigators named the person who ordered the hit and masterminded the murder as Ruslan Mukhudinov. He has been on the international wanted list since November 2015 and is still at large.

No other masterminds have been established yet, according to the Investigative Committee. The collection of evidence against the masterminds of Nemtsov’s murder continues, said Svetlana Petrenko, the spokesperson for the Russian Investigative Committee.

The jury’s verdict in the case was postponed several times, as a large amount of evidence had to be studied. Two of the jurors were released of their duties.

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Participants in a march to commemorate Boris Nemtsov in Moscow, 26 February 2017 © Ilya Pitalev

The passing of the verdict was delayed twice this week because the jury became fatigued while carrying out a final review of the extensive amount of documents in the case.

Boris Nemtsov, a veteran politician and key opposition figure, was shot dead on the Bolshoy Moskvoretsky Bridge, near the Kremlin, in February 2015.

The assassination resulted in a demonstration of thousands in Moscow, demanding the killers be found and brought to justice.

Russian President Vladimir Putin personally promised in a speech that everything would be done to bring those responsible for the killing to justice.

In March 2015, Russian police arrested five suspects, including two suspected hit men. One of them, Zaur Dadaev, had reportedly confessed his involvement in the murder and said it was revenge for Nemtsov’s “negative comments on Muslims and Islam.” However, in subsequent developments, Dadaev insisted on his innocence.

A religious motive, which had been examined during the investigation hasn’t been confirmed, Svetlana Petrenko said, adding the perpetrators were guided by greed.

“The investigation examined the statements by Zaur Dadaev and Anzor Gubashev that they killed Boris Nemtsov out of religious hatred, since the victim had supported the Charlie Hebdo caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed, published in January 2015,” she said.

“Gathered evidence fully confirms that the convicted had been driven by greed, i.e. a 15 million-ruble reward,” Petrenko said.

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Siemens can’t confirm more of its turbines shipped to Russian Crimea

The German concern Siemens said it couldn’t verify a Reuters report that two more gas turbines have been delivered to Russia’s Crimea. Previously the company said two of its turbines were shipped to the peninsula in violation of international sanctions.

A representative of Siemens told RIA Novosti that he could not confirm the information about the delivery of new turbines.

On Thursday, Reuters posted a photo of the equipment on a ship in Feodosia, Crimea. The machinery is covered with blue tarpaulins and resembles gas turbines.

The agency said it couldn’t confirm the turbines were Siemens-made. However, an unnamed government official in Crimea told Reuters they were.

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An employee of Siemens AG works on the a gas turbine in Berlin © Tobias Schwarz

“Come on; we can’t talk about that. You understand sanctions, Siemens. Of course, this whole story is going to come out, but let it come out without us,” the source said.

Russia needs four turbines for new power stations on the Crimean peninsula, according to the agency’s information. Two of the turbines are for a power plant in Sevastopol, and the other two for a plant under construction in Simferopol, Reuters’ sources said.

Siemens says the turbines were made by Siemens Gas Turbine Technologies LLC, based in Russia’s St Petersburg. It is 65 percent owned by the German company and uses Siemens technology.

The buyer is Technopromexport, which is owned by Rostec. The Russian government wholly owns Rostec. Siemens has filed a lawsuit in a Moscow court. Siemens says the Russian partner informed them the turbines were intended for a power plant in Taman, 10km east of Crimea across the Kerch Strait.

Technopromexport said it bought the equipment on the secondary market and modernized it at Russian facilities.

Crimea broke away from Ukraine and became part of the Russian Federation following a referendum in 2014.

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‘Perversion of history’: Russian officials blast NATO film glorifying Nazi collaborators

Several Russian officials and politicians, including the foreign ministry spokesperson, criticized a documentary about the ‘Forest Brothers’ – pro-Nazi guerillas from the Baltic nations – recently released by NATO.

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Legionnaires’ Day has become an annual event in Latvia

I remember that 6 months ago the international community, including the leading mass media, was discussing whether Holocaust-themed dance shows should be allowed. I have a strong hope that these same people who claim that they care a lot about the tragic pages of history will also give their appraisal to this appalling stunt by NATO. I also hope that no one needs a reminder concerning mass executions performed by those who later started calling themselves Forest Brothers,” Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova wrote on her Facebook page. 

The reaction came to the eight-minute reenactment film ‘Forest Brothers – Fight for the Baltics’ which was released by NATO. The film glorifies guerillas who fought against the Soviet regime in the Baltic countries, and depicts an ambush in which some Forest Brothers attacked and killed Soviet soldiers.

Zakharova called upon historians, reporters, and political scientists not to remain indifferent to this new attempt of distorting history. “Don’t remain indifferent, this is a perversion of history that NATO knowingly spreads in order to undermine the outcome of the Nuremberg Tribunal and it must be cut short!” she wrote. She also reminded her readers that many of the Forest Brothers were former Nazi collaborators and members of the Baltic Waffen SS, and that members of these guerilla groups killed thousands of civilians in their raids. 

Russian deputy PM and former envoy to NATO Dmitry Rogozin was even harsher in his reaction to the film: “This reel with Forest Brothers killing our soldiers confirms the fact that when we face NATO we face the heirs to those of Hitler’s collaborators who survived the war,” he tweeted. The official noted that some time ago, when he worked as a plenipotentiary with NATO, such things would not have been allowed, but now “their insolence has reached the limit.”

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Reuters / Mike Segar

Speaking to RT, Lower House MP Iosif Kobzon (United Russia) called the NATO film “vandalism and Russophobia,” adding that he was ready to propose the making of a film that would describe the story of the Forest Brothers movement in a more realistic light. He also recommended everyone watch the 1965 documentary ‘Triumph Over Violence’ by Soviet director Mikhail Romm, which describes in detail the atrocities committed by the Nazis and their allies and collaborators.

‘Forest Brothers’ is the unofficial name for guerilla units that offered armed resistance to the Soviet authorities in the three Baltic republics – Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia – from the late 1940s to the late 1950s. These guerilla groups killed at least 25,000 people in Lithuania alone, most of them civilians.

After the Baltic nations declared independence from the Soviet Union in early 1990, nationalist politicians in these countries began frequently using the images of Forest Brothers and Waffen SS veterans in their propaganda, depicting the Nazi collaborators as patriots who fought the Soviet regime. Russia has repeatedly denounced such moves as rewriting history and warned of the possible dire consequences of justifying Nazism.

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Top UK university plans to open German campus post-Brexit

A leading British university is considering a new campus in Germany as response to Brexit

King’s College London (KCL) may be the first British university to open a campus in Europe as a result of the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union.

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© David Bro / Global Look Press via ZUMA Press

Fears of a post-Brexit fall in staff and student numbers as well as the loss of revenue from EU students were cited as the key drivers behind the decision.

The new KCL campus will be located in Dresden, a city in eastern Germany and the center of ‘Silicon Saxony’, an association of over 300 universities, academic think-tanks and commercial enterprises.

A spokesperson for the university confirmed that the decision is in its early planning phase and emphasized that KCL values its close relationship with the German academic community, “which demonstrate the success of cross-national and institutional links.

King’s already enjoys close links with the Technical University of Dresden and their prolonged cooperation was recently cemented by the transCampus initiative, which enables the exchange of personnel, resources and knowledge between the two universities.

Speaking to CNN, Vice Chancellor of TU Dresden Hans Muller-Steinhagen said he welcomed KCL’s decision to open a German campus.

The plan is at an extremely early stage, but there is significant interest from the senior university management at both King’s and TU.

“When you have highly-qualified people on both sides, and they work together, the results are much more successful. We want to see more cooperation not competition.

“We are not prepared to let our strong cooperative links with UK universities suffer from these political decisions,” he added.

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Ronald Coyne. © The Week As I See It So Far

Muller-Steinhagen also said that he expects other UK universities to open new satellite campuses “all over Europe” to preserve the existing academic links with their EU counterparts and avoid dramatic decreases in the number of European students and staff.

In March, numerous academics at the University of Oxford cautioned the British government that European academics may be leaving the UK en masse if no deal is reached on the rights of the EU citizens post-Brexit.

The UK’s decision to leave the European Union has already had a negative impact on the number of EU students applying to the UK.

In December, the University of Cambridge announced that the number of applications from EU nationals fell by almost 15 percent.

We are concerned about the prospect of a ‘cliff edge’ for universities in which regulatory and visa changes have a sudden and damaging impact,” a statement by the University said.

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New Zealand tourist dies after being hit by jet blast

Jet blast from a departing airplane killed a thrill-seeking tourist on a St. Maarten beach known for its views of low-flying airliners on approach.

The 57-year-old New Zealand woman vacationed on Maho Beach, adjacent to Juliana International Airport, when she was knocked off her feet by a plane’s powerful wake, according to a police report posted on the 721 news site.

She was among a group of tourists who stood near a fence separating the runway from a narrow road and the beach.

The blast’s force tossed her to the ground and caused her to hit her head.

Man dies after breaching security at Honolulu airport

An onlooker captured video showing a volunteer attempting to resuscitate the woman, who lies on the beach on her back in a bikini.

The woman, who has not been identified by name, was taken to Sint Maarten Medical Center, where she was pronounced dead.

A New Zealand beach-goer died after being hit by jet blast from a departing airliner.

A New Zealand beach-goer died after being hit by jet blast from a departing airliner.

(Adam Mukamal/Getty Images)

Airport authorities have posted signs warning the public not to hang on the fence separating the beach on the Dutch side of the Caribbean island from the airport.

“Do not stand. Danger. Jet Blast,” the signs read.

Skydiver dies deploying parachute too late near Ohio airport

Police regularly patrol the area to steer tourists away from the attraction.

Visitors have been tossed by planes’ jet blast before, but this marks the first fatality of its kind at the site.

In 2012, a beachgoer was blown face-first into a low wall behind her while trying to withstand a jet engine’s back wash.

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Shareef O'Neal Says He's Better Than LaMelo Ball

Shareef O’NealLaMelo Ball? … Yeah, I’m Better.

7/13/2017 12:45 AM PDT

EXCLUSIVE

Shareef O’Neal ain’t lackin’ confidence … telling TMZ Sports he’d dominate LaMelo Ball if the two face off on the court. 

Shareef (17) and Melo (15) are two of the biggest stars in high school hoops — so, when we saw Shaq‘s kid at LAX, we had to ask how a showdown with the youngest Ball bro would go down.

FYI — Shareef is bigger than ‘Melo at 6’8” (Ball is 6’3″) … but Ball’s a proven scoring machine, once dropping 92 points in a single game.

O’Neal admits he likes LaMelo — off the court — but he can come get it like everyone else … and so can his brother Lonzo.  

Give it a couple years … might see this play out in the NBA. 


TMZ.com

‘Scandalous & illegal’: Outrage over German withdrawal of dozens of G20 press

German media are protesting over the authorities’ sudden decision to cancel the accreditations of 32 journalists for the G20 summit. The government cited security reasons for the annulment.

The journalists were told that “their accreditations were all of a sudden no longer valid and that they no longer had access to the secure areas,” Suddeutsche Zeitung reported

In nine cases, members of the press were denied entry to the heavily-secured media center for 5,000 journalists, while the other 23 did not show up.  The journalists’ union, DJV, urged the authorities to explain the step they slammed as “scandalous and illegal,” as cited by AFP. 

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© Ruptly

Another union, DJU, warned they would be seeking legal action over the move, “including the question of what role the domestic security service or foreign authorities may have played in drawing up the list.”  

Sueddeutsche Zeitung pointed out that four of the journalists had earlier had issues with the Turkish government for covering demonstrations in that country’s Kurdish region.

Chancellor Angela Merkel’s spokesman, Steffen Seibert, said he realized that the ban “raises questions,” however, the press were vetted with the German national police office BKA, with “no foreign authority playing a role in the accreditation process,” as quoted by AFP.  

German Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière has refused to publish more detailed data on the reasons for the controversial move.

The decision of the Federal Criminal Police Office had been taken “not without care and attention to the important freedom of the press,” he told the Funke Group newspapers, as quoted by Suddeutsche Zeitung. The reasons were “not insignificant.”  

De Maizière also said that the decision was “based exclusively on the findings of German security authorities” and “the sole reason for the decision was to ensure the security of the summit and its participants.”  

However, not all the government representatives agreed with him: for instance, Federal Minister of Justice Heiko Maas has urged the relevant authorities to give more details on the ban.  

“Press freedom is a very high asset,” the politician said to the Mitteldeutsche Zeitung. “Therefore, the accusations must now be thoroughly clarified.”

 G20 summit took place in Hamburg from July 7-8, 2017.

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Trump wants to renegotiate 'horrible' trade deal with South Korea

The United States plans to restart talks with South Korea on a free trade deal signed five years ago during the Obama administration. US President Donald Trump described the agreement, known as KORUS FTA, as a “horrible” deal, that must be either terminated or renegotiated.

The negotiations are due to be held in Washington next month, according to US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer.

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US President Donald Trump (R) and South Korean President Moon Jae-in © Jim Bourg

“Since KORUS went into effect, our trade deficit in goods with Korea has doubled from $ 13.2 billion to $ 27.6 billion, while US goods exports have actually gone down. This is quite different from what the previous administration sold to the American people when it urged approval of this agreement. We can and must do better,” Lighthizer said in a statement.

South Korea will participate in the talks either in Seoul or Washington, but it doesn’t mean the country will renegotiate the terms of the agreement, according to Yeo Han-koo of South Korea’s trade ministry as quoted by Reuters.

“We will meet and discuss mutual interests and concerns. Our stance is that we have not agreed on the renegotiation of the deal,” he told the agency.

Han-koo added that the deal was believed to be mutually beneficial, stressing that the parties need to understand whether the US trade deficit with South Korea is caused by the trade agreement or as result of other fundamental economic issues.

KORUS was first proposed in 2006 by the Republican administration of George W. Bush. However, the initial version was scrapped and renegotiated by Barack Obama’s Democratic administration three years later.

Earlier this month, Donald Trump characterized the talks on the deal as “rough” following the meeting with his South Korean counterpart in Washington.

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Airbnb accuses City Hall of aiding in hotel group's spy operation

Airbnb is demanding the city explain its cooperation with what the company deemed a Nixonian use of “secret intelligence gathering” by a hotel industry-funded group on the site’s users, the Daily News has learned.

The letter to the city comes after political consultant Neal Kwatra, whose Metropolitan Public Strategies represents the Hotel and Motel Trades Council as well as Share Better, an advocacy group largely funded by the union and other groups, outlined to Bloomberg News their use of private investigators to conduct stings on suspected illegal Airbnb listings.

Their findings are then forwarded to the Mayor’s Office of Special Enforcement.

The report follows a Daily News story last month outlining how another HTC and Share Better consultant forwarded along data on Airbnb users to the city at the request of MOSE.

New hotline allows NYC tenants to report illegal Airbnb rentals

“Dating back to transgressions committed when the Nixon White House relied upon private sector security contractors, Americans have had significant concerns about government regulators using private security agencies to investigate citizens who oppose the policies or politics of elected officials,” Josh Meltzer, Airbnb public policy head, wrote. “Given this history, it is understandable that New Yorkers are wary of the City’s use of private investigators, particularly those who may have fundamental conflicts of interest.”

The letter, addressed to Christian Klossner, head of MOSE, asks the city explain its policy on reviewing and keeping information gathered by private entitiesand how the city ensures the information was gathered in a legal way.

A startled tourist looked on as a team of investigators entered a potentially illicit Airbnb.

A startled tourist looked on as a team of investigators entered a potentially illicit Airbnb.

(New York City Mayor’s Office)

Meltzer also asked who paid for the private security that gathered the intel, and how dependent MOSE is on “private, industry-funded organizations to conduct its investigations.”

The city denied it had an operational partnership with Share Better, but said it will investigate factual findings anyone provides the office.

City Hall turns to Airbnb foe for data on rule-breaking hosts

“We cannot ignore a claim of lawbreaking simply because a company does not like the source. We are more than willing to work with AirBnb and any other company to ensure that they understand the laws, so that they are able to help their users comply with City home-sharing regulations,” said MOSE spokesman Alexander Schnell.

A spokesman for Share Better sent along a statement from Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal (D-Manhattan).

“It’s not a big surprise that Airbnb, which knowingly hosts thousands of illegal listings on its website, would rather the City not look closely at its business practices. The plain truth, that Airbnb would prefer to keep hidden, is that Airbnb’s business model and bottom line is built upon breaking the law,” she said. “Until Airbnb brings its business in line with the law, I and my colleagues in the Share Better Coalition will continue to hold Airbnb accountable by uncovering the illegal activity it would rather us not see.”

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12yo Grenfell fire survivor diagnosed with cyanide poisoning

Amid fears that toxic materials contributed to some of the at least 80 deaths during London’s Grenfell Tower inferno, a young survivor has been diagnosed with cyanide poisoning.

Luana Gomes, her sister and mother have all been affected by cyanide, according to medical discharge forms.

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© Neil Hall

Her mother Andreia, who was seven months pregnant, miscarried.The three were placed in medically-induced comas after escaping.

All were administered with cyanide antidote, though only Luana was said to have been poisoned.

The report again raises questions about the external cladding which was attached to the building to make it less of an eyesore for luxury apartment owner in Kensington.

There has been some speculation that the cladding accelerated the blaze.

The effects are really quick… you could die within seconds depending on the level of exposure,” clinical toxicologist Dr. Johann Grundlingh told the BBC on Thursday.

“When you breathe in oxygen normally, your cells produce energy. Cyanide blocks your capability to produce energy from oxygen.”

While a less-flammable cladding option was available, the firm which installed it appears to have used a version which burns and costs around £5,000 (US$ 6,465) less.

Andreia Gomes told the BBC that whoever made the decision on cheap cladding was responsible for the death of her unborn child.

“You just killed my son. If it was in a normal situation, I could have gone out. And he was seven months. He could have survived… But because of the conditions, he passed away.

It is not known exactly how the cyanide was produced in the blaze, but one expert said it is possible that the fire released it.

Professor Richard Hull, an expert in chemistry and fire science at the University of Central Lancashire, told the Telegraph that plastic insulation is “effectively made from crude oil” and would “combust in more or less the same way as any other petrochemical.

It’s got a lot of nitrogen in it and therefore when it burns it produces both carbon monoxide and hydrogen cyanide.

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