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September 11, 2018

Russians protest against pension reform

Russians protest against pension reform

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Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Rally against raising the retirement age (2018-09-09; Saint Petersburg).
Image: VOA.

A member of the protest holds a sign saying “‍[This is] Pension default (not reform)! Impeachment to Putin! Fire Medvedev! Remove Gosduma!”.
Image: VOA.

On Sunday, reportedly over a thousand Russians were arrested for illegally protesting against government plans for pension age adjustment. The protest spanned several regions across the country. The plan would raise the retirement age an additional five years, with new age for men at 65, for women at 60.

According to monitoring data from media project OVD-Info, 1018 people were arrested, including 452 people in St Petersburg, 183 people in Yekaterinburg, 60 in Krasnodar, 43 each in Moscow and Omsk, 23 in Perm, 22 in Kazan, 20 in Tver, 17 in Ufa, 15 in Habarovsk, 13 each in Tomsk and Belgorod, 12 each in Chelyabinsk and Lipetsk, 10 in Novosibirsk, and some 80 in other cities.

Locations of the arrests.

In Moscow, the rally started at Pushkin Square at 2 p.m. local time and anti-riot police pushed people away. They marched toward the Kremlin. On their way, they again clashed with Police and did not complete the route.

The protests reportedly started in the Far East and Siberia first, followed by western regions of the country.

Regional elections were also on Sunday.

The pension adjustment plan has reportedly coincided with a significant drop in approval rating of Russian President Vladimir Putin.



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September 2, 2018

Final service for US Senator and Vietnam War veteran John McCain as he is buried at the United States Naval Academy

Final service for US Senator and Vietnam War veteran John McCain as he is buried at the United States Naval Academy

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Sunday, September 2, 2018

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  • 9 September 2018: US rapper Mac Miller dies at home in Los Angeles
  • 18 August 2018: Singer Aretha Franklin, ‘queen of soul’, dies aged 76
  • 20 July 2018: Hindi poet and songwriter Gopal Das Neeraj dies, aged 93
  • 23 April 2018: 28-year-old Swedish electronic dance music artist Avicii dies in Oman
  • 28 March 2018: K-pop band 100%’s lead singer Seo Minwoo dies
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Senator John Sydney McCain III of Arizona

Sunday, the United States (US) Republican Senator from Arizona and Vietnam War veteran John Sydney McCain III, age 81, was buried at the Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland. McCain died on the evening of August 25 at his Sedona, Arizona ranch from complications associated with glioblastoma, an aggressive form of brain cancer.

Ending a week of services, viewings, and speeches, McCain’s body was laid to rest next to his Naval Academy friend Admiral Charles Larson. The motorcade with police escort had streets lined with people saluting and waving American flags. An honor guard would remove the casket to be placed on a horse drawn carriage and offloaded at the burial site. A private service was held at 14:00 EST (1800 UTC) to 16:00 EST (2000 UTC) which concluded with a flyover in the missing man formation.

McCain is remembered by his service to the US during the Vietnam War where he was shot down over Hanoi, North Vietnam being rescued by local fishermen. When offered repatriation due to his father becoming the commander of all US forces in Vietnam, he refused to leave the Hỏa Lò Prison, nicknamed the “Hanoi Hilton,” suffering pervasive torture unless earlier prisoners of war were repatriated. In all, he was detained for 5 1/2 years. Stateside, he would enter the world of US politics as Congressmen from the Arizona 1st district. When the Republican Senator from Arizona Barry Goldwater vacated his seat in the US Senate, McCain was elected to his seat, which he filled for the next 3 decades, overseeing the military as a ranking member of the politically powerful Senate Armed Services Committee. With McCain’s extensive public service, his death garnered several services that were carried out over the last week.

Starting last Sunday, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey lowered all flags at half-mast and announced McCain and would lie in state under the copper rotunda at the Arizona Capitol Building Wednesday in downtown Phoenix, Arizona. Also Governor Ducey’s office confirmed through a senior adviser Daniel Ruiz, II, the Constitutional power for appointing McCain’s successor will take place after McCain’s funeral and this person will serve until the 2022 election cycle. The official statement produced by Ruiz reads, “Out of respect for the life and legacy of Senator John McCain and his family, Governor Ducey will not be making any announcements about an appointment until after the Senator is laid to rest … Now is a time for remembering and honoring a consequential life well lived.”

A small service was held around 10:00 a.m. MST (1600 UTC) Wednesday when McCain’s casket arrived at the Arizona Capitol Building. Opening the service was Arizona Governor Doug Ducey with a eulogy, with remarks from former Republican Senator from Arizona Jon Kyle, and the benediction from the Republican Senator from Arizona Jeff Flake. Following the service, the public was allowed into the rotunda with an estimated 12-15 thousand individuals by the Arizona Department of Public Safety.

His last ceremony in Arizona took place Thursday at the North Phoenix Baptist Church which featured McCain’s former Chief of Staff John Woods, National Football League wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald of the Arizona Cardinals, and former Vice President Joe Biden. Leaving the church, a personal musical selection by McCain of Frank Sinatra song, “My Way” played. A police escort would take him and his family to Phoenix’s Sky Harbor International Airport. Greeting him on the tarmac was the entire Arizona National Guard with Air Force Two, a smaller modified Boeing 757 then the Air Force One Boeing 747 used to fly the president. Air Force Two would land in Washington, DC at Joint Base Andrews with an honor guard ready to receive his casket.

Friday, McCain came to the US Capitol Building for the last time, honored by lying in state under the rotunda on the catafalque originally built for assassinated President Abraham Lincoln. This honor has only been extended to 31 individuals over the past 166 years. As the honor guard removed the casket from the hearse and began climbing the stairs it began to rain. After the ceremony for Congress, the public was allowed to view his casket for the remainder of the day.

Saturday, a service was held at that National Cathedral also in Washington, DC. where former Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama were personally asked by McCain to give eulogies when they visited him as he recovered from chemotherapy and radiation treatments at his ranch. Absent from the National Cathedral was the current President Donald Trump after tensions with McCain and the McCain family resulted in Trump not being invited. Instead, invitations were extended to Vice President Mike Pence other administration officials including Chief of Staff and retired General John Kelly.

Throughout the week, no speech referenced Trump by name. However Meghan McCain‘s eulogy at the National Cathedral stated, “We gather to mourn the passing of American greatness, the real thing, not cheap rhetoric from men who will never come near the sacrifice, those that live lives of comfort and privilege while he suffered and served,” subtly comparing McCain’s war record to Trump’s multiple medical deferments.

Trump would spend the time when the service was taking place at the Trump National Golf Club in Sterling, Virginia. During his public appearances this week, he remained silent on McCain’s death with only a single Twitter post directly following McCain’s death, “Our thoughts, prayers and deepest sympathy to the McCain Family. Thank you Senator McCain for your service to the nation.” First Lady Melania Trump also reached out through Twitter with, “Our thoughts, prayers and deepest sympathy to the McCain Family. Thank you Senator McCain for your service to the nation.” Daughter Ivanka Trump and her husband Jared Kushner attended the National Cathedral service as an invitation extended by Republican Senator from South Carolina Lindsey Graham.

Trump ordered the flags at half-mast, a showing of national mourning, the Saturday evening when McCain died, with the flag being placed back at full-mast two days later. Trump defended his actions with, “I’ve done everything that they requested and no, I don’t think I have at all.” After quick bipartisan criticism the flag was returned to half-mast until Sunday’s final burial.

USS John S. McCain (DDG-56)
Image: Photographer’s Mate 3rd Class Todd Frantom.

A number of honorary measures have been purposed and adopted throughout the federal, state, and city levels. Navy officials, prior to his death, added his name to the Arleigh Burke-class Destroyer USS John McCain originally named for his grandfather and father, both Navy Admirals. Congressional colleagues also entitled the 2019 fiscal year military sending bill, the John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act. Legislation was also submitted by the Democratic Senator from New York Chuck Schumer to renaming the Russell Senate Office Building dedicated to the late Democratic Senator from Georgia Richard Russell, Jr. Russell was a segregationist and civil rights opponent, but some in Congress have reservations on the renaming like the Republican Senator from Georgia David Perdue stating, “He did so many other things. He was a big supporter of the Great Society, the War on Poverty. Now, we all know those things failed, but he was a big champion of them.” The legislation will be taken up when Congress reopens after Labor Day.



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August 25, 2018

Fossil genome shows hybrid of two extinct species of human

Fossil genome shows hybrid of two extinct species of human

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Saturday, August 25, 2018

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A team of scientists has announced remains of a human girl from about 50 thousand years ago had one Neanderthal parent and one Denisovan parent, two different species of humans, both species now extinct. The results, from genomic tests in Leipzig, Germany of fossil bone from Siberia, Russia, were published on Wednesday in scientific journal Nature. The researchers said this is the first discovery of a child with parents of different human species.

The single fossilized bone fragment, about two centimetres (less than an inch) long, which researchers said was from a girl at least 13 years old, was found in 2012 in the Denisova Cave in Siberia. The Denisovan species of humans is only directly known from the same cave, where it was discovered in 2011; the cave is also the only site where both Nenderthal and Denisovan remains have been found. Neanderthals have been found in Europe and Asia. Traces of genes from both species occur in some modern humans. Researchers found the nuclear DNA in this bone fragment was split fairly evenly between both species, while the mitochondrial DNA was Neanderthal; nuclear DNA comes from both parents, while mitochondrial DNA comes only from the mother, so they concluded the girl’s mother was Neanderthal and her father Denisovan.

Lead author on the study Viviane Slon, of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology (MPI-EVA) in Leipzig, said “We knew from previous studies that Neanderthals and Denisovans must have occasionally had children together […] But I never thought we would be so lucky as to find an actual offspring of the two groups.” The team rechecked the findings several times. Scientist Johannes Krause, of the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History in Jena, called the finding “sensational”. Study coauthor Svante Pääbo, of MPI-EVA, remarked on the improbability of discovering such a hybrid when only two dozen human genomes over 40 thousand years old —when the other species of humans were still around— have been done: “The fact that we stumbled across this makes you wonder if the mixing wasn’t quite frequent […] Had it happened frequently, we would not have such divergence between the Denisovans and Neanderthal genomes.”

The researchers also noted the girl’s father, though Denisovan, had a trace of Neanderthal DNA, from perhaps as much as several hundred generations earlier. They also reported the mother’s DNA was not closely related to that of other Neanderthals found in the cave, suggesting multiple migrations of Neanderthals between Siberia and Europe.



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  • Viviane Slon, Fabrizio Mafessoni, Benjamin Vernot, Cesare de Filippo, Steffi Grote, Bence Viola, Mateja Hajdinjak, Stéphane Peyrégne, Sarah Nagel, Samantha Brown, Katerina Douka, Tom Higham, Maxim B. Kozlikin, Michael V. Shunkov, Anatoly P. Derevianko, Janet Kelso, Matthias Meyer, Kay Prüfer, Svante Pääbo. “The genome of the offspring of a Neanderthal mother and a Denisovan father” — Nature (journal), August 22, 2018
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July 25, 2018

German footballer Mesut Özil announces retirement from international football

German footballer Mesut Özil announces retirement from international football

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Wednesday, July 25, 2018

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On Sunday, German footballer Mesut Özil announced retiring from international football via his official Twitter handle. The 29-year-old gave racism as the reason for his retirement.

Özil and his international teammate İlkay Gündoğan, who are of Turkish origin, met the Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in London in May. The two players took a photo with Erdoğan, after which, many Germans reportedly booed the players prior to this year’s FIFA Football World Cup in Russia. Özil said that he received hate mail and threats after meeting the Turkish president.

In his tweets, Özil said, “It is with a heavy heart and after much consideration that because of recent events I will no longer be playing for Germany at international level whilst I have this feeling of racism and disrespect. I used to wear the German shirt with such pride and excitement, but now I don’t. I feel unwanted and think that what I have achieved since my international debut in 2009 has been forgotten.”

Speaking about his meeting with the Turkish president, Özil said, “Like many people, my ancestry traces back to more than one country. Whilst I grew up in Germany, my family background has its roots firmly based in Turkey […] For me, having a picture with President Erdoğan wasn’t about politics or elections, it was about me respecting the highest office of my family’s country”. Referring to the German football association’s president, Reinhard Grindel, Özil said, “In the eyes of Grindel and his supporters, I am German when we win but I am an immigrant when we lose.”

Özil made his international debut on August 12, 2009, playing against Azerbaijan. Since then, he has featured in 92 matches for Germany, scoring 23 goals. Özil was part of 2014’s World Cup winning squad.

“He [Mesut Özil] played a key role in Germany lifting the World Cup in Brazil in 2014 and so the DFB is and always will be incredibly grateful for his outstanding performances in Germany colours” ((de))German language: ‍Er hatte entscheidenden Anteil daran, dass Deutschland 2014 in Brasilien Weltmeister geworden ist. Deshalb ist und bleibt der DFB Mesut Özil für seine herausragenden Leistungen im Trikot der deutschen Nationalmannschaften sehr dankbar., the German football association Deutscher Fußball-Bund said in a statement. It also said, “The DFB regrets Mesut Özil’s decision to step down from the national team.” ((de))German language: ‍Der DFB bedauert den Abschied von Mesut Özil aus der Nationalmannschaft.

Özil’s last match for Germany was against South Korea in this year’s FIFA World Cup, which ended in a 2–0 defeat for Germany, as the 2014 winners failed to qualify for the knockout phase.



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  • “FIFA World Cup 2018 day 12, 13, 14, 15: Iran, Nigeria, Germany, Senegal out of the tournament” — Wikinews, July 1, 2018

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German footballer Mesut Özil announces retirement from international football over ‘racism’

German footballer Mesut Özil announces retirement from international football over ‘racism’

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Wednesday, July 25, 2018

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On Sunday, German footballer Mesut Özil announced retiring from international football via his official Twitter handle. The 29-year-old gave racism as the reason for his retirement.

File photo of Özil, 2011.
Image: Steindy. (CC BY-SA 2.5)

Özil and his international teammate İlkay Gündoğan, who are of Turkish origin, met the Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in London in May. The two players took a photo with Erdoğan, after which, many Germans reportedly booed the players prior to this year’s FIFA Football World Cup in Russia. Özil said that he received hate mail and threats after meeting the Turkish president.

In his tweets, Özil said, “It is with a heavy heart and after much consideration that because of recent events I will no longer be playing for Germany at international level whilst I have this feeling of racism and disrespect. I used to wear the German shirt with such pride and excitement, but now I don’t. I feel unwanted and think that what I have achieved since my international debut in 2009 has been forgotten.”

Speaking about his meeting with the Turkish president, Özil said, “Like many people, my ancestry traces back to more than one country. Whilst I grew up in Germany, my family background has its roots firmly based in Turkey […] For me, having a picture with President Erdoğan wasn’t about politics or elections, it was about me respecting the highest office of my family’s country”. Referring to the German football association’s president, Reinhard Grindel, Özil said, “In the eyes of Grindel and his supporters, I am German when we win but I am an immigrant when we lose.”

Özil made his international debut on August 12, 2009, playing against Azerbaijan. Since then, he has featured in 92 matches for Germany, scoring 23 goals. Özil was part of 2014’s World Cup winning squad.

“He [Mesut Özil] played a key role in Germany lifting the World Cup in Brazil in 2014 and so the DFB is and always will be incredibly grateful for his outstanding performances in Germany colours” ((de))German language: ‍Er hatte entscheidenden Anteil daran, dass Deutschland 2014 in Brasilien Weltmeister geworden ist. Deshalb ist und bleibt der DFB Mesut Özil für seine herausragenden Leistungen im Trikot der deutschen Nationalmannschaften sehr dankbar., the German football association Deutscher Fußball-Bund said in a statement. It also said, “The DFB regrets Mesut Özil’s decision to step down from the national team.” ((de))German language: ‍Der DFB bedauert den Abschied von Mesut Özil aus der Nationalmannschaft.

Özil’s last match for Germany was against South Korea in this year’s FIFA World Cup, which ended in a 2–0 defeat for Germany, as the 2014 winners failed to qualify for the knockout phase.



Related news

  • “FIFA World Cup 2018 day 12, 13, 14, 15: Iran, Nigeria, Germany, Senegal out of the tournament” — Wikinews, July 1, 2018

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July 20, 2018

Hindi poet and songwriter Gopal Das Neeraj dies, aged 93

Hindi poet and songwriter Gopal Das Neeraj dies, aged 93

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Friday, July 20, 2018

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  • 20 July 2018: Hindi poet and songwriter Gopal Das Neeraj dies, aged 93
  • 23 April 2018: 28-year-old Swedish electronic dance music artist Avicii dies in Oman
  • 28 March 2018: K-pop band 100%’s lead singer Seo Minwoo dies
  • 24 March 2018: Charles Lazarus, founder of US-based toy retail giant Toys ‘R’ Us, dies at 94
  • 17 March 2018: British scientist Stephen Hawking dies aged 76
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Yesterday, Hindi poet and songwriter Gopal Das Neeraj died at the AIIMS trauma centre in Delhi, India. The poet was 93-years-old.

According to reports, Gopal Das had a head injury at his home in Agra and was taken to Aligarh for treatment. The chief of AIIMS trauma centre of New Delhi, Dr Rajesh Malhotra, said, “He was shifted to the trauma centre here [the night before he died] in a critical condition. He had suffered from kidney failure, had infection all over his body and head injury”.

Born in the Etawah district of Uttar Pradesh on January 4, 1925, Gopal Das was a resident of Agra and taught Hindi literature at the Dharma Samaj College in Aligarh. Gopal Das had received some of the highest Indian civilian honourary awards, receiving Padma Shri in 1991 and Padma Bhushan in 2007.

Gopal Das also wrote songs for Bollywood movies and won the Filmfare Best Lyrics award on three occasions for his songs Kaal Ka Pahiya ((hi))Hindi language: ‍काल का पहिया, Bas Yehi Apradh Main Har Baar ((hi))Hindi language: ‍बस यही अपराध मैं हर बार and Ae Bhai Jara Dekh Ke Chalo ((hi))Hindi language: ‍ए भाई! ज़रा देख के चलो. He also wrote the songs Likhe Jo Khat Tujhe ((hi))Hindi language: ‍लिखे जो खत तुझे, Dil Ne Phir Yaad Kiya ((hi))Hindi language: ‍दिल ने फिर याद किया and Dil Aaj Shayar Hai ((hi))Hindi language: ‍दिल आज शायर है.

Gopal Das’s body was reportedly to be taken to Aligarh today.



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July 16, 2018

France beats Croatia 4-2 to win 2018 FIFA World Cup

France beats Croatia 4-2 to win 2018 FIFA World Cup

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Monday, July 16, 2018

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More from 2018 FIFA World Cup
  • 16 July 2018: France beats Croatia 4-2 to win 2018 FIFA World Cup
  • 16 July 2018: FIFA World Cup 2018: Belgium beats England 2-0 to claim third place finish
  • 13 July 2018: FIFA World Cup 2018 semifinals: Croatia sends England home, 2-1
  • 13 July 2018: FIFA World Cup 2018 semifinals: Umtiti scores only goal, France reaches finals beating Belgium
  • 10 July 2018: FIFA World Cup 2018 quarterfinals: England beats Sweden, Croatia knocks out hosts Russia
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Yesterday, France defeated Croatia 4–2 in the final of 2018 FIFA Football World Cup to win the tournament for the second time. French teenager Kylian Mbappé became the second teenager to score in a FIFA World Cup final after Pelé did in 1958’s tournament.

Croatia dominated the ball possession, having almost twice as much as France. In the sixth minute, French defender Samuel Umtiti won a free kick in the defensive half. In the 17th minute, Croatian midfielder Marcelo Brozović committed a foul and the referee awarded France a freekick. Mario Mandžukić ended up scoring an own goal from Antoine Griezmann’s assist, giving France an early lead. Domagoj Vida and Ivan Rakitić tried to equalise for Croatia, later, but their attempts were either blocked or went wide. In the 27th minute, French defensive midfielder N’Golo Kanté was shown a yellow card for a bad foul. A minute later, Ivan Perišić scored a left-footed shot from Vida’s assist, equalising for Croatia. The sides were not tied to 1–1 score for long. In the 35th minute, the referee awarded France a penalty kick, after confirming with the video assistant referee. Ivan Perišić had a handball in the penalty area. Greizmann scored from the penalty, putting the ball in the left corner and sending Croatian goalkeeper Danijel Subašić in the opposite direction. Frenchman Lucas Hernández was booked by the referee in the 41st minute. The first half ended with France leading 2–1.

In the second half, Griezmann missed a chance to score from Olivier Giroud’s assist. France made their first substitution in the 55th minute, as N’Golo Kanté was replaced by Steven N’Zonzi. Just before the one-hour mark, Paul Pogba had a shot towards goal but was blocked and Pogba collected the ball, and on the second attempt, the French midfielder scored from the left-footed shot, doubling the lead for France. Kylian Mbappé scored the fourth goal in the 65th minute, from Hernández’s assist. With this goal, Mbappé became the second teenager to score in a FIFA World Cup final. In the 69th minute, Mandžukić scored the second goal for Croatia, intercepting French goalkeeper Hugo Lloris‘ pass. However, Croatia could not catch up the two-goal difference, and the match ended 4–2, as France won their second FIFA World Cup.

French coach Didier Deschamps became only the third person to win the FIFA football World Cup as a player and a coach. As a player, Deschamps won the World Cup in 1998, when he was the captain of the French team. Two years ago, the Deschamps-led French team ended up as the losing side in the UEFA Euro 2016 tournament, 1–0 against Portugal in the extra-time.

After the match, Croatia’s coach Zlatko Dalić said, “I congratulate France on their title […] I have to congratulate my players, it was maybe the best game we played in these championships; we controlled the match but we conceded. Against such a strong side as France, you must not make mistakes. We are a bit sad but we have to be proud as well for what we’ve done.”

Croatian midfielder Ivan Rakitić said, “We were the better team in the first half, we were attacking, but we were unlucky tonight. They scored four goals from their three shots on goal. But I congratulate France, they deserved it.”

Tournament top scorer Harry Kane won the Adidas Golden Boot award. The English striker scored six goals in the entire tournament. Belgium’s goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois won the Adidas Golden Glove award. Croatia’s captain Luka Modrić won the Adidas Golden Ball prize.




July 15, 2018
1800 MSK (UTC+0300)
France 4–2 Croatia Luzhniki Stadium, Moscow, Russia
Attendance: 78,011
Referee: Flag of Argentina.svg Néstor Pitana (Argentina)
Mario Mandžukić Scored after 18 minutes 18′ (o.g.)
Antoine Griezmann Scored after 38–39 minutes 38–39′ (pen.)
Paul Pogba Scored after 59 minutes 59′
Kylian Mbappé Scored after 65 minutes 65′
N’Golo Kanté Booked after 27 minutes 27′
Lucas Hernández Booked after 41 minutes 41′
N’Golo Kanté Substituted off after 55 minutes 55′
Steven N’Zonzi Substituted on after 55 minutes 55′
Blaise Matuidi Substituted off after 73 minutes 73′
Corentin Tolisso Substituted on after 73 minutes 73′
Olivier Giroud Substituted off after 81 minutes 81′
Nabil Fekir Substituted on after 81 minutes 81′
2–1 (HT) Ivan Perišić Scored after 28 minutes 28′
Mario Mandžukić Scored after 69 minutes 69′
Šime Vrsaljko Booked after 90+2 minutes 90+2′
Ante Rebić Substituted off after 71 minutes 71′
Andrej Kramarić Substituted on after 71 minutes 71′
Ivan Strinić Substituted off after 81 minutes 81′
Marko Pjaca Substituted on after 81 minutes 81′

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  • “Ronaldo-less Portugal beats France 1-0; wins Euro ’16” — Wikinews, July 12, 2016

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August 30, 2016

Turkey invades Jarabulus, Syria under operation \’Euphrates Shield\’

Turkey invades Jarabulus, Syria under operation ‘Euphrates Shield’

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Tuesday, August 30, 2016

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On Monday, special presidential envoy for the coalition against Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), Brett McGurk, urged for the “unacceptable” clashes between the Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) and Turkish troops, who are allied with theFree Syrian Army (FSA) to end.

Over the weekend Turkey targeted the PYD in Jeb el-Kussaa, near the border of Turkey in Northern Syria. Reports state at least 20 civilians died, and 50 were wounded due to Turkish air-strikes and artillery fire. On Sunday, another 15 civilians died, many of which are reported to be Kurdish civilians. So far, 35 civilians have died due to the operation, however on Monday, Turkey refuted this and claims only 25 Kurdish militants died in the strikes.

Turkish forces in allegiance with the (FSA) and backed by the U.S, launched operation “Euphrates Shield” on August 24, and quickly captured the ISIL held city of Jarabulus, where ISIL fighters seem to have fled without a fight. Approximately 40 Turkish tanks and 2,000 FSA troops entered Jarabulus via the Turkish border that day. In support of the operation, U.S. A-10 and F-16 warplanes also hit targets within Syria.

Turkish President, Recap Tayyip Erdogan said operation “Euphrates Shield” targets “terrorist groups” such as ISIL and the PYD, who Erdogan claims have been threatening and attacking Turkey from Syria. However analysts have said the operation is really to prevent the PYD, who had been marching towards Jarabulus, from gaining territory in Northern Syria and creating an independent state.

Ankara considers the PYD and its military wing (YPG) to be a faction of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), who are regarded as enemies of the Turkish government for starting an insurgency within Turkey. Earlier this month, the YPG helped regain control of the formerly ISIL held city of Manjib, and have been deemed as one of the strongest U.S. backed forces in Syria.

On Thursday, U.S. Vice President Joseph Biden Jr. sided with Turkey’s demands and asked the Kurdish troops to withdraw over the Euphrates River or risk losing U.S. support. Later that day, US State Secretary John Kerry said the Syrian Kurdistan forces had retreated east from Euphrates.

The Syrian regime condemned Turkey’s actions claiming their invasion violates Syria’s sovereignty and added that Turkey was merely “replacing one terrorist group with another.” Following a complaint from Syria to the United Nations (UN), a spokesman from Secretary General Stephane Dujarric de la Rivière, confirmed Turkey’s actions were considered an invasion.


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August 26, 2016

India proposes ban on commercial surrogacy

India proposes ban on commercial surrogacy

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Friday, August 26, 2016

Indian foreign minister Sushma Swaraj announced on Wednesday a draft law to ban commercial surrogacy in the country. Commercial surrogacy is where a person or couple pay another woman (the surrogate) to carry a pregnancy for them. The new proposed law will allow only infertile couples who’ve been married five or more years to use a surrogate to conceive, on the condition that the surrogate is a close relative of the couple’s.

File photo of Sushma Swaraj, 2014.
Image: Foreign and Commonwealth Office .

The proposed ban will prevent single women, foreigners, non-resident Indian nationals, and the LGBTI community from accessing surrogacy services.

Minister Swaraj was quoted in the Indian Express newspaper saying, “we do not recognise live-in and homosexual relationships … this is against our ethos,” adding that Indians living overseas would be banned as “divorces are very common in foreign countries”.

The draft bill will now go to parliament for approval. If approved, minister Swaraj said the ban on commercial surrogacy would come into affect 10 months after passing parliament, allowing for women already in commercial surrogacy arrangements to give birth.

Experts in surrogacy have criticized the proposed law, saying that a complete ban on commercial surrogacy will simply force ineligible couples into illegal surrogacy arrangements. India is one of few countries in the world that currently allows commercial surrogacy. In 2012 the United Nations estimated that there are over 3,000 fertility clinics in India, generating approximately $400 million USD a year from commercial surrogacy.



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August 25, 2016

North Korea fires balistic missile from submarine

North Korea fires balistic missile from submarine

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Thursday, August 25, 2016

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North Korea test fired a ballistic missile from a submarine yesterday, which landed in the Sea of Japan after travelling approximately 500 km (about 300 miles), according to officials of South Korea and the US.

File photo of a North Korean soldier.
Image: Staff Sgt. Bryanna Poulin.

The missile was fired from a submarine off North Korea’s east coast near Sinpo, officials said, and was reportedly North Korea’s first successful launch after missiles only traveled a small distance in previous tests. The South Korean military accused the North Korean government of using the test to increase military tension during the annual South Korean–US joint military drills, which involve 80,000 South Korean and US troops. North Korea has threatened a preemptive nuclear strike saying the drills were practice for an invasion.

This came on the same day as a meeting between the leaders of China, Japan, and South Korea where, according to Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida of Japan, they “urge[d] North Korea to exercise self-restraint regarding its provocative action, and to observe the UN Security Council‘s resolutions”. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe called the test’s intrusion into Japan’s air defense identification zone “a grave threat to our country’s security.”


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