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World Cup 2018

Putin opens World Cup 2018. Jokes around with Saudi Crown Prince after first goal (Video)

Yuri Gazinsky opened the scoring for Russia in the opening match of the World Cup.

Alex Christoforou

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It took 11 minutes for Russia to score the first goal of the 2018 FIFA World Cup to be scored during Thursday’s opening match between Russia and Saudi Arabia.

The host nation got on the scoreboard early with a Yury Gazinsky header, for which the聽Saudi Arabian goalie simply couldn’t get to it despite a good effort.

It was Gazinsky’s first goal of his international career.

The goal is exactly the start that Russia needed to get the crowd into it at Luznhiki Stadium in Moscow.

Russian President Vladimir Putin opened up the match with a welcoming speech expressing Russia’s “love at first sight” relationship with the game of football.

Check out Vladimir Putin, sitting next to FIFA president Gianni Infantino and Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia Mohammad Bin Salman Al Saud, with a priceless expression after Russia scored the first goal.

We can only image what Putin is telling MBS after聽Gazinsky’s header.

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columGano1tomIsabella JonesPHILIP LAFRANCE Recent comment authors
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colum
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colum

5 – 0 to Russia

Gano1
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Gano1

Not a bad start………………….. 馃檪

tom
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tom

I only hope the unfortunate Saudi footballers don’t lose their heads over this.

Isabella Jones
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Isabella Jones

Your video has blocked by FIFA on copyright grounds, Duran

PHILIP LAFRANCE
Guest
PHILIP LAFRANCE

I’m an American. I watched the opening ceremony. Classy!
鈿解毥鈿解毥鈿解毥鈿解毥鈿解毥鈿解毥鈿解毥鈿解毥鈿
RUSSIA whips Saudi butt! Hurrah!

AM Hants
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AM Hants

Seriously proud of Robbie Williams. Understand that it should be a Russian act, opening the world cup. However, my Government has been diabolical to the people of Russia, and just glad that there is somebody from the UK, so honoured to be the opening act, and with him he brings the best wishes, respect, pride and love from the non-masses of the Uk. Saying thank you to the people of Russia and their contribution to world peace and the fight they have taken on with the Globalists. So much respect to you all and your Government. Robbie Williams, who released… Read more »

Anthony Papagallo
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Anthony Papagallo

“No more discounts on the S400’s no matter how many goals we score”

Guy
Guest
Guy

I guess MBS is not dead after all .

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EXPLOSIVE: Michael Cohen sentencing memo exposes serial liar with nothing to offer Mueller (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 38.

Alex Christoforou

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The Duran鈥檚 Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris take a quick look at the Michael Cohen sentencing memo which paints the picture of a man who was not as close to Trump as he made it out to be…a serial liar and cheat who leveraged his thin connections to the Trump organization for money and fame.

It was Cohen himself who proudly labelled himself as Trump’s “fixer”. The sentencing memo hints at the fact that even Mueller finds no value to Cohen in relation to the ongoing Trump-Russia witch hunt investigation.

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Via Axios

Special counsel Robert Mueller and federal prosecutors in New York have each submitted sentencing memos for President Trump’s former personal attorney Michael Cohen, after Cohen pleaded guilty in two different cases related to his work for Trump and the Trump Organization.

The big picture:聽The Southern District of New York recommended Cohen serve a range of 51 to 63 months for four crimes 鈥 “willful tax evasion, making false statements to a financial institution, illegal campaign contributions, and making false statements to Congress.” Mueller, meanwhile, did not take a position on the length of Cohen’s statement, but said he has made substantial efforts to assist the investigation.

Southern District of New York

Mueller investigation

Michael J. Stern, a federal prosecutor with the Justice Department聽for 25 years in Detroit and Los Angeles noted via USA Today

In support of their request that he serve no time in prison, Cohen’s attorneys offered a series of testimonials from friends who described the private Michael Cohen as a 鈥渢ruly caring鈥 man with a 鈥渉uge heart鈥 who is not only 鈥渁n upstanding, honorable, salt of the earth man鈥 but also a 鈥渟elfless caretaker.鈥

The choirboy portrayed by Cohen鈥檚 lawyers stands in sharp opposition to Cohen鈥檚 public persona as Trump鈥檚 legal bulldog, who once threatened a reporter with:聽鈥淲hat I鈥檓 going to do to you is going to be聽f—ing disgusting.聽Do you understand me?鈥

Prosecutors focused their sentencing memo on Cohen as Mr. Hyde. Not only did they聽detail Cohen鈥檚 illegal activities, which include millions of dollars of fraud, they also recognized the public damage that stemmed from his political crimes 鈥斅燿escribing Cohen as 鈥渁 man who knowingly sought to undermine聽core institutions聽of our democracy.鈥

Rebuffing efforts by Cohen鈥檚 attorneys to recast him as a good guy who made a few small mistakes, prosecutors cited texts, statements of witnesses, recordings, documents聽and other evidence that proved Cohen got ahead by employing a 鈥減attern of deception that聽permeated聽his professional life.鈥 The prosecutors attributed Cohen鈥檚 crimes to 鈥減ersonal greed,鈥 an effort to 鈥渋ncrease his power and influence,鈥 and a desire to maintain his 鈥渙pulent lifestyle.鈥

Perhaps the most damning reveal in the U.S. Attorney鈥檚 sentencing memo is that Cohen refused to fully cooperate. That’s despite his public relations campaign to convince us that he is a new man who will cooperate with any law enforcement authority,聽at any time, at any place.

As a former federal prosecutor who handled hundreds of plea deals like Cohen鈥檚, I can say it is extremely rare for any credit to be recommended when a defendant decides not to sign a full cooperation deal.聽The only reason for a refusal would be to聽hide information. The prosecutors said as much in their sentencing memo:聽Cohen refused 鈥渢o be debriefed on other uncharged聽criminal conduct, if any,聽in his past,” and “further declined”聽to discuss 鈥渙ther areas of investigative interest.鈥

 

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Canada to Pay Heavy Price for Trudeau鈥檚 Groupie Role in US Banditry Against China

Trudeau would had to have known about the impending plot to snatch Huawei CFO Wanzhou and moreover that he personally signed off on it.

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Authored by Finian Cunningham via The Strategic Culture Foundation:


You do have to wonder about the political savvy of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his government. The furious fallout from China over the arrest of a senior telecoms executive is going to do severe damage to Canadian national interests.

Trudeau鈥檚 fawning over American demands is already rebounding very badly for Canada鈥檚 economy and its international image.

The Canadian arrest 鈥 on behalf of Washington 鈥 of Meng Wanzhou, chief financial officer of Chinese telecom giant Huawei, seems a blatant case of the Americans acting politically and vindictively. If the Americans are seen to be acting like bandits, then the Canadians are their flunkies.

Wanzhou was detained on December 1 by Canadian federal police as she was boarding a commercial airliner in Vancouver. She was reportedly handcuffed and led away in a humiliating manner which has shocked the Chinese government, media and public.

The business executive has since been released on a $7.4 million bail bond, pending further legal proceedings. She is effectively being kept under house arrest in Canada with electronic ankle tagging.

To add insult to injury, it is not even clear what Wanzhou is being prosecuted for. The US authorities have claimed that she is guilty of breaching American sanctions against Iran by conducting telecoms business with Tehran. It is presumed that the Canadians arrested Wanzhou at the request of the Americans. But so far a US extradition warrant has not been filed. That could take months. In the meantime, the Chinese businesswoman will be living under curfew, her freedom denied.

Canadian legal expert Christopher Black聽says聽there is no juridical case for Wanzhou鈥檚 detention. The issue of US sanctions on Iran is irrelevant and has no grounds in international law. It is simply the Americans applying their questionable national laws on a third party. Black contends that Canada has therefore no obligation whatsoever to impose those US laws regarding Iran in its territory, especially given that Ottawa and Beijing have their own separate bilateral diplomatic relations.

In any case, what the real issue is about is the Americans using legal mechanisms to intimidate and beat up commercial rivals. For months now, Washington has made it clear that it is targeting Chinese telecoms rivals as commercial competitors in a strategic sector. US claims about China using telecoms for 鈥渟pying鈥 and 鈥渋nfiltrating鈥 American national security are bogus propaganda ruses to undermine these commercial rivals through foul means.

It also seems clear from US President Donald Trump鈥檚 unsubtle聽comments聽this week to Reuters, saying he would 鈥減ersonally intervene鈥 in the Meng case 鈥渋f it helped trade talks with China鈥, that the Huawei executive is being dangled like a bargaining chip. It was a tacit admission by Trump that the Americans really don鈥檛 have a legal case against her.

Canada鈥檚 foreign minister Chrystia Freeland bounced into damage limitation mode following Trump鈥檚 thuggish comments. She聽said聽that the case should not be 鈥減oliticized鈥 and that the legal proceedings should not be tampered with. How ironic is that?

The whole affair has been politicized from the very beginning. Meng鈥檚 arrest, or as Christopher Black calls it 鈥渉ostage-taking鈥, is driven by Washington鈥檚 agenda of harassment against China for commercial reasons, under a legal pretext purportedly about Iranian sanctions.

When Trump revealed the cynical expediency of him 鈥渉elping to free Wanzhou鈥, then the Canadians realized they were also being exposed for the flunkies that they are for American banditry. That鈥檚 why Freeland was obliged to quickly adopt the fastidious pretense of legal probity.

Canadian premier Justin Trudeau has claimed that he wasn鈥檛 aware of the American request for Wanzhou鈥檚 detention. Trudeau is being pseudo. For such a high-profile infringement against a senior Chinese business leader, Ottawa must have been fully briefed by the Americans. Christopher Black, the legal expert, believes that Trudeau would had to have known about the impending plot to snatch Wanzhou and moreover that he personally signed off on it.

What Trudeau and his government intended to get out of performing this sordid role for American thuggery is far from clear. Maybe after being verbally聽mauled聽by Trump as 鈥渨eak and dishonest鈥 at the G7 summit earlier this year, in June, Trudeau decided it was best to roll over and be a good little puppy for the Americans in their dirty deed against China.

But already it has since emerged that Canada is going to pay a very heavy price indeed for such dubious service to Washington. Beijing has warned that it will take retaliation against both Washington and Ottawa. And it is Ottawa that is more vulnerable to severe repercussions.

This week saw two Canadian citizens, one a former diplomat,聽detained聽in China on spying charges.

Canadian business analysts are also聽warning聽that Beijing can inflict harsh economic penalties on Ottawa. An incensed Chinese public have begun boycotting Canadian exports and sensitive Canadian investments in China are now at risk from being blocked by Beijing. A proposed free trade deal that was being negotiated between Ottawa and Beijing now looks dead in the water.

And if Trudeau鈥檚 government caves in to the excruciating economic pressure brought to bear by Beijing and then abides by China鈥檚 demand to immediately release Meng Wanzhou, Ottawa will look like a pathetic, gutless lackey to Washington. Canada鈥檚 reputation of being a liberal, independent state will be shredded. Even then the Chinese are unlikely to forget Trudeau鈥檚 treachery.

With comic irony, there鈥檚 a cringemaking personal dimension to this unseemly saga.

During the 197os when Trudeau鈥檚 mother Margaret was a thirty-something socialite heading for divorce from his father, then Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, she was often in the gossip聽media聽for indiscretions at nightclubs. Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards claims in his聽autobiography聽that Margaret Trudeau was a groupie for the band, having flings with Mick Jagger and Ronnie Wood. Her racy escapades and louche lifestyle brought shame to many Canadians.

Poor Margaret Trudeau later wound up divorced, disgraced, financially broke and scraping a living from scribbling tell-all books.

Justin, her eldest son, is finding out that being a groupie for Washington鈥檚 banditry is also bringing disrepute for him and his country.

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US Commits To “Indefinite” Occupation Of Syria; Controls Region The Size Of Croatia

Raqqa is beginning to look more and more聽like Baghdad circa 2005.

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Via Zerohedge


“We don’t want the Americans. It’s occupation”聽鈥斅a Syrian resident in聽US-controlled Raqqa told聽Stars and Stripes聽military newspaper. This as the Washington Post聽noted聽this week that聽“U.S. troops will now stay in Syria indefinitely, controlling a third of the country and facing peril on many fronts.”

Like the “forever war” in Afghanistan, will we be having the same discussion over the indefinite occupation of Syria stretching two decades from now? A new unusually frank assessment in聽Stars and Stripes聽bluntly lays out the basic facts concerning the White House decision to聽“stay the course” until the war’s close:

That decision puts U.S. troops in overall control,聽perhaps indefinitely, of an area comprising nearly a third of Syria, a vast expanse of mostly desert terrain roughly the size of Louisiana.

The Pentagon does not say how many troops are there. Officially, they number 503, but earlier this year an official let slip that the true number may be聽closer to 4,000

A prior聽New Yorker聽piece described the US-occupied area east of the Euphrates as “an area about the size of Croatia.” With no Congressional vote, no聽public debate, and not even so much as an official presidential address to聽the nation, the United States is settling in for another endless occupation of sovereign foreign soil while relying on the聽now very familiar聽post-911 AUMF聽fig leaf of “legality”.

Like聽the American public and even some Pentagon officials of late聽have been pointing out聽for years regarding Afghanistan, do US forces on the ground even know what the mission is? The mission may be undefined and remain ambiguously to “counter Iran”, yet the dangers and potential for major loss in blood and treasure loom larger than ever.

According to聽Stars and Stripes聽the dangerous cross-section of powder keg conflicts and geopolitical players means聽“a new war”聽is on the horizon:

The new mission raises new questions, about the role they will play and whether their presence will risk聽becoming a magnet for regional conflict and insurgency.

The area is聽surrounded by powers hostile both to the U.S. presence and the aspirations of the Kurds, who are governing the majority-Arab area in pursuit of a leftist ideology formulated by an imprisoned Turkish Kurdish leader. Signs that the Islamic State is starting to regroup and聽rumblings of discontent within the Arab community point to the threat of an insurgency.

Without the presence of U.S. troops, these dangers would almost certainly聽ignite a new war right away, said Ilham Ahmed, a senior official with the Self-Administration of North and East Syria, as the self-styled government of the area is called.

“They have to stay. If they leave and there isn’t a solution for Syria, it will be catastrophic,” she said.

But staying also heralds risk, and already the challenges are starting to mount.
So a US-backed local politician says the US can’t leave or there will be war, while American defense officials simultaneously recognize they are occupying the very center of聽an impending insurgency from hell聽鈥斅燼ll of which fits the textbook definition of聽quagmire聽perfectly.

The New Yorker: “The United States has built聽a dozen or more bases from Manbij to Al-Hasakah, including four airfields, and American-backed forces now control all of Syria east of the Euphrates, an area about the size of Croatia.”

But in September the White House announced a realignment of its official priorities in Syria, namely to act “as a bulwark against Iran’s expanding influence.” This means the continued potential and likelihood of war with Syria, Iran, and Russia in the region is ever present, per聽Stripes:

Syrian government troops and Iranian proxy fighters are to the south and west. They have threatened to聽take the area back by force, in pursuit of President Bashar Assad’s pledge to bring all of Syria under government control.

Already聽signs of an Iraq-style insurgency targeting US forces聽in eastern Syria are beginning to emerge.

In Raqqa, the largest Syrian city at the heart of US occupation and reconstruction efforts, the聽Stripes聽report聽finds the following:

The anger on the streets is palpable.聽Some residents are openly hostile to foreign visitors, which is rare in other towns and cities freed from Islamic State control in Syria and Iraq. Even those who support the presence of the U.S. military and the SDF say they are resentful that the United States and its partners in the anti-ISIS coalition that bombed the city aren’t helping to rebuild.

And many聽appear not to support their new rulers.

We don’t want the Americans. It’s occupation,”聽said one man, a tailor, who didn’t want to give his name because he feared the consequences of speaking his mind. “I don’t know why they had to use such a huge number of weapons and destroy the city. Yes, ISIS was here, but we paid the price. They have a responsibility.”

Recent reports out of the Pentagon suggests defense officials simply want to throw more money into US efforts in Syria, which are further focused on training and supplying the so-called Syrian Democratic Forces (or Kurdish/YPG-dominated SDF), which threatens confrontation with Turkey as its forces聽continue making preparations for a planned聽attack聽on Kurdish enclaves in Syria this week.

Meanwhile, Raqqa is beginning to look more and more聽like Baghdad circa 2005:

Everyone says the streets are not safe now. Recent months have seen聽an uptick in assassinations and kidnappings, mostly targeting members of the security forces or people who work with the local council.聽But some critics of the authorities have been gunned down, too, and at night there are abductions and robberies.

As America settles in for聽yet another endless and “indefinite” occupation of a Middle East country, perhaps all that remains is for the president to land on an aircraft carrier with “Mission Accomplished” banners flying overhead?

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