Massive LED swastika displayed at Kiev shopping mall. Are ‘hackers’ to blame?

By ethan / February 19, 2019

A swastika has been displayed in a Kiev shopping mall, located at a street named after Nazi collaborator-turned Ukrainian ‘hero’ Stepan Bandera. The mall itself denied involvement in such a shocking display and blamed hackers.

The offensive display appeared on the LED-illuminated staircase of the Gorodok Gallery mall in the Ukrainian capital on Saturday and was caught on video by some baffled shoppers.

Footage from the scene shows the massive swastika over a red and white field, with the whole display closely resembling the state flag of Nazi Germany. While the woman who captured the video was seemingly offended by the sight, some other visitors to the mall appeared to stroll casually past the display like nothing was wrong at all.

Indeed, it could have been just a design change and in keeping with the location of the mall, which is situated on Stepan Bandera Avenue. The street used to be called Moscow Avenue but, in 2016, was renamed after Bandera, a Ukrainian nationalist and Nazi collaborator, hailed in modern Ukraine as a national hero.

Also on rt.com Jail time for Ukrainian officer who ‘misused’ Nazi collaborator’s name referring to far-right mob

The mall vehemently denied links to the appearance of the Nazi symbol, stating that the LED staircase was swiftly turned off after the huge swastika was noticed by security. Management blamed unknown “hackers” for the incident, adding that it is fully cooperating with law enforcement to capture the culprits behind the shocking display.

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Man shot by police after stabbing several people in Marseille

By ethan / February 19, 2019

A man has assaulted pedestrians with a knife in Marseille, France, injuring at least two people. The attacker was confronted and shot by the police, local media reports.

The incident took place in central Marseille on Tuesday. A person wielding a knife attacked passersby, wounding at least two people, AFP reported. Other media outlets, however, have said four people were injured. 

One of the victims was reportedly struck by the attacker in the neck and remains in critical condition.

The man reportedly took out a gun and opened fire after being confronted by police. The attacker died shortly after the altercation with law enforcement, La Provence reported, citing sources. The assailant is believed to be a 36-year-old homeless man, previously known to the police for a 2003 murder case.

The motive of the attack was not immediately clear.

Footage from the scene shows firefights as well as paramedics attending to a person lying in the middle of the street. It is not immediately clear whether they were attending to the attacker or to one of his victims.

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Will the new Silk Road make China a global superpower? – RT’s Keiser Report finds out

By ethan / February 19, 2019

China’s ambitious multi-trillion-dollar Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) could become a once-in-a-century geopolitical initiative if successful, according to politician and business strategist Bruno Maçães.

In his new book ‘Belt and Road: A Chinese World Order’ he wrote about the rise of China to superpower status through trade. BRI is the intention by China to create a Eurasian superpower with China at its center, Maçães said.

Engine of growth: Trade turnover across China’s ‘One Belt, One Road’ exceeds $ 5 trillion since 2013

According to Max Keiser, there could be a new global economy with China at its center. “EU goes as a $ 17 trillion trading bloc into Eurasian trading bloc worth 60 percent of global GDP or $ 40 trillion.”

Stacy notes that China is doing that in a peaceful integrated way – via trade – and not through threats. “It’s just trade, the very old-fashioned way, the way the world used to work 200, 300, 400 years ago,” she says.

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Devastating footage of starving 12yo girl weighing just 10 kg captures Yemen war horror

By ethan / February 19, 2019

A haunting video of a severely malnourished 12-year-old girl in Yemen highlights the ongoing devastation of the brutal war that has ravaged the country for four years, as the population continues to teeter on the brink of famine.

Fatima Qoba weighs just 10 kilograms (22 pounds) and is suffering from severe malnutrition. She is being treated at a clinic in Hajjah, where her tiny frame is dwarfed by the bed she lies on.

The head of the clinic, Makiah al-Aslami, said Fatima is “skin and bones due to the hard life of her family,” who are “displaced persons from Al-Sha’ab area who are not provided with shelter, food or medications.”

The family of eleven children and their father fled their home near the Saudi Arabian border and are now living under a tree.

 Her sister, who is also named Fatima, told Ruptly, “I don’t know if we can take care of her or if she will be malnourished again because of the hard conditions we’re suffering from. We don’t have anything to feed her with.”

Aslami said more pregnant women are suffering from acute malnutrition and she expects to see even more devastation.

“Now we talk not only about children under the age of five who don’t have three meals [a day], we are also talking about the next generation who are malnourished because their mothers suffered from malnutrition while they were pregnant,” she said. 

READ MORE: Saudi Arabia under spotlight over Khashoggi, but drastic Yemen famine ignored

The conflict in Yemen has escalated since a Saudi-led coalition began bombing the country in March 2015 in order to reinstate exiled president Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi, after Houthi rebels loyal to former president Ali Abdullah Saleh took over the capital, Sanaa.

Human rights groups have long been warning of the threat of famine, with a Saudi blockade making the import of goods and humanitarian aid a challenge.

Also on rt.com Yemenis ‘slowly starving’ to death as world ‘turns blind eye’ – aid charity

The UN announced Tuesday that the two sides have agreed to begin a withdrawal of forces from the port of Hodeidah, where most of the country’s food imports enter.

The World Food Programme says 15.9 million people wake up hungry in Yemen every day and child malnutrition is among the worst in the world.

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Siemens to team up with Russian firm to make equipment for Arctic LNG 2 project in St. Petersburg

By ethan / February 19, 2019

German engineering giant Siemens is planning to produce compressors for the Arctic LNG 2 project near St. Petersburg. It will be a joint venture with Russia’s state-run firm Power Machines.

The compression machinery produced by Power Machines and Siemens will be supplied to the Arctic LNG 2 project developed by Russia’s biggest privately owned natural gas producer Novatek, according to the president of Siemens in Russia Alexander Liberov.

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“We have recently signed a contract for delivery of compression equipment to Novatek for its Arctic LNG 2 project,” Liberov said in an interview with TASS.

“It’s important that we won’t just supply the project with the necessary machinery, but we are going to localize its production at our factory in the Leningrad region. That’s not just export of equipment, but localizing of engineering solutions for the energy sector.”

Siemens and Novatek sealed the deal on compressor equipment for three liquefaction trains earlier this month. The agreement reportedly moved Novatek’s Arctic LNG 2 project closer to the final investment decision planned for the middle of this year.

Arctic LNG 2 is Novatek’s second plant for liquefying gas in the Arctic region after Yamal LNG. The company is planning to launch operations at Arctic LNG 2 at the end of 2022.

The plant is expected to produce 19.8 million tons of LNG per year when at full capacity. The project is estimated to cost around $ 22 billion.

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Great Barrier Reef rodent becomes 1st official ‘climate change extinction’

By ethan / February 19, 2019

Australia’s government has declared the Bramble Cay melomys extinct, making it what is believed to be the first mammalian casualty directly attributed to man-made climate change.

The official declaration on Tuesday by Australia’s Environment Ministry was long-expected, as a wide-ranging survey of the critter’s habitat in 2014 found no traces of the species. The rat was last seen by fisherman almost a decade ago with no officially registered sightings since.  

Also on rt.com World is literally a greener place than it was 20 years ago, according to NASA data

The animal’s only known habitat was on a small sandy island in Australia’s far north, which dramatically changed shape over the course of several decades due to repeated flooding and storm surges, which greatly eroded the animal’s habitat.

Local weather station data on sea level rise and other associated weather events in the  Torres Strait region “point to human-induced climate change being the root cause of the loss of the Bramble Cay melomys.”

Minister for the Environment Melissa Durack has announced stronger protections for two other rat species and a flying fox facing a similar fate, as climate change encroaches on their habitats.

There was an initial declaration of extinction in 2016 made by local scientists surveying the region, but the Australian government held off until now in case the species managed to overcome the odds. The population had lingered precariously in the region of several hundred since the 1970s but gradually succumbed to habitat loss.

“It’s exactly the type of species that we could expect to be impacted by climate change,”H. Resit Akçakaya, a biologist at Stony Brook University, said previously as cited by Quartz.

Also on rt.com ‘Brilliant!’ Trump applauds Democrats’ Green dream to ‘eliminate all planes, cars, cows & military’

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Mongolia may shut down all KFC restaurants after hundreds of food poisoning reports

By ethan / February 19, 2019

Outlets of American fast food giant KFC could be suspended in Mongolia pending inquiries after 247 people reported symptoms of poisoning, such as diarrhea and vomiting after visiting one of its restaurants.

The incident happened at one of the fast food chain’s outlets in Ulaanbaatar last week because of the contaminated water supply, according to the city’s Metropolitan Professional Inspection Agency.

“We will carry out inspections for the other KFC branches from February 18-21 and suspend their operations when we do the inspections,” the official said, as quoted by Reuters.

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The agency had previously warned that it had called for the closure of all local KFC restaurants. Owned by Kentucky-based Yum! Brands, KFC has 11 outlets in Mongolia, all of them located in the capital, the company’s website says.

All the outlets, apart from the one where the incident occurred, are currently open for business, according to general manager of KFC Mongolia, Ganbat Danzanbaatar.

The company’s restaurants in Mongolia are operated by local conglomerate Tavan Bogd Group via a franchise cooperation. The company apologized for the incident, saying it had happened due to weak internal quality checks and poor implementation of daily standards and rules.

KFC Global said that its local branch in Mongolia was closely cooperating with the government’s investigation and submitted all the recommendations in addressing the incident.

“We deeply regret the negative impact that many people have suffered, especially to our guests of the Zaisan restaurant, and we are working to support our team members and customers during this difficult time,” a KFC Global spokesperson told Reuters.

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Fashion icon Karl Lagerfeld has died – reports

By ethan / February 19, 2019

Iconic Chanel fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld has died aged 85. He had reportedly been ill for weeks.

German-born Lagerfeld, one of the most renowned and prolific modern fashion designers, was creative director at the French luxury brand Chanel at the time of his death. He had also worked with a number of other companies over the years, including the Italian Fendi and his own eponymous label.

Chanel, cited by AFP, has confirmed his death, though no cause has been named so far. Lagerfeld had skipped Chanel fashion shows in late January, though back then the company simply said he was tired.

Also on rt.com Lagerfeld mulls renouncing German citizenship, blames Merkel for rise of ‘neo-Nazis’

Lagerfeld also ventured into politics, making several bold statements in recent years denouncing Angela Merkel’s ‘open-door’ migrant policies.

Brushing political correctness aside in November 2017, Lagerfeld said Merkel had replaced the millions of Jews slaughtered by Nazi Germany with their “worst enemies.”

He also said that he “hated” Merkel, accusing her policies of giving rise to Neo-Nazis. He even mulled rescinding his German citizenship in protest.

Lagerfeld, nicknamed Kaiser Karl for his exceptionally long and prolific career, had shrouded himself in secrecy, claiming he didn’t know his own real birth date and obscuring details of his personal life.

Lagerfeld’s designs and statements have been the source of several controversies. PETA had a personal vendetta against him for his use of fur, even throwing a pie at him at 2001 event (which went astray and hit Calvin Klein instead). He caused an outrage among some Muslims in 1994 by using a Koran verse in one of his collections, and among body-positivity advocates in 2012 by calling the singer Adele “a little too fat.”

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Merkel blames ‘outside influence’ for kids’ climate change protest… but could it just be a protest?

By ethan / February 19, 2019

Talking almost in one breath about Russia, “hybrid warfare” and widespread environmental protests among schoolchildren across Europe is not bizarre paranoia, but a deliberate tactic, RT has been told.

Centrist forces in Europe as well as in the US “have been trying to deflect attention to Russia whenever there are key issues that are coming up on the streets and in their communities,” British peace campaigner and academic George Barda told RT.

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“These are the same issues that the Gilets Jaunes [Yellow Vests] are responding to, that the Occupy Movement was responding to, that the anti-austerity movements around the world have been protesting against ever since the financial crisis of 2008.”

During a Q&A session at the Munich Security Conference at the weekend, the German Chancellor Angela Merkel has been talking about the alleged Russian “hybrid warfare,” while just a bit later casually touching upon the repeated environmental protests among schoolchildren that spread from Scandinavia to the rest of Europe.

“That all children suddenly think of climate change without foreign interference is difficult to imagine,” said Merkel. Later, Merkel eventually had to backpedal and claim that she actually backs the demonstrations.

But having seen a minister in Belgium make similar claims, as well as French President Emmanuel Macron’s persistent attempts to highlight shadowy forces behind the Yellow Vest movement which has mobilized millions of citizens, this appears to be the go-to response from an establishment unable to tackle fundamental issues of globalization, inequality and security.

“This about is the failure of the establishment to respond to the fundamental issues of that crisis. And it is also the anger of normal taxpayers who have faced massive constraints just living normal lives, struggling desperately to pay for bills and food,” said Barda.

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US sanctions help India become No.1 buyer of Venezuelan crude

By ethan / February 19, 2019

Imports of Venezuela’s oil by India surged 66 percent in the first half of February to 620,000 barrels a day. The country boosted its purchases from the Latin American nation after US stopped shipments from Caracas.

Indian refiners Reliance Industries and Nayara Energy were driving the import boost. Venezuela has sent its oil minister, Manuel Quevedo, to India to convince refiners to double their oil purchases.

“We are selling more than 300,000” bpd to Indian buyers, Quevedo said on Monday in New Delhi, adding: “We want to double that amount.”

Also on rt.com India to continue buying Venezuelan oil despite US warning

Two supertankers sailed off late on Monday from Venezuela’s Jose terminal carrying cargoes to Indian ports.

The South American nation, which is sitting on the world’s largest crude oil resources, has turned its focus to its second-largest consumer, India, since the US imposed sanctions against Venezuela’s state-run oil company PDVSA.

US President Donald Trump ratcheted up sanctions on January 28 which were designed to undercut financial support for Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro.

Also on rt.com Russia vows to defend its Venezuelan oil assets

As a result, Venezuelan crude exports plunged to 1.12 million barrels daily in the first half of February, down 9.2 percent compared with the same period in January. According to Refinitiv Eikon data, Venezuela was exporting about 1.4 million bpd in the months before sanctions.

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