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- Oliver O’Connell and Sheila Flynn
Moderator fired from anti-work subreddit after disastrous Fox News interview

The antiwork movement has taken off on Reddit, particularly during Covid - but is in turmoil after TV spot

- Gustaf Kilander and Josh Marcus
Donald Grant requested three pints of strawberry ice cream and chanted just before execution

46-year-old requested firing squad but was denied as lethal injection faces court challenge

- Tom Fenton
Mother and daughter who disappeared from family home five years ago found in North Carolina trailer raid

After first going missing in January 2017, the pair were safety found at an address in Bunnlevel

- Via AP news wire
Sarah Palin dines out again in New York just days after positive Covid test
Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin was spotted dining out at a New York City restaurant, two days after testing positive for the coronavirus
- Arpan Rai,Rory Sullivan,Emily Atkinson and John Bowden
Ukraine news - live: 8,500 troops ready to deploy as US threatens to shut down Nord Stream 2

Suspected shooter, Artemiy Ryabchuk, detained by police

- Alisha Rahaman Sarkar
Nine police officers filmed opening fire on man on Nashville interstate

Landon Eastep was first noticed by a trooper who saw him sitting on a guardrail

- Shweta Sharma
Patrick Mahomes’s fiancée hits out at ‘shameful’ hate after being blasted for spraying champagne

She will launch ‘Team Brittany’ T-shirts to raise money for local anti-bullying efforts

- Via AP news wire
US tries to name and shame Russian disinformation on Ukraine
The Biden administration and its allies are taking an unusually proactive approach to publicizing intelligence findings and trying to defuse influence campaigns by Russia as they raise alarms about a possible new Russian invasion of Ukraine
- Sravasti Dasgupta
‘A weird accident’: Police say death of teen found in rolled-up school gym mat was not a crime

Kendrick Johnson, 17, was found in the gymnasium of Lowndes High School in 2013.

- Via AP news wire
Key Pa. Dems to miss Biden visit, cite scheduling conflicts
President Joe Biden will appear in Pittsburgh on Friday as an opening step in a broader campaign to promote the White House’s achievements in key states before the midterm elections
- Via AP news wire
After bitter battles, Senate eyes less toxic court fight
In a Senate where bitter Supreme Court battles have left a lasting imprint, the confirmation of President Joe Biden’s pick for Supreme Court has the potential to be much less combative and toxic
- Via AP news wire
Ryan, not onstage, takes central focus at Ohio Senate event
Democrat Tim Ryan wasn’t onstage when two of his competitors in Ohio’s U.S. Senate contest came together Thursday night for an unconventional debate, but his stature in the race featured prominently
- Bevan Hurley
Haunted dolls and missing checks: How Stormy Daniels and Michael Avenatti’s anti-Trump alliance came crashing down in court

Celebrated for taking on Donald Trump, the unlikely partnership between a swaggering LA attorney and an adult film star ultimately unravelled, writes Bevan Hurley

- John Bowden
Biden warned Ukraine’s president Kyiv could be ‘sacked’ by imminent Russian invasion

US president reportedly warns Ukraine’s capital could be threatened

- Via AP news wire
After bitter battles, Senate eyes less toxic court fight
In a Senate where bitter Supreme Court battles have left a lasting imprint, the confirmation of President Joe Biden’s pick for Supreme Court has the potential to be much less combative and toxic
- Nathan Place
New Jersey political consultant admits hiring two hit men to stab associate to death

‘This was a callous and violent crime, and this defendant is as responsible as the two men who wielded the knife,’ says US Attorney Philip Sellinger

- Graeme Massie
Houston police hunt gunman after three officers are shot

Suspect fled the scene in white Mercedes, says HPD

- Graeme Massie
Trudeau blasts ‘fringe minority’ behind trucking convoy protesting covid passports at US border

Police expecting around 2,000 protesters in Ottawa this weekend

- Justin Vallejo
Woman admits taking dead baby to hospital pretending she was alive and using makeup to hide injuries

Mother will get a greatly reduced sentence under a plea deal

- Graeme Massie
Joe Rogan podcast guest claims pandemic is ‘just a money grab, they are trying to kill us’

Rogan has been condemned by scientists for spreading vaccine misinformation

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- Katie Davis
Joe Biden warns Ukraine ‘prepare for impact’ as Russia could attack in days with 120,000 troops ready for invasion

JOE Biden has reportedly warned Ukraine’s president to “prepare for impact” as Russia could invade in days.

It’s understood the US president told Volodymyr Zelensky that a February invasion is now “virtually certain” with more than Russian 120,000 troops massed on the border within striking distance.

Joe Biden has reportedly told Ukraine’s president to ‘prepare for impact’ The US president had a ‘long phone conversation’ with Ukraine leader Volodymyr Zelensky on Thursday Russian troops taking part inn military exercises as fears of a Ukraine invasion escalate

A Ukrainian official reportedly told CNN that the call on Thursday “did not go well” as Zelensky relayed dire warnings from Biden that Moscow “may attempt to occupy” the capital.

But the White House has hit back at these claims, instead insisting Biden has warned about a potentially imminent invasion “for months”.

Emily Horne, of the US National Security Council, tweeted: “This is not true.

“President Biden said that there is a distinct possibility that the Russians could invade Ukraine in February.

“He has previously said this publicly & we have been warning about this for months.”

And the White House’s official statement after their chat gave a different outlook on the call, focussing on Biden’s backing of Ukraine.

“President Biden reaffirmed the readiness of the United States along with its allies and partners to respond decisively if Russia further invades Ukraine,” it reads.

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“He also underscored the commitment of the United States to Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.”

In a tweet, Zelensky said he had a “long phone conversation” with Biden as he thanked the president for his support and revealed the US may offer Ukraine financial help.

“Discussed recent diplomatic efforts on de-escalation and agreed on joint actions for the future,” the tweet reads.

“Thanked President @JoeBiden for the ongoing military assistance. Possibilities for financial support to Ukraine were also discussed.”

It comes as it’s feared Moscow could be set to invade Ukraine as soon as February as Western countries square up to Vladimir Putin’s war machine.

The Department of Defense has warned that war “could be imminent”, with US putting 8,500 troops on alert to deploy at short notice, which Russia said caused it “great concern”.

Pentagon spokesman John Kirby told a press conference: “We continue to see, including in the last 24 hours, more accumulation of credible combat forces arrayed by the Russians in, again, the western part of their country and in Belarus.”

Tensions are hitting boiling point as Moscow continues to ramp up its large-scale military presence in and around the country.

Ukraine is sitting on the brink of all-out war with Russia as 120,000 troops mass on the border and the world waits with bated breath as Putin toughens up his arms with artillery and tanks in the region.

But Western allies are showing the Kremlin will face a tough fight as forces and equipment is being shipped to Ukraine and surrounding Nato nations as the eyes of the globe watch on.

Britain has given Kiev 2,000 shoulder-launched anti-tank weapons and Baltic states followed suit with promises of Javelin anti-tank missiles and Stinger surface to air rockets.

Nations including the US and UK are discussing deploying thousands more troops to NATO countries in a show of strength against Moscow’s ongoing aggression.

It’s reported countries such as Romania, Bulgaria and Hungary could be in line to accept around 1,000 personnel each, mimicking forward battle groups already stationed in the Baltic States and Poland.

Zelensky said he and Biden ‘agreed on joint actions for the future’

- Lottie Tiplady-Bishop
Prince Andrew sex trial could cause ‘huge damage’ to ‘relevancy’ of monarchy, royal sources fear

ROYAL insiders fear Prince Andrew’s demand for a trial by jury in his civil sex case against Virginia Giuffre could cause “huge damage” to the monarchy.

The Duke of York sensationally insisted he would face a jury in New York in his battle against sex abuse claims bought against him by the 38-year-old.

GettyRoyal insiders said Andrew’s trial could be catastrophic for the royal family[/caption]

It’s the first time Andrew, 61, who has been stripped of his royal titles by the Queen, has publicly vowed to fight the case in court.

Ms Giuffre has accused the Duke of forcing her to sleep with him more than 20 years ago at the home of convicted sex trafficker Ghislaine Maxwell.

The mum-of-three alleged in court documents that she was procured by Maxwell, 57, the daughter of disgraced tycoon Robert Maxwell, as a teenage “sex slave” for dead paedo Jeffrey Epstein.

The prince has repeatedly denied the allegation he sexually abused Ms Giuffre when she was under 18 years of age, and issued 41 denials to counteract Ms Giuffre’s accusations.

In his rebuttal, he also claimed he was not a close friend of Ghislaine Maxwell, 60, and said that he doesn’t know if an infamous picture appearing to show him with his arm round a teenage Virginia’s waist, standing next to Maxwell, “exists”.

Legal expert Mark Stephens told The Sun that the filing was “classic brinkmanship” from Andrew and his legal team.

But insiders fear that Andrew’s “bullish” decision to face a jury and “clear his name” could have catastrophic affects on The Firm.

A royal source told The Mirror: “It’s the ultimate gamble. He is putting himself at the mercy of a jury.”

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The source added that “questions will be asked about the wisdom of a bullish counter-attack” at this point.

Media lawyer Mark Stephens said he “can’t conceive” that the trial, which is already attracting international attention and media frenzy, will be allowed to go on and risk eclipsing the Platinum Queen’s jubilee next month.

However, palace staff are ploughing on with the event, and are said to be doing “all they can” not to let Andrew’s issues ruin the milestone.

He said: “It’s going to spark debate about the relevancy and appropriateness of the royal family”, adding: “The more detail that comes out the more there’s going to be a problem for the wider royal family.”

It is understood Ms Giuffre could be subject to highly-detailed questions of a sexual nature, including lurid details about positions, Andrew’s body and his “performance”.

The royal could still reach an out of court settlement in the case, with princes Charles, 73, and William, 39, leading efforts to persuade him to stop the case dragging on to protect the family from further humiliation – according to royal sources.

But a source said: “The Duke will be ready to defend himself in court.”

Virginia Giuffre could be asked detailed questions about her alleged night with Andrew AFPThe prince denied being close with Ghislaine Maxwell, who is a convicted sex trafficker[/caption]
- Jon Rogers
I was forced to have an EXORCISM because a priest was so scared of my ‘demonic’ tattoos

A WOMAN has claimed a priest once performed an exorcism on her because of her “demonic” tattoos.

Heavily tattooed DeeDee Villegas, 30, from Cebu, Philippines, first got into tattoo culture due to peer pressure – and is now covered in inkings that took 200 hours to complete.

mediadrumimages.com/@thedeedeeviDeeDee Villegas says she got her first tattoo due to peer pressure[/caption] mediadrumimages.com/@thedeedeeviDeeDee says a priest performed an exorcism on her because of her tattoos[/caption]

She got her undergraduate degree from the University of San Carlos in Bachelor of Fine Arts, where the students expressed their individuality in extremes.

DeeDee’s first tattoo was a tribal design on her neck of no special significance.

However, she got entrenched in the culture when she discovered the rich historical significance and importance tattoos had in cultures around the world.

Over the last 12 years, DeeDee has spent more than £20,000 tattooing 60-70 per cent of her body – including her eyeballs.

Her tats have taken more than 200 hours to complete and cover her entire body except for her stomach and legs.

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In addition to her body art, which DeeDee considers as one continuing interconnected work of art, she also has 12 facial piercings.

Being heavily modified and lesbian in the Philippines is said to come with a number of challenges.

DeeDee was once exorcised on public transport by a priest and frequently has people quote bible quotes at her for her or their own “protection”.

“I got my first tattoo during my emo goth college phase, mainly due to peer pressure,” DeeDee said.

“At first it was a fashion stance and later it evolved into an outlet for me.

“When I felt extreme emotion or suffered from bouts of depression or anxiety tattoos became my coping mechanism.

“It did not last very long, and I underwent rehab to overcome my depression, but tattoos became a permanent form of expression for me.

“I got permanently invested in them when I did a course on art appreciation and learnt the rich historical significance of tattoos.”

Throughout her adult life DeeDee has advocated against “tattoo discrimination”, but says things have started to improve.

She claims the Philippines have evolved in terms of accepting heavily modified as well as LGBTQ members over the years.

VERBAL ABUSE

“In the Philippines, it is a challenge still, I am to this day regularly verbally abused on the street,” DeeDee said.

“However, there is a change noticeable, there are careers that the heavily modified can apply for and thrive in.

“There was a time when you would not get a face-to-face interview with a visible tattoo and that has changed.”

DeeDee believes social media has been the greatest influencing medium in the journey of heavily modified individuals being accepted in Philippine society.

mediadrumimages.com/@thedeedeeviDeeDee has even had her eyeballs inked[/caption] mediadrumimages.com/@thedeedeeviDeeDee has spent £20,000 getting her body tattooed[/caption]

- Patrick Knox
Where to buy Argos return pallets

ARGOS pallet returns are a great way to make money refurbishing and recycling returned goods — and then selling them on.

Here’s what you need to know.

Pallet returns are a great way to make money refurbishing and recycling returned goods What are Argos return pallets? 

Return pallets are pallets of returned goods. They are sold at hugely discounted prices by the pallet load.

A lot of money can be made by refurbishing and reselling the used merchandise online.

Typically, the more you are willing to buy, the cheaper the cost

The pallet or bundle will usually carry an “estimated retail value” and it’s almost always sold off via an auction.

Most read in The Sun FAMILY'S FURY Monster gave Angel a life sentence but he'll be out in two years, say family 'DEVASTATING' Gran, 49, detained after grandson, 5, stabbed to death as family pay tribute SCHO SAD This Morning's Phillip Schofield breaks down in tears at emotional TV finale PRICE ISN'T RIGHT Kerry 'gutted' as Katie joins OnlyFans & forgets to use her referral code FACE-OFF Seven bizarre claims in Andrew's defence that spark more questions than answers 'LOVED & ADMIRED' Barry Cryer's family share heartfelt tribute after beloved comedian dies Where can I buy an Argos return pallet? 

As well as major retailers, many websites sell return pallets in bulk.

MartHill Internationalgemwholesale.co.ukwholesaleclearance.co.ukEbaydiscounthouse.co.ukwilliamgeorge.comnow-sale.co.ukhopite.co.uk Who else does return pallets?

For Amazon pallets, the company partnered with B-Stock to launch Amazon Liquidation Auctions.

Amazon Liquidation Auctions is the official b2b marketplace where you can buy overstock merchandise directly from Amazon.

In order to bid on an auction, you first have to register with B-Stock and be approved to bid. There is no fee for applying or for being an approved buyer.

Right now, Amazon Liquidation Auctions is only accepting applications from the US and you must have a valid reseller certificate to be eligible.

In the UK, you can register on the Amazon EU Liquidation Auctions marketplace separately.

- Tariq Tahir
I spent 3 years in Putin’s torture prison where inmates are brutalised & killed – I smuggled out vids to show the world

A EX-PRISON inmate has described how he spent two years in one of Vladimir Putin’s vicious “torture conveyor belt” dungeons.

Sergey Savelyev bravely smuggled hundreds of hours of horrific footage out of Russia in a bid to lift the lid on the country’s vicious prisons where savage beatings were regularly meted out.

Sergey says prisoners mostly carried out the attacks in return for privileges Other footage shows a man with his hands tied behind his back and face pressed against a wall Sergey smuggled the videos out of prison

In an exclusive interview with The Sun Online, he revealed how Russian prisons are cesspits of violence in which inmates are subject to degrading sexual violence.

The 32-year-old Sergey was sentenced to nine years behind bars for drugs offences in 2013.

He was transferred to the OTB-1, a prison the Saratov region, close to the border with Kazakhstan in 2016.

As someone who worked in IT, he was given the job of working the in the security department archiving CCTV footage.

He told The Sun Online “I had to watch videos all the time, it was part of my job” but soon among the hundreds of hours of footage sickening images began to appear.

“From beatings and humiliation to the most inhuman violence, including sexual violence, which sometimes reached murder,” said Sergey, who is from Belarus.

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The revelations come as the world sits on a knife edge to see what Putin will invade Ukraine.

It could be a grim warning for any of his enemies who may find themselves in his grip – with Russian backed rebels already understood to be operating torture prisons.

Videos that have emerged show at least five inmates being urinated on, raped and violated with blunt objects.

The videos were shared with Gulagu.net, Russian campaigners who highlight the country’s shocking prison conditions.

Another shows naked man screaming in pain as he is tied to a bed and violated with a mop handle at a tuberculosis hospital in a Saratov jail.

“During the last three years of my imprisonment – 2018, 2019 and 2020 – I came across such videos on a regular basis,” he said.

“Sometimes it was several records a week, sometimes only a couple per month, but the torture was carried out there on a systematic basis for many years. So I saw a lot of these records.”

He explained that the violence was carried out by other prisoners acting on behalf of the guards who were given privileges in return.

“The scale is simply amazing. The reaction of the staff to what was happening, of course, struck me.

BUILT ON VIOLENCE

“The cynicism and indifference with which they created the conditions for the existence of this torture conveyor.

“They did not care at all that they were living people. This is literally a territory of lawlessness, where, at the call of a superior leader, any person can be seized and subjected to terrible abuse.

“This is a huge system that is built on violence and intimidation of people.”

Sergey said he was himself beaten when he first arrived in prison when “I learned first hand how confessions are knocked out”.

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“For more than two months I was beaten, pressured and forced to sign papers.”

Eventually as his sentence was coming to an end, Sergey decided to make copies of the videos and smuggle them out of jail.

“Of course, there were many reasons. And the fact that I myself was tortured and ill-treated,” he explained.

A video that Sergey Savalayev leaked showing a prisoner being urinated on Inmates forced to stand naked in front of guards in other footage A prisoner surrounded by officers

“When I had access to such irrefutable evidence of the crimes of this system, I just had to show it to people.

“Having witnessed such crimes, there are only two ways – to pass by, pretending that nothing happened and move on, or try to change something. I chose the second way.

“It was scary all the time. The risk was enormous, without exaggeration. I took a lot of precautions.”

He eventually handed over 1000 videos to Gulagu.net but the Russian authorities caught up with him.

In September 2021 he was stopped at St Petersburg airport as he was travelling to Novosibirsk and men in plain clothes started questioning him.

He managed to convince them he would co-operate and he was eventually let go.

Sergey was then able to make his way to Belarus and then to France, where he lives now.

Despite threats and attempts to blackmail him, he said he won’t be intimidated though hasn’t ruled out the possibility the Russian government could have him killed.

“Prison sentences against hundreds of sadists and criminals will not change this system – some sadists will be replaced by others,” he said,

“Our main task is to achieve reforms in the Russian penitentiary system, to eliminate torture and to achieve respect for human rights

“These torture conveyors have been in the making for decades, they won’t just give up. But we are not going to give up either.”

Vladimir Putin has been accused of overseeing a brutal prison system
- Jennifer Roback
Who designed Minnie Mouses’ new look?

MINNIE Mouse first debuted in Steamboat Willie back in 1928 and has since been a staple character for The Walt Disney Company.

She is known for her white gloves, a bow, polka-dotted dress, white bloomers, and low-heeled shoes but got a new look in January 2022.

Minnie Mouse has a new look Who designed Minnie Mouses’ new look?

For the first time in Minnie Mouses’ 93-year-history, she will now be rocking a pantsuit for the celebration of Disneyland Paris’ 30th Anniversary.

The new look was created by Stella McCartney.

“I am delighted to be working with the one, the only, the iconic Minnie Mouse,” McCartney said in a statement, via People.

“What I love about Minnie is the fact that she embodies happiness, self-expression, authenticity and that she inspires people of all ages around the world. Plus, she has such great style!”

When talking about the design, McCartney revealed that Minnie’s new look is inspired by one of her own iconic costumes.

“I wanted Minnie to wear her very first pantsuit at Disneyland Paris, so I have designed one of my iconic costumes – a blue tuxedo – using responsibly sourced fabrics,” the designer explained.

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Adding: “This new take on her signature polka dots makes Minnie Mouse a symbol of progress for a new generation. She will wear it in honor of Women’s History Month, in March 2022. I can’t wait for you to see this new look at Walt Disney Studios Park!”

Who is Stella McCartney?

Born September 13, 1971, McCartney, 50, is known as an English fashion designer who has her own self-titled clothing brand.

She is also famously known as the daughter of English singer-songwriter Sir Paul McCartney and the late Linda McCartney.

Prior to her role in the fashion industry, McCartney obtained a degree from Ravensbourne University in London.

Over the years, she has designed countless pieces including clothes, handbags, shoes, and children’s clothes. She has also collaborated with big brands such as Adidas and Disney.

As of January 2022, she has an estimated net worth of $75million, according to Celebrity Net Worth.

GettyIt was designed by Stella McCartney[/caption] What have people said about Minnie’s new look?

Since the release of Minnie’s new look, many have had mixed opinions of it.

Candance Owens openly discussed her views on-air during Wednesday’s Fox News broadcast, claiming that Disney is trying to distract people from real issues by “trying to destroy fabrics of our society.”

“This is why people don’t take these people seriously,” Owens said.

“They’re taking all of these things that nobody was offended by. It’s like they have to get rid of them and destroy them because they’re bored. You know, they’re absolutely bored.”

She later went on to claim this is an attempt to distract people from real political and economic issues.

“They’re trying to destroy fabrics of our society, pretending that there’s issues so everybody looks over here,” Owens continued. “Look at Minnie Mouse, don’t look at inflation, [Jesse Watters]. Look at Minnie Mouse!

“The world is going forward because you’ve got her in a pantsuit. Never mind that you can’t get anything at the grocery store and you can’t buy a piece of bacon unless you’ve got $30 in your pocket. At least we’re addressing the real problem, which is Minnie Mouse!”

Other users on Twitter seemed to share Owens’ opinion with one writing: “More woke bs. The design’s nice, but we’re talking about a character that is almost 100 years old. The og look is timeless, and the whole point of it was to differentiate her from Mickey(especially back in the 20s). Minnie in a suit makes her look like Mickey in a suit.”

Despite some negative feedback, there are others who have expressed different opinions based on Owens’ comments.

One user added, “Oh look, there’s Minnie Mouse in pants. Somehow, not destroying the fabric of society. Just being an adorable cartoon mouse, as one does.”

Another wrote, “If things like Minnie Mouse changing outfits can destroy your society than it was worthless to begin with.”

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- Jon Rogers
Inside Madeleine McCann suspect Christian B’s disturbing chat history that exposes his paedophile fantasies

CHRISTIAN B’s online chat history has revealed the prime suspect in the Madeleine McCann case had disturbing paedophile fantasies.

German prosecutors are now certain Christian B is responsible for the toddler’s disappearance in 2007 and he is being investigated “on suspicion of murder” although he has not yet been charged.

Christian B is the prime suspect in the disapperance of Madeleine McCann but has not been chargedBild Madeleine vanished from a Portuguese holiday resort in May 2007PA:Press Association

The convicted rapist and paedophile allegedly discussed kidnapping and sexually abusing a child in a chatroom exchange in September 2013.

In one exchange with his online pal he reportedly claimed he would make a lot of films if he were to capture a “little one”.

While on the darknet in another exchange he is said to have written: “Capture something small and use it for days, that’s it,” reports RTL.

When a pal responded to warn him this could be dangerous, Christian B reportedly responded: “Oh, if the evidence is destroyed afterwards.”

It is not known if Christian B ever carried out this sick fantasy for real.

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Cops became aware of the online chats after his then girlfriend reported him for an attack in 2015 and his home was searched.

Officers discovered a video camera with a memory card loaded with horrific images of child pornography.

When another of his properties was searched police found more memory sticks under the body of his dog.

More than 8,000 images and videos have been evaluated by investigators with most said to contain pictures or footage of abused infants, children or young people.

Around 100 files have been connected to Christian B and came across the chat logs while they were assessing the files.

Cops raided Christian B’s properties and discovered memory cards containing pornographic images of youngsters

Christian B, who cannot be legally name in full, was first thrust into the frame in 2017 after allegedly confessing to abducting Madeleine in a bar.

He was reportedly chatting to the friend in Germany when a TV report came on about the tenth anniversary of the girl’s disappearance and he suggested he knew what had happened to her.

‘SNATCHED HER’

German sources claim he boasted he had “snatched her” but didn’t say he had killed her.

Christian B then allegedly showed a video of himself raping a 72-year-old tourist in Portugal in 2005, which he was later convicted and jailed for eight years over.

A number of potential links have since arisen – including an alleged conversation about Madeleine in a chatroom before police began honing in on him in 2013.

It is not clear if it is the same chat as the one where he divulged his kidnapping fantasies.

Among the growing body of facts linking him to Madeleine’s disappearance is he was revealed to be living in a campervan in Praia da Luz in Portugal around the time the youngster vanished on May 3, 2007.

He also took a mysterious 30-minute phonecall just one hour before the disappearance and had also rented two homes in Portugal just miles from the Ocean Club where Madeleine was staying.

Christian B – born in Germany in 1976 before moving to Portugal in his late teens – has a list of convictions for sexual abuse against children, drug offences and rape.

Hans Christian Wolters, a spokesman for the Braunschweig Public Prosecutor’s Office, said previously: “With the suspect, we are talking about a sexual predator who has already been convicted of crimes against little girls and he’s already serving a long sentence.”

Police in Germany fear the drifter, who stole from hotels in Praia da Luz, may have snatched Madeleine after first entering the holiday home to raid it.

As well as the campervan, the drug dealer and burglar also been linked to a 1993 Jaguar XJR6 with a German number plate seen in Praia da Luz and surrounding areas in 2006 and 2007.

On May 4, 2007 – the day after Madeleine vanished – he got the Jaguar re-registered in Germany under someone else’s name although it is believed the vehicle remained in Portugal.

German police believe one of the two vehicles were used in the disappearance of Madeleine.

The suspect’s extensive rap sheet includes sex attacks on kids, indecent images, sexual coercion, theft and breaking and entering, reports Bild.

He was first convicted aged just 17 in Bavaria in 1994 for “abusing a child” and “performing sex acts in front of a child”.

The holiday home where Maddie went missingPA:Press Association Christian B also spent time in a ramshackle farmhouse close to the apartmentEPA One of the homes rented by Christian BPA:Press Association

- Rebecca Husselbee
Incredible story of teen honey trap assassins who lured ‘dozens’ of Nazis to their deaths after joining resistance

The harrowing tale of two teenage Nazi killing sisters who seduced & lured Nazi soldiers to their deaths has been revealed.  

Freddie Oversteegan was just 14-years-old when she joined the Dutch resistance along with her older sister Truus, 16, as Hitler’s German army invaded the Netherlands in 1940. 

whatshernamepodcast.comFreddie and her older sister Truus joined the Dutch resistance as teens and shot dead ‘Nazi traitors’[/caption] www.family-tree.co.ukHannie Schaft known to Nazi authorities as ‘the girl with the red hair’ was also part of the killer trio[/caption]

The pair, raised by their communist working-class mother, were sent on dangerous assassination missions or were tasked with leading German soldiers astray as part of a deadly resistance cell. 

Due to their age, Freddie and Truus rarely raised suspicion and were able to discreetly follow targets on their bikes with pistols hidden in their baskets before gunning them down or keeping a lookout for other resistance fighters.

They also used dynamite to blow up bridges and railway lines as well saving countless Jewish children’s lives by smuggling them out of the country or helping them escape Nazi death camps. 

The siblings were considered to be so lethal that to this day no one knows the exact amount of Nazis & Dutch informers the pair were able to assassinate. 

Speaking after Truus’ death aged 92, her daughter Hannie Menger revealed, ‘my mother drove the bicycle and Freddie sat on the back and was shooting because they were girls, no one ever noticed them.’ 

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In an early assignment, the siblings were asked to flirt with German soldiers so that a Nazi warehouse could be burnt to the ground while later being tasked with seducing a high-ranking soldier, luring him into the woods where he would be shot dead. 

Speaking to Vice in 2016 Freddie said: “Truus had met him in an expensive bar, seduced him, and then took him for a walk in the woods. She was like, ‘want to go for a stroll?’ and of course, he wanted to. 

“Then they ran into someone—which was made to seem a coincidence but he was one of ours. 

“…And then shots were fired, so that man never knew what hit him. They had already dug the hole, but we weren’t allowed to be there for that part.”

Today marks Holocaust Memorial Day – a day that commemorates millions of Jews and other victims of the Holocaust during the Second World War.

It will be 76 years to the day that the Nazi death Auschwitz was liberated by Soviet forces, where 1.1 million Jews, Romanies, ethnic Poles, prisoners of war, homosexuals and Jehovah’s Witnesses were slaughtered.   

BABY-FACED ASSASSINS 

Freddie and Truus grew up in the city of Haarlem where their mother taught them the importance of fighting injustice.

As war loomed the family began sharing anti-nazi literature & taking Jewish refugees into their home. 

In 1941, when their mother was approached by a group of Dutch resistance fighters who asked if her daughters would consider taking up arms, she consented and the girls agreed. 

As they left their mother gave them one piece of advice, ‘always stay human’. 

Freddie joked that she thought she’d be joining ‘a kind of secret army’ and the only two girls to signup began their military training.

She would be the first to shoot dead a ‘Nazi traitor’ but the sisters struggled to come to terms with their role as trained killers and it often brought them to tears.

Truus, who went on to become a public speaker, revealed: “It was tragic and very difficult and we cried about it afterwards.

“We did not feel it suited us—it never suits anybody, unless they are real criminals … One loses everything. It poisons the beautiful things in life.”

After their early missions, the deadly cell later expanded with the addition of Hannie Schaft, known to Nazi authorities as the ‘girl with the red hair’. 

They formed an incredible bond until Hannie was captured at a German checkpoint during a mission and executed 18 days before the Netherlands was liberated. 

“We did not feel it [killing] suited us—it never suits anybody, unless they are real criminals … One loses everything. It poisons the beautiful things in life.”

Truus Oversteegan

Her final words to her executioners were, ‘I’m a better shot’ after only being initially wounded by the firing squad. 

As WW2 ended and the Cold war began, the sibling’s war efforts were not celebrated but condemned by the Dutch Government as the Nazi fighting trio were branded communists. 

It wasn’t until 2014 when Hannie was awarded a posthumous military medal that Freddie opened up about her time as a teen in the Dutch splinter cell, while Truus, who married a resistance fighter, spoke freely about her missions. 

Both however struggled to come to terms with their war trauma and losing their best friend Hannie despite achieving the ultimate goal of saving the lives of many Jewish children. 

Freddie told Vice in 2016 that she coped by ‘getting married and having children’ but she suffered from terrible insomnia and dreamt of the people she had assassinated. 

She said: “She’d [Truus] visit Hannie a lot—the mother of Hannie Schaft. I have always been a little jealous of her because she got so much attention after the war. 

“But then I’d just think, ‘I was in the resistance as well…”

Also speaking to the Washington Post, she said: “We had to do it, It was a necessary evil, killing those who betrayed the good people”.

When asked how many people she had killed or helped kill, she said ‘one should not ask a soldier any of that’. 

After Freddie’s death aged 93, her son Remi Dekker revealed:” If you ask me, the war only ended two weeks ago.

“In her mind, it was still going on, and on, and on. It didn’t stop, even until the last day.”

Freddie struggled to cope with her war trauma and remained out of the spotlight for many years Mediadrumimages/TomMarshall(PhotThe pair, inspired by their communist mother, were on a mission to save Jewish refugees[/caption]
- Tariq Tahir
I found harrowing lost letter from Holocaust victim who escaped Auschwitz death train & I delivered it 76 years on

A LETTER written by a woman who jumped from a train to escape being taken to Auschwitz was delivered to her relative – some 76 years after it was written.

Ilse Loewenberg survived the Holocaust but after the war wrote to her sister to give her the devastating news the rest of the family were among the six million Jews murdered by the Nazis.

SuppliedIlse Loewenberg jumped from a train to escape being sent to Auschwitz[/caption] SuppliedChelsey Brown is an heirloom detective who returns artefacts to rightful owners[/caption] SuppliedThe letter Ilse wrote to her sister Carla revealing their family’s fate[/caption]

Incredibly the letter turned up in a New York flea market and the woman who found it was able to send it to Ilse’s great niece.

Chelsey Brown, 28, managed to track down Jill Butler and give her the letter written by her beloved relative Ilse, who died in 2001 aged 92.

“When I first called her she thought it was a scam but I said ‘no, no it’s real’.  She was over the moon, she was in shock,” she told The Sun Online for Holocaust Memorial Day.

“These items were meant to be with her. It was like bringing Ilse to life for a few moments.”

The heartbreaking letter was written in August 1945 to sister Carla and broke the news their mum and dad, sisters Lieselotte and Margarete all died in Auschwitz.

And to add to the tragedy, her own husband had been shot by the Gestapo.

“Through the kindness of our liberators, I am able to give you a sign of life from me after so many years… Dad, Mom, Grete, Lottchen and Hermann: no one is alive anymore,” the letter reads.

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“My pain is unspeakably big. My husband, whom I married 3.5 years ago, was also taken from me! “When there will be a regular mail connection, I will tell you everything in detail.” 

Chelsey is an interior designer and influencer who scours flea markets to pick out vintage items for her 71,000 Instagram followers.

But over the year she also came across personal items and since last summer has turned heirloom detective to reunite them with families – using her own money.

She explained there is a thriving market for Holocaust family heirlooms such as letters but believes they should be with their rightful owners.

“Holocaust documentation is sold underground or online for really high prices so it’s rare to find these documents at the thrift or flea market,” she said.

I knew that I had to get this back to the right family

Chelsey Brown

“I made a relationship with a vendor who would bring me in letters and things from World War One, World War Two.

“He happened to mention Holocaust letters that he got 30 years ago. It took me about a month to persuade him to bring them into the flea market.”

She began to read the letters, which were in German, with the help of a translator but as she began to read Ilse’s, her incredible story jumped off the page.

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“So I basically lied to the seller and said it was a letter about food stamps because if he knew what it was about he wouldn’t sell it to me or charge me thousands.”

After getting hold of the letter and other related documents in late October, she was able to track down Jill before Thanksgiving using MyHeritage.com and a lot of Google research.

“I knew that I had to get this back to the right family,” she said.

SuppliedChelsey said she was determined to reunite the Ilse’s letter with her surviving relatives[/caption] SuppliedJill Butler initially thought the letter was a scam[/caption] SuppliedJill at her wedding with holding Ilse’s hand with Carla next to her[/caption]

“We talked on the phone for hours about Ilse and she remains in the back of my mind when I do these returns. Ilse is the reason I keep doing this. It’s people like her that drives me.”

She said the documents are often left behind in house moves or when families break up but she says her and Jill “have no idea” how the letter ended up on the market.

For Chelsey, who lost family in the Holocaust, the heirlooms are an important record.

“They prove the Holocaust did happen. Years from now these documents are what preserve this moment in history.

Ilse was born in Germany in 1908 and when Adolf Hitler came to power joined an anti-Nazi resistance organisation.

In February she was arrested sent to the Auschwitz concentration camp but while on a fast-moving train, she escaped by jumping, Poland.

She went back to Berlin and continued to hide but was arrested again after nine months and spent the rest of the war in prison in Berlin until she was liberated by Russian troops.

TRAIN LEAP

In 1948 she migrated to the United States and settled in New York and later married Ludwig Loewenberg.

Carla also later immigrated to the United States and married husband Siegfried but never had children though his brother Ludwig did.

Jill is his granddaughter and she was very close to her great aunt Ilse, with all three pictured at Jill’s wedding.

After Chelsey reunited her with her sister’s letter, she wrote a moving letter of thanks that summed up what it meant to her family.

“My whole family is truly in awe of all you have done for us,” it read.

“Almost everyone’s first reaction of ‘is this a scam?’ quickly transformed into bewilderment at your selfless dedication to reuniting heirlooms with families.

“We all loved our Great-Aunt Ilse and are thrilled beyond words to read her thoughts in her own handwriting after she emerged from the depths of the European inferno.

“May God bless your noble work and may you receive many blessings in return for all you do for families like mine.”

Getty - ContributorJews arriving at Auschwitz, where Ilse’s family were killed[/caption]
- Georgie Culley
Seven Titanic disaster myths busted – from captain’s ‘breakdown’ to band’s haunting last song and the REAL Jack and Rose

EXCITED crowds congregated at Southampton Docks to watch the maiden voyage of the world’s largest ship – RMS Titanic. 

The luxurious liner was said to be ‘invincible’, but less than one week after she departed the ship struck an iceberg and was submerged by the freezing waters of the Atlantic ocean.

Getty - ContributorThe Titanic was said to be an ‘invincible’ ship before it sank in 1912[/caption] Kobal Collection - ShutterstockHistorian Claes-Göran Wetterhol says Rose and Jack’s doomed love story is based on a real couple[/caption]

The maritime tragedy has made her the most famous ship of all time with many myths surfacing about what really happened that fateful night on 15 April, 1912. 

Swedish historian Claes-Göran Wetterholm, the curator behind a new immersive Titanic exhibition in London, tells The Sun: “The Hollywood movie, Titanic, directed by James Cameron is the best movie ever to be made about what never happened.

“There are so many things I cannot agree with in it and when I met Cameron at the premiere I told him this. But the film’s theme is fantastic and perfectly captures the atmosphere on the ship.

“I have spent many years researching what really happened that night and have spoken to survivors and family members of survivors to help uncover the real story.”

Here, Claes debunks the common myths surrounding the ship’s final hours…

Women and children first? Not quite… 

Due to social norms back in 1912, the accepted story was that men stepped back and let women and children go first into the lifeboats. 

In reality, a lot of men and male crew threw themselves into lifeboats before women and children.

In fact, the difference between men and women saved is only ten people. 

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At the time there were reports that Captain Smith was seen in the water, suggesting he’d tried to save himself.

But his body was never found. 

I doubt this happened as he was not actively taking part in the lifeboat rescue, he was supervising it.

Evidence suggests he had a mental breakdown and couldn’t cope with the tragic situation unfolding and walked back to the bridge and went down with the ship. 

The crew was not drunk

There is no evidence that the crew were drunk and that this caused the crash. 

The rumors started circulating among the public in 1912 when one magazine wrote that Captain Smith was not sober at the time of the collision. 

However, he had attended a dinner party hosted for him by first class passengers George and Eleanor Widener and their son Harry.

Mrs Widener stated afterwards that captain Smith had not touched a drop of alcohol whatsoever, just water, so he was sober at the time of the crash. 

Male survivors didn’t admit jumping into lifeboats

A few men jumped into the sea and survived, but the majority of male survivors jumped straight into lifeboats.

It was impossible to admit this in 1912 as you would have been seen as a coward and would have become a social outcast.

Mystery over the band’s final song

At the start of the 20th century people were still deeply religious and wanted to believe that the last song played as the ship submerged into the icy ocean was a hymn.

Because of this people believe the band performed ‘Nearer My God, To Thee’, a 19th-century hymn published in Hymns and Anthems – a tome used at South Place Chapel, Finsbury, London. 

But if you start scratching below the surface you get too many questions.

I believe the last song the brave musicians played was Songe d’Automne.

The real story behind the movie's Jack and Rose

Historian and Titanic expert Claes-Göran Wetterholm says:

“At our exhibition we have the real diamond necklace worn by Kate Winslet’s character, Rose, in the film.

It belongs to Kate Philips who was just 19 years old when she boarded the ship.

Her lover, Henry Morley, was a wealthy 47-year-old man who was married.

The pair were fleeing Britain under a false name to set up a new life together in America. 

Tragically, he perished that night, but Kate survived and the baby she conceived while at sea was born nine months later.

Cameron based Rose and Jack’s love story in the movie on them. 

We also have a third-class menu from the night the boat sunk and shoes and a blanket worn by a four-year-old survivor, Luise Kink.

She kept them locked away and they were only discovered after her death in August 1992.

It’s a fascinating exhibition which takes you back to that night and helps you to really understand what happened that fateful night.”

First officer didn’t shoot himself like in film

In the Hollywood blockbuster there’s a scene where First Officer William Murdoch shoots a passenger and then turns the gun on himself. 

But it’s just rumours and hearsay.

He was deeply engaged in freeing the last boat when a sudden surge took him and the boat away.

Murdoch disappeared and likely drowned, but 12 people on the boat survived. 

Bigger proportion of third class men survived than in second

Interestingly, a higher proportion of men travelling in third class survived compared to those travelling in second.

The majority of males in second class were British and seen as gentlemen.

They were not trying to save themselves – they were trying to save the women and children.

A lot of the Swedish and Finnish men travelling in third class jumped into the lifeboats.

Only 8 per cent of the men in second class survived, compared to 13 per cent of third class males.

I do find it striking that so few men in second class survived despite having access to the boat deck, where they could have easily entered a lifeboat on the starboard side.

The Titanic exhibition is located at Dock X London in Canada Water and tickets start from £27.90 for adults and £15.90 for children, please see https://feverup.com/london

ReutersThe “Titanic” necklace Rose wore is displayed at Sotheby’s in Beverly Hills[/caption] GettyA model of the vessel at night from Titanic: The Exhibition in London[/caption] GettyClaes believes Captain Smith died inside the wheelhouse of the bridge as the boat sank[/caption] GettyThe real diamond necklace, keys and purse belonging to passenger Kate Philips[/caption] GettyA roomset is seen during the preview of “Titanic: The Exhibition” at Dock X London[/caption] Titanic Exhibition LondonClaes, who has studied the history of the vessel for over 40 years, pictured at the new exhibition[/caption]
- Aliki Kraterou
Prince Andrew will have ‘every single bit of dirty laundry aired in public’ at Virginia Roberts trial, says attorney

PRINCE Andrew will have “every single bit of dirty laundry aired in public,” at the Virginia Roberts trial, a lawyer has claimed.

It comes as Andrew, 62, sensationally demanded a trial by jury overnight in his battle against sex abuse claims.

APPrince Andrew demanded a jury trial[/caption] Attorney Mitchell Epner said “every single bit of dirty laundry he’s ever had will be aired”

Court documents from New York show the royal denies all of the allegations against him and “hereby demands a trial by jury on all causes of action asserted in the complaint”.

And now former US federal prosecutor Mitchell Epner says that Prince Andrew will in reality lose the case, whatever the outcome in court.

“If he goes to trial, he will either lose by having a verdict against him or he will lose because it will be the most pyrrhic victory in history because every single bit of dirty laundry he’s ever had will be aired out in public,” he told GMB.

The lawyer explained the demand for a jury is “a standard thing” he had to do if Ms Giuffre did decide to drop her demand for a jury trial and have the case tried by the judge.

He would not then be “stuck in front of the judge” who so far “has shown enormous antipathy towards Prince Andrew’s attorneys”.

While commenting on the infamous picture which appears to show  Prince Andrew and Virginia Giuffre, the presenter suggested there might have been a reason he had his arm around her to which Epner speculated: “40-year-old men don’t just randomly put their arms around 16 or 17-year-old girls they do not know are not related to, or not the children of friends at random parties.

“That does not occur.”

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It comes as a source has told Mail Online that Andrew is “on a collision course with the palace” over his demand for a trial by jury.

The Duke will also no longer be able to use ‘His Royal Highness’ – and will face his US lawsuit as a “private citizen” meaning he can’t hide behind royal privileges. 

But despite his split with The Firm, it’s thought that his decision to face a jury will mean he will butt heads with the royal family.

Meanwhile, other sources close to the Prince said he is now preparing to give a seven-hour witness statement to lawyers by video call.

A royal insider described the case as a “marathon not a sprint” and the Duke of York is telling Virginia, “I’ll see you in court”.

Ms Giuffre, 38, has accused the Duke of forcing her to sleep with him more than 20 years ago at the home of convicted sex trafficker Ghislaine Maxwell.

The mum-of-three alleged in court documents that she was procured by Maxwell, 57, the daughter of disgraced tycoon Robert Maxwell, as a teenage “sex slave” for Epstein.

In an 11 page document, lawyers for Andrew set out the duke’s response to Ms Giuffre’s allegations.

It says he denies the allegation that he sexually abused Ms Giuffre when she was under 18 years of age.

ARGUMENTS TO DISMISS

His legal reply does admit his links to billionaire paedophile  Jeffrey Epstein and convicted sex trafficker Ghislaine Maxwell.

The document, submitted to the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, also sets out a series of defences “without assuming the burden of proof, and expressly denying any and all wrongdoing”.

This includes arguments that the claim should be dismissed because Ms Giuffre is a permanent resident of Australia and that by entering into the 2009 agreement with Jeffrey Epstein she “waived the claims now asserted in the complaint”.

The document concludes: “Prince Andrew hereby demands a trial by jury on all causes of action asserted in the Complaint.”

The Duke of York filed a point-by-point rebuttal of Ms Giuffre’s abuse allegations five months after she served the writ.

Legal expert Mark Stephens told The Sun that the filing was “classic brinkmanship” from Andrew and his legal team.

Solicitor Mr Stephens said: “He is trying to have his cake and eat it, to go with a modern theme.”

It comes just weeks after Judge Lewis Kaplan threw out his lawyers’ attempts to derail the case by lodging a motion to dismiss claiming she had signed an agreement in 2009 not to pursue.

Andrew was previously thought to be seeking an out-of-court settlement with Roberts after Judge Lewis Kaplan ruled he must stand trial in the US.

The figure was estimated to be up to £10million ($13million) — the amount he will get from selling his chalet in Verbier, Switzerland.

In 2019, Ms Guiffre claimed she had sex with Prince Andrew in a toilet when she was 17, after a night where he had allegedly been plying her with vodka in a posh London club.

SEE YOU IN COURT

The royal has vehemently denied the accusations against him, branding them “false” and “without foundation”.

When questioned about the claims during his car crash Newsnight interview, Andrew said he was at Pizza Express in Woking, Surrey, when the assault is alleged to have happened.

He also cast doubt on Virginia’s recollection of the night.

But in September 2021, Ms Giuffre’s legal team confirmed they had issued Andrew with a writ ahead of his pre-trial in New York.

Andrew is named as the only defendant in the 15-page suit, brought under New York state’s Child Victims Act, though Epstein and his former girlfriend Ghislaine Maxwell are mentioned frequently throughout.

Ms Giuffre’s lawsuit stated: “In this country no person, whether president or prince, is above the law, and no person, no matter how powerless or vulnerable, can be deprived of the law’s protection.

“Twenty years ago Prince Andrew’s wealth, power, position, and connections enabled him to abuse a frightened, vulnerable child with no one there to protect her. It is long past the time for him to be held to account.”

Virginia Giuffre’s lawyer David Boies welcomed the prospect of a public showdown tonight.

He said: “Prince Andrew’s Answer continues his approach of denying any knowledge or information concerning the claims against him, and purporting to blame the victim of the abuse for somehow bringing it on herself.

“We look forward to confronting Prince Andrew with his denials and attempts to blame Ms. Giuffre for her own abuse at his deposition and at trial.”

AFPThe infamous photo of Prince Andrew, Virginia Roberts, and Ghislaine Maxwell[/caption] Virginia Roberts Giuffre reportedly told another one of Epstein's victims she had sex with Prince AndrewThe Duke denies allegations made against him by Virginia Giuffre
- Anthony Blair
Seven bizarre claims from Prince Andrew’s legal papers that spark more questions than answers in rape lawsuit

PRINCE Andrew has issued a defiant response to the sex abuse claims brought against him, as he faces charges of assault in the US.

The Duke of York has denied being a close friend of Ghislaine Maxwell, the convicted sex trafficker, while his lawyers say he wants a trial by jury to contest the claim brought against him by Virginia Giuffre.

APPrince Andrew has responded to Virginia Giuffre’s sex assault charges against him[/caption]

Guiffre claims in 2001 she was trafficked by Maxwell and billionaire financier Jeffrey Epstein to have sex with Andrew in London when she was 17, and a minor in US law.

She also alleges she was forced to have sex with him at homes belonging to Epstein in New York and the US Virgin Islands.

Andrew faces damages which could “easily” be in excess of £14m if he loses the civil case, according to lawyers.

The Duke has consistently denied all the allegations, and on Wednesday, his lawyers officially filed documents to court. A trial is scheduled for later this year.

Here are seven bombshells from Prince Andrew’s court documents.

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In 2010, Andrew went to visit convicted paedophile Jeffrey Epstein at his Manhattan home, staying there for several days.

When speaking to BBC Newsnight in 2019, he said he went to visit the disgraced financier so that he could end the friendship.

He said: “At the time I felt it was the honourable and right thing to do and I admit fully that my judgement was probably coloured by my tendency to be too honourable but that’s just the way it is.”

In her legal papers, Giuffre’s lawyers write: “In 2010, after Epstein had served his sentence and registered as a sex offender, Prince Andrew was photographed with Epstein in Central Park and stayed at Epstein’s New York City mansion.”

Andrew’s lawyers, responding to this point, say he admits staying at the £50m townhouse but doesn’t admit or deny whether he knew Epstein was a registered sex offender at the time.

Denies being close friends with Maxwell Camera PressAndrew denies being good friends with sex offender Ghislaine Maxwell[/caption]

Prince Andrew has admitted befriending paedophile Epstein but denies being close pals with Ghislaine Maxwell.

Giuffre’s legal team has alleged: “Prince Andrew was a close friend of Ghislaine Maxwell, a British socialite who spent years overseeing and managing Epstein’s sex trafficking network, and actively recruited underage girls, including Plaintiff.”

The Duke’s lawyers said he “denies” being close friends with Maxwell, and admits “he lacks sufficient information to admit or deny the remaining allegations”.

It comes after it was reported Maxwell visited Buckingham Palace up to four times in one day.

Speaking on the ITV documentary Ghislaine, Prince Andrew and the Paedophile, former royal bodyguard Paul Page said: “From the way [Maxwell] was allowed to enter and exit the palace at will, we suspected that she may have had an intimate relationship with Prince Andrew.

Brit socialite Maxwell, 60, was convicted last month of five counts of sex trafficking and other charges for grooming and recruiting teenage girls for Jeffrey Epstein between 1994 and 2004.

She faces up to 65 years in prison when she is sentenced in New York later this year.

Claims he wasn’t frequent guest of Epstein

The Duke has denied that he was “a frequent guest in Epstein’s various homes around the world, including New York City,” where he has been accused of sexually abusing Giuffre.

In his 11-page “answer and affirmative defenses” to Giuffre’s civil complaint, the Duke said he met Epstein “in or around 1999”.

Andrew was pictured with Epstein in New York’s Central Park in 2010 and admitted staying with him for several days despite knowing he was a convicted sex offender.

When questioned about why he stayed at a paedophile’s mansion by Emily Maitlis on BBC’s Newsnight in 2019, he replied: “It was a convenient place to stay.”

During this stay, many young women were reportedly seen coming and going from the house, and literary agent John Brockman claimed to have seen the prince getting a foot massage from a young Russian woman, alongside Epstein, something he has denied.

Doesn’t know if Virginia Roberts picture exists Nicholas RazzellAndrew says he doesn’t know whether he was pictured with Virginia Roberts[/caption]

By far the most damaging photo of the Duke of York appears to show him with his arm around the 17-year-old while Maxwell watches on in the background.

The picture was allegedly taken by Epstein at Maxwell’s London house after the four of them went to Tramp nightclub, before, Giuffre alleges, Andrew had sex with her.

In court papers, Andrew says he “lacks sufficient information to admit or deny” that he was pictured with Maxwell and Giuffre.

On Newsnight, the prince claimed he had “no recollection” of the photo being taken and said it could have been “doctored”.

Andrew insisted that he had never been upstairs at Maxwell’s house, where the photo was taken and said he always wore a “suit and tie” in London.

This is despite the fact he was previously pictured wearing a similar-looking open-necked blue shirt after a night out at London’s Chinawhite club.

Doesn’t know if he invited Epstein to Beatrice’s 18th birthday Harvey Weinstein, Jeffrey Epstein, and Ghislaine Maxwell and Princess Beatrice’s 18th birthday

In August 2006, Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson’s eldest daughter Beatrice celebrated her 18th birthday with a Victorian-themed “coming-of-age” masked ball.

Pictured at the party together were Maxwell, her on-off partner Jeffrey Epstein, and now-disgraced Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein.

Beatrice wore a £10,000 dress designed by Georgina Chapman, who at the time was dating the sex offender film producer.

Chapman married Weinstein in 2007 but separated from him in 2017 after more than 90 women came forward with accusations of rape, assault, or sexual harassment against him.

Epstein was photographed at the Windsor Castle bash, despite the fact he had already been charged with procuring a minor for prostitution a month earlier.

Andrew has not denied inviting Epstein to Beatrice’s birthday but said he lacks sufficient information to know if he did.

Giuffre’s alleged causes of action are barred in whole or in part by her own wrongful conduct

Prince Andrew's lawyers Doesn’t know whether he emailed Maxwell about Giuffre in 2015

Giuffre’s legal team allege Prince Andrew emailed Ghislaine Maxwell in early 2015 after she had publicly accused the Duke of sexually abusing her.

Andrew is reported to have written: “Let me know when we can talk. Got some specific questions to ask you about Virginia Roberts.”

Responding, Andrew’s lawyers claim he “lacks sufficient information” to admit or deny whether or not he sent this email.

Claims Guiffre and others were responsible for her own alleged abuse

The prince has refuted Giuffre’s major claim of “sexual abuse” and “rape” when she was “under the age of 18”.

His lawyers have stated: “Assuming, without admitting, that Giuffre has suffered any injury or damage, Giuffre and/or others, who are not Prince Andrew, contributed in whole or in part to the alleged damage.”

Andrew’s legal team also listed “consent” and the “doctrine of unclean hands” – alleging Giuffre acted unethically related to the accusations – among his defences.

“Giuffre’s alleged causes of action are barred in whole or in part by her own wrongful conduct,” they wrote.

- Debbie White
When is Holocaust Memorial Day 2022?

HOLOCAUST Memorial Day commemorates the genocide of millions of Jews and other victims during the Second World War at the hands of the Nazis.

Every year countries hold a moment of silence to remember the unimaginable tragedy that claimed the lives of six million Jews.

Getty Images - GettyWomen imprisoned in the barracks at Auschwitz, January 1945[/caption] When is Holocaust Memorial Day 2022?

Holocaust Memorial Day is marked on Thursday, January 27, 2022.

This day registers the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, the largest Nazi death camp, at the end of the Second World War, in 1945.

Early in the war, most prisoners were Poles, rounded up by the occupying German forces.

Later, Auschwitz was transformed into a mass killing site for Jews, Roma and others, operating until the liberation by Soviet forces on January 27, 1945.

EPAPiles of shoes and clothes that belonged to people brought to Auschwitz for extermination at the former German Nazi concentration and extermination camp KL Auschwitz-Birkenau in Oswiecim, Poland, 1945[/caption]

The international day remembers the six million Jews murdered during the Holocaust, alongside the millions of other people killed under Nazi persecution.

The Holocaust, also known as the Shoah – which means “destruction” in Hebrew – took place between 1941 and 1945.

The genocide saw Jews targeted – while Romani people, ethnic Poles, Soviet citizens, Soviet prisoners of war, political opponents, homosexuals and Jehovah’s Witnesses were also slaughtered.

Any group which did not match the behaviour of the prescribed norms was targeted.

The Nazis were the orchestrators of the Holocaust.

EPAEach of these cases were registered and marked as part of the Nazis’ criminal enterprise[/caption] How will it be marked in the UK and US? UK

In the UK, the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust (HMDT) is “encouraging remembrance in a world scarred by genocide”.

The UK Holocaust Memorial Day 2021 ceremony will be streamed online from 7pm-8pm for the trust’s first digital commemoration.

At 8pm, Brits are asked to “Light the Darkness”.

The Trust said: “Households across the UK will be lighting candles and putting them in their windows to remember those who were murdered for who they were, and to stand against prejudice and hatred today.”

Follow #HolocaustMemorialDay or #LightTheDarkness on Twitter.

Entrance to hell... The unloading ramp and the main gate called the 'Gate of Death'Entrance to hell… the unloading ramp and the main gate called the ‘Gate of Death’EPA US

In the US, people will take part in the International Holocaust Remembrance Day Commemoration.

This happens on Thursday, January 28, from 6pm ET.

The US Holocaust Memorial Museum said that during the ceremony, survivors will reflect and honor the lives of the Jews who perished and those who chose to help.

The public is invited to share reflections on social media using #HolocaustRememberanceDay.

Most of the victims had been living ordinary lives before the war only to find themselves in AuschwitzMost of the victims had been living ordinary lives before the war only to find themselves in AuschwitzEPA

Because of the Covid pandemic, they are restricted to online events.

What atrocities are remembered on Holocaust Memorial Day?

The Nazis established killing centres for efficient mass murder, writes the US Holocaust Memorial Museum.

Unlike Nazi concentration camps, which served mainly as detention and labour centres, killing centres – also referred to as “extermination camps” or “death camps” – were almost exclusively “death factories”.

At these death zones, Nazi officials employed assembly-line methods to murder Jews and other victims.

The largest killing centre was Auschwitz-Birkenau, which by spring 1943 had four gas chambers in operation.

At the height of the deportations, an average of 6,000 Jews were gassed each day at Auschwitz II (Birkenau) using Zyklon B, a poisonous gas.

Prisoners who were not gassed in chambers died of starvation, exhaustion, disease, individual executions, beatings, or were killed during horrific medical experiments.

In the second half of 1941, SS doctors selected Auschwitz prisoners and put to death those prisoners they regarded as unfit for labour because of exhaustion or sickness.

They killed these prisoners by lethal injection of phenol to the heart or sent them to the gas chamber at Auschwitz Concentration Camp – which opened in former Polish army barracks in June 1940.

Between 1942-1944, as part of the “final solution of the Jewish question” (Endlösung der Judenfrage), Auschwitz served as the largest Nazi centre for the annihilation of the Jewish population in European countries occupied by and allied to the Third Reich.

The crematory and gas chamber I at Auschwitz

At least 1.1million people including more than 200,000 children and young people, were killed in the gas chambers immediately or soon after arrival at Auschwitz during this time.

These deportees included many figures from Jewish intellectual life – scholars and artists – explains the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum.

“Authorities there treated Jews with the most ruthless, and often quite refined, cruelty. SS men regarded a Jewish life as the least valuable of all,” it adds.

Numerous German physicians took part in criminal medical experiments on concentration camp prisoners.

Heinrich Himmler, Ernst Grawitz and Wolfram Sievers are infamous names connected to atrocities committed during barbaric tests.

Carl Clauberg used a chemical irritant to block women’s fallopian tubes in mass sterilisation tests that killed some of his captive subjects, explains the Jewish Virtual Library.

Fellow evil doctor Josef Mengele was keen to see how long a newborn baby could survive without food.

One of his victims, Ruth Elias, gave birth to a “beautiful big blonde girl” in Auschwitz, “but Mengele ordered that my breast be bound”.

After several days of watching her baby suffer, the starving infant was injected with an overdose of morphine to kill her.

The US Holocaust Memorial Museum has published this map, showing the location of extermination camps

The SS considered the killing centres top secret.

To obliterate all traces of gassing operations, special prisoner units were forced to remove corpses from the gas chambers and cremate them.

The grounds of some killing centres were then landscaped or camouflaged to disguise the murder of millions, adds the US Holocaust Memorial Museum.

In 1945, when Allied troops entered the concentration camps, they discovered piles of corpses, bones, and human ashes – testimony to Nazi mass murder.

Soldiers also found thousands of Jewish and non-Jewish survivors suffering from starvation and disease.

MORE ON THE HOLOCAUST NAZI HUNTERS Story of teen honey trap assassins who lured ‘dozens’ of Nazis to their deaths HELL ESCAPE I found lost letter from Holocaust victim who escaped Auschwitz death train TO HELL & BACK I lived among rotting bodies & was examined naked by Dr Mengele at Auschwitz LIGHT A CANDLE Holocaust Memorial Day 2022: Time of the Light a Candle event BARONESS HELIC We must never forget the Holocaust and make sure it never happens again 'SURVIVED WITH ME' I survived Auschwitz & wear keepsake I hid from brutal Nazis to remember

In the aftermath of the Holocaust, more than 250,000 survivors found shelter in displaced persons camps run by the Allied powers and the United Nations Refugee and Rehabilitation Administration in Germany, Austria, and Italy.

Years after being rescued from Auschwitz, and transported to a new life in America, Madeline Deutsch recalled her traumatic existence at the camp as a teen snatched from a Hungarian ghetto.

She described being utterly terrified by “the beatings, the killings, the dead people that were taken off the train… and the dogs that were released and [would] jump on the people…and tear them apart.”

- Sarah Grealish
Tonga hit by huge 6.2 earthquake just weeks after tsunami killed Brit animal charity worker

A HUGE 6.2 magnitude earthquake has hit Tonga just weeks after a volcanic eruption and tsunami that killed a British animal charity worker.

The quake, which was at a depth of 9 miles, struck about 136.1 miles northwest of the village of Pangai in the Ha’apai islands.

The earthquake struck 136.1 miles northwest of Pangai ReutersDamaged buildings following volcanic eruption and tsunami in Nomuka, Tonga, January 17[/caption] ReutersLocals are clean debris after the volcanic eruption and tsunami, in Nuku’alofa[/caption] EPAPictures showing parts of Tonga before and after the first eruption and tsunami[/caption] EPAThe extent of the devastation is slowly beginning to emerge[/caption]

The group of islands is located between the main island of Tongatapu in the south and the Vava’u island group in the north. 

Angela Glover, 50, died trying to save her dogs after an undersea volcano erupted near the Pacific island earlier this month.

Satellite photographs show once lush green parts of Tonga turned brown and houses flattened.

Meanwhile, the National Weather Service Pago Pago tweeted that based on available data there is currently not a tsunami threat to American Samoa from the earthquake.

According to the United States Geological Survey (USGS) there is a low chance of shaking-related fatalities and economic losses.

There is also a low likelihood of casualties and damage.

There were no immediate reports of the quake being felt in Tonga or neighbouring Fiji.

The area has seen daily earthquake activity since Tonga’s Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai erupted earlier this month.

The latest 5.0 earthquake, was reportedly 26 miles northwest of Nuku‘alofa.

The UK said yesterday the HMS Spey arrived in Nuku’alofa with 30,000 liters of bottled water, medical supplies basic sanitation, and baby products. 

Armed Forces Minister James Heappey said: “Responding to humanitarian crises across the globe is a core part our of Armed Forces’ daily business.

“The crew and company of HMS Spey have demonstrated that this week by delivering this vital aid.

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“The UK is a long-standing partner of the Pacific Islands and having the ship deployed in the Indo-Pacific meant that we could be there for Tonga in their hour of need, as the Island begins to rebuild their homes and communities.”

The Australian government said its ship had completed the 2,050-mile voyage from Brisbane.

It said in a statement: “We appreciate the decision of the government of Tonga to enable HMAS Adelaide to dock and offload the humanitarian and medical supplies, and the high priority it has placed on COVID safety throughout the recovery process.

“The ship is undertaking an entirely contactless delivery of humanitarian assistance and disaster relief supplies.”

DEVASTATION

Other before and after images show the island of Hunga-Tonga-Hunga-Ha’apai has completely disappeared following the volcanic eruption.

The main island Tongatapu has been heavily affected, with water damage being visible to the northern and southern sides.

The government of Tonga described the nation as suffering an “unprecedented disaster”.

New Zealand air force images also show areas blanketed with ash and damaged buildings.

Tongan diplomat Curtis Tu’ihalangingie described the damage as “alarming” and said he feared more deaths.

“Possibly there will be more deaths and we just pray that is not the case,” he said.

Video has also emerged showing the powerful tsunami waves washing ashore, tearing down fences as people flee for their lives.

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According to the Tonga government around 50 people live on Mango and so far 65-year-old woman living there has been confirmed dead.

The volcano which last erupted in 2014, has also caused damage to the islands of Uoleva and Nomuka.

Early data suggests the eruption was the biggest since Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines 30 years ago, New Zealand-based volcanologist Shane Cronin told Radio New Zealand.

APAn Australian Defence Force aircraft unloading supplies at Fua’amotu International Airport[/caption] Brit charity worker Angela Glover was confirmed dead UNOSATA satellite image taken in April 2020 and an image taken after the volcano eruption shows the area covered in volcanic ash[/caption] UNOSATThe volcano last erupted in 2014[/caption] The effects of the Tongan blast were felt as far away as the USA Tonga Meteorological Services, Government of TongaDramatic official aerial maps showed the eruption cloud over Tonga[/caption] Smoking Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai volcano on Jan 7Smoking Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai volcano on Jan 7
- FIONA NIMONI
Russia sparks panic by sending fake signals that warplanes are about to attack Ukraine

RUSSIA sparked panic by sending fake signals that its warplanes were taking off to attack Ukraine, it was revealed yesterday.

Vladimir Putin’s boffins are believed to have placed military jet radar transponders on trucks and vehicles moving around air bases in a ruse to create alarm.

AlamyWorld War III fears cranked higher yesterday as more troops, arms and missiles continued to pour into Putin ally state Belarus, north of Ukraine[/caption] AlamyVladimir Putin’s boffins are believed to have placed military jet radar transponders on trucks and vehicles moving around air bases in a ruse to create alarm[/caption]

The trick encouraged Western satellite monitors to believe huge numbers of aircraft were taxiing for take off to blitz Ukraine.

And the deception on Sunday succeeded in ramping up tension further, goading American and British leaders to launch a united show of military force the following day.

Cunning Putin is believed to be encouraging sabre rattling responses by western powers to allow him to suggest they are the aggressors – to give him an excuse to invade.

A military source revealed: “Russian ‘warplanes’ were being monitored by satellites moving around in circles all day, without pause, as if being mobilised.

“It sparked alarm among foreign air forces and Russia experts believe it was a deception ploy to further raise the threat level.”

World War III fears cranked higher yesterday as more troops, arms and missiles continued to pour into Putin ally state Belarus, north of Ukraine.

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Russian forces are massing in the rogue state – with a border 100 miles from Ukraine capital Kiev – despite warnings that the ruthless strongman may face personal finance sanctions.

The Kremlin claims it is staging military manoeuvres from February 10-20 – but the huge influx of men and hardware far exceeds levels for normal war game exercises.

Meanwhile, diplomatic sources in Ukraine revealed that Russian news channels are now “choking” airwaves with fake news suggesting US troops were preparing to attack.

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- Olivia Burke
Horrors of the ‘world’s most feral kids’ from real-life Mowgli and ‘wolf-children’ to kid raised in chicken coop

WE’VE all seen the Disney epic The Jungle Book – but for a few extraordinary people, the idea of being raised by animals is not just from a fairytale.

Some of the world’s most feral children have been forced to rely on the animal kingdom to adopt them and have grown up isolated from society in the wild.

YouTubeWe have taken a look at the extraordinary tales of some of the world’s most feral children[/caption]

Throughout history, neglectful parents, kidnappings and kids running away have led to youngsters being brought up by a variety of animals.

The children managed to infiltrate their tight-knit groups to effectively become one of them – leaving lasting effects, both physically and psychologically. 

Here are the stories of some of the most extreme feral children who have been found in the wild.

Kamala and Amala – The “wolf-children” Kamala And AmalaAlamy“Wolf-children” Kamala and Amala seen curled up together on the floor[/caption]

In one of the most well-known cases of children discovered living in the wild, two young girls were found in the Indian jungle in the 1920s.

Rescued from a wolves’ den at the tender ages of three and eight, the children had been living with a female wolf and her protective pack.

It was never clear if the two were related or exactly how they ended up there.

They were both later rescued and taken to an orphanage by Reverend J. A. L. Singh, who tried to help them adjust to human life, starting by naming them Kamala and Amala.

But the pair sadly struggled to adapt to soceity after their unbelievable start in life and reportedly continued to display “wolf-like behaviour” – such as walking on all fours, being mostly nocturnal and biting people.

The girls are said to have made some progress, but eventually both passed away due to ill health.

Amala died in 1921 from a kidney infection, before Kamala succumbed to tuberculosis in 1929.

In an interview, the reverend later said that he wondered if it would have been better to leave the children in the wild where he found them.

Marina Chapman – Abducted and left with monkeys marinaYouTubeMarina Chapman was kidnapped when she was five years old and dumped in the jungle[/caption] NINTCHDBPICT000015487685News Group Newspapers LtdShe now lives in Yorkshire with her husband and two children[/caption]

The extraordinary case of Marina Chapman goes back to 1954, when she was kidnapped at just five years old from a remote South American village and later abandoned in the jungle.

She claims she was snatched from her back garden in Colombia and dumped in a rainforest – when a family of capuchin monkeys then took her under their wing. 

Marina, now in her 70s, says she slept in a hollowed tree, lived on berries, roots and bananas, and moved around on all fours like her fellow mammals for five years.

She says she wasn’t given any special treatment by the animals and was reportedly left to scavenge for her own food.

But eventually, they adjusted to her and would endearingly pull lice out of her hair like she was one of them.

Marina paid special tribute to “grandpa monkey” for saving her life after she was poisoned by rotten fruit.

She was later captured by hunters but managed to completely re-integrate into human society and now lives in Yorkshire with her husband and two daughters.

Marina later wrote a book discussing the tales of her remarkable start in life titled The Girl with No Name.

Shamdeo – Raised by wolves Ramu, The Wolf BoyGetty ImagesShamdeo’s teeth were found sharpened to resemble that of a wolves[/caption]

In 1972, a young boy named Shamdeo was found in a forest in India.

The youngster, believed to be around four years old, was living with wolves – even playing with the cubs, feeding and sleeping with them.

His teeth were terrifyingly sharpened to points to resemble that of his peers.

Shamdeo also had long hooked fingernails and matted hair, as well as calluses on the palms of his hands, elbows and knees from crawling around on all fours.

He reportedly enjoyed eating chickens and had become skilled at hunting for them – as well as developing a taste for blood.

Despite attempts to rehabilitate him, he never learned how to speak, but did learn some sign language.

He passed away in February 1985, 13 years after he was rescued.

Sujit Kumar – Locked in a chicken coop sujit-kumar2YouTube / dinesh chandSujit Kumar was eight when he was discovered in Fiji in a chicken coop[/caption]

Sujit Kumar was eight when he was discovered in Fiji in 1978.

He was found in the middle of the road clucking and flapping his arms like a chicken.

Throughout his childhood, his parents had horrifically locked him in a chicken coop, seeing him adopt the bird’s way of life.

Sujit is said to have learned to peck at his food and crouch on chairs as if he was roosting.

His mother committed suicide after his father was murdered and Sujit was left in the care of his grandfather, who cruelly continued to keep him confined with the chickens.

After being rescued, he was taken to an old people’s home where he became aggressive and so was repeatedly tied to a bed, where he remained for another 20 years.

Elizabeth Clayton then emancipated Sujit in 2002, before she set up a charity caring for children in need.

She said: “Sujit tried to bite me when I approached. When he did get fed, he tipped his mushy food onto the floor and pecked at it.”

He is now in an orphanage where he is learning to learn to walk, talk and eat.

Oxana Malaya – “Dog Girl” OxanaYouTube / Mr8063Oxana was eight years old when she was rescued from the dog kennel[/caption]

Oxana Malaya was rescued from her dog kennel home in Ukraine in 1991 where she was kept with a pack of mongrels.

Her alcoholic parents had barbarically left her outside, forcing her to crawl into the kennel to seek warmth and shelter.

She became accustomed to running on all fours, panting with her tongue out and snarling and barking like her canine counterparts.

She was eight years old when she was found in 1991 and had been living with the dogs for the past six years.

Oxana miraculously was able to adjust to human life after her ordeal.

She is now narly 40-years-old and lives in a clinic in Odessa, a city in the south of Ukraine, where she helps with the hospital’s farm animals.

John Ssebunya – Raised by monkeys NINTCHDBPICT000266364861John Ssebunya lived with monkeys after running away from home in 1988YouTube / buenopolis

John Ssebunya ran away from his Ugandan home in 1988 after witnessing his father murder his mother – and eventually found a family in a troop of monkeys.

He ran into the jungle where he stayed and was reportedly adopted by the vervet monkeys.

The boy managed to work his way into the brood by watching the primates and mimicking their behaviour. 

He claims they taught him how to find food and climb trees in order to survive.

John was found in 1991 by a villager at the age of six and placed in an orphanage.

His adoptive father, Paul Wasswa, said: “He was wild.

“He had a lot of hair, which is apparently common in feral children. His knees had grown almost white, from walking on them.

“His nails had grown hugely, and curled around. We still don’t know, we can never know, how much time he really spent with the monkeys, but it certainly changed him.”

John has since learned to speak and even joined the Pearl of Africa children’s choir.

He even returned to the jungle to visit a group of vervet monkeys as part of a BBC documentary, where he proved was able to communicate with them.

Natasha Mikhailova – Brought up by cats and dogs Natasha Mikhailova was raised by cats and dogs after being locked in a room with them for years

This little girl was harrowingly locked in a room for years on end with only her family’s cats and dogs for company.

Natasha Mikhailova was raised by the animals at her home in Chita, Russia, after being shunned by her relatives.

The youngster then began to adopt their behaviour after being starved of human contact.

She paced around on all fours, drank with her tongue and even barked like a dog.

Natasha – who is only the size of a toddler – was rescued by social services after years of neglect and being confined with the family pets.

They found her in ripped and soiled clothing surrounded by the animals.

One neighbour later said: “We didn’t know she existed. They have three vicious dogs they took for walks but we never saw this child.”

Natasha is said to have shunned other children after gaining her freedom and was placed in an orphanage where she received intense rehabilitation. 

- Adriana Elgueta
Brit dad, 68, killed after falling into river during yoga ritual in India as family say he is ‘dearly missed’

A DAD was killed after hitting his head and falling into a river during a yoga ritual in India, an inquest heard.

Iain Francis, 68, from Devon, is believed to have been unconscious from the blow by the time he slipped into the water.

MEN MediaIain Francis died while on a yoga retreat in India[/caption]

He was said to have gone to India in October 2018 to enjoy this retirement in a warmer climate with regular visits back to the UK.

The manager of the hotel where Mr Francis was staying told cops the Brit would do yoga and body exercises at a nearby riverbank.

He recalled that he had gone to the river and saw Mr Francis floating in the water wearing shorts with his belongings on the bank of the river.

A police investigation confirmed Mr Francis had accidentally fallen down into the river and had hit his head on a rock on his way into the water.

His daughter Angela said: “He was a strong swimmer, although he did not attempt to go in the water much or for long periods in later years.”

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The coroner’s conclusion was he had died by accidental drowning and there was no third party involvement.

A post mortem examination conducted in India confirmed the cause of Mr Francis’s death was drowning.

It was noted that there were lacerations to his scalp and a deep injury on the left side of the top of his head.

The inquest at Exeter’s County Hall heard on Tuesday the family had endured a long wait for more information from the Foreign Commonwealth Office.

Indian authorities are said to have dragged their feet due to Covid pandemic, only now confirming the details surrounding his death – three years later it took place.

Following the inquest, his daughters paid tribute to Mr Francis and said: “Our dad was wonderfully caring, funny, sensitive and generous.

“He had a spirit, heart and presence like no one else and he will always be dearly missed.”

Mr Francis was a plumber for many years but also had an extensive career working as a financial consultant in foreign agricultural programmes.

After retiring he travelled to India on his own and had been staying in the district of Koppal in Karnataka.

He worked in 13 countries including Nigeria, Vietnam and Bangladesh before his death in Hanumanahalli Thungabhandra River Gangavathi.

- Lottie Tiplady-Bishop
Prince Andrew ‘on collision course with Palace’ after demanding trial by jury over Virginia Giuffre’s sex assault case

PRINCE Andrew is “on a collision course with the palace” after he sensationally demanded a trial by jury overnight in his battle against sex abuse claims, a source has said.

Court documents from New York show the royal denies all of the allegations against him and “hereby demands a trial by jury on all causes of action asserted in the complaint”.

AFPThe infamous photo of Prince Andrew, Virginia Roberts and Ghislaine Maxwell[/caption] Prince Andrew has fiercely denied the allegations against himThe Duke demanded a jury trial

It’s the first time Andrew, 62, who has been stripped of his royal titles by the Queen, has publicly vowed to fight the case in court.

The Duke will also no longer be able to use ‘His Royal Highness’ – and will face his US lawsuit as a “private citizen” meaning he can’t hide behind royal privileges. 

But despite his split with The Firm, it’s thought that his decision to face a jury will mean he will butt heads with the royal family.

A source told Mail Online: “Andrew is on collision course with the Palace over this.” 

Meanwhile other sources close to the Prince say he is now preparing to give a seven-hour witness statement to lawyers by video call.

A royal insider described the case as a “marathon not a sprint” and the Duke of York is telling Virginia, “I’ll see you in court”.

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Ms Giuffre, 38, has accused the Duke of forcing her to sleep with him more than 20 years ago at the home of convicted sex trafficker Ghislaine Maxwell.

The mum-of-three alleged in court documents that she was procured by Maxwell, 57, the daughter of disgraced tycoon Robert Maxwell, as a teenage “sex slave” for Epstein.

In an 11 page document, lawyers for Andrew set out the duke’s response to Ms Giuffre’s allegations.

It says he denies the allegation that he sexually abused Ms Giuffre when she was under 18 years of age.

ARGUMENTS TO DISMISS

His legal reply does admit his links to billionaire paedophile  Jeffrey Epstein and convicted sex trafficker Ghislaine Maxwell.

The document, submitted to the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, also sets out a series of defences “without assuming the burden of proof, and expressly denying any and all wrongdoing”.

This includes arguments that the claim should be dismissed because Ms Giuffre is a permanent resident of Australia and that by entering into the 2009 agreement with Jeffrey Epstein she “waived the claims now asserted in the complaint”.

The document concludes: “Prince Andrew hereby demands a trial by jury on all causes of action asserted in the Complaint.”

The Duke of York filed a point by point rebuttal of Ms Giuffre’s abuse allegations five months after she served the writ.

Legal expert Mark Stephens told The Sun that the filing was “classic brinkmanship” from Andrew and his legal team.

Solicitor Mr Stephens said: “He is trying to have his cake and eat it, to go with a modern theme.”

It comes just weeks after Judge Lewis Kaplan threw out his lawyers attempts to derail the case by lodging a motion to dismiss claiming she had signed an agreement in 2009 not to pursue.

Andrew was previously thought to be seeking an out-of-court settlement with Roberts after Judge Lewis Kaplan ruled he must stand trial in the US.

The figure was estimated to be up to £10million ($13million) — the amount he will get from selling his chalet in Verbier, Switzerland.

In 2019, Ms Guiffre claimed she had sex with Prince Andrew in a toilet when she was 17, after a night where he had allegedly been plying her with vodka in a posh London club.

SEE YOU IN COURT

The royal has vehemently denied the accusations against him, branding them “false” and “without foundation”.

When questioned about the claims during his car crash Newsnight interview, Andrew said he was at Pizza Express in Woking, Surrey, when the assault is alleged to have happened.

He also cast doubt on Virginia’s recollection of the night.

But in September 2021, Ms Giuffre’s legal team confirmed they had issued Andrew with a writ ahead of his pre-trial in New York.

Andrew is named as the only defendant in the 15-page suit, brought under New York state’s Child Victims Act, though Epstein and his former girlfriend Ghislaine Maxwell are mentioned frequently throughout.

Ms Giuffre’s lawsuit stated: “In this country no person, whether president or prince, is above the law, and no person, no matter how powerless or vulnerable, can be deprived of the law’s protection.

“Twenty years ago Prince Andrew’s wealth, power, position, and connections enabled him to abuse a frightened, vulnerable child with no one there to protect her. It is long past the time for him to be held to account.”

Virginia Giuffre’s lawyer David Boies welcomed the prospect of a public showdown tonight.

He said: “Prince Andrew’s Answer continues his approach of denying any knowledge or information concerning the claims against him, and purporting to blame the victim of the abuse for somehow bringing it on herself.

“We look forward to confronting Prince Andrew with his denials and attempts to blame Ms. Giuffre for her own abuse at his deposition and at trial.”

Virginia Roberts Giuffre reportedly told another one of Epstein's victims she had sex with Prince AndrewThe Duke denies allegations made against him by Virginia Giuffre
- Katie Davis
How the West is squaring up to Putin’s war machine with ‘thousands of troops’, javelin missiles & F-16 fighter jets

WESTERN countries are squaring up to Vladimir Putin’s war machine with “thousands of troops” and an impressive arsenal featuring javelin missiles and F-16 fighter jets.

Fears of a Russian invasion of Ukraine are escalating as Moscow continues to ramp up its large-scale military presence in and around the country.

Six US F-15 fighter jets today landed at Amari Air Base, Estonia An RAF plane carrying Javelin anti-tank missiles arrives in Ukraine The deadly shoulder-launched missiles are designed to kill Russia’s best battle tanks

Ukraine is sitting on the brink of all-out war with Russia as 120,000 troops mass on the border within striking distance and the world waits with bated breath as Putin toughens up his arms with artillery and tanks in the region.

But Western allies are showing the Kremlin will face a tough fight as forces and equipment is being shipped to Ukraine and surrounding Nato nations as the eyes of the globe watch on.

Britain has given Kiev 2,000 shoulder-launched anti-tank weapons and Baltic states followed suit with promises of Javelin anti-tank missiles and Stinger surface to air rockets.

Nations including the US and UK are discussing deploying thousands more troops to NATO countries in a show of strength against Moscow’s ongoing aggression.

It’s reported countries such as Romania, Bulgaria and Hungary could be in line to accept around 1,000 personnel each, mimicking forward battle groups already stationed in the Baltic States and Poland.

The US has also put 8,500 troops on alert to deploy at short notice, which Russia said caused it “great concern”.

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It comes as six US F-15 fighter jets today landed at Amari Air Base, Estonia – with a further six Danish F-16 fighter jets set to arrive at the Siauliai Air Base in Lithuania on Thursday in a bid to bolster forces already deployed under the NATO Baltic Air Policing Mission.

The jets will take part in air-to-air and air-to-ground military exercises across the Baltics.

On Monday, Nato allies began a 12-day maritime exercise – dubbed Neptune Strike ’22 – led by the USS Harry S. Truman aircraft carrier in the Mediterranean Sea to “demonstrate the power and cohesiveness of our maritime forces”.

In another fresh development, Germany has declared it will supply 5,000 military helmets to Ukraine as a “clear signal” the country is “at Kiev’s side”.

But while the US and Britain have started sending more arms to Ukraine, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has ruled out sending “lethal weapons” despite repeated requests from Kiev amid a Russian military build-up at its borders.

It comes after deadly anti-tank missiles supplied by Britain arrived in the Ukraine last week amid fears Russia could invade in days.

The weapons are designed to take kill Russian battle tanks in the event of an invasion and equip Ukrainian guerrillas who will carry on the fight.

Meanwhile, NATO allies have put forces on standby with additional ships and fighters jets being deployed to eastern Europe to reinforce its defence.

Denmark is sending a frigate to the Baltic Sea and is set to deploy four F-16 fighters jets to Lithunia.

And Spanish ships are joining NATO naval forces – as leaders mull whether to send fighter jets to Bulgaria.

France has pledged to send troops to Romania, while the Netherlands is sending two F-35 fighter aircraft to Bulgaria from April and is putting a ship and land-based units on standby.

The Dutch are also considering plans to send sniper rifles and body armour to help Ukraine’s armed forces, according to a western official.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said: “I welcome Allies contributing additional forces to NATO. NATO will continue to take all necessary measures to protect and defend all Allies, including by reinforcing the eastern part of the Alliance.

“We will always respond to any deterioration of our security environment, including through strengthening our collective defence.”

UP IN ARMS

The West’s defiance comes as Boris Johnson this week vowed British troops will join Nato forces in Europe to help defend Ukraine if Russia dares to invade, 

The PM warned that any incursion will spark the worst bloodshed in Europe since World War Two and “many Russian mothers’ sons will not be coming home”.

Mr Johnson said the UK and its allies would respond swiftly and “in unison” to any invasion and with severe economic sanctions.

He added: “The British Army leads the Nato battle group in Estonia and if Russia invades Ukraine, we would look to contribute to any new Nato deployments to protect our allies in Europe.”

They are unlikely to be combat troops but ministers refused to rule anything out.

Britain has launched a major diplomatic blitz to get wobbly Nato allies to stand up to Russia  – by backing crippling sanctions and sending Ukraine more weapons.

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace will share intelligence on the extent of President Putin’s war plans with Dutch and German defence chiefs to help stiffen their resolve.

Mr Wallace told The Sun: “What we want from Germany, as the biggest economy in Europe, is a clear signal on sanctions.”

Asked if war was inevitable, Mr Wallace said: “Not yet.”

Russia meanwhile has deployed 20 warships and an estimated 1,000 elite paratroopers amid fears they could be used for a lightning strike on Kiev close to its border with Ukraine.

Vladimir Putin has already massed 127,000 troops on its neighbour’s border amid warnings a Russian invasion could trigger World War Three.

Putin deployed 20 warships to the Black Sea Fleet from the Crimean ports of Sevastopol and Novorossiysk for the second time in three days.

Sources suggest their latest war games involved frigates, patrol ships, missile boats and landing ships as concerns grow that a potential offensive could take place on multiple fronts.

Elsewhere, The Kremlin has been beefing up its force on the land border with Ukraine with the deployment of the crack 217th Guards Parachute Regiment of the 98th Airborne Division.

APRussia has sent an unspecified number of troops from the country’s far east to its ally Belarus, which shares a border with Ukraine, for major war games[/caption] Russia paratrooper taking part in war games as fears of a Ukraine invasion ramp up Nato allies began a 12-day maritime exercise led by the USS Harry S. Truman aircraft carrier in the Mediterranean Sea on Monday
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Ukraine mayor & boxing champ Vitali Klitschko slams Germany’s ‘joke’ offer of 5,000 HELMETS in face of Russian onslaught

THE mayor of Kiev has branded Germany’s offer of 5,000 helmets to Ukraine a “joke”.

Former boxer-turned politician Vitali Klitschko poked fun at the offer, asking if the nation would like to send pillows instead.

InstagramThe mayor said the offer left him ‘speechless’[/caption] APBritain has urged allies to flood Ukraine with weapons. Pictured are volunteer military units of Ukraine’s armed forces amid fears of a Russian invasion[/caption]

He said the helmet offer had left him “speechless”.

He told Bild: “Five thousand helmets are an absolute joke.

“What will Germany send next? Pillows?”

The mayor also said Germany did not understand “that we are dealing with a highly equipped Russian army that could start further invading Ukraine at any moment”.

The Czech government agreed to donate 4,000 artillery ammunition rounds to Ukraine as the country prepares to potentially come face to face with Putin’s forces.

Ukraine sits on the brink of all-out war with Russia as 120,000 troops mass on the border and the world waits with bated breath.

Meanwhile, Britain is urging Nato allies to stand up to Russian bullies and flood Ukraine with weapons – not helmets or pillows – and backing sanctions.

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace will share intelligence on the extent of President Putin’s war plans with Dutch and German defence chiefs to help stiffen their resolve.

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Mr Johnson said the UK and its allies would respond swiftly and “in unison” to any invasion and with severe economic sanctions.

He added: “The British Army leads the Nato battle group in Estonia and if Russia invades Ukraine, we would look to contribute to any new Nato deployments to protect our allies in Europe.”

They are unlikely to be combat troops but ministers refused to rule anything out.

Members of the Nato alliance — including Denmark, Spain, Bulgaria and the Netherlands — are sending more fighter jets and warships to Eastern Europe to bolster defences in the region.

The US has also put 8,500 troops on alert to deploy at short notice, which Russia said caused it “great concern”.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said that Germany supports Ukraine and is aligned with other NATO countries, but has so-far been reluctant to send arms.

It’s thought this could be down to its dependence on Russia for gas – as well as the nation’s military past.

EPAUkraine is facing Putin’s wrath[/caption] ReutersRussia has massed troops and tanks on the border of Ukraine and could attack ‘any moment’[/caption] GettyKlitschko pictured in his boxing heyday fighting Britain’s Dereck Chisora[/caption]
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From Singapore to Thailand, higher food costs hit Lunar New Year reunion dinner festivities
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Sweden opts against recommending Covid-19 vaccines for children 5-11
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- 247 News Around The World

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Rihanna and A$AP Rocky stepped out for a mid-week date night!

The 33-year-old singer and the 33-year-old rapper were seen having dinner at Pastis restaurant on Thursday night (January 27) in New York City.

A source is opening up about where the couple’s relationship stands, nearly two years after they first started dating.

Click inside to find out what the source said…

“Their relationship is in a good place,” the source told Entertainment Tonight. “After a very busy fall with professional commitments, they took some time to relax and unwind and really reconnect with each other.”

The source added that they couple continues to be “inseparable.”

We also have photos of the couple on a date night this past weekend.

Click through the gallery for 20+ photos of Rihanna and A$AP Rocky out for dinner…

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SAN FRANCISCO — If you’re in the market for a new podcast, you’ll want to check out “Into the Depths” from our partners at National Geographic. The six-part podcast premiering Thursday follows a team of scuba divers in search of undiscovered shipwrecks from the transatlantic slave trade.

The story gives a voice to the nearly 2 million enslaved Africans who died at sea.

For National Geographic Explorer and storyteller Tara Roberts, the story begins at the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C.

Of all of the exhibits and artifacts, it was a picture of Black female scuba divers that drew her in.

“They just looked free, joyous, and adventurous,” Roberts recalls.

She had never seen a group of Black woman scuba divers before — that representation manifested inspiration for her.

“It made me think, ‘Oh, maybe I could do that too.'” she said.

What she would later learn is that those women were members, and the man with them was the co-founder, of the group Diving With a Purpose.

The nonprofit organization’s mission is locating and documenting shipwrecks related to the Transatlantic Slave Trade.

In a matter of months, Roberts would join the organization, learn how to scuba dive, and start documenting their work for the podcast “Into the Depths.”

“I felt powerful underwater. Like I have raised my hand and I’ve said I’m going to take on finding this history, which means giving voice to these people who haven’t had voice before,” said Roberts.

It’s estimated 12.5 million Africans were torn from their families and homeland, kidnapped, and sent on ships across the Middle Passage to be forced into slavery in an unfamiliar land from the 15th to 19th centuries.

Around 1,000 of those ships wrecked at sea crossing the treacherous waters of the Atlantic Ocean and as many as 1.8 million African souls were lost, their stories rarely ever acknowledged.

The six-part podcast takes the listener on an immersive journey of discovery across the globe to find those lost ships.

To date, fewer than 10 shipwrecks from the slave trade have been located.

From Mozambique to Costa Rica, the Florida coast and beyond, Roberts joins a group of mostly Black divers, archeologists, and historians uncovering these hidden, never-before-told stories

“I am seeing actual evidence from that experience over 200 years ago. That is crazy and beautiful — it’s wonderful,” Roberts said. “Encountering these shipwrecks was indeed healing. It was an opportunity for closure.”

Roberts hopes listeners join her on this journey of a lifetime as she reimagines and reframes the origins story of Africans in the Americas, telling a story that humanizes and brings empathy to those often forgotten.

“So much of our history is hidden. It’s obscured. It’s not told fully,” she said. “I hope people are curious to want to find out more and join in on this important work.”

“Into the Depths” is featured on the cover of the March issue of National Geographic magazine.

To learn more about the podcast available now, visit the NatGeo website.

You can find “Into the Depths” wherever you listen to podcasts. Episodes will drop weekly.

On February 7 at 10 p.m. ET/PT | 9 p.m. CT, National Geographic will also premiere a documentary special, “Clotilda: Last America Slave Ship,” about the most intact slave shipwreck found to date and the only one for which we know the full story of the voyage, the passengers and their descendants.

“Clotilda: Last American Slave Ship” will be available to stream the next day on Hulu.

The Walt Disney Co. is the parent company of National Geographic Partners and this ABC station.

Copyright © 2022 WLS-TV. All Rights Reserved.

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- 247 News Around The World
Congress’s Raj Babbar’s Tweets Fuel Talk Of Switch Before UP Polls

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Congress's Raj Babbar's Tweets Fuel Talk Of Switch Before UP Polls

Raj Babbar has reportedly been in touch with Akhilesh Yadav.

New Delhi:

The Congress may be staring at another big exit in Uttar Pradesh with Raj Babbar giving off worrying signals. Raj Babbar’s recent tweets have been divergent from the party line and he has not bothered to clarify.

When a Padma Bhushan award for Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad provoked barbs from other party leaders like Jairam Ramesh, Raj Babbar effusively congratulated him.

“Congratulations Ghulam Nabi Azad Sahab! You’re like an elder brother and your impeccable public life and commitment to Gandhian ideals have always been an inspiration. The Padma Bhushan is an ideal recognition of five decades of your meticulous service to the nation,” tweeted the actor-turned-politician.

Congratulations @ghulamnazad Sahab !You’re like an elder brother and your impeccable public life & commitment to Gandhian ideals have always been an inspiration. The #PadmaBhushan is an ideal recognition of 5 decades of your meticulous service to the nation.

— Raj Babbar (@RajBabbar23) January 25, 2022

Yesterday, Mr Babbar appeared to respond to criticism of his gesture for Ghulam Nabi Azad, a vocal member of the Congress’ “G-23” or group of 23 leaders that have been critical of the Gandhi family’s leadership of the Congress.

“An award becomes more meaningful when an opposition party leader’s achievements are honoured. Anybody can do it for their own party leaders. I think the row over the Padma Bhushan is needless,” he tweeted on Thursday.

अवार्ड की अहमियत तो तब है जब विरोधी पक्ष किसी नेता की उपलब्धियों को सम्मान दे – अपनी सरकार में तो कोई भी ख़्वाहिश पूरी कर सकते हैं लोग। #PadmaBhushan को लेकर जारी बहस मुझे लगता है ग़ैरज़रूरी है।

— Raj Babbar (@RajBabbar23) January 27, 2022

Reports have been in circulation about Raj Babbar returning to his former party, Akhilesh Yadav’s Samajwadi Party, ahead of the UP election.

Mr Babbar has reportedly been in touch with Akhilesh Yadav.

Once a popular movie star, he debuted in politics in the late 1980s with the Janata Dal. He later switched to the Samajwadi Party. He won the 1999 and 2004 Lok Sabha elections from Agra. But in 2006, he was suspended from the Samajwadi Party. Two years later, he joined the Congress.

In 2009, Mr Babbar won the by-election from Firozabad. But he lost both the 2014 and 2019 elections.

Though he has not largely stayed below the radar in the campaign for the UP polls next month, Mr Babbar was named as one of the star campaigners of the Congress on Monday.

So was RPN Singh, another prominent Uttar Pradesh leader who quit the Congress the very next day and joined the BJP.

The Congress has been struggling to hold on to its top leaders for a while now.

The depletion of “team Rahul” – a group of leaders in Rahul Gandhi’s inner circle – started in 2020, when Jyotiraditya Scindia quit the party and switched to the BJP, enabling the collapse of the Congress government in Madhya Pradesh and the BJP’s takeover.

Last year, Jitin Prasada took the Congress-to-BJP route and was included in the Yogi Adityanath-led BJP government in UP.

This week, RPN Singh, who was close to Rahul Gandhi as well as Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, dealt a huge blow to the Congress in UP by crossing over to the BJP.

All three were ministers in the Manmohan Singh-led Congress government at the Centre in 2004-2009.

Post source: Ndtvnews

The post Congress’s Raj Babbar’s Tweets Fuel Talk Of Switch Before UP Polls appeared first on 247 News Around The World.

- 247 News Around The World
Liverpool ‘are closing in on Porto and Colombia winger Luis Diaz’

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Liverpool ‘are closing in on the signing of Luis Diaz’ after hijacking Tottenham’s move for the Porto and Colombia winger.

The deal to take Diaz to Anfield will reportedly be worth £37.5million with £12.5m in add-ons.

Tottenham believed they had an agreement with Porto for the 25-year-old ahead of Monday’s transfer deadline.

Porto and Colombia winger Luis Diaz is poised to sign for Liverpool in a deal worth £50million

Porto and Colombia winger Luis Diaz is poised to sign for Liverpool in a deal worth £50million

Porto and Colombia winger Luis Diaz is poised to sign for Liverpool in a deal worth £50million 

Jurgen Klopp will see his attacking options bolstered by the arrival of Diaz from Porto

Jurgen Klopp will see his attacking options bolstered by the arrival of Diaz from Porto

Jurgen Klopp will see his attacking options bolstered by the arrival of Diaz from Porto

Tottenham manager Antonio Conte is unlikely to be happy about missing out on a key target

Tottenham manager Antonio Conte is unlikely to be happy about missing out on a key target

Tottenham manager Antonio Conte is unlikely to be happy about missing out on a key target

But Diaz’s preference was to sign for Liverpool and he held out for the move in order to play Champions League football.

Manchester United had also been linked with a move for Diaz, who rejected a move to Everton last year in exchange for his compatriot James Rodriguez.

Diaz will bolster the attacking options available to Jurgen Klopp as Liverpool pursue Manchester City at the top of the Premier League and try to win the Champions League and the domestic cups.

However, O Jogo report it hasn’t yet been decided whether Diaz will make the move to Liverpool immediately or at the end of the season.  

His presence will also shake up the ageing forward line of Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane, who are all approaching 30 and the final year of their contracts. 

Diaz scored a spectacular overhead kick in Colombia's Copa America 2021 meeting with Brazil

Diaz scored a spectacular overhead kick in Colombia's Copa America 2021 meeting with Brazil

Diaz scored a spectacular overhead kick in Colombia’s Copa America 2021 meeting with Brazil

They have already faced Diaz in the Champions League this season, beating Porto both home and away in the group stage.

Diaz had a release clause of £68m at Porto but Liverpool have been able to secure a deal for just over half that though the add-ons will push that higher.

He is currently away on international duty with Colombia, who play Peru in their next World Cup qualifier in Barranquilla on Friday. 

PROFILE: Luis Diaz grew up dirt poor in one of Colombia’s most deprived regions, idolised Ronaldinho and was discovered by legend Valderrama 

Luis Diaz is subject to a transfer bid of over £37million from Liverpool. The release clause in his Porto contract stood at £67million.

It is difficult to overstate just how mind-boggling these sums of money would have been to the stick thin boy who grew up dirt poor in one of Colombia’s most deprived regions.

As a youngster, Diaz would sit and watch the enormous trains loaded with coal thunder past his home village of Barrancas, carrying their cargo from the pits of Cerrejon bound for the coast and then to Europe. 

This football-mad kid was no doubt vaguely aware of clubs with exotic names such as Tottenham, Liverpool, Manchester United, Everton and Newcastle.

Actually playing for one of them, of going over to Europe and the English Premier League, must have seemed like some outlandish dream.

But it is a dream poised to become a reality soon enough with Diaz, currently at Porto, suddenly one of the most in-demand footballers in Europe and linked at various times with all those English clubs. 

Tottenham thought they had their man but Liverpool have now hijacked that bid and are closing in on the signing. 

Diaz has been linked with a host of Premier League clubs but Liverpool have won the race

Diaz has been linked with a host of Premier League clubs but Liverpool have won the race

Diaz has been linked with a host of Premier League clubs but Liverpool have won the race

His story is quite remarkable. Kids from the La Guajira region, not far from Colombia’s border with Venezuela, where he grew up simply don’t have the opportunity to see the world.

Many children from the indigenous Wayuu people of which Diaz is a member don’t grow up at all. Figures show that between 2008 and 2016, some 4,770 Wayuu children died from malnutrition, left neglected by the Colombian government.

So little wonder when Diaz, then aged 17, was discovered by Colombian legend Carlos Valderrama during trials for the Copa America of Indigenous People in 2015, the main concern was how dangerously underweight he looked.

Colombian legend Carlos Valderrama was one of those who discovered the talent of Diaz

Colombian legend Carlos Valderrama was one of those who discovered the talent of Diaz

Colombian legend Carlos Valderrama was one of those who discovered the talent of Diaz

Diaz enjoyed watching the Brazilian player Ronaldinho and his trickery while growing up

Diaz enjoyed watching the Brazilian player Ronaldinho and his trickery while growing up

Diaz enjoyed watching the Brazilian player Ronaldinho and his trickery while growing up

John ‘Pocillo’ Diaz, who also coached the Colombia team for this tournament, told the BBC: ‘For a moment, we thought it would be very difficult for him to perform because ‘Lucho’ seemed to have malnutrition problems.

‘He was very skinny and lost the duels with other players. But despite that, he managed to stand out among 400 candidates and make the 26-man squad.’

The Copa was held in Chile and the five-hour flight to another country was certainly an eye-opening experience for the teenager, who’d never been abroad.

‘You could see his eyes light up with that experience. Lucho would ask us if he could have the same meal more than once. He was this humble.’

Colombia were beaten 1-0 by Paraguay in the final but Diaz had scored twice during the tournament and there was no heading back to Barrancas forever.

He also netted for Porto against AC Milan both home and away in the Champions League

He also netted for Porto against AC Milan both home and away in the Champions League

He also netted for Porto against AC Milan both home and away in the Champions League

Second division Barranquilla signed him up and immediately put him on a special diet to gain 10kg and so be able to compete against stronger defenders.

Such was Diaz’s promise at 18, the club even created a new age group side to make sure his talents didn’t go to waste.

They loved his humility, magnetic ball control and willingness to try out flicks and tricks – Diaz idolised the Brazilian star Ronaldinho growing up. Fitting into a team dynamic took a little more practice.

His coach at Barranquilla, Fernel Diaz, said: ‘Lucho can shoot from outside the area, he is comfortable with both feet, he can dribble, open defences up and score goals. He can do everything.’

Little wonder Atletico Junior, one of the foremost Colombian teams and also based in Barranquilla, soon snapped him up.

It was there Diaz became a regular in the Colombian top division, scoring 13 league goals in 2018 and enjoying the first of his 31 appearances for the Colombian national team.

With his hair dyed blue, Diaz celebrates Porto's league title success in the 2019-20 season

With his hair dyed blue, Diaz celebrates Porto's league title success in the 2019-20 season

With his hair dyed blue, Diaz celebrates Porto’s league title success in the 2019-20 season

His debut, off the bench in a goalless draw with Argentina in New Jersey, was greeted with great excitement in his hometown, where large screens were put up for locals to watch the game together.

It didn’t take much longer for interest from European clubs to come his way.

He turned down Cardiff City in 2018 and then opted for Porto over Zenit St Petersburg the following year, emulating his compatriots James Rodriguez, Radamel Falcao, Fredy Guarin and Jackson Martinez by joining the Portuguese giants.

Carlos Queiroz, who was then Colombia manager and has compared Diaz to Portuguese legend Luis Figo, was influential in persuading him to sign for Porto.

Diaz has gone from strength to strength at Porto but the time could be right for a move

Diaz has gone from strength to strength at Porto but the time could be right for a move

Diaz has gone from strength to strength at Porto but the time could be right for a move 

Since arriving, his stock has only risen. Fielded on the left flank in the majority of games and given free licence, Diaz scored 14 times in the 2019-20 season and 11 goals the season after.

But the acceleration in interest from the Premier League in particular has come off the back of his Copa America exploits last summer and a blistering current campaign for Porto.

Colombia finished third at the Copa with Diaz scoring some eye-catching goals, including an acrobatic overhead kick in a 2-1 loss to Brazil during the group stage and a stunning top corner strike in the third-place play-off against Peru. 

Further goals against Argentina and Peru saw him share the Golden Boot with Lionel Messi.

In this season’s Champions League group stage, he netted both home and away against AC Milan but Porto didn’t quite do enough to make it through in a tough group also featuring Liverpool and Atletico Madrid. 

At 25, Diaz is mature enough to take the next step and Premier League fans will see a tricky customer with the ability to score spectacular goals.

And because of his extraordinary journey, a humble character as well.      

Post source: Daily mail

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- 247 News Around The World

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Youtube and Instagram star Hayley Madigan is a women’s personal trainer and health and fitness pro. The body confidence expert detailed her favourite breakfast for staying full until lunch.

She recommends eating protein at breakfast to stay full.

Hayley told Express.co.uk: “When thinking about what to consume for breakfast, you want to make sure you firstly, enjoy it, and secondly, eat a meal that is high in protein in order to keep you fuller for longer.”

Protein has been found to help prevent overeating by helping you feel fuller.

Recently, another expert has suggested using Pilates to tone and lose belly fat. 

The health guru went on: “My go-to breakfast is a bowl of oats with Bulk Peanut Butter and a shake made with one scoop of Bulk Pure Whey Protein, a handful of frozen berries and one cup of water.

READ MORE: ‘You can still have wine’: YouTube guru with 400k fans advocates ‘rewarding’ diet plan

“It is important to remember that you do not need to force yourself to have a big breakfast if you do not enjoy it,” she said.

“Some people prefer to prolong breakfast and have a bigger lunch, which is perfectly OK, and is often known as intermittent fasting – a good way to reduce the amount of time you eat across the day.

“If your aim is to maintain your muscle mass then it is important to spread your protein intake across the day.

A good weight loss idea, according to Hayley, could be having a protein shake for breakfast.

The expert said: “Even consuming a protein shake in the morning can help curb hunger and improve muscle maintenance when eating in a calorie deficit.”

A workout to blast the core will supplement a healthy breakfast perfectly.

Another fitness guru has detailed her gym workout to lose belly fat and achieve “a core to be proud of”. 

London-based personal trainer Aimee Victoria Long discussed training this area with Express.co.uk.

The circuit involves and cable machine, and should have your abdominals burning in no time.

if(typeof utag_data.ads.fb_pixel!=="undefined"&&utag_data.ads.fb_pixel==!0){!function(f,b,e,v,n,t,s){if(f.fbq)return;n=f.fbq=function(){n.callMethod?n.callMethod.apply(n,arguments):n.queue.push(arguments)};if(!f._fbq)f._fbq=n;n.push=n;n.loaded=!0;n.version='2.0';n.queue=[];t=b.createElement(e);t.async=!0;t.src=v;s=b.getElementsByTagName(e)[0];s.parentNode.insertBefore(t,s)}(window,document,'script','https://connect.facebook.net/en_US/fbevents.js');fbq('init','568781449942811');fbq('track','PageView')} Post source: Express

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Kate Hudson and brother Oliver playfully bicker while promoting Sibling Revelry podcast on talk show

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Kate Hudson and her brother Oliver shared what it was like to grow up in a famous household on Thursday during a joint visit on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert. 

The 42-year-old actress and her older brother Oliver, 45, were promoting their podcast Sibling Revelry and discussed their relationship growing up together with Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn as parents. They both said it was amazing.

‘Incredible,’ said Oliver. ‘The impression is ,of course, we are from famous parents .’

Joint visit: Kate Hudson and her brother Oliver shared what it was like to grow up in a famous household on Thursday during a joint visit on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert

Joint visit: Kate Hudson and her brother Oliver shared what it was like to grow up in a famous household on Thursday during a joint visit on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert

Joint visit: Kate Hudson and her brother Oliver shared what it was like to grow up in a famous household on Thursday during a joint visit on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert

‘That is a fact,’ said Stephen.

‘But within the four walls it was a very normal family,’ Oliver said. ‘Because they came from where they came from, which was nothing, they wanted to instill that.’

Stephen asked what they learned from their parents as they raise their own children.

Oliver said it was about letting his kids fall down and have experiences and not over parenting. He shared a story about how he got his car when he was 16 years old and that he smashed his car right after that. He said he came up with a story and his parents appreciated that he came up with a story.

Good times: The 42-year-old actress and her older brother Oliver, 45, were promoting their podcast Sibling Revelry

Good times: The 42-year-old actress and her older brother Oliver, 45, were promoting their podcast Sibling Revelry

Good times: The 42-year-old actress and her older brother Oliver, 45, were promoting their podcast Sibling Revelry

Famous mom: Stephen Colbert held up a photo of Oliver and Kate as children with their famous mother Goldie Hawn

Famous mom: Stephen Colbert held up a photo of Oliver and Kate as children with their famous mother Goldie Hawn

Famous mom: Stephen Colbert held up a photo of Oliver and Kate as children with their famous mother Goldie Hawn

Kate said she was the middle child and never got that privilege and that Oliver gets away with everything. 

‘My mom loves me the most,’ Oliver boasted.

Stephen asked Kate if she agreed.

The favorite: 'My mom loves me the most,' Oliver boasted

The favorite: 'My mom loves me the most,' Oliver boasted

The favorite: ‘My mom loves me the most,’ Oliver boasted

‘Definitely the favorite,’ said Kate. ‘I don’t know how Oliver is still the favorite.’

Stephen said it may not last because he heard that Oliver moved back home and asked him if he was living in the basement. He said no that he had a very nice room at his parents’ house.

‘Buddy, you have a TV show,’ said Stephen.

TV show: 'Buddy, you have a TV show,' said Stephen as he teased Oliver for living with his parents

TV show: 'Buddy, you have a TV show,' said Stephen as he teased Oliver for living with his parents

TV show: ‘Buddy, you have a TV show,’ said Stephen as he teased Oliver for living with his parents

‘I know,’ said Oliver.

Kate said Oliver says that he is renovating his house but that she questions that. Kate said Goldie cooks for him every night. Oliver said Goldie cooks him breakfast in the morning of biscuits and gravy.

Kate said she lives seven blocks from her mother in her childhood home. She said she bought the house that she grew up in and that their other brother Wyatt lives seven blocks from her and that Oliver has all these places to be staying at.

Family affairs: Kate said Oliver says that he is renovating his house but that she questions that

Family affairs: Kate said Oliver says that he is renovating his house but that she questions that

Family affairs: Kate said Oliver says that he is renovating his house but that she questions that

‘You’re not making biscuits and gravy in the morning,’ Oliver said.

When they came out Kate wore a black minidress with a red floral print and black tights along with a gold necklace and her hair pulled back into a ponytail.

Oliver wore a zip up cardigan sweater, jeans and sneakers.

Breakfast meal: 'You're not making biscuits and gravy in the morning,' Oliver said

Breakfast meal: 'You're not making biscuits and gravy in the morning,' Oliver said

 Breakfast meal: ‘You’re not making biscuits and gravy in the morning,’ Oliver said

‘She gave me flak about my outfit,’ Oliver said.

Kate tried to encourage him to dress up for the show but he said ‘I need to be me.’

Stephen asked them about their podcast Sibling Revelry. Kate said that they interview siblings but that it started with them just wanting to do something together.

Interview siblings: Kate said that they interview siblings but that it started with them just wanting to do something together

Interview siblings: Kate said that they interview siblings but that it started with them just wanting to do something together

Interview siblings: Kate said that they interview siblings but that it started with them just wanting to do something together

‘She doesn’t trust me as an actor to do something in the movie world so she is like let’s just do voices,’ Oliver joked.

‘You have a face for radio,’ said Stephen jokingly and then asked what they talk about on their podcast.

‘We call it Revelry because it’s really about how we celebrate that relationship,’ Kate said.

Podcast name: 'We call it Revelry because it's really about how we celebrate that relationship,' Kate said

Podcast name: 'We call it Revelry because it's really about how we celebrate that relationship,' Kate said

Podcast name: ‘We call it Revelry because it’s really about how we celebrate that relationship,’ Kate said

Oliver said that siblings are a dynamic relationship and they confide in each other and also can hate each other. Stephen showed a picture of them together when they were little and grown up at a premiere. Stephen asked then which one was older.

‘I can’t believe you are asking me that question but it’s Oliver,’ said Kate.

‘Everyone thinks that I am younger because she is more successful,’ said Oliver. ‘They look at her and she has done these amazing things and then they look at me and think I’m the younger one because I’m just a little weird.’

Older brother: 'Everyone thinks that I am younger because she is more successful,' said Oliver.

Older brother: 'Everyone thinks that I am younger because she is more successful,' said Oliver.

Older brother: ‘Everyone thinks that I am younger because she is more successful,’ said Oliver.

Stephen asked if Oliver was a good brother. Kate said he was not a nice brother.

‘I think my mom said it started when I came home from the hospital when he was catapulting clementines into my crib and she had to remove him from my nursery,’ said Kate. ‘And then it just expanded from there.’

Oliver said he just didn’t like that someone was infringing. Kate said she just ‘stole the thunder.’ She said she was a baby when Oliver was very content with their mother Goldie.

Early rivalry: 'I think my mom said it started when I came home from the hospital when he was catapulting clementines into my crib and she had to remove him from my nursery,' said Kate

Early rivalry: 'I think my mom said it started when I came home from the hospital when he was catapulting clementines into my crib and she had to remove him from my nursery,' said Kate

Early rivalry: ‘I think my mom said it started when I came home from the hospital when he was catapulting clementines into my crib and she had to remove him from my nursery,’ said Kate

‘By the way nothing has changed,’ Oliver said.

‘And then it just got worse, and worse and worse,’ said Kate. ‘The reality is we have a very interesting dynamic and Oliver and I had an interesting upbringing and no matter how much conflict there was, we were always so close.’

She said it really hit them when Oliver went to college. She said all she wanted growing up was his attention, but he said he ‘didn’t have the capacity to love her the way that she needed to be loved.’

Always close: 'The reality is we have a very interesting dynamic and Oliver and I had an interesting upbringing and no matter how much conflict there was, we were always so close'

Always close: 'The reality is we have a very interesting dynamic and Oliver and I had an interesting upbringing and no matter how much conflict there was, we were always so close'

Always close: ‘The reality is we have a very interesting dynamic and Oliver and I had an interesting upbringing and no matter how much conflict there was, we were always so close’

Kate said when she got back from college and she had all these cute girlfriends that it flipped and it was Oliver who wanted her attention.

Oliver said when they were little that Kate would be waiting outside her door and that it was ‘like a horror film.’ Kate admitted that she was ‘a little aggressive.’

‘He was all I had to play with at the time,’ she said.

Horror film: Oliver said when they were little that Kate would be waiting outside her door and that it was 'like a horror film.' Kate admitted that she was 'a little aggressive'

Horror film: Oliver said when they were little that Kate would be waiting outside her door and that it was 'like a horror film.' Kate admitted that she was 'a little aggressive'

Horror film: Oliver said when they were little that Kate would be waiting outside her door and that it was ‘like a horror film.’ Kate admitted that she was ‘a little aggressive’

Stephen asked Kate if she watched Oliver’s show The Cleaning Lady.

‘No, just say no,’ said Oliver.

Kate said she did watch the first episode. Oliver said he was going to let her off the hook because they don’t watch each other’s stuff.

Fox show: Stephen asked Kate if she watched Oliver's show The Cleaning Lady

Fox show: Stephen asked Kate if she watched Oliver's show The Cleaning Lady

Fox show: Stephen asked Kate if she watched Oliver’s show The Cleaning Lady

‘Maybe I’ve seen a third of your movies,’ he said.

‘Or truth be told you haven’t seen any,’ Kate said. ‘Our family the novelty has sort of worn off. There is so much work that is being done.’

‘You have seen one movie of hers, you have seen them all,’ quipped Oliver as Kate laughed.

Movie joke: 'You have seen one movie of hers, you have seen them all,' quipped Oliver as Kate laughed

Movie joke: 'You have seen one movie of hers, you have seen them all,' quipped Oliver as Kate laughed

Movie joke: ‘You have seen one movie of hers, you have seen them all,’ quipped Oliver as Kate laughed

Post source: Daily Mail

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Japan to watch WHO probe of director’s alleged racism, abuse

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TOKYO – Japan’s government said Friday it will watch the World Health Organization’s investigation into staff complaints over racism and abuse by a top Japanese official at the agency but denied it inappropriately received sensitive vaccine information from him.

WHO staffers have alleged that Dr. Takeshi Kasai, the U.N. health agency’s top director in the Western Pacific, engaged in unethical, racist and abusive behavior, undermining their efforts to curb the coronavirus pandemic, according to an internal complaint filed last October.

The complaints were also emailed to senior WHO leaders last week and describe a “toxic atmosphere” with “a culture of systemic bullying” at WHO’s regional headquarters in the Philippines. Recordings obtained by The Associated Press also showed that Kasai, who heads a vast region that includes China and Japan, made derogatory remarks to his staff during meetings based on nationality.

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Kasai denied the allegations.

Koichiro Matsumoto, Deputy Cabinet Secretary for Public Affairs at the Prime Minister’s Office, told the AP on Friday the government understands the WHO is taking appropriate steps and that Japan plans to carefully watch the WHO investigation.

Matsumoto denied that the Japanese government inappropriately received sensitive vaccine information from Kasai that he allegedly obtained by abusing his position.

“There is no truth (to the allegation) that the Japanese government inappropriately accepted sensitive information related to our vaccine contributions,” he said.

He said Japan takes seriously the importance of maintaining equal and fair access to safe, effective and high-quality vaccines for all countries and regions, and that the Japanese government has been providing support through cooperation with COVAX, an international cooperative program formed to make sure low- and middle-income countries have fair access to COVID-19 vaccines, as well as with WHO and related governments.

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Since June 2021, Japan has provided 42 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine — 17.6 million doses through COVAX and 24.6 doses via bilateral deals.

Australian Health Minister Greg Hunt said Friday he had been unaware of the allegations against Kasai before reading media reports and would seek a briefing from the WHO.

He suggested the WHO’s internal processes for examining such significant allegations would benefit from some kind of external oversight.

“We will be asking the WHO for independent advice as to the nature and response to these claims,” Hunt said.

The claims add to a litany of internal protests from WHO personnel about the agency’s management of the pandemic during the last two years, including privately complaining about China’s delayed sharing of information while publicly praising the government.

The WHO has dealt with internal complaints from staffers alleging systemic racism, sexism and other problems before. Its director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus ordered an internal probe in January 2019 to assess such allegations. Last year, the AP reported that senior WHO management was informed of multiple sexual abuse reports involving its own staffers during the Ebola outbreak in Congo, but failed to act.

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WHO staffers said they took their complaints directly to Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade to ask for help because the Australian government is regarded as one of the most influential WHO member countries in the region.

The staffers said Australia told them to file their complaints through the WHO.

___

McGuirk reported from Canberra, Australia.

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

Post source: News 4jax

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- 247 News Around The World
Statins: Three natural cholesterol-lowering alternatives to statins

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STATINS are prescribed to people who have high cholesterol. The life-saving medication is effective at bringing down cholesterol levels, but could alternatives help to prevent the need for statins in the first place? Post source: Daily Express

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- 247 News Around The World
Jacqui Heinrich Biography, Age, Height, Boyfriend, Net Worth

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Jacqui Heinrich is a well-known journalist in the United States. She gained widespread popularity and prizes for covering some of the most difficult and dangerous news on live television. Many people who wish to work as journalists look up to Jacqui, who is one of the toughest female workers in the business. Her years of hard work covering crime and politics have earned her many Emmy nominations.

Early Life

Jacqui Heinrich was born in England on 21st November 1988. Jacqui’s parents did not get along very well and later divorced. Her mother was given custody of the kids after the divorce. Jacqui’s mother then married a second time. Bob & Jane Greenwood-Fiaschetti are her parents’ names. Her stepfather played an important part in her life. Jacqui has two siblings: a brother and a sister, as far as we know. Jacqui’s stepfather accepted his role and nurtured them all with love and care. He never treated him as if they were his stepchildren. This had an impact on her and helped to shape her life ideals. In 2011, this Emmy Award-winning journalist graduated from George Washington University’s Elliott Degree in International Affairs. She excelled in her academics. Jacqui’s objective was not just to ace every topic; she was also involved in activities outside of the classroom.

Jacqui Heinrich Career

She concentrated upon anchoring, journalism, & MMJ operations during her internship. Similarly, as an intern at NBC affiliate WRC-TV, she offered ideas and assisted in the development of scripts for desk and field broadcasts. Norah O’Donnell, MSNBC’s Chief Washington Correspondent, was the subject of her other internship. Heinrich Jacqui remained there for around two months, during which time she helped with research and election coverage. One of her key responsibilities was to keep track of current events in the news media.

According to Wikipedia, Jacqui began her professional career with KOAA-Tv in December 2011. Heinrich was praised from the start of her career. She was given the medal for exposing ethical flaws in the legislation governing meth laboratories. Her next job had been at KTNV Channel in Las Vegas. During her time at the station, she specialized in political and crime tales.

Jacqui Heinrich Biography Real Name Jacqui Heinrich Birth Date 21 November 1988 Age (as of 2021) 32 Years Birth Place New England, United States Nationality American Profession News Reporter Religion Christianity Sun sign Scorpio Physical Statistics Height in feet inches – 5’ 6” – in Centimeters – 167 cm Weight in Kilograms – 54 kg  –  in Pounds –  119 lbs Hair Color Blonde Eye Color Hazel Body Type Slim Family Father – Mother Jane Heinrich Sister – Brother – Qualification/Education School Not Known College Duke University Relationship Status Marital Status Engaged Affair Yes Boyfriend Franklin Personal Life

The successful woman is not married but is currently dating Franklin Sahlhoff. They have made their relationship public and regularly attend events together. They seem to be sharing happy moments together. As of now on social media platforms, Jacqui has gained over 43.9k followers under the name of @jacquiheinrich with almost 1185 post uploads on her account. On Twitter, her handle is @jacquiheinrich with 60.5k followers.

Jacqui Heinrich Net Worth

Jacqui concentrated upon anchoring, journalism, & MMJ operations during her internship. She additionally worked as just a temporary anchor on top of that. Heinrich began her professional career with KOAA-Tv in December 2011. The reported net worth of Jacqui Heinrich is estimated to be $600 thousand and a major part of her massive fortune has come from her professional career as a journalist and reporter.

Post source: Wealth Spy

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People have drinks at a bar along the Rembrandtplein as cafes and restaurants reopened following the relaxation of the Covid-19 measures, in Amsterdam on January 26, 2022. The Netherlands lifted some of Europe’s toughest Covid restrictions with bars, restaurants and museums allowed to reopen their doors, Prime Minister Mark Rutte said on January 25, 2022.

RAMON VAN FLYMEN | AFP | Getty Images

LONDON — From the re-opening of bars and restaurants to the dropping of legal requirements for masks, many of Europe’s biggest economies are now relaxing Covid-19 rules and restrictions in a bid to salvage their economies.

This is in spite of high levels of infections across Europe, largely caused by the spread of the omicron variant. But many governments are now impatient to reopen their societies, particularly as it has become clearer that the new variant causes fewer hospitalizations than previous strains, and as booster Covid vaccine shots continue to be rolled out.

Many citizens in continental Europe have become increasingly frustrated and angry at restrictions, especially when seeing other countries like the U.K. faring relatively well after it opted against tighter restrictions amid the omicron wave.

On Thursday, England brought an end to the legal requirement for face coverings and Covid passes to access certain venues as the government relaxed its so-called “Plan B” measures that were enacted before Christmas.

Meanwhile in the Netherlands — which had some of the toughest rules in Europe with the country going into a partial lockdown before the holiday period — bars, restaurants and museums were allowed to reopen on Wednesday although the former must close at 10 p.m. Social-distancing rules remain, people are still advised to work from home and there is a limit to the number of guests people can receive at home.

Announcing the relaxation of measures, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said in a televised address Tuesday “we really are taking a risk today, and we have to be clear about that.”

Denmark has also announced plans to scrap all Covid measures by Feb.1 with the Danish government issuing a statement Wednesday that it has “decided that Covid-19 should no longer be categorized as a socially critical disease after 31 January 2022” although there would still be some rules, like mask-wearing in elderly care home settings.

While Covid cases have peaked and are falling in the U.K., cases in France and Germany are still near records. On Wednesday, France reported just over 428,000 new Covid cases over the previous 24-hour period. Germany reported a new record of 164,000 new daily infections on the same day, but this was trounced Thursday, with 203,136 new infections reported by the public health body, the Robert Koch Institute.

Germany shows no signs of easing restrictions, as yet, but France’s Health Minister Olivier Veran said Tuesday (when more than 500,000 daily Covid infections were reported) that he believed France would hit the peak in a matter of days. The government has already signaled that it will ease work-from-home rules from early February and will then allow nightclubs to reopen several weeks later.

While infection levels remain high, government officials have been focusing in on data showing a decoupling of infection rates and hospitalizations when making the decision to cautiously re-open.

While omicron has been more transmissible than previous variants like delta, it has caused less severe illness (although mass Covid vaccination coverage has helped) and booster shots significantly improve one’s immunity against omicron.

Different rates of vaccination are affecting the speed with which governments are looking to re-open their economies, with booster programs more sluggish in some countries than in others.

Post source: cnbc

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North Korea confirmed launches of four missiles this week, as Kim Jong Un ramped up weapons-testing to a record pace in an effort to signal displeasure with the U.S. over economic sanctions.

The tests included the launch of two long-range cruise missiles Tuesday that flew for 1,800 kilometers (1,120 miles) before striking an island off the peninsula’s eastern coast, the official Korean Central News Agency said Friday. If confirmed, that would represent North Korea’s longest flight by a cruise missile, a weapon designed to fly low and maneuver to evade detection, and give Kim the capability to strike almost all of Japan. [time-brightcove not-tgx=”true”]

North Korea also launched two missiles Thursday to “confirm” its ability to fire conventional warheads on surface-to-surface systems, KCNA said. South Korea had said earlier that projectiles traveled about 190 kms and were likely short-ranged ballistic missiles, which the United Nations has banned Pyongyang from launching due to their ability to carry nuclear warheads.

Date Weapons Tested Jan. 5 Missile with hypersonic glide vehicle flies 500 km Jan. 11 Kim attends second test of similar hypersonic missile Jan. 14 Two short-range ballistic missiles fired from train Jan. 17 Two more short-range ballistic missiles fired Jan. 25 Two long-range cruise missiles launched Jan. 27 Two additional short-range ballistic missiles tested

The two launches this week increased to six the number of major missile tests conducted by North Korea in January, making it the busiest month since Kim took power a decade ago. The 10 missiles fired off by the country this month, including two rockets topped with new hypersonic glide vehicles, already equal the total fired in all of last year.

Last week, Kim indicated he may end a four-year-old freeze on tests of intercontinental ballistic missiles and nuclear bombs, threatening to ratchet up tensions with the U.S. and force his nuclear program back onto the Biden administration’s agenda. The absence of tests that directly threaten the U.S. has made it easier for President Joe Biden to avoid another confrontation with Kim, like when Trump threatened to unleash “fire and fury” against the regime.

The Biden administration has condemned North Korea’s missile launches, calling on Kim to return to the negotiating table. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken was planning to meet his Japanese and South Korea counterparts in Hawaii next month to discuss the issue, the Seoul-based Yonhap News Agency said, citing a person it didn’t identify.

The missile tests this week proved “the practical combat performance of the long-range cruise missile system would hold a reliable share in boosting the war deterrence of the country,” KCNA said. North Korea’s Academy of Defense Science “will keep developing powerful warheads capable of performing combat function and mission,” it said.

Separately, Kim visited a munitions factory that state media described as producing a “major weapon system.” The KCNA dispatch said cadres present reaffirmed their support for the North Korean leader “who smashes with his bold pluck the challenges of the U.S. imperialists and their vassal forces that try to violate in every direction our republic’s right to self-defense.”

–With assistance from Robert Jameson.

- Sonia Pérez D. and Marlon González/AP

(TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras) — Hondurans saw Xiomara Castro sworn in as their country’s first female president Thursday amid a sea of waving flags in the national stadium.

Castro blasted the outgoing administration for leaving her a heavily indebted country where poverty and a lack of opportunity have driven hundreds of thousands of Hondurans to migrate in recent years.

“My government will not continue the vortex that has condemned generations of young people to pay the debt taken on behind their backs,” Castro said.

“We have the duty to restore the economic sector on the basis of transparency, efficiency, production, social justice, wealth distribution and national revenue,” she said. [time-brightcove not-tgx=”true”]

The 62-year-old Castro faces high expectations to turn around the deeply troubled country amid uncertainty about whether an unfolding legislative crisis will allow her the support she needs.

Relatively smooth elections and a healthy margin of victory Nov. 28 came as a relief, but political maneuvering in the run-up to Castro’s inauguration has muddled the outlook and distracted from what was to be a hopeful new beginning after the two terms of President Juan Orlando Hernández.

Honduras has been engulfed by a dispute over who will lead the newly elected Congress. Two congressional leadership teams have been selected — neither legitimately according to experts — and their standoff threatens legislative paralysis at a time that Castro desperately needs to quickly get to work addressing Honduras’ problems.

Elected lawmakers from Castro’s own Liberty and Refoundation Party backed one of their own to be the new legislative body’s president Friday rather than support Castro’s choice, which had been agreed with her vice president to win his party’s support. Neither group backed down leading to surreal simultaneous legislative sessions Tuesday.

High unemployment, persistent violence, corruption as well as troubled health care and educational systems are just some of the pressing challenges awaiting Castro.

The United States government, seeing an opportunity to gain an ally in a region with few friends, has strongly backed Castro and stands ready to provide support. In a possible sign of tensions in the region, presidents from neighbors El Salvador, Guatemala and Nicaragua were not scheduled to attend.

Vice President Kamala Harris, who was given the task of addressing the challenge of Central American migration, met with Castro shortly after the inauguration ceremony.

The two discussed “the root causes of migration, combatting corruption and expanding economic opportunity,” according to a statement from Harris’ office.

“Vice President Harris welcomed President Castro’s focus on countering corruption and impunity, including her intent to request the assistance of the United Nations in establishing an international anti-corruption commission and commitment to advancing necessary legislative reforms to enable such a commission to succeed,” the statement said.

Washington sees areas for cooperation on Castro’s priorities of battling corruption and increasing economic opportunities in her country, two areas that could affect decisions by Hondurans on whether to stay or try to migrate to the United States.

Jason Marczak, senior director of the Adrienne Arsht Latin America Center at the Atlantic Council, said, “Honduras has been a very difficult partner for the United States, especially during the administration of Juan Orlando Hernandez for a number of reasons, including the consistent swirl of illegal activity around him and his family.”

“The anti-corruption agenda being front and center and her (Castro’s) pledges is music to the ears of the Biden-Harris administration, given its focus on rooting out corruption not only in Central America but its global efforts on corruption,” he said.

Castro said again Thursday she plans to formally invite the United Nations to set up an anti-corruption mission in Honduras.

That would be welcome by Hondurans like 22-year-old José Manuel Suazo, who waited for Castro’s appearance inside the stadium. He said he voted for Castro, and believes many other young people did too, because he wants her to attack corruption and end impunity.

Castro won on her third bid for the presidency. She was previously first lady during the presidency of her husband, Manuel Zelaya, which was cut short by a military coup in 2009.

On Thursday, just hours before her inauguration, Castro announced her cabinet picks via Twitter. There were two women out of 16 announced positions. Her son Hector Zelaya, will be her private secretary and Manuel Zelaya’s nephew, José Manuel Zelaya, is her choice for defense secretary.

Ramón Sabillón, a former National Police chief, who recently returned after years living in exile in the United States, was her pick for security minister.

In her speech, Castro gave him a lengthy to-do list including guaranteeing “citizen security, no more death squads, no more silence on femicides, no more hired killers, no more drug trafficking, no more organized crime.”

Many voters this time said they were motivated above all by the possibility of removing Hernández’s National Party from power. Hernández was first elected in 2013 and a friendly Supreme Court allowed him to overcome a constitutional ban on re-election and run again in 2017 in an election plagued by irregularities.

Federal prosecutors in New York have repeatedly spoken of Hernández’s purported ties to drug trafficking, alleging his political rise was funded in part by drug profits. Hernández has not been formally charged and has repeatedly denied the accusations.

On Thursday, U.S. Rep. Norma Torres said in a statement she had asked Attorney General Merrick Garland to see that Hernández was indicted and extradited to the U.S.

“President Hernandez has been a central figure in undermining the rule of law in his own country and in protecting and assisting drug traffickers to move their materials through Honduras and to the United States,” Torres said. “He has been repeatedly identified as a co-conspirator in other drug trafficking cases and has caused incredible pain to both the people of Honduras and the United States. I believe it is essential that the United States hold him accountable for his criminal behavior.”

On Thursday afternoon, Hernández was sworn in as a representative of Honduras to the Central American Parliament, a traditional transition for Central American ex-presidents that affords them immunity from prosecution.

Guatemalan representative on the regional body, Amilcar Pop, confirmed Hernández’s swearing in, but said he withdrew from the virtual session because “I am against his swearing in, that he’s given immunity.”

On Thursday, 48-year-old Carlos Hernández lugged a nearly life-size Castro pinata through the streets near the stadium before the inauguration.

“This is now or never,” Hernández said. “I do this out of conviction, we want our president to not fail us.”

He and his family came because he wanted Castro to feel she had the support of the people. “I had never even voted, but I was sick and tired of the National (party).”

- Jasmine Aguilera
Why Kamala Harris’ Trip to Honduras Is Really About the U.S.-Mexico Border

Vice President Kamala Harris arrived in Honduras on Thursday to attend the inauguration of Xiomara Castro, the country’s new president who the White House hopes will be part of its fight against the “root causes” of migration that have spurred millions of people from Central America to flee to the U.S. for decades.

For years, multiple U.S. administrations have poured billions of dollars into Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala—the so-called Northern Triangle region—to battle corruption, improve law and order, create jobs, and, ultimately, reduce migration to America’s southern border. The funding, however, has had little measurable impact, experts say, due in large part to a lack of well-placed, long-term investment and the endemic corruption that has destabilized all three countries. [time-brightcove not-tgx=”true”]

But the Biden Administration hopes Castro’s election could herald a turning point, at least in Honduras. Castro ran a historic campaign on an anti-corruption platform, and has said she is willing to work with Washington to address the issues that have led to hundreds of thousands of Hondurans to leave home for years: high poverty, violence and climate change, all worsened by the belief that elected officials are interested less in working for Hondurans than lining their own pockets.

“Poverty doesn’t necessarily lead to immigration. Poverty without hope, and with insecurity and fear, is what’s driving migration from the Northern Triangle,” says Charles Call, associate professor of International Peace and Conflict Resolution at American University. “Bad governance is at the core of the inability to create hope and security.”

Read more: Joe Biden’s Immigration Bill Aims to Address the Root Causes of Migration. Will it Work?

Harris, who was tapped by President Joe Biden to lead the Administration’s root causes effort, traveled to Honduras with a delegation of members of Congress, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the State Department and the U.S. Embassy in the Honduran capital, Tegucigalpa. The Vice President plans to meet with Castro after her inauguration on Thursday to talk about promoting economic growth, combating corruption and managing migration, according to senior Administration officials who briefed the press prior to Harris’s trip.

The White House fight against ‘root causes’

The Biden Administration committed early on to tackling the root causes of migration from Northern Triangle countries, proposing a $4 billion four-year plan in an immigration bill. The bill was introduced in Congress and the Senate in February 2021 by Rep. Linda Sánchez and Sen. Bob Menendez, but there has so far not been any movement on it. As of last summer, the White House had allocated $250 million to address the more immediate humanitarian needs of the three countries, including disaster relief after hurricanes Iota and Eta and pandemic-related aid and more than 10 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.

The White House has also called on the private sector to step up investment in Central America, and as of Dec. 13 had rallied up to $1.2 billion in commitments from companies like Mastercard, PepsiCo, Nespresso, Microsoft, and more. But it will require stable government to ensure those investments benefit the Central American people, says Ariel Ruiz Soto, a policy analyst at the Migration Policy Institute (MPI), a nonpartisan research institution. For example, he says, the government may have to lead the way on infrastructural changes before Microsoft could build a plant.

Read more: ‘This Is For My Son’s Life, My Wife’s Life.’ The Migration Journey to the U.S. Continues Despite Complicated Border Policy

Harris’s first foreign trip as Vice President was to Guatemala in June 2021 to begin working on partnerships with the country’s leaders. She also met with Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador. But the trip was overshadowed by statements she made at a press conference in Guatemala, addressing the Guatemalan people directly in saying “do not come” to the U.S. The backlash was swift from both sides of the aisle: on the left, she was accused of being out of touch with the harsh realities migrants face, and on the right she was criticized for not having paid a visit to the U.S.-Mexico border itself.

Migration from the Northern Triangle countries, meanwhile, has not slowed down. There was a sharp increase in apprehensions of people from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras at the U.S.-Mexico border at the start of the Biden Administration, and by March 2021, that number spiked to more than 85,600, according to data from U.S. Customs and Border Protection. After a dip in May, apprehensions of people from the Northern Triangle region increased again to about 94,400 in July.

It will take time—likely a decade—before the White House begins to see results of these programs, says Call, who worked in the State Department during the Obama Administration. That Administration also attempted to address root causes of migration, but only began allocating funds toward the end of former President Barack Obama’s second term. When former President Donald Trump came into office, those resources were cut back significantly.

Lasting success can only happen in the “context of good governance,” Call says. “It doesn’t make any difference if you get $4 billion to governments that are all corrupt, and they spend it on houses in Miami, and big ranches and airplanes.”

Hondurans Go to Polls To Elect Successor of Hernandez Photo by APHOTOGRAFIA/Getty ImagesXiomara Castro (R), the newly inaugurated president of Honduras, gestures during a press conference on November 28, 2021 in Tegucigalpa, Honduras. ‘Somebody we can work with’

Castro’s meeting with Harris will be the new president’s first with a foreign official, though the two have spoken once before on a Dec. 10 phone call to discuss addressing root causes of migration and corruption in Honduras.

Castro’s predecessor, Juan Orlando Hernández, has been accused by U.S. prosecutors of having ties to narco trafficking. Hernández’s brother, Juan Antonio Hernández is currently on trial in the Southern District of New York where prosecutors have accused the former Honduran president of collaborating with his brother in his alleged drug trafficking efforts.

Read more: Honduras Shows How Fake News Is Changing Latin American Elections

In Guatemala, elected officials have also been accused by critics of corruption and taking steps to ensure impunity, including ending the International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala, an independent United Nations body of investigators formed to put a check on corruption in the country. In El Salvador, President Nayib Bukele spent much of 2021 pushing his Administration further and further toward authoritarianism, by removing and replacing Supreme Court judges and the nation’s Attorney General with his own backers, a move that is against Salvadoran law.

“The important thing about Xiomara Castro’s election, is that, oh my gosh, now we have somebody we can work with,” says Call. “There was great enthusiasm inside the Biden Administration.”

Ruiz Soto says Castro’s nation-wide support gives her an upper-hand in her efforts to combat corruption. She isn’t only targeting leaders in metropolitan regions, but in the rural parts of the country where, at least as of 2015, 45% of the country’s population lived, according to the International Fund for Agricultural Development.

“Time will tell, ultimately, how this relationship will will develop,” Ruiz Soto says, “but I think there’s a lot of promise between the Biden Administration and Xiomara Castro in this case.”

But progress won’t be easy. Castro’s pledge to clean house in Honduras’ government is already meeting resistance in the country’s Congress. Members of her own Libre party formed a coalition with the conservative party on Jan. 21 that could block any effort by Castro to appoint a Congressional leader she chooses. “There’s already road bumps on the path to try to adopt new laws that will create good governance in Honduras,” Call says, and this happened before she even took office.

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- Aryn Baker

China’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs has set the lab-grown meat industry abuzz with the release of its official five-year agricultural plan (pdf in Chinese) on Jan. 26. For the first time, China included cultivated meats and other “future foods” like plant-based eggs as part of its blueprint for food security going forward.

Grown from animal stem cells in a bioreactor and nourished on a nutrient broth, cultivated meats are a relatively new technology that promises to upend traditional animal agriculture by replacing slaughterhouses with laboratories. But while alternative meat companies have made immense strides in replicating the taste and texture of conventionally raised pork, beef, and chicken, barriers to large scale development and distribution remain. China’s embrace of the technology could upend that metric by encouraging investment and providing a market. [time-brightcove not-tgx=”true”]

“China is far and away the largest consumer of eggs and meat in the world, so incorporating plant-based eggs and cultivated meat into the country’s five-year plan is a significant indicator of what’s to come,” says Josh Tetrick, the CEO of California-based food-technology company Eat Just Inc., which is already selling plant-based eggs in China, and cell-cultivated chicken in Singapore.

“This nationwide strategic initiative could accelerate the country’s regulatory timeline for cultivated meat, drive more research and investment into the alternative protein industry and fuel broader consumer acceptance of these products,” Tetrick says. “In short, this is one of—if not the most—important policy actions in the history of alternative proteins.”

Read More: The Cow that Could Feed the Planet

China, the world’s biggest source of greenhouse gas emissions, is under pressure to take stronger actions to address its role in global warming. Animal agriculture could be a good place to start. Livestock raised for food accounts for up to 14.5% of global emissions according to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization. China’s livestock was responsible for nearly 29% of the country’s direct and indirect agriculture emissions in 2014, the latest year for which official figures are available.

The U.N.’s International Panel on Climate Change is calling for a reduction in global meat consumption to help reduce climate-warming gasses. Yet global demand for meat is set to nearly double by 2050, according to the World Resources Institute, particularly in nations with a growing middle class, like China. Per capita meat consumption has tripled since the late 1980s in China, and today the country consumes 28% of the world’s meat, including half of all pork.

Read More: How China Could Change the World by Taking Meat Off the Menu

By promoting cultivated meat alternatives, China could reduce greenhouse gas emissions from raising livestock (or importing meat), while ensuring that it maintains food security—a vital concern, particularly after the 2019 and 2020 African swine fever outbreaks that saw domestic pork production plummet in China. “As the world grapples with the twin challenges of skyrocketing protein demand and diminishing natural resources, a rapid shift towards plant-based and cultivated meat is a critical element of how we increase food security, mitigate environmental degradation, and alleviate global poverty,” says Mirte Gosker, the Asia acting managing director for the alternative meat promotion organization Good Food Institute. “By including game-changing food technologies like cultivated meat, [China’s] national leaders are saying publicly what others around the world have long hoped: that China intends to go all-in on building the future of food.”

That’s not just good for China, it’s also good for the cultivated meat industry. China has yet to grant regulatory approval for the sale of cultivated meat (so far, Singapore is the only country in the world that has), but that could soon change as pressure mounts to achieve the five-year plan. Market approval would see increased private investment in local cultivated meat start-ups, like Joes Future Food, which has already raised nearly $11 million to start lab-grown pork production. Meanwhile, the sheer size of China’s potential market could spark additional investment in global brands that are already scaling up.

“When China moves, especially on an area as critical to the global economy as food production, the world takes notice and often moves to either compete or partner,” says Tetrick. For the companies developing meat alternatives, both are a good thing.

- Bruno Maçães

A consensus is beginning to form that a new war in Ukraine has become inevitable. In large measure this is due to the escalation in both rhetoric and military preparedness coming from Moscow. Combined, they create a situation where the costs of retreating for Russia might now be too high. The clout and credibility acquired over the last decade—which people close to the Kremlin applaud as a return to superpower status—would suddenly evaporate were President Vladimir Putin to order the troops amassed on Ukraine’s borders to return home.

At present, it seems very unlikely that the Kremlin will get more than symbolic concessions from Washington, much fewer than it perhaps hopes to get after more concrete tokens of Russian determination. The problem is not just that Washington will never make the kind of commitments about NATO expansion that Russia has demanded, but that most people in the Biden Administration think such commitments are a red herring. Putin is less interested in substantive commitments than in the spectacle of Russian assertiveness and American retreat. A deal would invite further provocations from an emboldened Russian leader. Hence the gloomy forecasts. [time-brightcove not-tgx=”true”]

The question, were Russia to make a move, is what kind. Kremlin insiders such as longtime foreign policy advisor Sergey Karaganov have downplayed the prospect of an invasion followed by territorial occupation as leading nowhere. “The seizure of Ukraine is not included in our military plans,” he recently said, “if only for the reason that capturing a country with a destroyed infrastructure and an angry population is the worst possible scenario.” Similarly, a document authored by a number of leading Ukrainian military experts argues that “a large-scale offensive operation in an attempt to hold large occupied territories is an adventure that has no chance of a positive outcome for Russia.”

One mooted possibility is an amphibious invasion through the Sea of Azov. Such an operation would not be easy to accomplish. Ukrainian forces have been preparing for just such a scenario since 2014 and would be able to put up sufficient resistance that a Russian invasion would become prohibitively costly, measured in either Russian casualties or the time needed to conclude the hostilities. Russia could always combine a ground invasion with massive air support, but at what cost in civilian lives? As a former European Head of State put it to me this week, “the big question is whether it will be also an air war. If yes, it will be a slaughter. If not, it will not be easy for Russia.”

Putin is certainly aware of the dynamics of public opinion in Western democracies. News of repeated atrocities in Ukraine would lead to the adoption of the most punitive economic sanctions. And then there is the possibility of a Ukrainian insurgency, inevitably supported by the West. In urban areas and in the west of the country, Russian troops and even transport convoys would be subject to isolated but deadly attacks. Sabotage would be another weapon of Ukrainian insurgent groups and even targeted assassinations could not be ruled out. When I talked to a number of security and intelligence officers in Kyiv in 2018, they offered that argument as final reassurance that Russia would not try to invade and occupy further Ukrainian territory, including the famed land bridge connecting the Donbas to Crimea or isolated bridgeheads somewhere on the Black Sea Coast.

Read More: The Man Putin Fears

Although militarily less ambitious and therefore less risky than an outright invasion and occupation, other kinds of military intervention might be politically bolder, as the intervention in Syria in 2015 undoubtedly was. One model Putin might be tempted by is the punitive strike. In a way he would be mimicking American practice—as exemplified by the air strikes Bill Clinton ordered against Iraq after it refused to cooperate with weapons inspections—while overturning the existing American monopoly on the use of military power, a monopoly already breached in Syria. The logic of a punitive strike would flow naturally from the ratcheting up of tensions we have seen in recent weeks. New incidents may be manufactured in coming days, after which Putin would address Russia and the world, explaining that he had no alternative but to order a series of air strikes and limited ground operations against targets inside Ukraine, as a way to eliminate a threat against Russian interests. His goal would be to degrade Ukrainian defence capacities, provoke a political crisis in Kyiv and affirm a new precedent for Ukraine and beyond. A symbol of imperial power rather than an ugly battle for territory.

After a humiliating military defeat, Ukrainian President Zelensky might even be ousted by a Moscow-aligned new government in Kyiv, as suggested by revelations from the British Foreign Office over the weekend. And with Ukrainian defenses significantly degraded, Russia would be in a privileged position to launch new hostilities at any time in the future.

If the strikes end after a week or so, and mass civilian casualties are avoided, would they qualify as the kind of “minor incursion” President Biden thinks one could live with? We know European countries remain deeply divided over what level of Russian aggression should trigger sanctions, with Germany even pushing for an energy exemption in proposed dollar sanctions on Russia. Given these constraints, the Western response might be kept within certain limits, but neither Ukraine nor world politics would survive unchanged.

The existing security order in Europe would be broken beyond repair. Europeans would suddenly be living in a world where Russia would have a claim to intervene anywhere in its near abroad or even beyond, any time it felt important interests were at stake. The Russian television anchor Dmitry Kiselyov, known as a reliable Kremlin mouthpiece, explained on air during the past weekend that the current crisis is not about Ukraine: “The scale is much bigger.” He is right, but then the military endgame is unlikely to be the prolonged and costly battle for territorial control over Ukraine—a new Chechnya, as Boris Johnson called it earlier this week—that Western leaders keep warning Moscow about.

The crisis is not about Ukraine but about Russia. If Washington is serious about limiting Russian power, it should focus less on what comes after a Russian attack than on offering Ukraine the tools to defend itself, especially during the initial stages of conflict, when air and standoff missile strikes will be deployed against military bases, power plants, key transportation nodes and other critical infrastructure. A visit to Washington by Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov in November detailed an urgent need for air defense capabilities. Ukraine believes the ability to shoot down Russian aircraft can deter Putin from invading.

We no longer live in the old liberal order where rules must be enforced and violators punished. We live in a new order where power must be balanced with power. The U.S. must reflect on whether it can afford to reduce its presence in Europe before a proper counterweight to Russia has been created in Brussels. The pivot to Asia may need to wait for a solution to the European crisis. As for Europeans, they need to quickly prepare themselves for a new world, where their sovereignty and security may well be at stake.

Economic sanctions may influence how the Kremlin plans its actions in the next few months and years, but they cannot change the underlying dynamics. The existing order is starting to buckle and Washington needs to decide how best to replace it with new arrangements. Does it prefer to reach a grand bargain with Moscow whereby the two powers divide Europe among themselves? Or does it prefer to encourage and support the development of a new European pole capable of balancing Russian power? Should Biden spend the rest of his term in fruitless summits with Putin or should he sit at the table with the European Union and Britain to discuss how Europe can become a sovereign actor in foreign policy and security? To me the choice seems an obvious one, but what is frustrating about the current crisis is how we keep avoiding the larger questions of political order. By hesitating we allow others to assume the role of reformers and innovators. Eurasia, the supercontinent, is being reshaped before our eyes.

- Ciara Nugent

Escalating tensions with Russia are forcing a confrontation with an uncomfortable reality for European leaders: Vladimir Putin holds the cards when it comes to Europe’s energy needs.

The E.U. imports 35% of its natural gas from Russia. As countries like the Netherlands and Germany have wound down domestic fossil fuel production in recent decades—whether because of depleted reserves or environmental policies—Europe has increasingly turned towards cheap and plentiful imports of Russian natural gas, critical for electricity and heating.

The risks of that dependence—long a source of concern for Russia hawks in the U.S. and Europe—have been crystallizing for months. Natural gas prices nearly tripled last year after demand spiked following the end of pandemic lockdowns, plunging Europe into its most severe energy crisis since the 1970’s. The International Energy Agency says Russia has already worsened the situation by deliberately squeezing gas exports. A military conflict over Ukraine may choke supply even further, spelling some painful months, or even years, for Europe. [time-brightcove not-tgx=”true”]

But some environmentalists see a silver lining here: this moment could, they argue, act as a wake-up call for Europe on the risks of a fossil-fueled world. “If Europe doesn’t want to be exposed to geopolitical risks like this, it needs to reduce its dependence on natural gas as quickly as possible,” says Euan Graham, a gas transition researcher at climate think tank E3G. “It should act as a real springboard to kind of rethink Europe’s relationship with gas.”

Germany, the E.U.’s center of gravity and one of the countries most dependent on Russian natural gas, has long tried to frame its foreign policy and its energy needs as separate issues. But its new government has signaled it might now shelve authorization of Nord Stream-2, a pipeline that would have boosted gas imports from Russia.

A version of this story first appeared in the Climate is Everything newsletter. To sign up, click here.

If Russia invades Ukraine and enters a military conflict with NATO powers, natural gas prices could well double from their already high levels, says Massimo Di Odoardo, vice president of global gas research at energy consultancy Wood Mackenzie. “There’s no telling how high [prices] will go and there’s very little Europe could do to prevent the increases.”

The E.U.’s big fear is that U.S. sanctions, which may limit Russia‘s ability to use dollars or international payment systems, would make it difficult for customers to pay for natural gas orders and cause hold-ups. In a worst case but less likely scenario, Russia could retaliate to sanctions by deliberately slashing gas flows to Europe. “In the Armageddon event that Russia kind of halves exports,” said Di Odoardo, “Europe could only last around six weeks [in cold weather] with the level of storage that they have,” before power outages and rationing would begin in some countries.

Then there’s the potential for physical damage to gas infrastructure and operations in Ukraine itself, through which roughly a third of Russian exports to Europe flow, which would cause market jitters, likely leading to price increases.

In the short term, Europe has few options to shift its energy mix away from Russian natural gas. Between low reserves, long timelines for new projects, and the E.U.’s green energy ambitions, it would be all but impossible for Europe to significantly step up its own natural gas production. The bloc could partially re-activate recently decommissioned coal plants—undermining its emissions goals with the dirtier fossil fuel—and nuclear plants. But according to Wood Mackenzie doing so would provide at best about 10% of the electricity currently generated by natural gas. And, when it comes to heating, millions of homes across Europe have no alternative but to use natural gas because of the way they are set up.

Europe’s only choice to weather the immediate impact of diminished gas supply would be to seek imports of liquified natural gas (LNG)—a form of the fuel that can be transported from far away by ships—from major producers like the U.S. and Qatar, and the Biden administration is holding crisis talks to help Europe do that. But those countries’ output can only be marginally increased, analysts say, so Europe would be competing with Asian countries for supply. That could spark global price increases.

In the long term, climate advocates say cutting Europe’s dependence on natural gas means scaling up renewable energy as fast as possible for electricity production, as well as overhauling buildings to use clean heating technologies like heat pumps and increasing energy efficiency through insulation retrofits. The latter has the added benefit of allowing governments to prioritize social housing where residents would feel the pain of gas price increases most, according to Graham.

Clean energy and efficiency projects will not solve Europe’s energy crisis within the next few months. But for the region’s leaders, the lessons of this moment will likely shape decisions for years to come. “If we really want to stop long-term making Putin very rich, we have to invest in renewables and we need to do it quickly,” the E.U.’s climate chief Frans Timmermans said Friday. “If you really want to make sure that you can provide stable, affordable energy to your citizens, renewables is the answer.”

- Larry Neumeister & Tom Hays / Associated Press

Prince Andrew’s lawyers asked a U.S. court again Wednesday to throw out a lawsuit accusing him of sexual abuse, citing multiple legal defenses.

Among them: The lawyers said that if any sexual activity did occur between the prince and Virginia Giuffre, it was consensual.

The court filing made clear that Andrew wasn’t admitting sexual contact with Giuffre. But it said if the case wasn’t dismissed, the defense wants a trial in which it would argue that her abuse claims “are barred by the doctrine of consent.”

Attorney David Boies, representing Giuffre, responded in a statement asserting Andrew “continues his approach of denying any knowledge or information concerning the claims against him, and purporting to blame the victim of the abuse for somehow bringing it on herself.” [time-brightcove not-tgx=”true”]

The defense request was filed in federal court in Manhattan, where Giuffre sued Andrew in August. The American accused the British royal of sexually abusing her when she was 17 while she traveled with financier Jeffrey Epstein.

Andrew has strenuously denied Giuffre’s allegations and attempted to get the lawsuit tossed. Earlier this month, Judge Lewis A. Kaplan rejected his attempt to win an early dismissal, allowing depositions and other evidence gathering by both parties to move forward.

Wednesday’s response was filed by Los Angeles attorneys Andrew Brettler and Melissa Lerner. They say the suit should also be dismissed on several other grounds, arguing the civil litigation against the prince should be barred because Giuffre is a permanent resident of Australia and bound by a settlement between Epstein and Giuffre.

Giuffre asserted that she met Andrew while she traveled frequently with Epstein between 2000 and 2002, when her lawyers maintain she was “on call for Epstein for sexual purposes” and was “lent out to other powerful men,” including Andrew. Her lawsuit said she still suffers significant emotional and psychological distress and harm.

In the wake of the judge’s decision earlier in January, Prince Andrew—who had already stepped back from royal duties—was stripped of his honorary military titles.

Epstein, 66, took his own life in a Manhattan federal lockup in August 2019 while he awaited trial on sex trafficking charges. Giuffre has also leveled allegations at Ghislaine Maxwell, Epstein’s longtime companion, but was not part of the criminal case that ended recently with Maxwell’s conviction on sex trafficking charges.

The Associated Press does not typically identify people who say they are victims of sexual assault unless they choose to come forward publicly, as Giuffre has.

- Gideon Taylor and Dani Dayan

“We saw a child in mortal danger. We knew that we had the possibility to take her and to protect [her], and it was beyond our feeling or thinking that we would reject it,” Andrzej Sitkowski thought back to when he was 15 and his entire family mobilized to save two Jewish girls and later their mother. It was the height of World War II in Germany, and the Jewish family certainly would be caught if Andrzej’s family did not intervene. But taking them in meant certain death if the Nazi’s found them out. “I thought that what we did was normal…we did not say we wanted to save Jews. It came by coincidence. But in this coincidence, we found ourselves to be ‘menschlich’ [human].” [time-brightcove not-tgx=”true”]

Their example and those of many others should be a lesson to the world. This week, the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany (Claims Conference), in partnership with Yad Vashem, the World Holocaust Remembrance Center, is launching #DontBeABystander: Those who Risked Everything to Save a Life.” Our goal is to highlight people like Andrzej—a group of people we must learn from while we still have their first-hand accounts—those who were recognized as “Righteous Among the Nations” by Yad Vashem for their heroic wartime actions.

The title Righteous Among the Nations, has, over the past sixty years, become one of the most esteemed titles of modern history. At the core of the word “Righteous” is the basic human value, the right to live. These rescuers recognized this and stood up in the face of immense danger to protect the right to live of their Jewish neighbors. They refused to be a bystander and risked everything, including their own lives and the lives of their families, to save Jews during the Holocaust. Like so many of the “ordinary people” who did nothing to stop the Nazis, and in many instances willingly—even eagerly—joined the Nazis in their cruel and murderous campaigns, the Righteous Among the Nations were also “ordinary people”—yet they chose to undertake extraordinary actions. Yad Vashem describes them: “Some acted out of political, ideological or religious convictions; others were not idealists, but merely human beings who cared about the people around them. In many cases they never planned to become rescuers, and were totally unprepared for the moment in which they had to make such a far-reaching and fatalistic decision. They were ordinary human beings, and it is precisely their humanity that touches us and should serve as a model.”

Throughout the past 77 years, since the end of World War II Holocaust survivors have not only have sought a measure of justice for the horrors they and their loved ones endured, but they have also dedicated their lives to telling the world what happened. They do so to offer their testimonies as much as their moral authority, urging us all to remain on high alert so that such atrocities never occur again. And they do so to remind us that the Holocaust wasn’t inevitable. It happened because— as the late Nobel Laureate Prof. Elie Wiesel so memorably told us—the world knew, but remained silent.

While the number of collaborators in Nazi Germany’s murderous campaign was all too high, far more people simply stood by as six million of their Jewish friends, neighbors and citizens were marginalized, ostracized, stripped of their homes and livelihoods, forced into ghettos, enslaved and murdered. Prof. Wiesel—who survived the Auschwitz death camp and whose entire family was slaughtered in the Holocaust—vowed to “never be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation.” He made it his life’s mission to teach us all that “neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented. Sometimes we must interfere.” Where individuals or groups are persecuted, “that place must—at that moment—become the center of the universe.”

Sadly, many have forgotten (and many never even knew) who Elie Wiesel was, or what he stood for. Recent surveys conducted by the Claims Conference on Holocaust awareness in the United States, France, Canada, Austria and the U.K. have shown troubling gaps in knowledge of basic Holocaust facts. More recently, we have seen how far too many people now question whether the Holocaust happened at all or believe that its catastrophic events have been widely exaggerated. And maybe it is such willful ignorance that helps ease a conscience that might otherwise be troubled by inaction in the face of modern-day persecution and oppression.

But many Holocaust survivors know firsthand that they are here today—as are their children, grand-children and great-grandchildren—because a Righteous rescuer chose to act upon a troubled conscience and extend a lifesaving hand. Rescuers like Andrzej Sitkowski who, with his mother, Helena, saved many Jews including the Kosak sisters, Marion and Hadassah, forging a bond that still exists between the two families today. And rescuers like the Krynskis, farmers who saved Sidney Zoltak’s family from certain death by hiding them in an underground bunker for 14 months.

On this International Holocaust Remembrance Day let us listen to these survivors and to their rescuers, who have honored us by sharing their painful memories and who, simply put, knew how important it was not to be a bystander.

All of us have asked ourselves whether we would act with grace, kindness and selflessness in the face of oppression, hatred and danger. May we find the courage to learn from the actions of these rescuers—Righteous Among the Nations—the innocent lives that they saved, and the generations who were allowed to flourish because of their brave actions.

To see testimonies from these rescuers and survivors, please visit DontBeABystander.org

- Sanya Mansoor
The Oscar-Shortlisted Documentary Writing With Fire Shines a Light on the Only All-Women News Outlet in India

It’s 2016 and inside a newsroom in India, a group of rural female journalists are discussing why they need to pivot away from print reporting to digital. It’s a conversation that would feel familiar to journalists across the world—except many of the reporters at the online news outlet Khabar Lahariya have never even touched a smartphone, let alone used it to capture video. “I’m scared,” one woman says, noting that she is still learning how to report for print. Another explains that she doesn’t even use the phone her family has for fear she may damage it. But as time goes on, they learn anyway. [time-brightcove not-tgx=”true”]

When filmmakers Rintu Thomas and Sushmit Ghosh sat in on this conversation at Khabar Lahariya, it confirmed that they had stumbled upon something special. A year earlier, they set out to create the documentary Writing With Fire, which closely follows a handful of Khabar Lahariya’s journalists from 2016 through 2019. The film marks the married couple’s first feature debut and was made by their production company Black Ticket Films, which focuses on social justice issues.

Read More: Why India’s Most Populous State Just Passed a Law Inspired by an Anti-Muslim Conspiracy Theory

Khabar Lahariya’s journalists report on illegal mining, rape cases, subpar sanitation, elections and religious polarization in their local communities in Uttar Pradesh, India—the country’s most populous state and one with significant caste discrimination and high rates of crimes against women. The award-winning film, which premiered at Sundance in January 2021, was recently shortlisted for an Oscar in the ‘Documentary Feature’ category. In a group interview with TIME staff on Jan. 20, and in later follow-up conversations, Thomas and Ghosh shared how they approached the story and their experiences working on the film and releasing it during the pandemic. “We wanted the audience to have an immersive experience of what it means being a Dalit woman journalist working in Uttar Pradesh,” Ghosh says.

The women at Khabar Lahariya, which translates to ‘Waves of News’ are predominantly Dalit—among one of the most marginalized groups in India, which includes individuals oppressed as lower-caste or those falling outside the caste system altogether.

The central character of Writing With Fire is Meera Devi, who is the outlet’s chief reporter when the documentary begins. (She is now bureau chief.) Devi is a charismatic leader who is deeply invested in the growth of the journalists working for her and the stories she tells. In one scene, Devi—who is Dalit herself—visits a Dalit neighborhood as part of her reporting on the national government’s Swachh Bharat Mission, which had promised universal sanitation for all Indians. She asks a woman whose family still has to defecate outside their home whether she thinks the government is lying when they say they have fulfilled this promise. “Look at the condition of my house. We have to take our children to the forest, even at night,” the woman responds. When Devi asks another Dalit family why their home is so far outside the main village, they say it’s because other communities consider them impure.

Devi and her family also face discrimination, too. She says in the film that her daughter’s classmate started mocking her upon learning that she was Dalit. “I tell my daughters their caste identity will always follow them. This is how our society is structured. But it’s important to challenge the system,” Devi says.

Meera Devi Black Ticket FilmsMeera Devi, chief reporter at online Indian news outlet Khabar Lahariya, leads her team’s digital training.

Devi serves as a dedicated mentor to those working under her, teaching them everything from how to use a smartphone and recognize the English alphabet to thinking critically about angles and framing. In one scene, she sits a junior reporter, Shyamkali, down to explain why her story about a religious guru could inadvertently promote his work and gloss over how some have used their status to sexually exploit women.

Initially, Shyamkali is one of the members of the newsroom who struggles most with her work. (In another scene, editors say she has a low monthly publication count.) But by the end of the film, her impactful reporting on a rape case leads to the arrest of the alleged perpetrator—a testament to her growth under Devi’s guidance. “The rigor with which they have trained each other is so strong and deep,” Ghosh says.

Read More: How Long Will Biden Pretend That Modi’s India Is a Democratic Ally?

Devi approaches her interviews with a genuine curiosity, even when she may not agree with the views of those she is interviewing. “As journalists they are looking at the deep wounds of India with a compassionate lens, with a genuine intention to understand the world,” Thomas says. In one scene, she asks a man why he is wearing political insignia at a religious festival. When he responds saying that God doesn’t discriminate between the political and non political, she gently asks what has God got to do with politics.

While the film unpacks serious issues such as caste oppression and violence against women, the female reporters who drive the story maintain their spirits while out in the field. Part of that was by design: Thomas says she was tired of one-dimensional stories about female suffering that fail to portray the warmth and complexities of female solidarity. “People come in thinking that this is going to be a dark, heavy social justice film coming out of India and then they experience the intelligence, wit and acumen of these women and they’re like whoa,” Ghosh says. “The film wouldn’t be half as powerful without that.”

Thomas says the film also illustrates the importance of diverse newsrooms. In India, many newsrooms are dominated by dominant caste men. Meanwhile, at Khabar Lahariya, many of the reporters are survivors of the kinds of trauma and challenges that they write about in their stories. “They come from the communities that they report on. There is this added sense of: if I don’t show up at this place, at this time, tomorrow, nobody else will,” Thomas says.

The documentary notes upon closing that more than 40 journalists have been killed since 2014 in India, making it one of the deadliest countries to practice journalism.

Thomas and Ghosh hope the film moves viewers to consider how they can support independent local media, wherever they live. “The fourth estate, globally, is under duress and it’s important for citizens to champion its values, to find journalists and institutions whose work they believe in and find a way to support them,” Ghosh says.

Khabar Lahariya had already been operating for more than a decade when the filmmakers arrived to document their work. Now, their Youtube channel has almost 550,000 subscribers, their team is growing, and they are closely following this year’s elections in Uttar Pradesh.

Asked whether the filmmakers’ presence may have influenced Khabar Lahariya’s successful trajectory, they were clear that it was a coincidence “They’re a juggernaut. There was no stopping them,” Ghosh says. “It was like, this train is moving. Do you want to hop on or not?”

- Aryn Baker

Climate change has its winners and losers. As global temperatures rise, some species will find themselves squeezed out of suitable living arrangements while others—for a while at least—will see new opportunities opening up. The same goes for what we eat and drink. A new study published in the scientific journal PLOS One zeros in on how climate change will impact some of the food and drink we love most.

Scientists at the Zurich University of Applied Sciences in Switzerland found that the ideal regions for growing coffee, cashews and avocados will either disappear, shrink or shift as global temperatures continue to rise. The future of coffee is pretty dim, at least if you are a fan of the more refined arabica beans. But avocado lovers in today’s cooler climes could find that by 2050, their favorite toast topping is a local product instead of an import. And cashews could become a cash crop for farmers in a wider range of countries. [time-brightcove not-tgx=”true”]

By looking at the ideal growing conditions for each crop, including soil quality, rainfall and temperature ranges, the scientists were able to map the locations where those conditions are currently met. They then projected the local impacts of climate change in 2050 on three different emissions scenarios: meeting the Paris Agreement goal of less than 2°C warming since pre-industrial levels; reaching 2.5°C of warming; and our current trajectory with no emissions cuts.

In all three scenarios, coffee arabica trees fared badly, losing up to 50% of suitable growing areas in the major producing countries of Brazil, Vietnam, Indonesia, and Colombia, which account for 64% of global production. Other countries that are already growing coffee could increase production, but conditions there are equally expected to decline, however they were not a focus of the study. “Your coffee is at risk,” says lead author and environmental scientist Roman Grüter. “I wouldn’t say there might be no coffee anymore, but adapting to changing conditions will be necessary.”

Suitable areas for avocado plantations could see declines in today’s major producers, such as Mexico, the Dominican Republic, Peru, and Indonesia (together accounting for 58% of the global production); whereas the United States, Argentina, China, and East Africa could offer ideal growing conditions for both cashews and avocados as those higher latitudes warm up. But, the study cautions, warming temperatures alone are not enough. A changing climate in the potential new growing regions could mean a decrease in the rainfall avocados need, or conversely, too much rain for desert-loving cashews.

Meanwhile farmers in areas that can no longer grow those crops, such as in Colombia, will be the most affected. Avocados, cashews, and coffee may seem like a strange combination, agrees Grüter, but they were chosen for the fact that they are important cash crops for small scale farmers around the world. “They’re not only important for consumers, but also for smallholder farmers whose livelihoods depend on growing these crops in many places around the world.” They are all tree crops with long lifespans, representing a significant investment of time and land for farmers that will have a hard time adapting to changing climates.

It’s unlikely that the crops will all fail at once, says Grüter. Instead, the impacted farmers will experience a slow decline in yield, or an increase in disease. “Cultivating crops in [climate affected] regions might get more difficult, and it will need more effort to grow the crop and then at some point, it might just not be [profitable] anymore.”

Climate adaptation will be necessary, the report concludes. That could mean shifting the plantations to higher, cooler elevations where possible, enriching soils, implementing irrigation strategies or breeding drought and heat tolerant crops. But doing so is expensive, especially for small growers who live from one harvest to the next. “They really need alternative [crops],” says Grüter. “The responsibility is not only with [the farmer]. The regions’ agricultural consultants have to think ahead. It’s really important in agriculture today to not only anticipate consumer demands, but also changing climatic conditions.” It’s not just coffee that’s under threat, but the people who grow it too.

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