Low blow! Mitrione takes out Kharitonov with agonizing below-the-belt kick at Bellator 215 (VIDEO)

By ethan / February 16, 2019

The first leg of Bellator MMA’s double-header weekend got off to a stuttering start, with the heavyweight main event between Matt Mitrione and Sergei Kharitonov ending in a no-contest after just 15 seconds in Connecticut.

The main event contest between American star Mitrione and Russian veteran Kharitonov was expected to see one of the pair move forward towards a title shot against current two-division world champion Ryan Bader.

But the contest at Bellator 215 at the Mohegan Sun Arena finished almost as quickly as it started when Mitrione’s powerful low kick missed the inside of Kharitonov’s thigh and instead landed flush in the Russian star’s groin.

It took a split second for the pain to register, but when it did it became obvious very quickly that Kharitonov was not going to recover in the five minutes allotted for an injury timeout and the bout was waved off after just 15 seconds.

With the foul ruled as accidental, a no-contest verdict was rendered, as the night came to a wholly unsatisfactory conclusion.

On a disappointing night for Bellator MMA, the co-main event failed to fire the passions as Logan Storley claimed a routine unanimous decision victory over Ion Pascu in a bout that drew a chorus of boos and jeers from the fans in the stands.

Despite the disappointing nature of Friday night’s show, hopes are much higher for Saturday night’s second leg of the double-header, where British welterweight stars Paul ‘Semtex’ Daley and Michael ‘Venom’ Page will settle their longstanding rivalry inside the cage in the night’s main event.

The bout is a quarter-final of the Bellator Welterweight World Grand Prix tournament, which will not only see the victor claim bragging rights, it will also propel them into the semi-finals of the tournament, which will finish with the overall winner claiming the Bellator Welterweight World Title and a $ 1 million prize put up by American rapper 50 Cent.

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‘I’d take the wall down’: 2020 hopeful O’Rourke says he’d ‘absolutely’ knock US-Mexico barrier

By ethan / February 16, 2019

Failed Texas Senate candidate and likely presidential contender Beto O’Rourke said he would “take the (border) wall down,” becoming the first potential 2020 challenger to embrace the open borders rhetoric of the Democratic left.

As President Trump geared up to declare a national emergency and build a border wall without congressional approval, O’Rourke staked out a position completely at odds with the president.

“Would you, if you could, would you take the wall down here – knock it down?” MSNBC’s Chris Hayes asked O’Rourke in an interview recorded near the Mexican border in El Paso, Texas.

“Yes, absolutely,” O’Rourke answered. “I’d take the wall down.”

“We don’t need an emergency declaration, troops deployed, or additional border walls and fencing at a time of record safety and security along the US-Mexico border,” O’Rourke added in a tweet.

Border crossings have indeed been relatively low in recent years, but are climbing. Arrests along the Mexican border fell to around 304,000 in 2017, the lowest number since 1971. Since then, they have risen to 396,000 in 2018. Arrests are up again this year, with 201,500 illegal immigrants apprehended between October and January.

While large swathes of desert and badlands remain completely unguarded, some stretches of the border are protected by fencing, walls and other barriers. O’Rourke’s native El Paso is shielded by 124 miles of double-layered barrier which significantly slashed crossings after it was completed in 2008.

El Paso and the Mexican city of Ciudad Juarez have been separated by a chain-link fence since the 1970s, with the latest reinforcements added since 2006. The barriers were built after then-president George W. Bush passed the Secure Fence Act, funding over 600 miles of fencing along the 2,000-mile border.

The act, O’Rourke continued, has “not in any demonstrable way made us safer. It’s cost us tens of billions of dollars to build and maintain. And it’s pushed migrants and asylum seekers and refugees to the most inhospitable, the most hostile stretches of the US-Mexico border, ensuring their suffering and death.”

O’Rourke’s embrace of open borders played well with some of the more fervent opponents of Trump’s wall, and with his own fangirls.

The former Texas Representative was mocked and slated by the right, however.

Curiously, some of the Democrats who are fervently opposing Trump’s border wall initiatives now were OK with Bush’s fences. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, a fierce opponent of Trump’s planned wall, voted in favor of the Secure Fence Act in 2006. So too did 64 House and 26 Senate Democrats. Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and Joe Biden all supported the act, which pledged $ 8 billion towards building barriers and another $ 46 billion for other border security initiatives.

Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi – Trump’s two opponents in the fight for wall funding – have endlessly criticized the wall, but neither have advocated to remove existing barriers.

“If Nancy Pelosi thinks that Walls are ‘immoral,’ why isn’t she requesting that we take down all of the existing Walls between the US and Mexico, even the new ones just built in San Diego at their very strong urging,” Trump tweeted last month. “Let millions of unchecked ‘strangers’ just flow into the US.”

Trump’s 2020 campaign manager, Brad Parscale, made a similar argument on Thursday. Naming a handful of potential Democratic presidential candidates, Parscale asked whether they would back O’Rourke’s call to tear down the wall.

O’Rourke has not announced his candidacy, but opened the week with a campaign-style rally in El Paso – right across the road from a Trump rally. While Trump promised he would “finish the wall,” O’Rourke declared that “walls end lives.”

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Germans go gaga for Russian food discounter Mere amid nostalgia for ‘Iron Curtain’ era

By ethan / February 16, 2019

A Russian grocery retailer was nearly forced to close during its grand opening week in Germany when a huge crowd of Leipzig locals arrived and gobbled up almost the entire inventory.

The promising slogan ‘Only Lowest Prices Everyday’ evoked an enormous demand during the first days after the opening that toppled the most optimistic forecasts. The buying fever was reportedly triggered by very attractive prices for foodstuff and basic goods offered by the grocery store that had been opened in early February in a location where an Aldi market once stood.

Also on rt.com Siberian discount chain wins over German consumers challenging local giants Aldi & Lidl

Mere, a food discounter belonging to one of Russia’s largest thrift shop chains Torgservis, offers a wide range of goods, from dairy products and coffee to canned food and sausages, manufactured mostly in Eastern European countries.

Shortly after the opening of the store in Leipzig, German media hurriedly accused the Russian business of attacking Aldi and Lidl, Germany’s biggest retail chains with a multi-billion turnover.

According to analysts, Mere will hardly face the problems of the US retail corporation Walmart, which had to withdraw from Germany in 2006 after 10 years of ineffective business.

“Many Germans cannot be identified as rich. There are many citizens living on welfare, pensioners, lonely and older people… In some parts of the country, especially in the East, unemployment rate totals eight percent,” Professor Johannes Ringel from Leipzig’s University told Russia’s state TV channel Rossiya 2.

“In this segment of the market, people usually keep a wary eye on their expenses. That’s why they will go shopping in Mere,” the economist added.

People living in the Eastern parts of Germany are still nostalgic about the German Democratic Republic and like purchasing goods produced in countries of the former Soviet bloc, the media reported. However, most of the customers are rushing to the store because of prices that are nearly 30 percent lower than at other supermarkets.

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Mueller recommends 19+ year sentence for Manafort

By ethan / February 16, 2019

Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s office has requested that former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort get 19 years in prison after the would-be cooperator was found to be lying to the FBI, special counsel and a grand jury.

Manafort acted for more than a decade as if he were above the law, and deprived the federal government and various financial institutions of millions of dollars,” Mueller’s sentencing request states. “The sentence here should reflect the seriousness of these crimes and serve to both deter Manafort and others from engaging in such conduct.”

None of the crimes Manafort is going to prison for are directly related to the suspected Russia-Trump “collusion” to win the 2016 election that Mueller has been investigating for two years. Instead, he was convicted on numerous counts of bank and tax fraud.

Manafort violated his plea deal – on Wednesday, a Washington judge ruled that he had lied about a payment to a law firm and about contacts with a person “assessed” to have links with Russian intelligence – and thus destroyed his chances of a shorter sentence, antagonizing Mueller into the bargain.

In addition to 19.5 to 24 years in prison, Mueller’s office is also requesting Manafort pay a fine of up to $ 24.4 million and restitution in the amount of $ 24.8 million, with a forfeiture of $ 4.4 million.

Also on rt.com Stone’s lawyer claims no collusion, analysts say Mueller putting the squeeze on Trump associates

Manafort’s crimes amount to a pattern of criminal behavior that is “brazen” and “routine,” according to the sentencing request. “Manafort did not commit these crimes out of necessity or hardship…He nonetheless cheated the United States Treasury and the public out of more than $ 6 million in taxes at a time when he had substantial resources,” and committed fraud to further augment his cash flow due to his lavish lifestyle, the document states.

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By ethan / February 16, 2019

RT Business News https://www.rt.com/business/</link> RT Business News en Fri, 15 Feb 2019 23:54:22 +0000 RT https://www.rt.com/static/img/logo-rss.png RT Business News https://www.rt.com</link> 125 40 If you can’t bit them, coin them: Bitcoin-skeptic JP Morgan reveals its own cryptocurrency https://www.rt.com/business/451559-bitcoin-skeptic-jpmorgan-goes-crypto/ Just a few weeks after JP Morgan declared cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin to only have value in a post-capitalist dystopia, the $ 2.5tn banking giant announced its own blockchain-based “JPM Coin” – should we be worried?
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Fri, 15 Feb 2019 14:44:00 +0000 RT Russian PM calls on government to go beyond ‘dry figures’ to address poverty https://www.rt.com/business/451549-russia-address-poverty-medvedev/ The Russian government should do more to help its 19 million citizens living below the poverty line, said Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev. He suggested providing better-targeted assistance to the poor than just statistics.
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Fri, 15 Feb 2019 13:18:00 +0000 RT US investor & top partners of Baring Vostok equity fund detained in Moscow on fraud allegations https://www.rt.com/business/451540-baring-vostok-partners-detained/ A Moscow district court has ordered the detention of the founder and senior partner of Baring Vostok private equity, as part of an ongoing inquiry into fraud allegations. Other employees were also taken into custody.
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Fri, 15 Feb 2019 11:31:00 +0000 RT Russia will launch Arctic LNG 2 project even if US sanctions scare off investors – Finance Ministry https://www.rt.com/business/451535-russia-arctic-lng2-sanctions/ The US bill introducing new sanctions against Russia aims to sabotage the Arctic LNG 2 project, according to Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov. But Moscow will launch the project even if it has to do it on its own, he a

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Chicago PD releases 'persons of interest' in shady Jussie Smollett attack case

By ethan / February 16, 2019

Fueling suspicions that the ‘racist, homophobic’ attack on actor Jussie Smollett was a hoax, Chicago police have released the two Nigerians arrested as “persons of interest” without charges, claiming they have more work to do.

Abimbola and Olabinjo Osundairo were released after a day of questioning after they were taken into custody at O’Hare airport as “persons of interest” in the Smollett case. While they didn’t quite fit the narrative Smollett gave – in which two masked (but white) men beat him up, shouted racist and homophobic slurs and a pro-Trump slogan, and poured bleach on him, then put a rope around his neck – they did know the ‘Empire‘ actor, having appeared in the series as extras themselves.

Police searched their residence on Wednesday night, recovering a number of items including a red hat, bleach, sneakers, and electronics. The two men had left for Nigeria on the night after Smollett was allegedly assaulted and were on their way back to Chicago when police apprehended them at the airport. They were officially arrested Friday morning, reportedly on suspicion of battery, and questioned further in the presence of their lawyer.

Also on rt.com ‘Hate crime’ attack on ‘Empire’ actor Jussie Smollett was staged, reports suggest

Rumors exploded Thursday after two local news stations reported Smollett’s story had been a hoax – reports the Chicago police quickly attempted to quash, calling them “unconfirmed.” Fox Entertainment, which produces Empire, dismissed rumors he was being written off the series as “patently ridiculous,” a sentiment the show’s writers echoed.

The hoax rumors refused to die, however.

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‘Only emergency is that he is an idiot:’ Coulter spews vitriol at Trump after he disowns her

By ethan / February 16, 2019

Conservative firebrand Ann Coulter has put a final nail into the coffin of her long-since cooled political romance with Donald Trump, calling him an “idiot” and an “emergency” after he said that he “hardly” knows her.

Coulter, an early and once-fervent supporter of Donald Trump’s presidency, has ramped up her criticism of the commander-in-chief in the weeks following the shutdown as it became clear that Trump would be unable to negotiate a border wall deal with House Democrats.

Also on rt.com ‘Bad’ border deal welcomed by ‘Swamp’, but Trump seems unconcerned

Coulter, who, along with another conservative host, Rush Limbaugh, was blamed by some in the liberal media for goading Trump into the shutdown in the first place, has accused Trump of chickening out of the fight for his key campaign promise when he agreed to sign a spending bill that provided only $ 1.3 billion for a barrier along the US-Mexico border instead of the requested $ 5.7 billion, calling it a “Yellow New Deal.”

Asked to what extent outside conservative voices influence his decisions, Trump praised talk show hosts Sean Hannity and Limbaugh, before saying that while media “likes to bring up” Coulter’s name, he doesn’t speak to her and hardly knows her at all.

“Ann Coulter, I don’t know her. I hardly know her. I haven’t spoken to her in way over a year,” Trump said, adding that he “just don’t have time” to do so.

READ MORE: House Democrats announce ‘immediate probe’ into Trump’s border wall emergency

Trump said that there was “one reason” why he liked Coulter, which is that she predicted his victory in the election, early on when nobody considered it to be a real possibility. However, things have gone sour between the two since then, with Trump saying on Friday that “she’s off the reservation.”

“Anybody that knows her understands that. But I haven’t spoken to her. I don’t follow her. I don’t talk to her.”

Coulter has promptly returned the jibe on Twitter, stressing that she had rallied behind Trump’s promises and had not pledged loyalty to him personally. “He seems to think ‘the reservation’ is HIM, not his campaign promises,” she tweeted.

In another tweet, Coulter thanked Trump for relieving her of any responsibility for his “total capitulation on campaign promises.”

Speaking to KABC-TV, Coulter, the author of ’In Trump We Trust: E Pluribus Awesome!’, doubled down, saying that by disowning her completely, Trump “did the biggest favor anyone could do for me today.” Declaring the “country’s over,” Coulter had one more go at Trump, saying “the only national emergency is that our president is an idiot.”

She also announced that she would be changing the title of her book to the past tense, so it would read ‘In Trump We Trusted.’

While Coulter seems to be burning bridges between herself and Trump now, their relations have been deteriorating since December, when he unfollowed her on Twitter after she slammed his presidency as a joke and a scam.

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Sarah Sanders gave Mueller ‘one of the last’ interviews in winding-down Russiagate probe

By ethan / February 16, 2019

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders has been interviewed by special counsel Robert Mueller’s office – reportedly one of the last interviews of the two-year probe seeking evidence of Russian collusion with US President Trump.

The President urged me, like he has everyone in the administration, to fully cooperate with the special counsel,” Sanders told CNN. “I was happy to voluntarily sit down with them.” 

Anonymous sources claimed the White House did not initially want Sanders speaking to Mueller’s office, and it’s unclear what she was asked. Special counsel spokesman Peter Carr declined to comment.

Also on rt.com Deus vult? Almost half Republican voters think GOD WANTED Trump to be president – poll

Another source told the Washington Post that Sanders was interviewed by Mueller seven months ago. She was reportedly interviewed at around the same time as former White House chief of staff John Kelly, who left the Trump team in December.

With the Mueller investigation winding down in the coming months and no evidence of collusion in sight, investigators are reportedly focusing on discrepancies between President Donald Trump’s public statements and those of his team, according to sources cited by CNN, who believe the special prosecutor may attempt to frame any misleading statements to the press or public as obstruction of justice – even though the statements weren’t made under oath or directly to investigators.

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House Democrats announce 'immediate probe' into Trump's border wall emergency

By ethan / February 16, 2019

Democrats on the US House Judiciary Committee have launched an investigation into the legality of President Donald Trump’s emergency declaration, calling it “reckless disregard” of the law based on “misleading statements.”

Committee Chair Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) and a number of high-ranking Democrats have penned a letter to Trump requesting copies of the documents and communication between the White House and Departments of Justice and Defense that provide legal basis for his decision to effectively sidestep lawmakers.

READ MORE: Trump declares national emergency over border crisis

The 6-page letter inked by members of Congress accuses Trump of “fabricating an emergency in order to bypass the political process for allocating a budget,” an allegation that has been repeatedly used by the Democrats to denounce Trump’s decision as a covert power grab.

Also on rt.com Victory, disaster or ‘fake’? America divided as Trump signs spending bill while declaring emergency

The lawmakers argue that Trump’s justification for declaring the national emergency after he failed to secure the $ 5.7 billion in funds from Congress is deeply flawed as it is based on a “series of misleading statements.”

“There is no national emergency at the southern border,” they wrote, arguing that the figures show that the undocumented migration has been down “for years” while border crossing attempts are hitting “40-year lows.”

We believe your declaration of an emergency shows a reckless disregard for the separation of powers and your own responsibilities under our constitutional system.”

Specifically, they picked on Trump’s choice of words while announcing the emergency declaration. Trump appeared to go off-script when he noted that he “didn’t need to do this” but “would rather do it much faster.”

READ MORE: ‘A Democrat can do it too’: Pelosi warns national emergency can be used for gun control in future

The lawmakers called the formulation particularly “troubling.” They are not the first one to pounce on that particular line: the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and President Obama’s former solicitor-general have argued it proves there is no emergency on the southern border, and said it can become the grounds for overturning the declaration.

The emergency decision has also drawn criticism from Trump’s critics in the Republican Party, who expressed concerns that it might be a constitutional overreach and set a dangerous precedent for the future.

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Parents of woman killed by ‘poison used on Skripal’ blame… UK govt, British media, but not Russia

By ethan / February 15, 2019

The grieving parents of Dawn Sturgess, the only person killed in the bizarre Skripal poisoning affair, say they are angry at the British government and press, but don’t hate Russia, which London made the villain in the story.

In an interview with the Guardian, Stan and Caroline Sturgess blamed the government for settling Sergei Skripal, the former double agent at the heart of the Salisbury poisoning scandal, in the Wiltshire town. They believe this decision started the chain of events that led to the death of Dawn, who lived in Amesbury, some 7 miles (12 kilometers) to the north.

Neither Moscow, nor the Russians that London has been accusing of attempting to kill Skripal with a “military-grade poison” are the sides they feel are immediately responsible for what happened.

“I can’t take it personally,” said Caroline. Stan added: “If they’d targeted Dawn specifically, it would be different.” He said of the alleged attackers: “I don’t care if they are arrested or put in prison.”

Also on rt.com Did this Russian cause BREXIT, too? Bellingcat names ‘3rd GRU officer’ in Skripal poisoning saga

While the two don’t dispute the accusations against Russia, they apparently don’t buy into the framing of what happened to Skripal as an over-the-top attack on Britain. “He took risks – he must have known there was a chance people were still after him,” Caroline said.

They also believe their own government is not being forthcoming about what happened.

I want justice from our own government. What are they hiding? I don’t think they have given us all the facts. If anyone, I blame the government for putting Skripal in Salisbury.

The mistrust could have something to do with the couple’s personal experience. They say the British authorities and media slandered their daughter to make her death fit a narrative that they wanted. Initially painted as an asocial drug addict, Dawn was more of a hippie type, who may have had problems with booze, but didn’t take recreational drugs.

“They were trying to get out the message that ‘this couldn’t happen to you, don’t worry, it’s because of their lifestyle’,” Caroline said referring to Dawn and her partner, Charlie Rowley, who survived after being poisoned with the same substance that killed Dawn.

They said autopsy results proved that Dawn had no drugs in her body. They were actually relieved when authorities said she was killed by a poison, which the British government prefers to call ‘Novichok’ after a nickname of a Soviet chemical weapons program.

“The press had given us such a crap time,” said Stan. “When we found out it was Novichok we were relieved to have the confirmation that it wasn’t her fault.”

“When they said it was purely because of the Novichok it was a huge relief. She was innocent. It wasn’t her lifestyle that killed her,” said Caroline.

Also on rt.com Give us FIVE! UK ‘security sources’ identify two more Skripal suspects

Dawn and Charlie got poisoned in late June 2018 by a substance from a counterfeit perfume bottle, which the British authorities say was discarded by assassins, who attacked Skripal and his daughter Yulia in March. The Sturgesses told the Guardian they believed Rowley’s version of events, that he found the bottle in a sealed box – which would contradict the theory that it was the same weapon as the one used against the Skripals.

They also said they didn’t blame Rowley for her daughter’s death, even though his find proved to be fatal for her. “Dawn loved him. He adored her. Charlie was kind to her,” said Caroline.

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