EU must be kidding: Nigel Farage-emblazoned condoms push for 'hard Brexit'

By ethan / September 21, 2018

Nigel Farage has been known to have his fingers in many pies, but the former leader of Britain’s UK Independence Party is now linked with yet another headline-grabbing venture – branded condoms ensuring a ‘hard Brexit.’

While his campaign team say the former politician has nothing to do with the contraceptives bearing his image, they were on sale at this year’s UKIP conference in Birmingham on Friday.

The condoms feature Farage’s face above the phrase: “For when you have a hard Brexit.” They sell for £1 each, or four for £2, Sebastian Cheek, the 20-year-old student who designed the packaging told Reuters. “At UKIP we like making a deal, so long as it’s a good deal.”

READ MORE: Farage considers running for mayor of London; would you vote for him? (POLL)

Farage is still a UKIP member but has stepped out of the political limelight since playing a major role in the campaign for a ‘leave’ vote in the 2016 Brexit referendum.

Cheek said he was aiming to sell 200 of the condoms to raise funds for the party’s youth wing. By midday on the first day of the two-day conference, almost half the stock of the Farage condoms were gone.

It is a reputable condom … they’re going very quickly,” said Cheek.

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Infowars says PayPal has terminated agreement with it for promoting 'hate'

By ethan / September 21, 2018

Payment processing service PayPal has banned Alex Jones’s InfoWars, saying that the site “promoted hate and discriminatory intolerance” and thus violated their use policy.

InfoWars itself broke the news on Friday, saying that PayPal sent them an email the day before informing Jones of the decision. PayPal was used to process purchases at InfoWars’ on-site store.

According to InfoWars, PayPal had conducted a comprehensive review of their website and found it “promoted hate and discriminatory intolerance against certain communities and religions.”


The service offered no specific examples. InfoWars says the two examples they were given off the record were their criticism of Islam and opposition to transgenderism being taught in schools. PayPal’s definition of hate is “is so vague that virtually anything could qualify,” InfoWars said.

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Foul play: NFL star penalized for ‘butt-wipe’ touchdown celebration (VIDEO)

By ethan / September 21, 2018

New York Jets running back Isaiah Crowell fell foul of officials for his cheeky touchdown celebration against the Cleveland Browns on Thursday, being penalized for making a butt wiping motion with the ball.

Crowell scored two second-quarter touchdowns against his former team – the second of which he celebrated by crouching down and rubbing the ball near his backside before tossing it into the crowd.

The celebration hit a bum note with officials, who handed him a 15-yard penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct.    

“I didn’t think about the touchdown celebration before the game,” Crowell said after the game, denying he had intended it as a message to his former team or their fans. “It was just spur of the moment, but I need to control myself.”

Jets head coach Todd Bowles was less than impressed, branding the celebration “inexcusable,” adding: “We addressed it and it will never happen again.”

The Browns had the last laugh, overturning a 14-0 deficit to win 21-17 to claim their first win since Christmas Eve 2016 – a remarkable barren streak of 19 games.

READ MORE: NFL’s Marcus Peters fined $ 13K for crotch-grab celebration (VIDEO)

Last week, Los Angeles Rams cornerback Marcus Peters was slapped with a $ 13,000 for a crotch-grab celebration in his team’s victory over the Oakland Raiders.

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Fitch slashes global economic growth forecast over US-China trade war

By ethan / September 21, 2018

International rating agency Fitch has downgraded its 2019 global GDP forecast. The worsening trade conflict between Washington and Beijing is behind the decision, it said.

According to Fitch, protectionist US trade policies have now reached the point where they are materially affecting what remains a strong global growth outlook.

“The trade war is now a reality. The recently announced imposition of US tariffs on a further $ 200 billion of imports from China will have a material impact on global growth and, even though we have now included the 25 percent tariff shock in our GEO [Global Economic Outlook – Ed.] baseline, the downside risks to our global growth forecasts have also increased,” said Fitch Chief Economist Brian Coulton.

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© Sean Gallup

The report cited the significant escalation in US-China trade restrictions as a reason for the 2019 China growth forecast reduction to 6.1 percent – as well as the global growth forecast cut to 3.1 percent.

“Near-term global growth prospects remain strong with growth forecast to reach 3.3 percent this year, up from 3.2 percent in 2017.”

Fitch noted that growth is becoming less balanced and less synchronized. Slowing global growth in 2019 will be accompanied by an important transition in global monetary policy, it said.

The ‘Big Three’ global credit ratings agency now expects combined QE (quantitative easing) asset holdings of the four QE central banks (Fed, ECB, BOJ and BOE) to decline in 2019.

“With the four QE central banks having purchased over $ 1trillion of assets per annum on average since 2009, the prospect of an outright decline in central bank liquidity is likely to have significant ramifications. These could include upward pressures on global bond yields – as the compression of term premiums that followed QE is unwound – and a ratchet up in financial market volatility,” said Coulton.

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#ICYMI: The Salisbury poisoning – Petrov and Boshirov, two men on a mini-break (VIDEO)

By ethan / September 21, 2018

With every new twist surrounding the poisoning of the Skripals in Salisbury, an element of farce is not far behind. No sooner had Britain named its two suspects, the accused showed up claiming they were simply on a mini-break.

Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov, who London accuses of being members of Russia’s GRU military intelligence told RT that, actually, they were just two friends who wanted to see Salisbury’s world famous cathedral, and its impressive spire. It’s fair to say their story faced a certain amount of ridicule.

So ICYMI looks at a post-modern mystery which gets more bizarre by the day.

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Duke Energy dam fails in NC: Coal ash leaking into river

By ethan / September 21, 2018

Hurricane Florence floodwaters have breached the dam at a retired Duke Energy coal power plant near Wilmington, North Carolina, likely causing a spill of coal ash into Cape Fear River.

Floodwaters topped the earthen dike at the northern side of Sutton Lake on Friday. Water from the south end of the lake is flowing back into the river, Duke Energy spokeswoman Paige Sheehan told AP.

Water has also crested over the steel retaining wall of a coal ash dump on the lake shore, Sheehan said. Duke “can’t rule out” that ash might have spilled into the river.

Gray material that Duke Energy described as “lightweight coal combustion byproducts” was floating on the top of the lake Friday, according to AP.

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The Brunswick nuclear plant in Southport, North Carolina on September 17, 2018 © Duke Energy / Handout

The 1,100-acre lake near the former L.V. Sutton Power Station is next to a landfill of coal ash residue left over from the plant, which closed in 2013. Coal ash contains a number of toxic metals, such as arsenic and mercury.

By Thursday, the Sutton Lake site had received more than 30 inches (75 cm) of rain from Hurricane Florence. The storm dumped over 8 trillion gallons of rainfall on North Carolina over the past week. The Cape Fear River is still rising, and is expected to crest on Saturday.

This is the second time in four years that Duke Energy has suffered a coal ash spill; in 2014, a pipe collapse at a plant in Eden dumped 39,000 tons of ash into the Dan River, contaminating about 70 miles (110 kilometers) of it. The utility company paid $ 102 million in fines and restitution and pleaded guilty to nine Clean Water Act violations as a result.

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Palestinian sports groups threaten Puma boycott over Israel sponsorship

By ethan / September 21, 2018

The heads of more than 200 Palestinian sports organizations have threatened to boycott sportswear giant Puma over its sponsorship of the Israel Football Association (IFA).

In an open letter signed by 215 sports clubs and associations, the groups said six Israeli football clubs are located on land which Palestinians have branded as “illegal Israeli settlements.”

READ MORE: ‘Misunderstanding’: Algerian football club plays down pro-Saddam chants amid row with Iraq

Israel’s settlements contribute to serious human rights abuses and are a direct cause for restrictions on Palestinian freedom of movement, access to natural resources and ability to build homes and conduct business,” the letter reads.

The Palestinian sports organizations claimed that Puma’s sponsorship whitewashes Israel’s actions despite their settlements being slammed as “flagrant violations” of international law by a UN Security Council Resolution.

As the main international sponsor of the IFA, Puma is lending its brand to cover up and whitewash Israel’s human rights abuses,” the letter said, adding that the company’s Code of Ethics requires compliance with international law.

READ MORE: Palestinian FA president issued year-long FIFA ban for inciting ‘hatred and violence’ against Messi

We urge you to abide by your Code of Ethics by withdrawing your sponsorship of the Israel Football Association (IFA) until it ends its involvement in Israel’s grave violations of international law and human rights abuses against Palestinians,” the letter adds.

The four-year sponsorship agreement between Puma and the IFA was signed in July.

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Russia could gain from trade wars by cornering new markets – economy minister

By ethan / September 21, 2018

Trade wars between the United States and China could benefit Russia, according to the Russian Economic Development Minister Maksim Oreshkin. With tariffs growing, Russia could substitute American goods in China and India.

These trade wars, these difficult relations between the United States and its trading partners is, first of all, an opportunity that opens on those markets. The US is exporting many goods and services to China and India. The bilateral raise of duties makes such production less competitive,

Oreshkin told RT.

“All this opens niches Russia could fill in. Russia could compete in this sectors by offering its own production,” he added.

China and the US have recently exchanged with a fresh round of tariffs. China added $ 60 billion of US products to its import tariff list on Tuesday as retaliation to US duties on $ 200 billion of Chinese goods, which go into effect on September 24. The measure comes into effect next week.

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© Dado Ruvic

Earlier, US President Donald Trump threatened China with further tariffs on around $ 267 billion of imports if Beijing retaliates against the latest measure, which it did.

India is also one of several countries that President Trump has repeatedly criticized for its high trade surplus with the US. The US trade deficit with India stands at $ 30 billion, according to statistics from Washington.

The US has imposed aluminum and steel tariffs on India that cost the Indian economy almost $ 250 million a year. India has pledged retaliation but has postponed the decision twice, this time to November.

Speaking about Russia-India trade ahead of President Vladimir Putin’s October visit to New Delhi, Oreshkin said the countries need to diversify their business ties from oil and gas.

“To be honest, despite that we are signing new contract with India and trade is growing, there is large room for diversification of trade from energy supplies,” he said. This could be agriculture, machinery and other sectors of economy, Oreshkin added.

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'Ticking time bomb’: New government report claims UK's nuclear enterprise is not 'fit for purpose'

By ethan / September 21, 2018

Budget constraints are preventing the UK’s Ministry of Defense (MoD) from scrapping potentially dangerous nuclear subs, a new government report showed, noting that some nuclear-servicing facilities were “not fit for purpose”.

The condition of some of the UK’s 13 nuclear sites and constant delays in maintenance created “a ticking time bomb,” House of Commons Public Accounts Committee (PAC) said in their latest report.

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Is the MoD's nuclear spending blasting out of control?  © Handout/Reuters

The document, published Friday, earmarked two facilities in particular which are in need of urgent upgrades – the Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE) and Devonport Dockyard, where the Royal Navy’s nuclear submarines are refitted. It said further investment delays are no longer acceptable.

“Although they had deferred dismantling on affordability grounds in the past, this was no longer acceptable on safety and reputation grounds,” the report said, noting that it is likely that the first sub will not be dismantled until the mid-2020s. The UK currently possesses 20 submarines awaiting disposal, nine of which contain fuel (the type of fuel is not specified). 

“I am particularly concerned that the infrastructure available to support the Enterprise is not fit for purpose,” Meg Hillier, the chair of the PAC committee noted, adding that the military better “get on top of this quickly.” 

Despite MoD reassurances that it is committed to the safety of the “nuclear programmers” and will “carefully” consider the MPs’ recommendations, Labour lawmaker Luke Pollard warned that there is actually no clear plan on how to dismantle and recycle the submarines. And, crucially, the military simply lacks money for it, he said as cited by the Independent.

To maintain the nation’s nuclear deterrent for the next decade, the government must spend £51 billion on nuclear equipment and support programmers, the report claimed.

Britain’s nuclear arsenal has quite a history of safety mishaps and authorities were even accused of downplaying the real dangers stemming from the nuclear deterrent.

UK’s Trident nuclear program in particular has caused concern after reports it operated on a variant of Microsoft’s Windows XP, which has been at the center of the global ransomware outbreak. Last year, Defence Police Federation chairman Eamon Keating warned that budget cuts left military bases practically open to attack.

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Trump blasts Kavanaugh accuser, says if alleged attack was that 'bad,' charges would have been filed

By ethan / September 21, 2018

President Trump attacked the woman accusing Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault in a tweet wondering if the alleged ‘attack’ was so bad, why did she wait so long to come forward?

Christine Blasey Ford has accused Kavanaugh of forcing himself on her at a high school party in the early 1980s. She does not remember where exactly the alleged assault took place, who was there, or what year it was.

Republicans have accused Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-California), who found out about the allegations in July, but only revealed them after Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearings, of using Ford’s claims to obstruct Kavanaugh’s confirmation vote.

Kavanaugh vehemently denies Ford’s allegations, and Republicans have gathered statements from the judge’s schoolmates, ex-girlfriends, and a witness who was supposedly present when the attack took place, testifying to his character. Ford has been invited to testify to the Senate on Monday, but initially declined, asking for an FBI probe first.

Now, Ford says that she may indeed testify, but not on Monday. Now, Ford says that she may indeed testify, but not on Monday. Her lawyer, Debra Katz said that she would only testify if senators offered her “terms that are fair and which ensure her safety.”

In another tweet on Friday, Trump defended Kavanaugh, calling him “a fine man, with an impeccable reputation.” The president said that Kavanaugh is “under assault by radical left wing politicians who don’t want to know the answers, they just want to destroy and delay.”

Republicans have pushed to proceed with Kavanaugh’s confirmation vote, which should originally have taken place on Thursday. Now, an open FBI investigation could stall the vote further – certainly past the first Monday in October when the Supreme Court is due to meet, and perhaps until after November’s midterm elections, when Democrats have a fighting chance of taking back a majority in the Senate.

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Ford’s allegations are uncorroborated, and in the absence of hard evidence, accusations and defenses have been made and retracted daily.

A classmate of Ford’s said in a Facebook post on Wednesday that the “incident did happen, many of us heard about it in the school,” but changed her tune when contacted by NPR. “That it happened or not, I have no idea,” she told the network on Thursday.

On the other side, conservative attorney Ed Whelan argued that the supposed culprit could have been someone else from Kavanaugh’s high school class. Whelan tweeted a photo of Kavanaugh’s yearbook, showing a classmate and football teammate of Kavanaugh, who bore a striking resemblance to the Supreme Court nominee. The similarity, as well as some other circumstantial evidence he tweeted, “powerfully supports Judge Kavanaugh’s categorical denial,” he said.

Whelan later deleted the tweets, saying that implicating Kavanaugh’s classmate in the assault debacle was “an appalling and inexcusable mistake of judgment.”

With a voting day still up in the air, the scandal has chipped away at public support for Kavanaugh. A poll published Friday shows 40 percent of Americans oppose Kavanaugh’s nomination, while only 31 percent approve. A separate poll taken last month found that 29 percent of voters opposed him. Opposition to his nomination is higher among women and Democrats.

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