‘Out for season/no pay!’ Trump calls on tougher NFL suspension for protesting players

By ethan / July 21, 2018

US president Donald Trump has called on National Football League (NFL) bosses to suspend players involved in kneeling demonstrations for an entire season without pay.

Trump has repeatedly admonished players who partake in kneeling protests since the problem emerged in 2016. In a Twitter post on Friday, the president called for a one-game ban for kneeling and a season-long ban for a repeat offence.

READ MORE: Leading US sports clubs cut ties with Papa John’s in wake of n-word scandal

“The NFL National Anthem Debate is alive and well again – can’t believe it! Isn’t it in contract that players must stand at attention, hand on heart?,” Trump tweeted. “The $ 40,000,000 Commissioner must now make a stand. First time kneeling, out for game. Second time kneeling, out for season/no pay!

The anthem protest issue flared up again after Associated Press reported Thursday that the Miami Dolphins planned to suspend protesting players for up to four games under a new team policy.

In the wake of the news, the NFL and NFL Players Association made a joint statement on Thursday saying that no anthem-related team policies will be enforced for the next several weeks as part of a standstill agreement between the two sides.

Anthem protests have been one of the highly debated issues in sport for almost two years after former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick began kneeling during pre-game ceremonies in protest of what he viewed as police brutality and racial discrimination in the USA.

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XXXTentacion killing: 4 charged with first-degree murder over rapper’s death

By ethan / July 21, 2018

Police in Florida have charged four men with the murder of Florida rapper XXXTentacion, including the two suspects arrested in June and July.

Robert Allen and Trayvon Newsome have now joined Michael Boatwright and Dedrick Williams in being accused of killing the hip-hop artist outside a motorcycle dealership in Deerfield Beach, north of Miami, on June 18. All four men were indicted by a grand jury on Friday.

READ MORE: Rapper ‘XXXtentacion’ shot dead in suspected Florida robbery

Williams had been picked up by police two days after the shooting, while Boatwright was arrested on an unrelated drug charge on July 5. Allen, nicknamed ‘Big Rob’ and ‘Fat Boy’, and Newsome remain at large, according to reports in the Miami Herald. Boatwright is accused of firing the fatal shot at the 20-year-old victim.

Police said that the rapper, whose real name was Jahseh Onfroy, was carrying a Louis Vuitton bag containing $ 50,000 in cash at the time of the attack. Onfroy had withdrawn the sum in $ 100 bills from a branch of Bank of America before going to the dealership. The four men are also accused of stealing the money.

READ MORE: Cops fire rubber bullets to disperse fans at slain rapper XXXtentacion’s memorial (VIDEO)

Onfroy’s exit from the dealership was blocked by a Dodge Journey rented by a friend of Williams, according to a police arrest warrant. Two men are then seen on surveillance footage  jumping out of the vehicle, approaching the rapper’s BMW and taking the bag before firing a number of shots into the car.

According to police, a video from Williams’ phone recorded hours after the shooting showed him dancing with $ 100 bills, which he threw in the air. He is also said have bought $ 800 worth of clothes from a store in Fort Lauderdale following the shooting, paying with eight $ 100 bills. Boatwright is also said to have taken similar pictures of himself holding $ 100 bills in the hours after the killing. Ammunition matching the casings found at the crime scene was also recovered from the cars of the accused, according to a police affidavit seen by NBC Miami.  

READ MORE: Police arrest 2nd suspect in rapper XXXTentacion’s murder

Police also said they uncovered searches on Boatwright’s phone for Onfroy along with the words: “Accessory to murder.”

Onfroy’s death came soon after his album ‘?’ entered the charts at number one. Before that, the rapper rose to unexpected fame after his debut song ‘Look at Me’ went viral on social media and the audio platform Soundcloud in 2016. Last year, he reportedly landed a distribution agreement worth an estimated $ 6 million, according to Variety.

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‘Fake revolution’: Kiev summons Italy envoy after Salvini rips into ‘foreign-funded’ Ukraine unrest

By ethan / July 21, 2018

Ukraine is expecting the Italian ambassador for a chat at its Foreign Ministry after Matteo Salvini, Italy’s Interior Minister, slammed the 2014 Euromaidan protests and coup in Kiev as “pseudo-revolution” sponsored from abroad.

“On Monday, we’ll be meeting with the Italian ambassador [Davide La Cecilia]. He’s a nice person and we understand that he can’t be held responsible for the words of the politicians in his home county,” Olena Zerkal, Ukrainian Deputy Foreign Minister, told the local Channel 5 on Friday.

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FILE PHOTO: Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini © Tony Gentile

Salvini made the comments that infuriated the Ukrainian authorities during his interview with the Washington Post, which was published earlier this week. US journalist, Lally Weymouth, tried to grill the minister over his support for Crimea’s return to Russia. The journalist called the referendum that took place in the region “fake.”

“Compare it to the fake revolution in Ukraine, which was a pseudo-revolution funded by foreign powers – similar to the Arab Spring revolutions,” Salvini shot back, pointing out that 90 percent of Crimeans voted for the return of the peninsula to the Russian Federation.

The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry responded with a statement, saying that Salvini words were “not grounded in real facts and in contradiction of recognized principles and norms of international law.”

Zerkal also attempted to downplay Salvini’s words on Friday by saying that “it was hard to expect any different rhetoric from him,” following Salvini’s previous visit to Crimea while being an Italian lawmaker.

Despite the Crimean people overwhelmingly voting to reunite with Russia in March 2014, Ukraine still considers the peninsula its own territory and bans politicians, public figures and artists who travel to Crimea.

Thousands of anti-government protesters occupied Kiev’s Independence Square (Maidan) in late 2013 and early 2014, with deadly clashes eventually leading to the ousting of then-Ukrainian President, Viktor Yanukovych.

During the unrest, US Assistant Secretary of State, Victoria Nuland, who made numerous trips to Kiev and was even spotted handing treats to the demonstrators, boasted that Washington had invested $ 5 billion into the promotion of democracy in Ukraine.

The new pro-Western government sent tanks to eastern Ukraine in spring 2014 where the population refused to recognize the coup. The US and the EU cited Russia’s reunion with Crimea and the conflict in Donbass as they slapped Moscow with several waves of sanctions targeting individuals, companies and whole sectors of economy.

READ MORE: Italy may become 1st EU nation to support lifting of anti-Russia sanctions

Salvini told the Washington Post that it was high time to lift those sanctions “because they didn’t prove to be useful, and according to the data, they hurt Italian exports.”

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‘We are ready to welcome back Russia’ – IOC head Thomas Bach

By ethan / July 21, 2018

International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach has hailed reforms made by Russia to tackle doping, adding that the organization is ready “to welcome the country back” to the Olympic family.

Speaking at the IOC press conference in Lausanne, Switzerland on Friday, Bach noted Russia’s “readiness to turn the page” after the country was banned from taking part in the 2018 Games in South Korea.

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Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) President Alexander Zhukov © Maxim Shemetov

They have accepted that they have [been] served the toughest sanction that the IOC can issue with the suspension from the [Winter] Games and with individual athletes selection procedures not being governed by Russia but by the IOC,” Bach said.

They have got the message that they need to change,” he added, while also praising Russian sports officials for implementing reforms and appointing new members who were unmarred by the doping controversy involving the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) and Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA).

We have said that we are ready to support these kind of [reforms], because we think they are necessary and important. And we have also said that now the sanction [Olympic ban] has been served, and now everybody knows in the history books there will be no Russia in the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018. We are ready to welcome them back, to re-enter the dialogue, and to support the reforms they need to undertake and they [have] started to undertake,” the IOC president said.

READ MORE: IOC to appeal CAS decision on cleared Russian athletes

Last autumn, the Olympic governing body suspended the ROC for alleged doping violations, obliging the Russian athletes who were considered eligible for the PyeongChang Games to compete under a neutral flag.

Right after the Games, the IOC reinstated the ROC after the body fulfilled all the requirements stipulated by the IOC and WADA.

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Twitter explodes over Bill O’Reilly’s ‘white privilege’ tweet from Ireland

By ethan / July 21, 2018

While getting in touch with his roots, Bill O’Reilly claimed that his Irish ancestors came to the US legally and that their persecution exempts him from having white privilege. Twitter tackled him over the spurious claim.

Former Fox News presenter was visiting the old country last week, and tweeted a picture of himself in the border county of Cavan, where the O’Reilly clan historically ruled in the ancient Irish kingdom of East Breifne.

Rather than keeping the trip light and breezy, however, O’Reilly brought up his own family’s ancient history in an apparent attempt to score some political points. In the text that accompanied the photo, O’Reilly said: “Enjoying my time in Ireland. Visited County Cavan where my ancestors were evicted from their land in 1845. That forced them to come to America legally so they wouldn’t starve.

“Pardon me if I reject the ‘white privilege’ scenario if applied to my family,” he added.

The Twitterati on both sides of the Atlantic took issue with just about everything in O’Reilly’s tweet, mockingly tearing apart his claim that he didn’t have white privilege. O’Reilly appeared to suggest that his ancestral family had come to America legally in a process similar to what is required of immigrants and refugees at present. However, social media users highlighted his ignorance to the fact that US immigration policy was radically different in 1845.

Matthew Parent, a PhD candidate at the University of Connecticut – whose thread of tweets tackled the claim that the suffering of O’Reilly’s ancestors exempted him from white privilege – argued that O’Reilly and other Irish Americans today have never experienced a time where being Irish limits their experience in America.

Others argued that O’Reilly’s definition of white privilege was way off.

O’Reilly’s claim that his ancestors came to the US legally was also tackled in tweets pointing out the fact that US immigration policy back then was radically different to that of the Trump administration, which is supported by O’Reilly today.

However, the “saddest” part of O’Reilly’s misinformed tweet was highlighted by popular Irish rappers-cum-postmodernist philosophers, the Rubberbandits, who saw it as a wasted opportunity for him to learn about himself on an “existential level.”

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Viral drone VIDEO slammed over dangerously close flyby to superjumbo jet

By ethan / July 21, 2018

The drone community has condemned an operator for reckless flying after footage released this week showed a drone coming dangerously close to the world’s largest commercial passenger jet, the Airbus A380.

Filmed at Plaine Magnien Airport on the tropical island of Mauritius, the video shows the take-off of an Emirates A380. As the jet starts to ascend, it becomes apparent that the drone is hovering dangerously close to the aircraft’s flight path, hovering less than 100 meters from the tip of its left wing.

Capable of carrying more than 500 passengers in a typical three-class configuration and 850 passengers in a densified all-economy cabin version, the aircraft was identified as Dubai-based carrier Emirates’ flight EK702 to Dubai, according to photography and video site, FStoppers.

The dramatic clip originally surfaced online after being posted to Facebook by Frenchman Thierry Paris, who describes himself as an A380 captain for Air France. While he has since taken the footage down, a repost of the video by AnthonyVlog has garnered more than 65,000 views since Tuesday.

READ MORE: ‘Reckless’ drone flies dangerously close to landing plane in Vegas (VIDEO)

There was speculation that the video was fake and the footage even became subject of a detailed analysis by the portal Droning On, which came to the conclusion that it was real.

Meanwhile, the pilot’s antics have been slated by fellow drone enthusiasts online. FStoppers writer Oliver Kmia warned that the incident will “surely fuel the fire of the anti-drone crowd.”

“However, adding new regulations and restrictions won’t stop stupid people from doing this kind of thing,” Kmia added.

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'Muhammad would have been proud': Widow of Ali to present trophy in his honor to WBSS winner

By ethan / July 21, 2018

Lonnie Ali, widow of boxing great Muhammad Ali, will present the trophy bearing his name to the winner on the World Boxing Super Series (WBSS) cruiserweight final between Murat Gassiev and Alexander Usyk in Moscow on Saturday.

Prior to his death in June 2016, the iconic three-time heavyweight champion and activist gave his blessing for the tournament trophy to bear his name. The first ever Muhammad Ali trophy will be contested between the two undefeated cruiserweight boxers on Saturday in the Russian capital.

READ MORE: ‘I have no pressure. One punch can change all your life’ – Gassiev ahead of WBSS final

Lonnie, who wed Ali in 1986 and remained married until his death, will personally present the award at Olympiyskiy Sports Complex after the inaugural WBSS final match between Russia’s WBA & IBF world champion Gassiev and WBO & WBC titleholder Usyk from Ukraine. 

“Since this is the first Ali Trophy ever presented and as a part of Muhammad’s legacy in boxing, I am proud to be here to represent the Ali family, WBC and its president Mauricio Sulaiman,” Lonnie told the WBSS website.

“Muhammad would have been proud to see one of these champions being rewarded with the trophy that carries his name,” she added.

Usyk, who has eleven knockouts from his 14 fights, recently drew parallels between himself and the man nicknamed ‘The Greatest’, with whom he shares a birthday, citing him as inspiration in his own career.

“I have a big connection with this legendary boxer. We were born on the same day, that’s true. When I knew the tournament for the Muhammad Ali trophy would take place, I couldn’t believe it,” Usyk said at Friday’s weigh-in.

“But when all the guys taking part signed contracts, I thought if I didn’t also sign up, it would be a kind of betrayal on my part, and naturally I signed a contract,” he added.

READ MORE: ‘I have big connection with Muhammad Ali, to not take part is betrayal’ – Usyk on WBSS final

Nicknamed the ‘Louisville Lip’ during his career, Ali became the youngest boxer to win the world heavyweight championship aged 22 when he knocked out the feared Sonny Liston in 1964 when known as ‘Cassius Clay’.

After joining the Nation of Islam, the 1960 Olympic gold medalist changed his name to ‘Muhammad X’ and then ‘Muhammad Ali’. Upon refusing to be drafted into the US army to serve in the Vietnam War, Ali was imprisoned and stripped of his boxing license, which led to a ring absence of three-and-a-half years.

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Fear not humans: Artificial intelligence to create millions of jobs, predicts PwC

By ethan / July 21, 2018

Artificial intelligence (AI) and related technologies will generate as many jobs as they displace over the next 20 years, according to a report by audit firm PwC which focused mainly on the United Kingdom.

The research found that while AI could displace roughly seven million jobs in the country, it could also create 7.2 million roles, resulting in a modest net boost of around 200,000 jobs. It has also estimated that about 20 percent of jobs would be automated over the next 20 years and no sector would be unaffected.

Technologies such as robotics, drones and driverless vehicles would replace human workers in some areas, but also create many additional jobs as productivity and real incomes rise and new and better products are developed.

In the health and social work sector the number of people employed could rise by almost one million, while jobs in manufacturing could fall by roughly 25 percent, a net loss of almost 700,000 roles.

“Major new technologies, from steam engines to computers, displace some existing jobs but also generate large productivity gains,” PwC’s Chief Economist John Hawksworth said in a press release. “This reduces prices and increases real income and spending levels, which in turn creates demand for additional workers,” he added.

“Our analysis suggests the same will be true of AI, robots and related technologies, but the distribution of jobs across sectors will shift considerably in the process.”

The report highlighted that London, which is home to more than a quarter of the UK’s professional, scientific and technical activities, will benefit the most from AI, with a 2.3 percent boost, or 138,000 extra jobs. The east Midlands is expected to see the biggest net reduction in jobs – 27,000 – a 1.1 percent drop.

AI and its potential impact on society has been the subject of debate for many years. In 2014, the late scientist Stephen Hawking told the BBC that the “development of full artificial intelligence could spell the end of the human race.” Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos said in 2017 that we were in something of a “renaissance” and “golden age” when it came to machine learning and artificial intelligence.

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Russia teams up with France to deliver aid to Eastern Ghouta – Foreign Ministry

By ethan / July 21, 2018

Russia and France will send a relief convoy to Syria’s Eastern Ghouta, delivering first aid kits and medication to local hospitals, the Russian Foreign Ministry said. The distribution of aid will be supervised by Moscow.

The two countries will launch a humanitarian project for Syria to provide care and medicine for people in Eastern Ghouta “who are still in need of medical attention,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said, citing a joint communique based on arrangements made by Russian President Vladimir Putin and his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron in May of this year.

It will be the first joint humanitarian operation in Syria between Russia and a Western country.

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Rebel fighters gather and pray before they leave, at the city limits of Harasta, in the eastern Damascus suburb of Ghouta, Syria March 22, 2018. © Omar Sanadiki

The aid deliveries, which will go to local hospitals manned by Syrian Arab Red Crescent, “include first-aid medical equipment, namely emergency and trauma care, for 500 heavily wounded people as well as basic medication to treat 15,000 light injuries.”

Russia will airlift the aid packages directly from France to Syria, and will also ensure their safety on the ground. The aid convoy will be sent in compliance with UN rules and humanitarian law, the Foreign Ministry has said.

It is crucial that Syrians get wider access to humanitarian relief, the statement noted, before adding that aid should be distributed fairly and freely all across Syria “where international humanitarian law must apply.”

Later, Putin and Macron discussed the humanitarian effort for Syria during a telephone conversation. The pair have been focusing on the “humanitarian aspect of Syrian reconciliation, including the joint Franco-Russian initiative on rendering assistance to the population of Eastern Ghouta,” the Kremlin said in a statement.

Eastern Ghouta, lying in close proximity to Damascus, was liberated by Syrian forces back in March following almost seven years of fighting in the area. The army has also lifted the blockade of a main highway connecting the Syrian capital to the rest of the country. 

The battle of Eastern Ghouta saw tens of thousands of civilians as well as numerous rebels flee through humanitarian corridors in search of safety. Daily humanitarian pauses began on February 27, as part of the Syrian Army and Russia’s efforts to help civilians – and later militants – escape the combat zone.

The Russian military has repeatedly said that the militants used civilians as human shields, targeting those trying to flee the terrorist-held enclave. After the much-anticipated liberation, the UN and other humanitarian groups such as the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) sent a number of aid convoys to provide care those who remained in the Eastern Ghouta area.

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Over 100 former Ohio students allege sexual abuse by ex-team doctor

By ethan / July 21, 2018

More than 100 former Ohio State University students have come forward to allege cases of sexual abuse suffered at the hands of ex-team doctor Richard Strauss during while studying at the university.

New details of an independent investigation into sexual allegations against Strauss were announced by Ohio State University officials on Friday.

READ MORE: Larry Nassar sex abuse victims honored with Arthur Ashe Courage Award

We are grateful to those who have come forward and remain deeply concerned for anyone who may have been affected by Dr. Strauss’ actions,” said Ohio State President Michael V. Drake. “We remain steadfastly committed to uncovering the truth.

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© Ivan Alvarado

The revelations come less than a week after five former wrestlers filed a pair of lawsuits claiming that repeated sexual abuse complaints had been snubbed by university officials.

The first lawsuit filed on behalf of four alleged victims on Monday claimed that up to 2,500 male students may have been molested by the now-deceased doctor during his 20-year practice at the school.

The second complaint by a former wrestler identified as ‘John Doe 1’ alleged that Strauss had molested him on numerous occasions during medical examinations conducted in the 1980s. In April, Ohio State hired the independent law company Perkins Coie to investigative the alleged sexual misconduct committed by Strauss during a period spanning 18 years.

The allegations date from the period 1979 to 1997 and were reported confidentially to the investigative team by former students engaged in university athletics, including male varsity athletes in 14 sports, and by former patients of Student Health Services,” the university said.

Strauss had worked as the university physician for more than 20 years before retiring in 1998. He committed suicide in 2005. The university has called on former students to provide information relating to Strauss and his time at Ohio State.

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