Xi did not ask Putin ‘not to invade Ukraine’ during Olympics – Chinese officials

China’s embassy in Russia has described part of a US media report about Xi Jinping, Vladimir Putin and the Beijing Olympics as a 'hoax and provocation'




Chinese diplomats in Russia have said that their country's position on Ukraine is consistent and clear and dismissed a US media claim that Xi Jinping may have made a special request to Vladimir Putin ahead of the Winter Olympics, according to a report.


An anonymous diplomat in Beijing said it is "possible" that Chinese president Xi asked Russian counterpart Putin, who he has called a "friend" and invited to the Olympics, "not to invade Ukraine during the Games", Bloomberg reported.





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Vladimir Putin (left) and Xi Jinping © Sputnik / Ramil Sitdikov / Kremlin via Reuters
Putin makes Olympics prediction in new year message to Xi






Western officials and media have accused Moscow of gathering troops and military resources with the potential intention of invading its neighbor.


Moscow has repeatedly denied that action is being planned against Ukraine, with Putin saying that he observes the continued development of the Western military bloc to the east as a threat.


TASS quoted a statement from the embassy shunning the suggestion that the Chinese president made the alleged request "in order not to spoil the event".


Officials are said to have called the report a "hoax and provocation" and added: "The Chinese side advocates resolving differences by means of dialogue and consultations in the framework of the Minsk agreements."





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Vladimir Putin has spoken about the diplomatic boycotts of the Beijing Games © Evgenia Novozhenina / Reuters
Putin condemns Beijing boycotts (VIDEO)






China has spent billions of dollars on the Games, which are the subject of a diplomatic boycott by governments including US president Joe Biden's administration.


Putin has criticized the boycotts, which are a response to allegations that China is detaining around a million Uyghur Muslims, and said he expects to attend the Games opening ceremony, as well as holding talks with Xi.


Russia made proposals to the US and NATO treaties in November suggesting a ban on the movement of Western military infrastructure closer to its borders and an effective bar on Ukraine from joining NATO.


The agency quoted Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova as calling the publication responsible for the claims about Putin and Xi "a special information operation by US respective agencies."


Zhang Hanhui, the Chinese Ambassador to Russia, spoke on Friday at the launch of a publicity week and exhibition celebrating the Games, co-hosted by the embassy and the Russian National University of Sports Youth and Tourism.


Accoring to the embassy, Zhang said that Russia has given "strong support" to China in hosting the Winter Olympics and reiterated that Putin will accept Xi's invitation to attend the opening ceremony.





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Link between internet speed and political activism revealed

A new study has found that peoples’ political activism seems to inversely correlate to how fast their internet connections are




Researchers from Cardiff University and Sapienza University of Rome have concluded that the faster someone’s internet speed is, the less likely they are to be involved in their communities through volunteering, politics, or other forms of civic engagement. 


“We observed that civic participation and the form of engagement in the activities of voluntary organisations and political participation declined with proximity to the network,” said Fabio Sabatini, a co-author of the study, which was published in Journal of Public Economics. 


Participation in political parties, for instance, fell by 19% every 1.8 kilometers closer the person lived to a local telecommunications exchange center, giving them faster internet access. Volunteering in social care fell 10% among people enjoying faster internet. 






READ MORE: Britain to back suspension of Russia from SWIFT – reports





Researchers used information from communications regulator Ofcom on exchange centers and various internet speeds and cross-referenced that data with answers given in the British Household Panel Survey and the UK Household Longitudinal Study on peoples’ civic engagement. 


There was an overall 6% reduction in such social participation from 2010 to 2017 for every 1.8 kilometers a person was to their local exchange. 


Political party involvement took the biggest hit, but most areas saw a significant effect. Involvement in trade unions only dipped by 3.6% though, while volunteering with organizations offering social or environmental services has dipped 7.8%, according to the survey. 


Sabatini theorizes in the study that Britain’s lack of public engagement could be directly tied to the rise of populism in its politics. 


“The rise of populism has been linked to a decline in interest in public affairs and we thought that, being less politically and socially active, people may be less capable of interpreting political phenomena and understanding the complexity of the management of public affairs,” the researcher claimed. 


What the study found was not significantly affected by the speed of one’s internet access is personal engagement with family and friends, which the study concluded “seems resilient to technological change.” 

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Ukraine must do one big thing before it can be allowed into NATO – bloc member

Hungary’s top diplomat said that Kiev needs to look after its minority populations




Hungary’s foreign minister has offered the Ukrainian government advice on joining NATO, saying that it needs to better respect the rights of minority populations if it wants to eventually be let into the military bloc.


In an interview published by TASS on Thursday, Peter Szijjarto said that Kiev still has plenty of issues to resolve before it could be inducted into NATO. “The Ukrainians need to make many serious changes, if they are seriously thinking about Euro Atlantic integration,” he explained. “I can speak concretely about one area: respecting the rights of national minorities. Because right now Ukraine has plenty of problems there.”


He clarified that Budapest is not satisfied with how ethnic minorities are being treated in Ukraine. “Their right to education in their native language and its use in administration, culture, and religion is being violated. The law prohibiting people with dual-citizenship from serving in public office is antidemocratic. We understand the challenges Ukraine is dealing with, its fight for sovereignty and territorial integrity, but we will never accept this approach to national minorities.”





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© Global Look Press / Wiktor Dabkowski; (inset) © Wikipedia
Ukraine won’t join NATO until it achieves ‘democratic standards’ & respects rights of minorities, says Hungarian foreign minister






A census taken in 2001 showed that about 77.8% of Ukraine’s population was ethnic Ukrainians. The largest minority groups were Russians (17.3%), Belarusians (0.6%), Moldovans (0.5%), Crimean Tatars (0.5%), and Bulgarians (0.4%). Another census was meant to be taken in 2010, but it was postponed until 2020, and then postponed again. In 2020, an official stated that it would not happen in 2021 either, saying that a census is “an expensive pleasure.”




Szijjarto has previously criticized Kiev for violating the rights of Hungarian minorities in Ukraine, pointing to a 2017 law that banned the use of foreign tongues in educational institutions. The government has also come under fire for a law drafted last year that would deny official minority status to any group considered to have a state elsewhere, including Hungarians and Russians.



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EdgeView 3.2.2 macOS



EdgeView 3.2.2 macOS
EdgeView 3.2.2 | macOS | 24 mb
EdgeView 3 is fast image viewer has elegant user interface. EdgeView 3 is developed and designed for modern MacOS. It can open various image files such as JPEG, PNG, TIFF, BMP, and RAW file of DSLR, EPS and PDF, AI(Adobe Illustrator). Can open image files in archive directly without extraction.
User can open files, rename files, delete files from EdgeView's file browser. Also can access to SMB/AFP/FTP network volume.

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Fotowerkzeuge 4.7



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Fotowerkzeuge 4.7 | 6.7 Mb
Language: German
With our "Photo Tools" software, you can manage your photo collection and view and edit photos. Play photos as slide shows and create presentations, cards and calendars. Automatically convert any number of photos to a specific file format or resolution. Optimize photos for emailing.

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VideoSolo Blu-ray Player 1.1.18 Multilingual Portable



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VideoSolo Blu-ray Player 1.1.18 Multilingual Portable | 66.8 Mb
VideoSolo Blu-ray player is a great tool for freeing your BD disc from being locked in to specific platers, regions or formats. It supports playback commercial Blu-ray and homemade Blu-ray discs regardless of protection and restrictions armed on the disc. In a word, it is a professional player for latest Blu-ray Disc, BD ISO, BD Folders and BNMV files.
Enjoy the latest Blu-ray movie with family at home

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Soundop Audio Editor 1.8.9.4 + Portable



Soundop Audio Editor 1.8.9.4 + Portable
Soundop Audio Editor 1.8.9.4 (x86/x64) + Portable | 41.1/37.3 Mb
Soundop is a professional audio editor for Windows to record, edit, mix and master audio contents in intuitive and flexible workspaces with advanced features. The audio file editor supports both waveform and spectral editing. The multitrack editor can mix an unlimited number of audio and bus tracks with a powerful engine that supports sends, side-chain, and automatic latency compensation.
Track and clip both have FX rack and fully support automating of effect parameters. Soundop provides well-designed built-in effects as well as support for VST and VST3 effect plug-ins, and support parallel or mid-side effect groups to create composite effects. The audio engine supports ASIO, WASAPI, MME, and DirectSound driver, and recording audio with 24-bit precision and up to 192 kHz.

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Schoolhouse Test Professional 5.2.190.0 Portable



Schoolhouse Test Professional 5.2.190.0 Portable
Schoolhouse Test Professional 5.2.190.0 Portable | 23.4 Mb
Creating and printing a paper-and-pencil test, quiz, or exam, has never been easier. Schoolhouse Test makes a time-consuming chore a whole lot easier and the result considerably more professional. Some of our customers have even hinted that creating tests with Schoolhouse Test can actually be an enjoyable process. If you're looking for a professional test generator that makes quick work out of creating paper-and-pencil tests, quizzes, and exams then Schoolhouse Test is the program for you.
And now version 5 takes test creation to the next level. Schoolhouse Test 5 brings high resolution display, multi-part questions, expanded references, an enhanced print manager, grouping, a solution view, and a whole lot more.

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FonePaw Screen Recorder 5.2.0 Multilingual Portable



FonePaw Screen Recorder 5.2.0 Multilingual Portable
FonePaw Screen Recorder 5.2.0 Multilingual Portable | 64.4 Mb
FonePaw Screen Recorder, a professional video screen recording software will capture your screen for Windows and Mac computer in several steps. Create your own video for specific region/webcam with or without audios here.
Audio Recording

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4Videosoft Video Converter Ultimate 7.2.10 (x64) Multilingual Portable



4Videosoft Video Converter Ultimate 7.2.10 (x64) Multilingual Portable
4Videosoft Video Converter Ultimate 7.2.10 (x64) Multilingual Portable | 111.7 Mb
As the professional ultimate video converter software, which can convert homemade DVD and video files including 4K videos to all popular videos and audio such as MPG, MP4, FLV, VOB, MOD, M4V, MP3, AAC, WAV, along with HD videos. It also converts homemade DVD and 2D video to 3D video with high quality.
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The Seven Virtues Series Book 0.5-7 - Jacob Peppers

Fixed!
The Seven Virtues Series Book 0.5-7 - Jacob Peppers


The Seven Virtues Series Book 0.5-7 - Jacob Peppers
Narrator: Steven Brand
Genre: Fantasy, Adventure
Audio format: MP3

The Downs, the poor district of the city of Avarest, is home to cutthroats and thieves, pickpockets and prostitutes, all of whom pay tribute to one of two powerful crime bosses.

It is also home to Aaron Envelar, a disillusioned sellsword known as the Silent Blade, who cares nothing for the criminal overlords or their schemes, who only wants to survive and make a little coin in the process.

But when a group of unwitting thugs steal his mother’s necklace, the only link he has to his murdered parents, Aaron decides that sometimes gold isn’t enough - sometimes, blood is the only payment worth taking. And whatever else will come, this time, he will not be silent. After all, when you take everything from a man, what else does he have to lose?
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President resigns citing ‘inability to help his country’

Armenia’s President Armen Sarksyan has announced his resignation




After nearly four years in office, Armenian President Armen Sarksyan announced his early resignation, on Sunday. The politician cited “the lack of necessary instruments to influence the fundamental processes in internal and foreign politics” as one of the major reasons behind his decision.


He pointed in particular to the fact that a president in Armenia cannot “veto laws he deems unreasonable” or “influence issues related to war and peace.” Sarksyan also decried the fact that the president “lacks constitutional instruments to help his country” at a time when the world is going through a period of “constant turbulence.”





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Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan © Sputnik / Alexander Astafyev / Pool via REUTERS
Armenian PM warns of possible new war with Azerbaijan






The presidential office “should not become a target for gossips and conspiracies” that draw public attention away from more important issues, Sarkysan said, in a statement published on Sunday. He did not elaborate, but went on to describe the present situation in Armenia as a “national crisis.”


Armenia became a parliamentary republic back in 2015 following a referendum that slashed the powers of the president. Under its new Constitution, a holder of the office is elected by the nation’s parliament every seven years.


Sarksyan is a veteran politician who briefly served as Armenia’s prime minister between 1996 and 1997 before taking up the role of Yerevan’s ambassador to the UK for the next 20 years, 1998 to 2018.


He was elected president of Armenia in March 2018, shortly before protests that saw the nation’s current prime minister, Nikol Pashinyan, assume office in May of that year.

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EU demands release of human rights activist’s mom

Woman’s ‘abduction’ came as part of ongoing persecution of human right defenders and their family members in Chechnya, according to Brussels




The EU has urged Russia to release the mother of exiled human-rights activist Zarema Musayeva, who had been allegedly seized by Chechen law enforcement officers earlier this week, and to investigate what it is calling an “abduction.”


Musayeva’s “violent detention and forceful transfer to Chechnya” has become yet another example of “unlawful actions towards Chechen human rights defenders and their relatives” in Russia’s southern republic, a statement issued by the EU on Saturday read.


Brussels said it “calls on the Russian authorities to release Ms Musayeva” and to investigate her “abduction” as well as all other cases of “extrajudicial executions, torture and other grave human rights violations” that, the EU is claiming, have been committed in Chechnya in the past several years.


Musayeva is the wife of former Chechen High Court judge Saidi Yangulbayev and mother to Abubakar Yangulbayev, who used to be a lawyer for the ‘Committee Against Torture, a group that investigated alleged human rights violations in Chechnya.


Abubakar Yangulbayev quit his job and left Russia in December last year after being questioned by Chechen police as a witness in a case about the justification of terrorism.





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RT
Russian LGBT network says two gay men who fled Chechnya now in ‘mortal danger’ after authorities arrest them on terrorism charges






According to media reports, masked men, who identified themselves as law-enforcement officers from Chechnya, made their way into the apartment of Saidi Yangulbayev and Musayeva late on Thursday, in the city of Nizhny Novgorod on the Volga River.


They allegedly told the couple that they had to be urgently delivered to Chechnya’s capital Grozny, as witnesses in a fraud investigation.


The family’s lawyer was able to arrive on site swiftly, explaining to the officers that, despite having retired as a judge, Yangulbayev still enjoyed protections and couldn’t be detained without a special procedure. So, the men took his wife instead and drove her in an unknown direction, according to the media.


Some outlets said that Musayeva had been unconscious when she was put in a car and that the 52-year-old had also been deprived of vital diabetes drugs. On Saturday, the woman denied these reports, telling a Chechen ombudsman that no violence had been used against her and that the police had provided her with the required medicine.


The ‘Committee Against Torture,’ designated a foreign agent in Russia and currently operating without a license, has filed a complaint to the European Court of Human Rights over Musayeva’s “forceful detention.” Yangulbayev suggested that his wife was taken because of the activities of their son, and that the fraud case was just a cover up.





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FILE PHOTO. The head of the Chechen Republic Ramzan Kadyrov. © RIA / Said Tsarnaev
Chechen leader suggests Russia should invade & annex Ukraine






When asked on Friday about the reports of Musayeva’s alleged “abduction,” Kremlin press secretary Dmitry Peskov said that it was sort of “a surreal story” that needed to be verified first. In any case, it was matter for Russia’s law enforcement to resolve, he pointed out. “If there were some statements to the police then the police must already be working on it,” Peskov added.


Russia’s human rights ombudsman, Tatiana Moskalkova, later said that a probe should be initiated to find out if the Chechen officers had been authorized to operate outside of their jurisdiction, and whether Musayeva was really subpoenaed by investigators in Grozny.


The head of the Chechen Republic Ramzan Kadyrov has written a fiery post on Telegram about the whole debacle, claiming that the actions of the Chechen police were lawful and coordinated with their colleagues in Nizhny Novgorod, and that Musayeva had been subpoenaed three times previously, but had refused to comply.


According to Kadyrov, the woman also attacked a police officer while in the Chechen capital, nearly depriving him of an eye, which was already enough to file criminal charges against her.


As for the Yangulbayevs, the whole family has been responsible for smearing the people of Chechnya through taking part in the activities of a banned opposition channel on Telegram, he insisted.


“In any case, I tell you that this family will either end up in prison or in the ground. And that’s not up to me,” Kadyrov wrote.

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End of Covid pandemic ‘plausible,’ WHO claims

The Omicron variant is leading to a “period of quiet” and a possible end to the pandemic in Europe, health officials say




The World Health Organization (WHO) claimed on Sunday that there might finally be an end to the Covid pandemic in Europe, after the rapid spread of the Omicron variant. 


“It is plausible that the region is approaching an end to the pandemic,” Regional Director Hans Kluge told the AFP news agency. 


He cautioned that people should still take precautions, due to the coronavirus’ ability to mutate, but predicted a “period of quiet” following Omicron.


“We anticipate there will be a level of quiet before Covid-19 may come back towards the end of the year, but not necessarily the pandemic,” he said. 





Read more

© Getty Images / BlackJack3D
Covid-19 pandemic declared ‘nowhere near over’






Kluge said a level of “global immunity” could be reached for a period of weeks or months because of a combination of the relatively high number of current infections, continued vaccination uptake, and the “lowering seasonality” aspect of the forthcoming Northern Hemisphere spring.


The WHO’s Europe region, which covers 53 countries and territories, has seen a spike in Omicron cases, like much of the world. In the week ending January 18, the percentage of new infections from Omicron more than doubled, from 6.3% to 15%, according to health officials. 


The WHO said earlier this month that more than half the population of Europe could test positive for the newest variant in a matter of months, describing the contagion as a “new west to east tidal wave.”


WHO chief Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has made it clear that the pandemic is “nowhere near over,” however. Speaking last week, he said Omicron had led to 18 million new infections across the globe over the course of just seven days, with numerous European countries seeing significant rises in case numbers as a result. 


“Make no mistake, Omicron is causing hospitalizations and deaths, and even the less severe cases are inundating health facilities,” he said. 

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Ex-UFC fighter, 40, dies in late-night stabbing

Maiquel Falcao was found outside a bar with three stab wounds to his abdomen




Former UFC fighter Maiquel Falcao was discovered with three serious stab wounds at 3am local time on Sunday morning outside of a bar in his hometown of Pelotas, a city in the south of Brazil which is around 80 miles from the Uruguayan border. 


He was rushed to a nearby hospital but did not survive his injuries, according to GZH.


The Homicide and Personal Protection Police Station authority has launched an investigation into the incident. 






Falcao appeared once for the UFC, beating Gerald Harris by unanimous decision at UFC 123 in Michigan in November 2010.


He was subsequently released by the organization after reports emerged that he had previously been arrested for an alleged assault of a woman outside of a nightclub.





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Alan Khadziev died of stab wounds in a brawl. © YouTube @Godzilla Fight
Russian MMA champ stabbed to death in restaurant brawl in North Ossetia before brother ‘kills his suspected attacker’






'Big Rig' inked a deal with Bellator MMA two years later and was victorious in the promotion's middleweight tournament in May 2012 – a victory which earned him a shot at then-Bellator 185lbs champion Alexander Shlemenko, losing to the Russian fighter by second-round knockout.


He was later axed from the Bellator roster amid reports that he assaulted a woman and had become involved in a street fight.


Falcao would become something of a mixed martial arts journeyman in his latter career, fighting in countries including Serbia, India, Uzbekistan, Argentina and the Czech Republic, winning just five of his last 17 fights.


His final bout came in Sochi, Russia in December 2019, when he was submitted by Sergey Romanov.


His career did, however, see him gain credible wins against fighters such as Igor Pokrajac, Jesse Taylor and Norman Paraisy. 

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Ukraine ‘under threat’ from ‘aggressor’ – Boxing icon Klitschko

The Kiev mayor and former boxing champ has made more claims about Russia




Ex-boxing king and current mayor of Ukraine Vitali Klitschko has warned that Ukraine is "under threat" from a Russian military invasion and said he is ready to "defend" the country from the risk he perceives.


Long-serving champion Klitschko revealed he had joined Ukraine's military reservists and claimed that his homeland is at war at the start of 2022, and he has now issued another message that appeared to echo accusations by Western officials and media that Moscow is gathering troops and military resources with the potential intention of invading its neighbor.





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Vitali Klitschko © Instagram / vitaliyklitschko
Boxing icon Klitschko makes Ukraine war claim






"When Ukraine is under threat of a possible military invasion from Russia, our unity and willingness to [keep] away the aggressor is our strength and key to preserving Ukrainian citizenship," the 50-year-old pugilist-turned-politician publicly told his large fanbase.


"We love our country and are ready and able to defend our independence and our democratic future. All together. Glory to Ukraine."


Klitschko pictured himself training in army gear at the turn of the year and seemed to suggest that Ukraine had been involved in a conflict with Russia "for almost eight years".


Moscow has repeatedly denied that action is being planned against Ukraine, with Russian President Vladimir Putin adding that he views the continued development of the Western military bloc eastward as a threat.






In November, Russia proposals to the US and NATO treaties suggested a bar on the movement of Western military infrastructure closer to its borders and mooted an effective ban on Ukraine from joining NATO.


Known as 'Dr Ironfist' during his celebrated sporting career, Klitschko also discussed his ordeal with Covid, which he recently contracted despite being vaccinated twice.


The mayor of the capital since 2014 has drawn some controversy over restrictions in the city related to Covid.


"Omicron is sneaky because it has symptoms of a common cold: runny nose, slight cough, lack of temperature," said Klitschko, explaining that he has now tested negative.


"So if you have such symptoms, do not be lazy to take a quick test. [I] first did an antigen test which showed a negative, then went to the hospital.


"All is well, the virus is gone. The conclusion is: get vaccinated. [One] conclusion [that] is also important [is to] follow your health, do not neglect danger. Take care of yourselves."


Klitschko last fought when he retained the WBC heavyweight title in 2012.

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Australian Open defends decision on Peng Shuai t-shirts

Fans were asked to remove banners and t-shirts bearing the name of Chinese tennis player Peng Shuai at Melbourne Park




The situation surrounding Peng Shuai has been a central topic in the sports world since her November accusation of sexual impropriety against a senior Chinese government official led to fears about to her safety and whereabouts.


Peng appeared to vanish for a prolonged period after the allegations swiftly disappeared from Chinese social media, then reappeared in a series of videos issued through state-affiliated media.


That led to tennis governing body WTA pulling events from its lucrative Chinese market until it is satisfied that Peng is safe and not being coerced into providing public updates.






While Grand Slam organizers Tennis Australia say they share the fears of the WTA and many players and fans, they have been forced into a hasty explanation of their apparent demand that fans remove banners and shirts mentioning Peng at the first major of 2022.


On Friday, a video uploaded to Twitter by activist Drew Pavlou appeared to show a security guard at Melbourne Park confiscating a 'Where is Peng Shuai' t-shirt because it was deemed to be a 'political statement'.


The video features Max Mok, a pro-democracy advocate from Hong Kong, in conversation with the security guard about the t-shirt, which prominently features Peng's image.


"I’m not saying you can’t have those views but Tennis Australia sets the rules here," the guard says in the video – something which Australian tennis' governing body underscored in a Sunday statement.


"Under our ticket conditions of entry, we don’t allow clothing, banners or signs that are commercial or political," A Tennis Australia spokesperson announced to the Guardian.


"Peng Shuai’s safety is our primary concern. We continue to work with the WTA and global tennis community to seek more clarity on her situation and will do everything we can to ensure her wellbeing."






It has also been suggested that Tennis Australia's reticence on the matter may be influenced by their brand partnership with Chinese liquor company Guojiao 1573, a collaboration representing a significant revenue stream for the event.


And as the Guardian also notes, the WTA took its firmer stance of pledging not to hold any tennis events in China in 2022 because they say the move represents "principles ahead of profit".





Read more

The WTA reacted after Peng Shuai spoke in a new video. © Reuters
WTA skeptical after Chinese tennis star retracts sex assault claims






Pavlou, meanwhile, has launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise money to print 1,000 Peng Shuai t-shirts to be distributed to spectators ahead of the women's final, which takes place on the penultimate day of the tournament, January 29.


"Sadly, Tennis Australia has not taken such a firm stance in favour of human rights and basic standards of justice," the campaign states.


"In fact, Tennis Australia called police on human rights activists at the 2022 Australian Open for simply wearing shirts asking the same question Naomi Osaka, Serena Williams and fans the world over have asked: ‘Where is Peng Shuai?’”


Peng appeared in a video in December 2021 in which she retracted the sexual assault allegations but speculation remains that the clip may have been made under some form of duress. 


Australia's Ashleigh Barty, who is the favourite to win what would be her first Grand Slam at Melbourne Park, also added her voice to the wave of concern for Peng.


"We’re all looking out for her safety," she said. "We all hope that she’s well. We hope that she’s doing OK. Hopefully it’s not too long until we see her back out here."



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University explains why words like ‘lame’ and ‘man’ are ‘problematic’

The guide suggests employees recommend to others that they stop using offensive words




The University of Washington’s information technology department has released a new language guide highlighting “problematic words” that are commonly used but are supposedly racist, sexist, ageist, or homophobic.


On this list of words to be avoided are “grandfather,” “housekeeping,” “minority,” “ninja,” and even “lame.” “Lame,” for example, is offensive because it’s slang for “uncool” and “it’s using a disability in a negative way to imply the opposite, which would be not lame, to be superior,” according to the guide. 


Other words are deemed offensive because of their history or relationship to race or gender. The word “housekeeping” can “feel gendered,” the university suggests, while any word or phrase including “man” within it, such as “manpower,” “man hours,” or “middle man,” is sexist because it’s not inclusive.






READ MORE: University finds novel 1984 ‘offensive and upsetting’





Meanwhile, “Grandfather clause” is problematic because the term was “used as a way to exempt some people from a change because of conditions that existed before the change.” It “originated in the American South in the 1890s as a way to defy the 15th Amendment and prevent black Americans from voting,” the guide explains. 


It suggests that employees within the department not only apply this new awareness to their own language use, but also educate others about the everyday terms they should be avoiding. The guide even provides an email template to send to vendors to query the efforts they are making to move away from offensive and non-inclusive language.


“Unfortunately, in working with your product/service, we have identified language that can be considered offensive due to its racist, ableist, and/or sexist origins,” the potential email says. “Can you let us know what efforts you are undertaking to move away from this language so as to create a more inclusive product/service?”

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Dozens killed in fighting after ISIS attack on prison – reports

Thousands have had to flee the Syrian city where Kurdish-led militias are battling terrorists after an attempted prison break




The Syrian northeastern city of Hasaka has seen large-scale clashes between Kurdish-led militias backed by the US, and Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) terrorists since Thursday evening.


The terrorists had sought to break into a major prison in the south of the city, where IS members are among thousands of inmates being held, including some of the terrorist group’s leaders.


Terrorist “sleeper cells” infiltrated the surrounding areas before detonating a car bomb near the detention facility, Reuters reported, citing the loose Kurdish-led association of militias known as the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).





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FILE PHOTO. © Reuters / Stringer
Russia predicts revival of Islamic State and ‘caliphate 2.0’






Hundreds of inmates reportedly fled in the ensuing chaos but many have since been recaptured, according to local media reports. Some inmates were also killed during the attempted prison break.


Fighting in the city has been continuing for three days as the SDF militias seek to root out the terrorists still entrenched in the surrounding areas. The scale of the battle has prompted US forces in the region to support the SDF with airstrikes, Pentagon spokesman John Kirby confirmed on Friday.


The Kurdish-led forces said on Saturday that dozens of IS terrorists had been killed and some ammunition and equipment was seized. A number of media reports also suggested that dozens of Kurdish fighters had also died in the clashes.





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FILE PHOTO. The Tabqa Dam in Syria. ©Claude Salhani / Sygma via Getty Images
US nearly wiped out tens of thousands of civilians with dam strike in Syria – NYT






The fighting has sparked an exodus of civilians from the city, Syrian media reported. The displaced families were assisted by the Syrian Army and the Red Crescent, SANA news agency said on Sunday, adding that people are continuing to flee to safe areas “due to the clashes and chaos” in neighborhoods surrounding the prison.


The developments have also prompted Damascus to accuse both IS terrorists and the US-backed militias of “committing massacres” against the locals and causing “massive destruction” of the local infrastructure.


The Syrian Foreign Ministry has called on UN agencies, including the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, the World Food Program, and UNICEF to provide “thousands” of the displaced people with humanitarian aid. It also demanded that the US forces remaining on Syrian soil be withdrawn.

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