Disney stars defending convicted pedophiles is not a good look

Despite making millions playing superheroes and galactic bounty hunters, Hollywood actors Mark Ruffalo and Pedro Pascal are proving that they can't tell who's a villain.


Last Friday, teenager Kyle Rittenhouse was found not guilty of first-degree homicide. A jury decided that he shot three people, two fatally, in self-defense during a riot in Kenosha, Wisconsin. More than a year of shoddy journalism throughout the case's coverage resulted in an American social media reaction largely split down political party lines. In Hollywood, progressives angrily complained, while the handful of openly conservative actors that still exist lauded the decision as a just outcome based on evidence. Notably, a pair of Disney stars expressed regret that the two deceased men, Anthony Huber and Joseph Rosenbaum, were no longer with us. 


They quickly found that Twitter wasn't having it. 


Mark Ruffalo, who's played Bruce Banner and The Hulk for Marvel Studios since ‘The Avengers’ in 2012, tweeted first. “We come together,” he desponded, "to mourn the lives lost to the same racist system that devalues Black lives and devalued the lives of Anthony and JoJo. #ReimagineKenosha"


Pedro Pascal, who plays the title character on the Star Wars Disney+ show ‘The Mandalorian’, tweeted a similar sentiment on the following day, complete with photos of both men smiling like saints: “Joseph Rosenbaum, 36, and Anthony Huber, 27, murdered August 25th, 2020. Rest In Peace.” 









Apart from both statements, in view of Rittenhouse’s acquittal, being horrendously defamatory, it is worth taking a closer look at the lives led by the dearly departed Anthony and JoJo. Huber was a violent criminal who threatened family members with a knife and was convicted of repeated domestic abuse. Such a felonious past hasn't prevented the Left from posthumously canonizing other people, certainly, but the straw that snapped this camel's spine like a human bicep shot point-blank with an AR-15 was Ruffalo's and Pascal's attempts to eulogize ‘JoJo’ Rosenbaum. 


Rosenbaum, his lengthy criminal record shows, was a pedophile rapist of young boys.





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Demonstrators hold signs as they march during a protest in the wake of Kyle Rittenhouse's 'not guilty' verdict in a Kenosha courtroom, in Chicago, Illinois, US November 20, 2021. © REUTERS / Cheney Orr
Mainstream media's approach to Rittenhouse will cause more chaos & pain for racially divided America






The precise details are best left unarticulated, but the crimes are abhorrent and many, including forcible sodomy. Perhaps the leftist echo chamber in which Mark Ruffalo and Pedro Pascal reside has walls too thick to admit such information when it opposes a progressive narrative, or maybe they're simply too intellectually incurious to bother to use a search engine before spewing their opinions online. Whatever the case, their laments met pushback, although ‘pushback’ may be an understatement. 


‘Gamma-irradiated, rage-infused Death Star laser of unfathomable disgust from thousands of horrified Twitter users’ is perhaps more appropriate.


“Child rapist defending f*cking c*nt” and “compromised, sellout bastard,” explained Paul Joseph Watson


“Why are you so aggressively normalizing pedophilia?” asked Steven Crowder


“You just publicly honored a guy who anally raped young children and tried to murder a teenager,” noted Seth Dillon


Benny Johnson pointed out that “the strongest defenders of convicted pedophiles are Disney stars.” 


It's Mr. Johnson's observation that stands out as the most troubling. Mr. Ruffalo has played The Hulk, a perpetual global marketing fixture on toys, cartoons, backpacks, and toothbrushes, for almost a decade, and will continue to do so on the upcoming Disney+ show ‘She-Hulk’. Mr. Pascal will be reprising his lead role of ‘The Mandalorian’ for its third season, currently in production.


Considering the firestorm of criticism these two actors have set ablaze, as well as the Walt Disney Company’s carefully curated presentation as a champion of children, one must ask Disney, Marvel, and Star Wars leadership – Bob ChapekKevin FeigeJon Favreau, et al. – an important question. 


Why keep them? 


The Hulk is an entirely computer-generated creation, and he wasn't even originally played by Mark Ruffalo in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, who replaced Edward Norton as the character after 2008's ‘The Incredible Hulk’. Is Ruffalo so vital that a children's entertainment company must retain an actor who uses pet names for pedophiles? 


‘The Mandalorian’ famously keeps his helmet on at (almost) all times and speaks in a filtered voice. Is Pascal so necessary that he absolutely has to stay in a role famous for caretaking a character literally named The Child, when Pedro himself expresses such sympathy for a man who molested and sodomized children? 


Disney doesn't have a problem recasting important characters in its Marvel and Star Wars projects. Ask Mr. Norton, Terrence Howard (the first War Machine before Don Cheadle), or Jeremy Bulloch (though admittedly, the latter is deceased), the original Boba Fett (now played by Temeura Morrison). Considering the association Mark Ruffalo and Pedro Pascal now have with praising pedophiles – and judging by the Twitter-trending vehemence that praise met, the association isn't going away soon – it would behoove Disney to sever ties with their unapologetic talent before a failure to do so enforces existing rumors about the company


For a billion-dollar producer of children's programming, expressions of support for a child rapist simply must be a bridge too far.


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The Milwaukee County District Attorney just confirmed the identity of the man who drove through the Waukesha, Wisconsin Christmas parade, killing five and injuring 48 people. The suspect was out on “inappropriately low” bail.


Waukesha police have been reluctant to name the suspect in Sunday’s event, though local and national media outlets have identified him as Darrell Brooks. On Monday, District Attorney John Chisholm confirmed that Brooks had multiple felony charges against him, but was released from jail on November 11, after posting a $1,000 cash bond.






Chisholm said the bail recommendation was “inappropriately low in light of the nature of recent charges and the pending charges” against Brooks, and “not consistent with the approach of the Milwaukee County District Attorney's Office.”





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Chisholm’s statement came after critics pointed out that he has been an advocate of abolishing bail altogether in his jurisdiction, and outspoken in praise of other prosecutors who have done so in places like California.


Brooks had been charged with bail jumping, as well as recklessly endangering safety, being a felon in possession of a firearm, battery, obstructing an officer, and disorderly conduct. The reckless endangerment charges stemmed from Brooks allegedly running over a woman after an argument, the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel has reported.


Brooks was arrested on Sunday after his red SUV was identified as the vehicle that sped through the crowd on Main Street during Waukesha’s Christmas parade, injuring dozens of people – including children.


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Phrase ‘trigger warning’ is too triggering for students, university says

Worried that emotionally fragile students might not be able to handle it, Warwick University has scrapped the use of the term “trigger warning” to alert students to the presence of provocative material in assignments.


The phrase “trigger warning” itself has become a provocative term, the university confirmed to the Daily Mail on Sunday, announcing it had relegated the phrase to the dustbin of university history and replacing it with “content notes.”


Such ‘notes’ varied in content, but were generally described as being necessary because “trigger” is too “provocative” a word to deploy on a daily basis.  





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© Unsplash / Lux Productions
The woke mob are headed down the same well-trodden book-burning road as the Conquistadors and the Nazis






The decision to pull the trigger on trigger warnings didn’t go over well with everyone. Tory MP Andrew Bridgen insisted the university’s move to take offence at the word was “ludicrous.” He also argued content warnings in general were “getting out of control and harming the next generation” and wondered who was behind demands for students to tie themselves into such linguistic pretzels.



Who is actually calling for these trigger or content warnings? Is it resilient young people or woke-afflicted academics?



The university’s reading material is widely marked-up with “content notes,” according to the Daily Mail, with such notices advising that plays, poems, and books like Homer’s ‘The Odyssey’ and, somewhat ironically, George Orwell’s ‘1984,’ are “not comfortable” reading. Shakespearean tragedies, students are also warned, may be “riddled with representations of violence and the suffering caused by violent acts.”


One ‘content note’ reproduced by the Mail suggests the entire literary canon might as well be subject to one big trigger warning, pointing out that, “studying literature necessarily involves confronting particular ideas, words and experiences that you might find offensive, upsetting, or disturbing. All of the modules you take in the department will involve material that can be difficult for some people, even traumatic.”


After submitting a Freedom of Information Act request, the Mail was told that Warwick’s English and Comparative Literary Studies department “helps” students deal with “difficult and complex questions.” The spokesperson admitted that the way the school dealt with such “strategies” had recently changed, but did not elaborate further.


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Police in Waukesha, Wisconsin have said the suspect in the Christmas parade attack intentionally drove his SUV into the crowd, and have asked prosecutors to charge him with homicide. The incident is not being treated as terrorism.


Darrell E. Brooks Jr. “intentionally drove his maroon SUV through barricades into a crowd of people” taking part in Sunday’s annual Christmas Parade, Police Chief Daniel Thompson told reporters on Monday. Five people were killed and 48 were injured, including two children who are in critical condition.






Brooks was allegedly involved in a “domestic disturbance” just prior, and fled before police arrived. The shots heard in social media videos of the incident came from a lone police officer who tried to stop him. No one was hurt from the gunfire.


“There is no evidence that this was a terrorist incident,” said Thompson.


Brooks was arrested shortly thereafter, and police have referred him to the district attorney’s office on five counts of “first degree intentional homicide,” the chief added.


The five dead were identified as Tamara Durand, 52; James Coolidge, 52; Wilhelm Hospel, 82; Leanna Owens, 71; and Virginia Sorenson, 79.


Mayor Shawn Reilly described Sunday’s events as “a senseless tragedy.” Waukesha, he said, is a “close community” where many residents have lived for generations, and the town has held a “Norman Rockwell type of Christmas parade” for decades. 


“Last night that parade became a nightmare,” Reilly said.


Monday’s press conference was the first time police named the suspect as Brooks. He was identified by the media on Sunday evening. Earlier on Monday, Milwaukee County DA John Chisholm also identified the suspect as Brooks and confirmed that he had been released on $1,000 bail on November 11, after trying to run over a woman he was arguing with.


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The St. Louis Federal Reserve has caused outrage by boldly recommending Americans choose a cheaper “soy-bean based dinner” for Thanksgiving amid soaring inflation rates.


In a recent blog post, the Missouri-based federal bank compared and contrasted the prices of poultry to soybeans, the main ingredient for tofu, which some vegans use to make tofurkey as a Thanksgiving replacement. 






A poultry dinner will cost Americans over twice what a soy-based dinner would set them back. According to the bank’s data, poultry’s global price has averaged six times higher than soybeans since 1990. 


The blog claims that a soybean dinner would also provide “twice as much protein,” but this is only if you eat the calories equivalent to turkey. 


“This plant-based meal would be almost 3 times larger by weight than the poultry-based meal and may either keep you at the dinner table longer or provide you with more leftovers,” the post reads.


The recommendation comes as industries are raising their prices as costs soar due to supply chain issues and worker shortages – a situation that has seen inflation rise to historic levels. The White House claims the issue will be addressed by President Joe Biden's Build Back Better spending plan.


Many on social media were outraged at the idea that Americans should even have to scrimp on Thanksgiving celebrations while they also face rising costs for gas and other supplies.


“While they print money for their banker friends and increasingly make your savings worthless, they tell you to eat soy for Thanksgiving while they eat like kings on your dime,” the Federalist’s Sean Davis tweeted in reaction. 


“And for Christmas you can have earth worms and cockroaches,” conservative author and Senate candidate JD Vance wrote.









According to the American Farm Bureau, Thanksgiving dinners for Americans will be an average of 14% higher than last year. The group estimates a meal for 10 will cost an average of $53.31, a more than $6 increase from the estimated average in 2020. 


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People who oppose Covid-19 vaccine mandates are “anti-vaxxers,” pure and simple, Northern Territory Chief Minister Michael Gunner said during a heated press conference, noting more positive cases in his state were “expected.”


Gunner made it more than clear during a press conference in which he was asked if his hardline stance on vaccine mandates might have turned some away from getting the jab that anyone who wasn’t 100% for the state’s increasingly draconian vaccination mandates was a true “anti-vaxxer.” Even if they themselves had been vaccinated, he argued, Australians were either with the virus or with the mandates.






If you give a green light, give comfort to, support anybody who argues against the vaccine, you are an anti-vaxxer. Your personal vaccination status is utterly irrelevant,” Gunner declared.


The term ‘anti-vaxxer’, previously used to denote a parent who opposed vaccination for their children, has seen its meaning expanded during the Covid-19 pandemic to include anyone who opposes vaccination for themselves - and now, in the eyes of ardent vaccine supporters, anyone who opposes a mandate, whether or not they themselves have taken the shot.





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Protesters are seen on the steps of Parliament on November 16, 2021 in Melbourne, Australia. © Getty Images / Daniel Pockett; (inset) Daniel Andrews. © AFP / MARK PETERSON
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If you’re out there in any way, shape or form campaigning against the mandate, then you are absolutely anti-vax,” he continued, insisting the state’s vaccination mandate was “absolutely critical” to saving lives. “I will never back away from supporting vaccines, and anyone out there who comes for the mandate, you are anti-vax,” Gunner snarled.


A lockdown in the state’s town of Katherine was set to be extended until 6pm local time Wednesday night because with 1,300 test results still outstanding, the authorities were “still expecting more positive cases.” Two cases had been detected on Monday - a 67-year-old man and a 33-year-old mother said to be a “close contact of a confirmed case.” However, her child had repeatedly tested negative. 


Despite the paucity of cases, Gunner insisted it was “highly likely” there were other positive cases in the area, citing “continual positive traces” in the wastewater catchment area of the neighborhood, but allowed the nearby Robinson River area to move out of lockdown, giving residents the freedom to move around so long as they did not leave the neighborhood.


The minister insisted “enforcement, rather than encouragement” was the only way to get vaccination levels to the desired target.


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Netflix's ‘Cowboy Bebop’ is boring, disrespectful to the source material & miserable to look at

As an adaptation of a beloved anime, Netflix’s ‘Cowboy Bebop’ is a travesty, but even if taken on its own and separated from the series which inspired it, the show still fails on all levels.


None of that is hyperbole, either. ‘Cowboy Bebop’ is a show so devoid of entertainment value that I can count on two fingers the scenes I genuinely enjoyed. I straight up hated almost every other second of this live-action space cowboy adventure, and I dreaded having to turn the television on for more. Which says a lot considering I was literally paid to watch the show in order to review it. That’s the definition of easy money, and I still struggled to earn my keep. 


‘Repaired’ for a modern audience


The sins of this one run deep, but most unforgivable is how it absolutely trashes iconic characters all in the name of social justice politics. Sexy femme fatale Faye Valentine is toned down and depicted as a sassy girl-boss who is nothing but a blackhole of cringe. The ‘cringularity’, we’ll call it.  For real though, she’s awful. Every joke she tells fails to land, and her lines are painful to listen to. By the time she says “Welcome to the ouch, motherf**kers” in the final episode, I wanted to stab a screwdriver through my ear holes. 


It’s very obvious the creators wanted to update her for a modern audience, and like with most things which receive such ‘updates’, it’s an absolute butchering. Gone is her sex appeal and femme fatale ways, and she instead comes across as a moody millennial you’d meet on Twitter, and I say that as a moody millennial who spends too much time on Twitter. 





Daniela Pineda as Faye Valentine (left) in 'Cowboy Bebop' (2021) Creator: André Nemec © Netflix, Tomorrow Studios, Midnight Radio, Sunrise Inc. / Faye Valentine in 'Cowboy Bebop' (1998) Creator: Hajime Hatate © Sunrise





I wish I could say she was the worst character on display, but I cannot. That title goes to the show’s big bad, Vicious. I don’t even know where to begin. His handling is atrocious. The acting is bad, and his direction is a mess. He’s cartoonishly comical and borderline whiny. At times a psychotic killer and at others a temperamental schoolboy with Daddy issues who probably listens to ‘My Chemical Romance’ on CD. In the anime he’s scary and quiet, yet here he is a complete joke, just one without a good punchline. Which I think was the point.


I have to tiptoe around this lest I fully spoil a final act twist – not that it should matter because I highly recommend you skip this show – but where Vicious was once threatening, in this series he becomes emasculated and overtaken by a female who will inevitably be the lead villain should the show get renewed for a second season. It’s as if the creators hated how a particular character existed merely as a plot point within the anime and decided to rectify it by trashing the big bad and replacing him with her. 


And the trashing of characters is what ‘Cowboy Bebop’ does impeccably well. 


In the anime there’s a character named Gren who is forced to take feminization drugs while in a military prison. His story is tragic and full of trauma. He was not feminized by choice, yet somehow Netflix decided to depict him as a ‘yas, slay queen’ empowered non-binary type and thusly cast him as such. The actor is now on the press circuit talking about how they wanted to right the wrongs of the anime. Which sums up how so very much went wrong with the project.





Mason Alexander Park as Gren in 'Cowboy Bebop' (2021) Creator: André Nemec © Netflix, Tomorrow Studios, Midnight Radio, Sunrise Inc.





The showrunners didn’t set out to adapt an anime they respect, they set out to ‘repair’ one they found problematic, and with axe and mallet in hand, they got to work disfiguring all that they could.


I’m not even a stickler for adaptations being wholly representative of what came before. I understand that things will inevitably be changed when going from book to film, or when remaking a show which already existed. Different forms of media need to make different types of concessions. I accept that when trying to appeal to a global audience it makes sense to have a wide-ranging and diverse cast. Therefore I don’t care that secondary protagonist Jet Black was changed from white skinned to black. In the anime his racial makeup isn’t a defining feature of the character so it doesn’t really matter what his skin tone is. It’s not an influence on his personality. In fact, the actor they cast as Jet is one of the few to give a somewhat accurate representation of the character that came before. 


It’s just a shame that the script entirely lets him down, because let me tell you, this show is dull. Put more harshly, the story sucks.


Cheap and blurry


Characters move from plot point to plot point or action sequence to action sequence but none of it is interesting. There’s just no reason to care about what’s happening, especially as the dialogue is repulsively bad, sometimes verging on something you’d see on an NBC sitcom and not a cowboy space adventure. Not helping matters even further is that little of it is pleasant to look at. A sad state of affairs given this is ‘Cowboy Bebop’ of all things. 


From the moment the series begins it is obvious there was no understanding of what made the anime so endearing. The original is rather light on story, but it makes up for it with an abundance of style and mood. Shots linger to set the tone of a room, and when the action does kick up, it does so with pizazz. For lack of a better word, the show is cool. Spike Spiegel holding his breath as he enters the vacuum of space while shooting a handgun to propel him toward safety as heavy metal music blasts in the background is just one example of how the series shows the viewer the awesome capabilities of its downtrodden and cynical protagonist.





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None of that takes into consideration the fluidity of its animation. The anime looks good, and it knows it. There’s a confidence on display which the viewer can’t help but notice, something ‘NewBop’ entirely lacks. The live-action is sloppy and ugly. Fights aren’t well choreographed and many aspects of it look cheap. One fight in particular takes place following the opening credits of episode 8 and it is so low budget in appearance that I actively burst out laughing. 


Made nauseatingly worse is that there’s a disgusting amount of blur permeating every scene. It’s as if Vaseline was smeared on the outer rim of the camera to give it a blurry vignette, but even that doesn’t adequately explain it as some scenes are 90% blur. 


I kid you not, there’s scenes where two people are standing next to each other facing the camera, and their faces are blurry. In others it’s huge portions of the set, making for a baffling creative decision that actively hurts the show, and one which makes no sense when compared to the anime which allowed every environment to speak for itself. 


There’s fan films on YouTube that treat their source material with more respect, talent, and grace than anything seen in this version of ‘Cowboy Bebop’. I don’t believe for a second anyone leading the production crew has any love for the property, and it shows. 


Going into this series my expectations were low. It takes a particular level of bold stupidity to try and remake one of the best animated series ever made. It’s unlikely, albeit not impossible, that someone could do it better. Although even expecting a huge misfire, I walk away still shocked at just how terrible it truly is. 


I guess I could say it exceeded my expectations, so for that I applaud it. Kudos Netflix.

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One of the NFL's top stars has become the most high-profile athlete to announce they are receiving their entire salary in cryptocurrency, pledging to give $1 million in bitcoin back to fans.


Three-time Pro Bowl player Odell Beckham Jr signed a lucrative contract with the Los Angeles Rams earlier this month.


The 29-year-old, who is said to have earned around $15.5 million in his final year with former employers the Cleveland Browns, has now revealed that he will be coining in crypto with his new team.


"It's a new era and, to kick that off, I'm hyped to announce that I'm taking my new salary in bitcoin," Beckham Jr told his following of more than 4.1 million on Twitter.






"I'm looking forward to the future. That's why I'm taking my new salary in bitcoin.


"To all my fans out there, no matter where you are: thank you. I’m giving back a total of one million dollars in bitcoin right now, too."


Beckham Jr then asked his fans to reply with their 'cashtag' details in a tantalizing offer that will purportedly see him share some of his abundant wealth.






Beckham Jr also announced on Monday that he is expecting his first child with model girlfriend Lauren Wood.


Sports business and bitcoin oracle Joe Pompliano said Beckham Jr "will be taking 100 percent of his new NFL contract in Bitcoin", adding: "Global adoption is inevitable."


The announcement is the latest example of the growing take-up of cryptocurrencies among leading athletes.


In August, it was reported that part of legendary striker Lionel Messi's signing on fee of around $33.5 million at Paris Saint-Germain would be paid in bitcoin 'fan tokens'.






Several NFL players have already made the move towards bitcoin pay. "I'm excited about the future of cryptocurrency and am a big believer in Bitcoin," Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers declared earlier this month.


"So much so that I've chosen to take a large portion of my salary in Bitcoin... cryptocurrency is a new concept to many and can be intimidating to understand."


Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady also recently revealed that he has bought an equity stake in a leading cryptocurrency trading platform.


Ahead of the latest emphatic win of her celebrated MMA win ten days ago, former UFC champion Cris Cyborg gave fans the chance to transfer her bitcoin through a code on her t-shirt.

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Ukraine invasion claims US ‘disinformation’ – Moscow

The US State Department is behind a spate of reports that Moscow is planning to order a full-scale invasion of neighboring Ukraine, threatening to plunge the world into a war, Russia's top foreign intelligence agency has insisted.


In a statement issued on Monday, the press service of the SVR said that claims troops were massing on the shared border between the two Eastern European nations as a precursor to all-out conflict were falsified. “Recently, officials in Washington have been actively intimidating the world community by alleging Russia is preparing for ‘aggression’ against Ukraine,” it said.


“According to data we have received, the US State Department is using diplomatic channels to share with its allies and partners absolutely false information about the concentration of forces on our territory in advance of a military invasion of Ukraine,” the communique reads.





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A BTR-82A armored personnel carrier lands from a large landing ship during an exercise in the amphibious landing on an unimproved shore held by army corps and naval infantry units of the Russian Black Sea Fleet at the Opuk range, in Crimea, Russia. © Sputnik / Konstantin Mihalchevskiy
Moscow comments on reports Russia is ready to invade Ukraine






The SVR went on to say that Washington is painting “a terrible picture of how hordes of Russian tanks will start crushing Ukrainian cities,” and that this is being amplified by Western media. Citing former Nazi Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels, the officials said that “the more monstrous the lie, the more willingly the crowd will believe it.” “Of course, such a line fits into the anti-Russian mentality of the West,” the intelligence service concluded. In addition, the service compared the situation to the buildup to a short military conflict fought against Georgia in 2008, when former President Mikhail Saakashvili began a campaign to retake territory held by separatists, before the country's troops were pushed back by Russian forces.


Earlier that day, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that a number of articles alleging that an invasion of Ukraine could soon be underway were part of a “targeted information campaign.” According to him, “it’s about building tensions – it’s an attempt to portray Russia as threatening the peace process.”


His comments came just hours after Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova blasted the claims as part of a “mythology” being created around Russia. “If there are facts, show them and we’ll talk. If not, then it’s time to work on the mistakes at the heart of the non-existent stories creeping into the Western press with regard to Ukraine.”


Several publications have run stories in the past several days about a possible armed conflict after Ukraine’s domestic security agency, the SBU, published what it claimed were theoretical Russian plans to invade the east of the country. Moscow denies that any such preparations are underway, with the Kremlin arguing that “the movement of some of our military equipment or army units across the territory of the Russian Federation is exclusively our business.”


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Russian parliament mulls ban on gay movie scenes

A bill that would ban scenes showing homosexual relations in films and TV shows is set to be considered by the Russian parliament, the Deputy Chairman of the Assembly’s Committee on Family Affairs, Women, and Children has said.


Speaking to RIA Novosti on Monday about the proposals, Vitaly Milonov of the governing United Russia party confirmed that the law will be scrutinized in the State Duma and that work on the text is underway. “The legal solution to this situation is just around the corner,” he said.





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FILE PHOTO: Activists of a local LGBT community attend a May Day rally in Saint Petersburg, Russia May 1, 2019. © REUTERS / Anton Vaganov
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Milonov, a high-profile MP, said that people should have the right to ask the state’s regulator to not allow the broadcast of films with LGBT+ content. “Whoever wants can have special access to such videos, as well as with pornography,” he remarked, stating that there is a public demand to not depict homosexual scenes. 


A survey from the Russian Public Opinion Research Center (VTsIOM) released earlier on Monday revealed that 80% of respondents believe that it is unacceptable to show homosexual relations in films and TV shows with age 18+ restrictions, while 57% of Russians surveyed said that the screening of scenes showing what they consider to be “sexual deviance” should be banned.


The consideration of the legislation against content depicting same-sex relationships coincides with a member of Russia’s Presidential Council for Civil Society and Human Rights telling Vedomosti that he had developed a “catalog” to mark so-called ‘toxic content’ on the internet. The resource would flag topics such as radical feminism, ‘childfree’ lifestyles, as well as the promotion of homosexuality and bestiality. 





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Member of the Committee on the Development of Civil Society, issues of public and Religious Associations of the State Duma of the Russian Federation Vitaly Milonov at the plenary session of the State Duma of the Russian Federation. © Sputnik / Vladimir Fedorenko
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Milonov, known for making inflammatory remarks about the LGBT+ community, attracted a backlash from Russia’s Human Rights Council in August after he brandished homosexual people as being the “lowest stage of development of the animal world.” The official also called for the country’s gay population to be “sterilized” like stray cats, while the head of Russia’s Human Rights Council, Valery Fadeev, said he should “watch his language” on the subject.


Russia enacted what is often termed a ‘gay propaganda law’ in 2013, which saw restrictions enforced against content deemed to endorse “non-traditional sexual values among minors.” The legislation has been criticized both domestically and internationally for allegedly attacking LGBT rights. However, President Vladimir Putin has defended the move, insisting it “has nothing to do with persecuting individuals for their sexual orientation.” 


Asked by journalists in 2014 about his views on the subject, the Russian leader said, “I don’t care about a person’s orientation, and I myself know some people who are gay. We are on friendly terms. I’m not prejudiced in any way.”




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France's sports ministry has warned that the "survival" of football is on the line after the latest violent incident in a stadium during a huge match.


Chaotic scenes led to the top-flight match between Lyon and Marseille being abandoned on Sunday after former France star Dimitri Payet was sent prone to the turf by a bottle launched from the crowd which hit him on the head.





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Dimitri Payet was struck by a bottle © Twitter / GFFN
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An individual has been arrested and taken into custody in another shameful saga after Payet was also hit by a bottle during a game at Nice in August.


That match was also abandoned and replayed two months later, with Nice being docked a point and ordered to play three games behind closed doors and a range of punishments being handed out to players and backroom staff.


Lens incurred a similar punishment following a pitch invasion that held their game against Lille up for 45 minutes while riot police restored control, and Marseille themselves have been ordered to play their next home game behind closed doors after trouble when they played Paris Saint-Germain in October.


Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin and Sports Minister Roxana Maracineanu will now meet with representatives from the French football league, who have told Lyon to play Ligue 1 home games behind closed doors until a further ruling is made.









The disciplinary commission of the French League (LFP) said the seven-time Ligue 1 champions must play their domestic home games behind closed doors until it rules on Sunday's abandoned match against Marseille.


"They have to come to an agreement – this kind of problem is for the league to solve," Maracineanu told France Info radio on Monday.


"Everyone must understand that it's the survival of French soccer that's at stake.


"We can't allow that a broadcaster, who has bought rights, must keep the conversation moving for more than an hour like they did last night, when we don't know if the match is going to continue – it's a world where millions of euros are at stake."






Officials had fruitlessly hoped that the match at the 59,000-capacity Parc Olympique Lyonnais would be able to resume after referee Ruddy Buquet took the players off.


Payet was said to have been shaken by the scare. France legend Thierry Henry, who was part of the broadcasting team, also called for the culprits to receive a lifetime ban from stadiums.


"We've helped the soccer world during the health crisis to allow the return of fans in the stadiums," added Maracineanu. "We can't allow things like that to happen."

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An Illinois Democrat has received pushback after portraying the tragic deaths in Waukesha, Wisconsin as a form of “karma” against the state for Kyle Rittenhouse’s ‘not guilty’ verdict.


“The blood of Kyle Rittenhouse’s victims is on the hands of Wisconsin citizens, even the children,” Mary Lemanski, then-social media director for the Democratic Party in Illinois, tweeted after an SUV was driven into a Christmas parade, killing multiple people and injuring dozens. Lemanski went on to refer to the tragedy as “karma” in a separate tweet.


“I’m sad anytime anyone dies. I just believe in Karma and this came around quick on the citizens of Wisconsin,” she wrote. 


Lemanski, whose Twitter profile says she is an acting student with the Second City Comedy Group, meanwhile mockingly referred to the SUV driver as fearing for his life and simply offering “help.” The remarks echoed Rittenhouse’s explanation that he shot and killed Anthony Huber and Joseph Rosenbaum in August 2020 in self-defense, claiming he was present during a protest-turned-riot to offer people help. 






Lemanski later deleted her tweets as they began to spread online, and shared a statement saying she had resigned from the social media role after making “some remarks that were not in good taste regarding the Waukesha tragedy”. She also claimed she would sue Fox News for harassment, as the outlet was the first to highlight the tweets.









DuPage County Democrats have distanced themselves from Lemanski’s comments and described her as a “former member of our organization.” There is no one currently listed as the party’s social media director on its staffing page


“We are aware of statements made by a former member of our organization and find them to be incredibly insensitive and not in alignment of who we are as an organization. Our organization does not support hate in any form,” the group tweeted on Monday. 






At least five people were killed and over 40 were injured on Sunday when a driver plowed his SUV into a crowd gathered for a Christmas parade. 


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‘More cases than ever’: Covid vaccines ‘have not worked’, claims Conor McGregor

UFC icon Conor McGregor has said that Covid vaccines aren't working – days after blaming "hypocritical" governments rather than the unjabbed for a new round of lockdowns.


Former featherweight and lightweight champion McGregor originally criticized the Irish government, leader Micheal Martin and deputy Leo Varadkar in one of his latest swiftly-deleted rants.


Warning that "Ireland will rise", McGregor said his country had endured "the longest lockdown in the free world" and is "not to blame for the undersupply of our healthcare system".




“Those in government are," he added, referencing Ireland's high vaccination rate of nearly 90 percent of its entire eligible population.
















McGregor is known for rapidly removing his often-vicious missives towards the likes of former title rival Khabib Nurmagomedov.


The 33-year-old took the more surprising move of briefly leaving up a message about Covid treatments on Monday.


“The vaccines have not worked to stop this whatsoever,” he said. “More vaccinated than ever. More cases than ever. Re-evaluate entirely. Stop taking handouts."


The UFC's most marketable active star has paid for and delivered almost $1.5 million in PPE during the pandemic.


“Frustrated with these new restrictions in Ireland," he announced last week. "We’ve done our part and we’ve followed the rules.












“NPHET [National Public Health Emergency Team] told us last month we had the virus suppressed.


"And yet we move forwards only to move backwards again. All we ask for is clarity, and we have gotten none since the beginning.




“For [deputy prime minister] Leo [Varadkar] to... directly blame the non-vaccinated is the most divisive comment I’ve seen yet.


“It is neither the vaccinated, nor non-vaccinated, nor any Irish citizen for that matter, who is responsible for this unpreparedness. It is government.


“We are almost three years into this. We have came together time and time again.














"Gone above and beyond what has been asked of us. Yet all we have gotten back is hypocritical address after hypocritical address.


"The audacity. I am ashamed of my nation's government at this time.”


There was predictable cynicism towards McGregor's tweets. “You’re taking medical guidance from Conor McGregor and not healthcare professionals but believe I sound thick?,” asked one user in a Twitter argument. 


“The five percent unvaccinated in Ireland are representing between 50-to-65 percent of critically sick patients in ICU in Ireland, yet 'vaccines aren't working whatsoever'. Ok, Doctor."












“Medical advice from Conor Mcgregor?,” asked another. “What are you on about? How about you do some proper research?


“People like you that have their heads up their *rses are causing this to drag on and fueling it.


“Suppose you support vaccine passports as well and the firing of unvaccinated staff.”


Among McGregor's supporters, one included the hashtags "no more lockdowns" and "unvaccinated", writing: "Never thought I’d agree with him."



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Another EU country mulling three-week Covid lockdown

Slovakia's government is actively considering a potential full lockdown to stem the rise of fresh Covid-19 infections, similar to the one introduced in neighboring Austria, Prime Minister Eduard Heger’s office said on Monday.


Heger said that his office is “intensively” mulling a three-week lockdown, which has been proposed by the Health Ministry. He added that expert opinion would be key to making any decision in the coming days.





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© Reuters / Lukas Barth
Austrian chancellor apologizes to vaccinated over ‘drastic’ lockdown






Earlier on Monday, Heger said he was also in favor of mandatory vaccination for people over 50, but said he would follow the guidance of experts here also. “I am convinced today that there is no other way than vaccines if we do not want to have repeated waves and lockdowns,” he said.


“This devours the economy, people’s health and people’s lives. If we don’t want to experience this agony for years, we clearly need to be protected by the vaccine.” 


Slovakia has already banned unvaccinated people from bars and pubs and ordered restaurants to suspend all in-house meal services as part of a set of measures agreed last week.


About 45% of Slovakia's population are vaccinated, one of the lowest rates in Europe.


Neighboring Austria entered a 10-day national lockdown affecting all citizens on Monday as cases of the virus soared, with Chancellor Alexander Schallenberg apologizing to vaccinated citizens for taking the “drastic step.” 


Meanwhile, Germany's Angela Merkel warned that current Covid-19 measures were not enough and that Germany was facing a "highly dramatic situation" as winter approached.


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Gazprom threatens to halt gas supply to Moldova within 48 hours

Russian energy giant Gazprom will withdraw gas transit to Moldova in the next 48 hours after Chisinau failed to settle its outstanding debt for supplies already delivered, a spokesman for the company announced on Monday.


At the end of last month, the Saint Petersburg-based company and Moldavgaz agreed a new deal after a lengthy standoff on price.


“Today is the scheduled date of payment. Yet, there is no payment,” Gazprom spokesman Sergey Kupriyanov said in a statement, adding that the state-owned firm is “extremely disappointed” with Moldova’s failure to fulfill its obligations under the recently extended contract.


The deal was struck in late October following weeks of stalled talks that almost led to an energy crisis in the eastern European country. Eventually, the contract was extended for five years and the Russian side started again pumping gas to Moldova on November 1.


According to Kupriyanov, Gazprom sought to set the “market gas price” for Moldova but eventually had to take account of a “difficult economic and financial situation” in the country as well as Russian President Vladimir Putin’s position. The company agreed to most of Chisinau’s terms, including the discounted price, he said.





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FILE PHOTO.
Russia's Gazprom strikes gas supply deal with crisis-hit Moldova on ‘mutually beneficial terms,’ averting energy emergency






Gazprom only demanded that Moldova pay for its current consumption on time, the spokesman added, pointing to the fact that this term was breached and that it has forced Gazprom to take such a decision.


The October contract extension was held up by pricing disagreements and Moldova’s already mounting unpaid bills. At that time, Gazprom said that the sides managed to reach an agreement on “mutually beneficial” terms, including a mutually-agreed “price calculation formula” and Moldova’s debt audit.


Chisinau was close to introducing a state of emergency in case of failed talks. The tense situation also sparked allegations from Western commentators that Moscow was using energy supplies to exert pressure on Chisinau's new government to abandon plans to draw closer to the EU. Gazprom repeatedly denied such claims, arguing that its concerns were solely business related. 


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WATCH: Russia’s Northern Fleet stages Arctic weapons drills

Marines from Russia's Northern Fleet have held tactical firing drills in the frosty Arctic region, the Ministry of Defense in Moscow has announced, with infantrymen taking aim and refining their combat skills on the ground.


In a statement released on Monday, military chiefs confirmed that they had conducted their exercises at a training ground in the village of Sputnik in the Murmansk region of Russia’s Far North. During the training, soldiers fired rounds from Yarygin and Makarov pistols, as well as Kalashnikov rifles, at distances from 10 to 300 meters.


A video posted online by the Defense Ministry captured soldiers shooting their weapons at targets in the snowy conditions.


The drills are intended to put the soldiers through their paces and develop their professional skills, including dexterity, coordination, speed and reflexes in cold climates. 








According to the statement, the “Black Berets” are preparing for competitions that various squads, including soldiers of the Northern Fleet’s coastal forces, will take part in. 


Servicemen are required to undergo special selection tests on their general physical fitness, psychological preparedness, and core shooting exercises in order to compete. 





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British army armoured vehicles Warrior are seen during a break at the Spring Storm military drill near Sillamae, Estonia May 7, 2019. © REUTERS / Ints Kalnins
NATO wargames near Russian border fuelling heightened tensions – Moscow






The Defense Ministry’s announcement of the drills comes as Latvia confirmed it was beginning its “Winter Shield” military exercises alongside NATO troops.  


The Baltic nation’s national armed forces revealed that howitzers, mortars, grenade launchers, and machine guns will be fired during the drills, as well as a number of planned warplane flights. 


Moscow has grown increasingly concerned over the American-led military bloc’s presence close to its frontiers in recent weeks. The Kremlin’s Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova blasted NATO on Sunday over the freshly announced joint exercises, which will see the Estonian army team up with US Army Special Operations Forces. 


According to Zakharova, “Russia has warned NATO against creating tension near Russian borders. NATO is silent and continues undeterred.”


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Island residents evacuate over deadly volcanic gases

Hundreds of residents of Italy’s Vulcano island have been told to evacuate from their homes every night for the next month over concerns about potentially lethal gases emitted from the La Fossa volcano crater. 


Under the measure, which comes into effect from Monday, people must vacate their homes between 11pm and 6am local time due to the risk posed by the nearby volcanic activity. Mayor Marco Giorgianni has also banned tourists from the island as a safety precaution. 


Explaining the drastic measures, Giorgianni said they’re necessary as “the unconsciousness of sleep would not allow them to detect the risks.”






Vulcano, which forms part of the Aeolian archipelago, will also prohibit any tourism for the next month. The moves come a month after the civil protection agency updated the alert level to “significant,” and just days after Italy’s National Institute for Geophysics and Volcanology warned of “abnormally high” levels of carbon dioxide at the volcanic crater. 






Officials on the island also declared a state of crisis alongside imposing the protective measures in case there is an increase in volcanic activity or gases emitted into the atmosphere.


Gases released by the volcano mean that oxygen levels on the island could drop, potentially causing lethal breathing difficulties. Carbon dioxide levels have reportedly risen from a normal level of 80 tonnes to around 480 tonnes, according to volcanologists cited by ANSA. The island – its name a combination of ‘volcano’ and ‘Vulcan’, the Roman god of fire – has experienced frequent eruptions throughout history, most recently from 1888 to 1890.


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Kyle Rittenhouse defense lawyer Mark Richards has taken aim at the media’s depiction of his client and recent murder trial, blasting outlets like CNN and MSNBC for messing up “basic facts.”


Speaking to ‘NewsNation’ over the weekend, Richards specifically targeted MSNBC and CNN as networks that have presented false depictions of Rittenhouse and his actions, both during and after the trial. 


“It makes me angry that they can’t take the time to at least get the generic, basic facts correct because it didn’t fit in the story they wanted to tell,” Richards said. He called out ‘Morning Joe’ host Joe Scarborough for claiming Rittenhouse fired his weapon dozens of times, as well as “some guest host on Joy Reid” for saying Rittenhouse drove hours to reach Kenosha. Both claims are false.





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Kyle Rittenhouse during his trial in Kenosha, Wisconsin, US, November 19, 2021. © Sean Krajacic/Reuters
Rittenhouse shares views on BLM, race in 1st post-acquittal interview






Since Rittenhouse received his ‘not guilty’ verdict in a murder trial stemming from the August 2020 deaths of Joseph Rosenbaum and Anthony Huber during a protest-turned-riot, many have pushed for the teenager to file defamation suits. Nick Sandmann, who himself won defamation suits against media outlets like CNN, has encouraged Rittenhouse to file suit, in the wake of a jury siding with his self-defense argument. Pundits and activists have painted the young man as a racist, though the trial presented no official proof of this. 


Richards said that though media coverage was “wrong” from the beginning of the trial, he pushed for the focus to remain on Rittenhouse instead of battling the media. 


“When I got involved in this case and there were a couple of other prominent lawyers who were involved and trying to make some calls and I said, ‘Look, all of your riches and civil lawsuits are going nowhere if this kid is found guilty of anything,” he said. 






Rittenhouse was arrested and charged after shooting and killing Anthony Huber and Joseph Rosenbaum in an August 2020 altercation during a Black Lives Matter protest in Kenosha, Wisconsin that had turned into a riot. 


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Trump awarded a black belt

Donald Trump has been awarded an honorary black belt in taekwondo by a South Korean academy due to his interest in the martial art. The belt marks the former US president as a ‘Ninth Dan’, the highest attainable level.


The coveted belt and certificate were given to Trump on Friday by Lee Dong-seop, president of the Seoul-based Kukkiwon, also known as the World Taekwondo Headquarters. The handover ceremony was held at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence in Florida.


“It is my pleasure and honor to receive this honorary certificate. Taekwondo is a great martial art for protecting oneself in these times,” Trump said, according to South Korean newspaper Dong-a Ilbo.






The former president said he would wear the taekwondo suit in the US Congress should he return to the White House in the future, the paper reported. Trump also invited the Kukkiwon team to hold a taekwondo demonstration in the US.


“I heard that Donald Trump is highly interested in taekwondo,” said Lee, who apparently requested Trump’s continued support for and cooperation with Kukkiwon and the martial art.


According to the Kukkiwon website, promotion to the highest level requires a candidate to complete at least nine years of training and submit a minimum 10-page thesis on their “Taekwondo Life” or “Taekwondo Spirit.”


The recognition means Trump now shares the same rank as Russian President Vladimir Putin, who was awarded an honorary black belt and made a grandmaster of taekwondo during an official visit to South Korea in 2013.


However, Putin is a veteran practitioner of other martial arts as well, particularly judo in which he famously holds a black belt.


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Man arrested after basketball star, 23, ‘suffers brain hemorrhage in nightclub attack’

A man has reportedly been charged with attempted murder after being arrested for an alleged vicious attack outside a nightclub that has left a basketball star on a ventilator and injured his girlfriend and a teammate.


Local police in Nicosia told KNews that a 46-year-old male was detained for his alleged part in the fracas, which is said to have occurred in the early hours of Sunday morning. 


Along with two others – who have been identified as his girlfriend and AEL teammate Brandon Averette – Corey Manigault, 23, was badly injured in the attack.


Manigault and another victim of the same age reportedly remain in hospital in a critical condition, with the athlete said to have suffered a brain hemorrhage and hematoma.









Manigault's partner and Texas-born guard Averette, 24, both suffered cuts and bruises.


In a statement, AEL said that their team had been shocked by the incident while confirming that their player was in a critical condition but out of immediate more serious danger.


“He remains intubated and under sedation at the ICU of the Nicosia general hospital,” the team said.


“Doctors hope it will all turn out positively but it is still too early for safe conclusions. 


“We are not yet able to know how long this effort will take and if any damage has been caused."









No motive has been established for the attack that occurred outside a business establishment, but security camera footage is said to have helped police identify the accused alongside two more people they wish to speak to who are still at large. 


The arrested suspect will appear before a judge this week for a remand hearing.


Officials said that while charges of attempted murder, conspiracy to commit a felony and aggravated assault have been made, additional charges or suspects being identified in the case have not ruled out.






A native of Suitland, Maryland, Manigault played for the Pittsburgh Panthers and the New Mexico Lobos in college. 


Local reports in Cyprus say that his mother has made plans to fly on Tuesday to the Mediterranean island, where he moved to from Balkan Botevgrad in Bulgaria.


When he signed in July, Averette said he was "blessed" to join his first professional club, who are currently sixth in their local division.

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