Lula defeats Bolsonaro in Brazil election

The election authority said the results are “mathematically defined”

Former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has clinched victory over his right-wing rival Jair Bolsonaro in a tightly contested second round of Brazilian election on Sunday. With over 99.5% of districts reporting their final results, Lula’s victory was “mathematically defined,” according to the country’s election authority.

Polls closed nationwide at 5pm local time (8pm GMT). Initial results showed Bolsonaro ahead, but just as in the first round of voting his lead eventually narrowed as more votes from da Silva’s strongholds were counted.

On October 2, da Silva, who served as president from 2003 to 2010, received over 48% of the vote, which was not enough to claim immediate victory in the first round.

The incumbent repeatedly warned during his campaing that he will contest the results if he loses by a small margin, calling into question the reliability of Brazil’s electronic voting system.

Lula da Silva, who represents Brazil’s Workers’ Party, has focused his campaign on overcoming social inequality and alleviating poverty. Among the measures he proposes are raising taxes on the rich, widening the social safety net, and increasing the minimum wage.

Bolsonaro’s campaign slogan has been ‘God, family, homeland, and liberty’. His vision of Brazil’s future includes privatizing the country’s state-owned oil company, opening the Amazon region to more mining, and easing gun regulations.

In the run-up to the showdown, the rivals repeatedly traded insults during campaign events. In a televised debate on October 17, Lula called Bolsonaro a “tiny little dictator” and pledged to defend freedom and democracy. The incumbent fired back, calling Lula “a national embarrassment,” due to the corruption scandals that took place when Lula’s Workers’ Party (PT) was in power between 2003 and 2016.

Lula, who governed Brazil from 2003 to 2010, was barred from running for president in 2018 because of a corruption conviction that was later overturned. 


Berlusconi suggests way to end Ukraine conflict

Ukraine would agree to sit at the negotiating table if offered financial aid but no weapons, Italy’s former prime minister says

Western nations should stop supplying Ukraine with weapons if they want a peaceful solution to the ongoing conflict between Kiev and Moscow, Italy’s former prime minister, Silvio Berlusconi, told journalist Bruno Vespa over the weekend. He believes that the prospect of getting no military aid but a large reconstruction fund could convince Kiev to agree to the talks with Moscow.

According to Berlusconi, Zelensky would only agree to any sort of a deal with Moscow "if Ukraine realizes at some point that it can no longer count on weapons and aid" at the same time. Instead, the West could offer Kiev "hundreds of billions of dollars for reconstruction" as a stimulus to enter the negotiations, the politician added.

The former prime minister, who now leads the Forza Italia party, also believes that Ukraine should recognize Crimea as a Russian territory, according to La Repubblica newspaper that published excerpts from his interview with Vespa. A new referendum that would involve Western observers should also be held in Donbass to determine its fate, he added.

The former prime minister also called Russian President Vladimir Putin "a man of peace." Berlusconi admitted he tried to reach out to Putin when the conflict between Moscow and Kiev broke out in late February but could not contact him by phone.

His words sparked some angry reactions from Italian politicians. A former Italian economy minister, Carlo Calenda, was quick to accuse Berlusconi of spreading "propaganda for Putin regardless of the consequences." He also claimed that any coalition government is doomed if it cannot agree on a common foreign policy line. Berlusconi’s Forza Italia is now part of a government coalition together with Giorgia Meloni’s Meloni’s Brothers of Italy, and Matteo Salvini’s League party.

An Italian MP, Lia Quartapelle, blasted Berlusconi’s proposal as "a recipe … for surrender." She also said that Berlusconi himself would be a "big problem" for Meloni, who recently took over as Italy’s prime minister.

Berlusconi already faced criticism after he said he supposedly received 20 bottles of vodka from Putin as a birthday gift. According to Der Spiegel, the "gift" might have amounted to nothing less than an EU sanctions violation. The magazine cited an EU Commission secretary, who pointed to the April 2022 ban on goods imports from Russia to the EU, including spirits.

In his interview with Vespa, Berlusconi commented on this supposed controversy by saying that everyone "understood that he was joking" at that time.


Dozens of cars bump into each other in Moscow (VIDEO)

The major accident came on the day of the season’s first snowfall

More than 50 vehicles on Sunday evening got involved in a series of accidents in the western part of the Russian capital, TASS news agency reported, citing a source in Moscow’s emergency services. The news came on the day when Moscow saw its first snowfall of the season.

There were several minor accidents involving 54 cars, a motorcycle, and a Moscow city bus. As a result, according to updated data, five people were injured, one of them a child,” the agency's source said.

Two people have been hospitalized, according to TASS.

RIA Novosti’s source in the capital police said that about 20 cars have been involved in a road accident, while the agency’s source in emergency services confirmed that the number of affected vehicles might reach 50.

The Moscow state traffic inspectorate has not specified the number of cars involved but confirmed that the incident took place on the overpass on Ryabinovaya street and that “several vehicles had been damaged.” Two people “sought medical attention,” according to the organization.

Earlier on Sunday, due to severe weather, the Moscow Transport Department recommended car owners avoid driving unless they had changed the car tires to winter ones.

An ice weather warning will be in place for Moscow until the evening of November 1, and a wind warning – until Monday morning.


UK immigration facility firebombed (VIDEO)

A man threw three improvised explosive devices at a Dover migrant processing center before reportedly killing himself

A migrant procession center in the English port city of Dover on Sunday became a target of an attack with the use of “incendiary devices,” Kent police confirmed. According to the Reuters photographer who was at the scene, the attacker took his own life after throwing the petrol bombs.

“Officers established that two to three incendiary devices had been thrown into a Home Office immigration premises,” Kent police said in an emailed statement to the media.

The law enforcement added that “one minor injury has been reported” and that “the suspect has been identified and located.”

Kent Fire and Rescue Service in a statement on its website said that the “incident involving fire” took place at 11.24 am.

The emergency services arrived on the scene after Reuters’ photographer reported that a man had thrown three petrol bombs from the car window, with one of the devices failing to go off. Then, according to the witness, the attacker drove to a nearby gas station, tied an improvised noose around his neck, attached it to a metal pole, and drove off, killing himself.

Some witnesses claimed that while throwing the bombs, the man was laughing.

The Home Secretary Suella Braverman on Sunday evening described the incident as “distressing” and said that she is “receiving regular updates on the situation.”

“We must now support those officers as they carry out their investigation,” she said.

Over the last few years, the issue of illegal migration has been one of the most painful for Britain as the number of illegal migrants undertaking the dangerous boat trips from France to the UK via the English Channel continues to grow. On Saturday, almost 1,000 alleged migrants reportedly arrived in the UK – the biggest number since August. 

While since the beginning of this year, almost 40,000 people have reached the UK shores, the British authorities have processed only 4% of last year’s asylum applications. Meanwhile, the asylum seekers’ hotels cost the British taxpayers, who are now struggling with the skyrocketing energy and food prices, £5.6 million per day, and the Home Office believes that the bills will grow even further.


Opposition politician in hospital following brutal detention (VIDEO)

Thousands of people have taken to the streets of Chisinau, Moldova, to protest high energy prices and declining living standards

Several opposition politicians were detained on Sunday in Moldova amid massive protests against high energy prices and the rising cost of living. One of them ended up in a hospital after suffering a heart attack following a brutal police detention.

Valery Klimenco, the honorary leader of the opposition Shor Party, was among the politicians, who were leading a thousands-strong column of demonstrators through central Chisinau on Sunday, when the law enforcement blocked the roads to prevent it from moving further, according to the media reports.

Videos that surfaced on social media show several officers brutally snatching Klimenco, 69, away from the crowd and dragging him to a police van. The politician tried to resist the police but was quickly overpowered by the officers.

Another politician, Sergey Burgudji, sought to aid Klimenko but was pushed away by the police, who refused to let him accompany the elderly politician to the police office. The officers then dragged Klimenko to another police vehicle.

According to a Moldovan MP, Vadim Fotescu, Klimenco felt unwell at the police station and was hospitalized after suffering a heart attack. Fortescu told journalists that the politician was "recovering" but otherwise provided few details about his condition. Klimenco is also a local MP in Chisinau and the head of the ‘Congress of the Russian Communities of the Moldova Republic’ – a civic movement positioning itself as the defender of the interests of the Russian population in Moldova.

Klimenco was not the only politician detained on Sunday. The law enforcement also arrested Dinu Turcanu, another Shor Party member and the head of Moldova’s central Orhei region, his deputy and the Orhei city mayor, according to TASS news agency.

According to the police, around 40 people were detained during the protests. Footage published by Ruptly video news agency shows uniformed officers and those in plain clothes kicking a man whose hands are twisted behind their backs. Another protester can be seen being thrown to the ground by several officers, who snatched him out of the crowd.

Moldova has seen weeks of massive protests organized by the opposition slamming President Maia Sandu’s austerity policies. The opposition demands that the government provide financial assistance to citizens to ease the burden of rising energy and gas prices, which have increased by almost seven times since last year, according to the media.

The Sunday rally was particularly organized by the Shor Party and the Moldovan Communists. The protesters were chanting: "Early elections!" "Resign!" "No to dictatorship!" and "Shame!" The opposition also demands the resignation of Sandu’s government and early elections amid the continued economic hardships.

The government has so far reacted by restricting the rules for holding protests. Rallies are only allowed to take place on the weekends, and any action can last no longer than four hours under the new regulations. In mid-October, the police also demolished a tent camp set up by the protesters outside of the parliament building in mid-September.

The developments come as Europe struggles to cope with the ongoing energy crunch, partly caused by the EU’s campaign to phase out Russian energy exports. In June, Moldova received EU candidate status.


Medvedev dedicates title win to wife after becoming father (VIDEO)

The Russian tennis star was victorious at the Vienna Open on Sunday

Former men’s tennis world number one Daniil Medvedev clinched the Vienna Open on Sunday and dedicated the title to his wife Daria, who gave birth to their daughter a fortnight ago.

Medvedev came from behind to beat Denis Shapovalov 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 and claim his second tour-level title of the 2022 season.

“I am really happy,” Medvedev said after his win. “This match was the best of the week because Denis was really playing unreal until probably 4-3 in the second set. 

“He dropped his level by maybe 2% and I was able to use it. This is one of the best victories when you know your opponent is on top of you, but you try and stay there and do what you can.”

The ATP site said Medvedev had looked “back to his very best” over the course of a week, not dropping a set until the final.

Initially, however, he was overpowered by Shapovalov in the first set as the Canadian with Soviet-Israeli roots fired 21 winners.

Medvedev eventually found his feet over the course of the two-hour-16-minute meeting and continued to force his opponent into making errors in front of a packed crowd in the Austrian capital.

As the top seed, the 26-year-old hit 24 winners and broke serve five times to seal the title on his sixth match point.

Improving to 4-2 in his head-to-head series against Shapovalov, Medvedev now boasts a 45-15 record this season after reaching the Australian Open and winning in Los Cabos.

Medvedev has also secured his spot at the season-ending Nitto ATP Finals, which will be held in Turin from November 13-20, and equaled compatriot legend Marat Safin by claiming his 15th title.

In a touching moment during his post-match interview, Medvedev spoke about recently becoming a father.

“I was asked if I was going to dedicate this to my daughter. And I was sitting there and thinking ‘No, actually I’m not going to dedicate it to my wife,’ because she gave me the most beautiful present ever – my daughter.

“I was there and these emotions are much more than winning any title,” he added, before saying something to his partner in Russian.

Medvedev will now head to France for the Paris Masters in search of his second title at the ATP Masters 1000 event, and will play his Round of 32 match against an unnamed opponent on Tuesday.


Ukraine wants US to put pressure on Israel

Washington should persuade its ally to send weapons to Kiev, the Ukrainian ambassador said

The United States should persuade Israel to provide military assistance to Kiev, Ukrainian Ambassador to Tel Aviv Evgeny Korniychuk has said. In an interview with The Hill newspaper, published on Sunday, Korniychuk claimed that, as the US is “the only country that Israel is listening to,” Washington should also ensure that its close ally abides by Western sanctions on Russia.

Revealing that he meets with the US ambassador to Israel on a weekly basis, Korniychuk jokingly referred to Tom Nides as a “secret weapon” in his campaign to push Israel out of its neutral status.

This is why we discuss the different measures of support, and again, we need to change this major trend that makes Israel’s position different from the rest of the democratic world, and have more military technical cooperation,” he said.

The Ukrainian ambassador admitted that there has been some “positive development” in relations with Israel, which recently offered his country a missile warning system. However, Ukraine is expecting “more from Israel, of course,” he said. He expressed hope that alleged military ‘collaboration’ between Russia and Iran in Ukraine – something that both countries have been denying – would make Israel change its stance on arms supplies.

Korniychuk’s remarks came less than a week after Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz, citing “the operational limitations,” made it clear to his Ukrainian counterpart Alexey Reznikov that Israel “will not provide weapon systems to Ukraine.” However, Israel is prepared to continue supplying Kiev with humanitarian aid and life-saving defense equipment, Gantz said. Russia, meanwhile, has been consistently warning the West against “pumping up” Ukraine with weapons, explaining that it would only prolong the conflict and cause unnecessary casualties.

Korniychuk revealed that the second most important issue for him, after getting military assistance from Israel, is to ensure that Israel enforces anti-Russia restrictions. While Tel Aviv doesn’t have its own sanctions legislation, its government said the country “is doing everything it can” in order to be part of the international sanctions effort.

“The issue of sanctions is also important and the Americans are in a much better position to check whether the Israelis are following those sanctions or not,” Korniychuk said. 

A Treasury Department spokesperson told The Hill that it works “closely” with its partners, including Israeli, “to cut off avenues” for Russia to evade sanctions.


Washington seeking to weaken EU – Moscow

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said US policy is driven by its “ideological superiority complexes”

The United States is aiming to weaken the EU, both militarily and economically, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has claimed. 

Europeans are already suffering from anti-Russia sanctions “many times more than the US,” he said in an interview published on Sunday. 

“There is a growing number of economists, not only in our country, but also in the West, who come to a conclusion that the US goal is to completely ‘bleed’ and deindustrialize the European economy,” he said.

“It is also in Washington’s interests to weaken Europe militarily. To constantly keep it under pressure, to force it to pump weapons into Ukraine, and in return fill the EU countries’ arms depots with American supplies,” Lavrov said. 

In pursuing such a policy, Washington has been guided by “economic, purely selfish calculations, as well as by ideological complexes of superiority,” he suggested. 

Earlier this month, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Americans were making “crazy money” by selling gas to European states at exorbitant prices against a backdrop of EU sanctions on Russian energy supplies.

He said this would inevitably lead to the “deindustrialization” of the EU which, in turn, will  have “very, very deplorable consequences” for the bloc “over the next 10 to 20 years.”

In the wake of sweeping sanctions the EU imposed on Russia over its military operation in Ukraine, gas prices have surged. The bloc is now struggling with the prospect of energy shortages in winter and soaring inflation. Brussels has largely followed Washington’s stance of seeking to weaken Moscow by imposing sanctions, while supporting Kiev through weapons supplies and financial aid.


Basketball star defends himself following post about anti-Semitic film

Kyrie Irving shared a link to a movie called ‘Hebrews to Negroes: Wake Up Black America’

NBA basketball player Kyrie Irving has defended his right to post what he believes in after the owner of his team, the Brooklyn Nets, expressed disappointment over his apparent support for an anti-Semitic film.

Irving tweeted a link to the film ‘Hebrews to Negroes: Wake Up Black America’ on Thursday. On Amazon, the synopsis says the film “uncovers the true identity of the Children of Israel.”

After Nets owner Joe Tsai said he was disappointed with Irving for appearing to support a film “based on a book full of anti-Semitic disinformation,” the player spoke about the matter in a tense post-game press conference after his team had been beaten 125-116 by the Indiana Pacers on Saturday.

“We’re in 2022. History is not supposed to be hidden from anybody and I’m not a divisive person when it comes to religion,” Irving said.

“I’m not going to stand down on anything I believe in. I’m only going to get stronger because I’m not alone. I have a whole army around me.”

The NBA star said he understood Tsai’s position but pointed out that he had done nothing wrong through a series of rhetorical questions.

“Did I do anything illegal? Did I hurt anybody? Did I harm anybody? Am I going out and saying that I hate one specific group of people?” he asked.

However, Irving had done enough for both the Nets and the NBA to speak out against hate speech.

“The Brooklyn Nets strongly condemn and have no tolerance for the promotion of any form of hate speech,” the franchise said in a statement, while the NBA stressed that “hate speech of any kind is unacceptable.”

“We believe we all have a role to play in ensuring such words or ideas, including anti-Semitic ones, are challenged and refuted and we will continue working with all members of the NBA community to ensure that everyone understands the impact of their words and actions,” the league added.

While it is not clear if the NBA has spoken to Irving or plans to, Nets coach Steve Nash confirmed that the Nets had.

Irving has previously been in hot water for supporting the idea that the Earth is flat, as well as his anti-vaccine stance, which meant he missed most of last season due to a mandate in New York City.

Last month, he shared an old clip from Alex Jones and later had to clarify that he didn’t support the conspiracy theorist in his stance on the Sandy Hook shootings.


New details on drone attack in Crimea emerge

A naval drone targeting the Russian base in Sevastopol was launched from a vessel moving through the grain corridor, Russia says

Those behind a major drone attack on the Russian naval base in the Crimean port city of Sevastopol made active use of a UN-brokered Black Sea grain corridor, the Russian Defense Ministry said in a statement after studying the wreckage of the unmanned combat vehicles.

The ministry’s specialists retrieved the navigational modules of the drones destroyed by the Russian warships and naval aviation, the statement said, adding that the Canadian-made devices stored data on the vehicles’ path to their target.

Most of them were launched from the Ukrainian Black Sea coast, not far from the port city of Odessa, the Russian military said. “The naval drones were then moving within the security zone of the grain corridor before changing course and heading towards the Russian naval base in Sevastopol,” the statement said.

Navigational data from at least one naval drone shows that it was launched from a sea location within the grain corridor security zone, the ministry added. According to Russian specialists, it might have been launched from a civilian vessel chartered by Ukraine or its “western backers” to transport Ukrainian agricultural produce.

Saturday’s assault, which involved nine aerial and seven naval drones, targeted vessels of the Russian Black Sea Fleet docked in Sevastopol. It was repelled, with just one ship suffering minor damage, according to the ministry.

According to Moscow, the Russian ships that were targeted by the Ukrainian drones had been involved in providing security for the “grain corridor,” which was set up to allow exports of Ukrainian food products through the Black Sea as part of a deal negotiated in Istanbul between Moscow and Kiev with UN and Turkish mediation this summer.

The attack prompted Russia to indefinitely suspend its participation in the deal, a move that has sparked an angry reaction from the US. Russia blamed Kiev for the attack, which it claimed was “carried out under the supervision of British experts.” 

Kiev has been reluctant to claim responsibility for the assault. Andrey Yermak, the head of Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky’s office, took to Telegram to accuse Russia of “making up terrorist acts at its facilities.” On Sunday, the New York Times reported that it was Ukrainian forces that launched Saturday’s attack, citing an unnamed Ukrainian official.


US seeks India’s cooperation to face ‘joint challenges’

The Pentagon wants to focus on “navy-to-navy cooperation” with New Delhi, a US defense official told the Indian media

The US wants India to play a more prominent security role in the Indo-Pacific region, in view of “challenges” that could require a “joint response” from the two countries, a Pentagon official told  the PTI news agency in a lengthy interview on Sunday.

Washington is encouraging New Delhi to take on a "broader stabilizing role" and act as a “net security provider,” not just in the Indian Ocean but also in the Indo-Pacific region, the “senior defense official,” whose identity was not revealed, said.

The US military is particularly focused on “advancing interoperability” between the two nations’ forces through joint exercises, to make them “prepared for the kinds of challenges we will face in the future, which will require joint responses on both sides,” the official explained.

The Pentagon is particularly interested in “navy-to-navy” cooperation when it comes to the “operational front,” he added. The US also wants to enable “greater logistical and operational cooperation between our navies.”

The official stopped short of naming any specific “challenges” India might face, in which it could require US support. Neither did he describe how the two nations could respond to these “challenges.”

The areas in which the US seeks closer defense ties with India include support for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and “other kinds of multilateral settings,” including “even more informal” ones, the official said. Dialogue between the two powers also involves “emerging technologies in the domain of space and cyberspace.”

The US official went on to say Washington understands that “every country has a desire to have a strong domestic industrial base,” and that America is “always working very hard” to fill “our Indian friends’… requirements,” without providing any specifics.

The interview comes as Washington seeks to win over nations in the Indo-Pacific region amid continued tensions with Beijing. Relations between the US and China, which had already been fraught for several years, took a nosedive in August when US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited the self-governing island of Taiwan in defiance of Beijing’s warnings that the trip would embolden separatists in Taipei and undermine US-China relations.

China, which considers Taiwan a part of its sovereign territory, responded by severing military and climate ties with Washington. The relations between the two nations are further constrained by what the US calls freedom of navigation operations, during which it sends warships to the South China Sea. In August, two US cruisers sailed through the Taiwan Strait, separating the island from mainland China.


Bridge collapse in India kills dozens – officials

Several hundred people were reportedly on the newly renovated suspension bridge in Gujarat at the time of incident

Dozens have been killed following the collapse of a newly renovated bridge in the Indian state of Gujarat, state government minister Brijesh Merja told the media on Sunday.

Home Minister of Gujarat Harsh Sanghavi said the tragedy occurred around 6:30pm local time on Sunday, when 150 people were on the strucure. According to witnesses, the figure may have been much higher.

“More than 60 people have died,” said Merja, who is now at the scene of the tragedy, as quoted by the Times of India.

He earlier revealed that some had succumbed to thir injuries after being rescued. A rescue operation is ongoing.

The 230-meter bridge was built in the 19th century, during British rule. It reopened to the public this week, after a six-month renovation. It is believed the structure was unable to support the weight of the large number of people walking on it.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has discussed the tragedy with Gujarat senior officials.

“Relief and rescue operations are going on in full swing and all necessary assistance is being provided to the affected,” Modi said.

India’s President Droupadi Murmu has expressed condolences to all those affected, saying the tragedy in Morbi has left her “worried.”

“Relief and rescue efforts will bring succour to the victims,” the president said on her official Twitter account, which is run by her office.



Kremlin outlines why solo negotiations with Ukraine are 'impossible'

Kiev’s Western backers may revoke any possible deal, Dmitry Peskov says

Russia is open to negotiations over Ukraine, but any agreement with Kiev would have little credibility because it could be rescinded by the West, Kremlin Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov said on Sunday. This means that any possible settlement should be primarily discussed with the US, he added.

Any unilateral diplomatic engagement with Ukraine is unlikely to succeed because “the deciding vote rests with Washington,” the spokesman told Rossiya-1 TV channel.

“It’s just impossible to discuss something, for example, with Kiev,” he stated. According to Peskov, while Russia could try to reach some agreements with Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky, “based on what happened in March, these agreements are worthless, because they can be instantly canceled upon orders” from outside actors.

The Kremlin press secretary was referring to several rounds of talks that took place in late February and March after Russia launched its military operation against the neighboring state. At the time, these diplomatic efforts failed to cease hostilities.

Meanwhile, Peskov signaled that Russian President Vladimir Putin is ready for talks over Ukraine.

“The president has repeatedly said he is open to the negotiation process… Whether they are ready or not, but the West should know and hear this,” Peskov reiterated.

The official also suggested that Putin and US President Joe Biden could hold negotiations if Washington is willing to take heed of Moscow’s security concerns that were outlined by the Russian Foreign Ministry in the draft documents on security guarantees released in mid-December last year prior to the Ukraine conflict.

Earlier this month, Zelensky signed a decree on Ukraine officially rejecting peace talks with the Russian president. The move came just hours after Putin signed agreements on the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics, as well as Kherson and Zaporozhye Regions joining Russia following referendums that saw overwhelming public support for the move.  At the time, Moscow maintained that it is still ready to look for a negotiated solution to the conflict, adding, however, that “it takes two parties to negotiate.”


Tunisia at risk of Qatar 2022 World Cup ban

FIFA has warned North African nation of possible punishment

Tunisia risks being excluded from the upcoming Qatar 2022 World Cup in November if the North African country’s government interferes in footballing matters, according to the sport’s global governing body FIFA.

FIFA’s warning comes after Tunisia’s Youth and Sports Minister, Kamel Deguiche, repeated comments about possibly “dissolving federal bureaux”.

FIFA has taken Deguiche’s remarks as an attempt to meddle in how the Tunisiain Football Federation (FTF) is run. It has asked the body to give information about any attempts to interfere in its affairs by the Tunisian government, while threatening to dissolve the FTF’s office.

The FTF has also been reminded by FIFA that member associations are “legally obligated to conduct their affairs independently and without undue influence from third parties”.

“Any failure to comply with these obligations may result in the imposition of penalties under the FIFA laws, including suspension of the relevant association,” read a letter from Kenny Jean-Marie, who is FIFA's director of member associations, to the FTF’s general secretary Wajdi Aouadi.

Any ban on the FTF from FIFA would mean that no Tunisian clubs or national teams are allowed to play in international competitions such as the Africa Cup of Nations or the World Cup.

FIFA has demanded that the FTF reply to its request no later than Friday. The organization has faced other serious accusations in recent times, with club side Chebba claiming that FTF president Wadie Jary knowingly misled the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in April 2021 before the Swiss-based authority ruled in Chebba’s favor.

Chebba were suspended for one year and relegated to the country’s fourth division after “failing to register on time” for the 2020-2021 season”. Before the ruling was overturned, the controversy became a national topic of conversation in Tunisian society.

Known as the Carthage Eagles, Tunisia have never been past the group stage in five appearances at the World Cup and face the champions France, Euro 2020 semi-finalists Denmark, and Australia in Group D. They begin their Qatar 2022 campaign against Denmark on November 22.


Criminals in Finland obtain weapons from Ukraine – police

Arms supplied to Kiev have also allegedly been found in Sweden, Denmark and the Netherlands

Criminals in Finland have got hold of some of the weapons that were sent to Ukraine by its Western backers amid the conflict with Russia, the Finnish National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) has said.

“We've seen signs of these weapons already finding their way to Finland,” NBI detective superintendent Christer Ahlgren told the news outlet Yle on Sunday.   

Assault rifles were among the weaponry, Ahlgren said, but declined to provide further details, as the investigation is still ongoing. 

Arms trafficking routes from Ukraine to Finland have already been set up, according to the investigator.

“Three of the world's largest motorcycle gangs — that are part of larger international organizations — are active in Finland. One of these is Bandidos MC, which has a unit in every major Ukrainian city,” he said.

“Criminal organizations have their networks in Finnish commercial ports,”  Ahlgren pointed out, adding that security checks that are mandatory for airport staff do not apply to port workers.

Finland is not the only EU country with such problems, as “weapons shipped to Ukraine have also been found in Sweden, Denmark and the Netherlands,” he said. 

“Ukraine has received a large volume of weapons and that's good, but we're going to be dealing with these arms for decades and pay the price here,” Ahlgren pointed out.

As early as May, US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin stressed the need for accountability for American arms supplied to Ukraine. Back then, Austin said he had discussed the issue with the Kiev authorities, who gave assurances on accountability.

In June, the EU’s law enforcement agency Europol warned that the Ukraine conflict could lead to a spike in arms and ammo being smuggled into the bloc.

Around the same time, an investigation by RT Russian revealed that various weapons supplied to Kiev by the West were being sold on the dark net. 

Moscow has long criticized weapons deliveries to Kiev by the US, EU, UK and some other nations, arguing that they only prolong the conflict and increase the risk of a direct confrontation between Russia and NATO.


Russia tests new nuclear submarine – Navy chief

The state-of-the-art strategic vessel can carry up to 16 ballistic missiles

Russia is conducting a trial run of a new strategic nuclear submarine, the Navy commander in chief announced on Sunday, at a time of heightened tensions with the West.

“The newest nuclear-powered strategic missile undersea cruiser Generalissimo Suvorov is being tested,” Admiral Nikolay Yevmenov said, speaking on the 326th anniversary of the Russian Regular Navy’s establishment.

The Navy chief said the submarine was built at the Sevmash enterprise, Russia’s largest shipbuilding facility, in the northern city of Severodvinsk.

The ‘Generalissimo Suvorov’ is the sixth vessel of Russia’s 4th generation ballistic missile submarines and the second mass-produced ship of the upgraded Borei-A class. Each Borei-A vessel can carry up to 16 Bulava-class submarine-launched ballistic missiles, which could be armed with nuclear warheads. The boat was named after the 18th century general Alexander Suvorov, who is considered one of the greatest military commanders in Russian history.

Yevmenov went on to say that the Russian Navy is being reinforced by other state-of-the-art new ships, including the ‘Ufa’ diesel-electric submarine, which “has successfully passed official testing.” The vessel, which is intended for the Russian Pacific Fleet, is expected to be formally accepted by the Navy next month, he stated. Submarines of this type are armed with ‘Kalibr’ cruise missiles.

Earlier this week, Russian President Vladimir Putin personally oversaw nuclear strike drills involving Moscow’s land, sea, and aviation deterrence forces. This military activity coincided with similar exercises conducted by NATO, named ‘Steadfast Noon.' The bloc’s nuclear drills, which are set to last until October 30, are taking place over Belgium, the North Sea and the UK. Despite high tensions between Russia and the West, NATO described the exercises as “routine” and “not linked to any current world events.”

In the context of the Ukraine conflict, Putin recently vowed that Russia would use “all the means available to us” to defend its people and territory, a statement that Washington and its NATO allies have interpreted as a veiled threat to deploy nuclear weapons. However, several Russian senior officials insisted that Moscow is not threatening anyone with its nuclear arsenal.


Chemicals giant blames plummeting earnings on high gas prices

BASF says it plans to trim costs by up to 10% and cut jobs

The world’s largest chemical producer, BASF, has attributed its weak third quarter earnings to surging gas prices in the EU. The company said that it was seeking to achieve long-term cost cuts at its European sites.

The German multinational, which produces a wide range of products, from basic petrochemicals to fertilizers and glues, said it will move ahead with a cost-saving plan to counteract sluggish growth, high energy costs, and over-regulation.

“These challenging framework conditions in Europe endanger the international competitiveness of European producers and force us to adapt our cost structures as quickly as possible and also permanently,” the company’s CEO Martin Brudermueller said in a statement on Wednesday, adding that spot gas prices were five to six times higher than in the US.

From January to September, the European sites of the chemical giant absorbed additional costs of about €2.2 billion ($2.2 billion). The facilities include the company’s largest complex at Ludwigshafen in southwest Germany, where it makes everything from vitamins, foam chemicals and engineering plastics to pesticides.

BASF said earlier this month it was launching a cost-saving program that will be in place through the end of 2024. The plan targets annual savings of €500 million, or about 10% of costs , and will entail job cuts. The company said it would also look into further restructuring its chemical sites in the region over the longer term given the high energy prices.

On Wednesday, the company posted third quarter results with revenue before taxes decreasing by €538 million ($539 million) year-on-year to €1.2 billion ($1.2 billion). Net income declined by €344 million ($344 million) compared with the same period in 2021 to €909 million ($911 million).

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German official offers controversial solution to gas crisis – media

Finance Minister Christian Lindner calls for natural gas to be sourced in Germany using fracking

Germany should study the issue of producing domestic shale gas using fracking, which is currently prohibited in the country, Finance Minister Christian Lindner has said in an interview with the Funke media group, as quoted by TASS.

The technology allows oil and gas to be extracted from shale rock by breaking it up with pressurized liquid, including water and chemicals. The technique has been used in Germany since the 1960s to extract natural gas from conventional reserves, including sandstone and carbonate stones. About one third of the natural gas produced in the country comes from reserves tapped by fracking.

However, “unconventional fracking” in shale and coal seams, which uses horizontal drilling techniques, was placed under moratorium in 2011, and then largely banned in Germany due to environmental risks such as water pollution, or even earthquakes.

“We have significant gas deposits in Germany that can be extracted without endangering drinking water,” Lindner said. “It would be rather irresponsible to refrain from fracking because of ideological commitments.”

According to the official, production is possible “at several” fields, with Germany able to meet relatively large needs from its own sources, which would be useful in light of the situation across the world. 

The call comes amid an unprecedented energy crisis resulting from a reduction in energy imports from Russia, formerly the bloc’s biggest supplier. The conflict in Ukraine has resulted in an all-out sanctions war against Moscow, targeting commodities including oil and gas, and contributing to soaring energy prices in the EU and worldwide.

In April, German Vice-Chancellor and Energy Minister Robert Habeck rejected the idea of  extracting shale gas in Germany by fracking due to environmental concerns. He stressed that it would take years before it would be possible to obtain the necessary permits and establish production using the method.

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How Lenin's Bolsheviks placed Russia's new regions on a collision course with Ukraine, 100 years ago

The history of the Donetsk-Krivoy Rog Republic, which left a major legacy for the region

When four formerly Ukrainian regions joined Russia nearly a month ago, the collective West tried to present the occurrence as treacherous, unprecedented, and lacking local support. However, the reunification was preceded by a century-long struggle by a large amount of the regions’ inhabitants for the right to be considered Russians.

In February 2015, the deputies of the parliament of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) signed a memorandum declaring the continuity of their statehood from the Donetsk-Krivoy Rog Republic, one of the numerous entities that emerged during the Russian Civil War. This quasi-state, which was created by the Bolsheviks in 1918 and aspired to become part of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic (RSFSR), included not only Donbass, but also the Zaporozhye and Kherson Regions.

History may zigzag, but time puts everything in its place. Today, Russian Donbass is restoring lost ties with Russia and establishing new ones,

wrote Denis Pushilin, the head of the DPR, shortly before the start of Russia’s military offensive. 

In this article, RT explores the brief history of the Donetsk-Krivoy Rog Republic and explains why the residents of Donbass wanted to live as part of Russia even 100 years ago.

Stretchable borders

Back in 1999, the famous Russian political geographer and theorist Vladimir Kagansky wrote a large article entitled ‘Ukraine: Geography and Fate of the Country’, in which he made a forecast: Ukraine will inevitably transform, and this transformation mainly depends on Russia. He concluded that its self-determination would inevitably be anti-Russian, citing the country’s “stretchable borders” as one of the main reasons. At a minimum, this would encompass just the right bank of the Dnieper, or even Galicia alone. At a maximum, the borders would stretch to the southern Russian cities of Voronezh and Stavropol.

Map of Ukraine presented by the Ukrainian delegation to the Paris Peace Conference, 1919, before establishing the Ukrainian SSR.

©  Wikipedia

“The USSR and the CIS are a semi-empire of republics around Russia, and Ukraine is the main link in this necklace, a geopolitical pendant. Ukraine divides the space of the former USSR into separate, geographically separated blocks, and connects three blocks (Belarus and the Baltic States – Moldova – the Caucasus). Ukraine is the only alternative to Russia as the center of the current CIS and the entire post-Soviet space. It is the only way to potentially bypass Russia – the main anti-Russian bastion, and Russia’s main partner in the arrangement of this space,” wrote Kagansky.

In other words, Ukraine is a crossroads of borders, where the main civilizational frontier divides the country roughly in half. This is mainly due to the historical formation of Ukraine. Its entire territory was once part of other, now neighboring countries, as well as independent principalities, and represented the core of individual countries – not only of Kievan Rus, but also the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. Moreover, the regions in present-day Ukraine were united for the first time relatively recently – only after the Second World War. At that time, a number of cities and industrial zones were created as parts of a single Soviet space.

When Ukraine finally became fully independent, its authorities faced the task of blending together regions (fragments of the former USSR) that differed in terms of culture, ethnic makeup, and religion. Nevertheless, the Orange Revolution of 2004 and then Euromaidan of 2014 demonstrated that the country remained split into macro-regions. After the ‘Revolution of Dignity’, as it was dubbed by supporters of the overthrow of President Viktor Yanukovich, mass anti-Maidan protests erupted in the Russian-speaking southeastern regions, whose borders demark the historical and cultural territory of Novorossiya. The subsequent attempt of the post-coup authorities to enforce a radical shift in cultural and linguistic policy led to the loss of Crimea and an armed conflict in Donbass, as well as the further marginalization of the Russia-leaning southeastern part of the country.

It was this region that Canadian historian Orest Subtelny singled out back in the 1980s. The results of his ethnolinguistic research on the distribution of native speakers of the Russian and Ukrainian languages in Ukraine showed a stable line that divides the country into two parts with different cultural, linguistic, and, as it turned out, ideological preferences. Russian Ukraine encompasses territories that were never part of the historical Ukraine. These lands include the northern Black Sea region, which was conquered from the Turks and Tatars during the reign of Catherine II; what is known as Sloboda Ukraine, which had been a part of Russia since 1503; Donbass, with part of the territory of the former Province of the Don Cossack Host; and also Crimea.

©  AP Photo / Evgeniy Maloletka

One of the main macro-regions, which included the former Donetsk, Lugansk, Zaporozhye, and Kherson Regions that recently joined Russia, is made up of the historical territories of Novorossiya. These were annexed to the Russian Empire as a result of the Russo-Turkish wars in the second half of the 18th century. Novorossiysk Province (later called Novorossiysk Region) first appeared as an administrative unit in the 1760s. At various times, it included the Yekaterinoslav, Taurida, Kherson, and Bessarabia Provinces, as well as territories in modern Russia – the Kuban Region, the Black Sea and Stavropol Provinces, and the Province of the Don Cossack Host.

After the October Revolution of 1917, the Bolsheviks incorporated most of the lands of Novorossiya into the Ukrainian SSR, and the term ‘Novorossiya’ itself was banned. Nevertheless, even among the Bolsheviks, there was serious disagreement as to the territorial arrangement of Soviet Ukraine because some of the regions, most of which became part of Russia in 2022, already gravitated towards the RSFSR.

A problematic region

From April 25 to May 6, 1917, the 1st Congress of Soviets of the Donetsk-Krivoy Rog region was held in Kharkov at which the executive committee and system of the region’s district councils were formed. By that time, Donetsk Region had already become the most problematic for Ukraine. Economically, it was connected with the Great Russian core, supplying the latter mainly with coal and other minerals. The population was heavily mixed, with a predominance of former peasants that had come to the area from central Russia to work in the factories. This was also evident in the party’s geographic concentration: of the 51,000 Bolsheviks who lived in what was the territory of modern Ukraine prior to the Maidan Revolution, 31,000 were in the Donetsk-Krivoy Rog basin, and another 5,000 in Crimea.

The fact is that before the revolution, the Donetsk coal basin was located in two administrative regions: the Kharkov Province and the Don Cossack Region. After the February Revolution of 1917, the autonomous Central Rada of Ukraine incorporated Kharkov Province into an autonomous Ukraine, proclaiming independence on January 25, 1918.

However, the power of the Central Rada never extended to the territory of Donbass. In December 1917, the creation of the Ukrainian SSR was proclaimed in Kharkov.

At the same time, detachments of Ataman Alexey Kaledin’s Don Cossacks entered the territory of Donbass, including Kharkov Province, but were defeated by the Red Guard in January-February 1918 and left. Meanwhile, the external situation was deteriorating. In Brest-Litovsk (modern Brest in Belarus), the German Empire recognized the Central Rada of Ukraine and signed a peace treaty with it according to which the Germans and Austrians could bring their troops into the territory of Ukraine “to maintain order.” The Austro-German occupation had begun.

According to the Brest Treaty, the Bolsheviks had no right to interfere in events in Ukraine. However, the workers of Donbass were not going to obey the Ukrainian nationalists or Germans. In response, on February 12, 1918, at the 4th Regional Congress of Soviets of Workers’ Deputies of the Donetsk and Krivoy Rog basins held in Kharkov, the Donetsk Republic was proclaimed, and it was emphasized that it was part of Russia. The chief ideologue behind the move, ‘Comrade Artyom’ (Fedor Sergeev), sent a telegram to the head of the Central Executive Committee, Yakov Sverdlov, on the same day, announcing: “The Regional Congress of Soviets has adopted a resolution on the creation of the Council of People’s Commissars of the Donetsk-Krivoy Rog basin as part of the All-Russian Federation of Soviets.”

Sverdlov’s answer was brief: “We consider isolation harmful,” by which he meant separating from Soviet Ukraine.

(L) Fyodor Andreevich Artem (Sergeev); (R) Yakov Sverdlov.

©  Sputnik; Wikipedia

Although initiatives to unite the Donetsk and Krivoy Rog coal basins into one administrative and economic structure existed at the beginning of the 20th century, they were rejected at the government level, as this would have led to an increase in the imbalance between the southern regions of the Russian Empire. However, after the October Revolution of 1917, the autonomist movement in the Donbass began to gain strength, despite the emphatic rejection of this idea by the central authorities. In particular, Vladimir Lenin repeatedly insisted that Ukraine should be united.

Dual government rule

The most intriguing issue here is the territory of the Donetsk-Krivoy Rog Republic, the borders of which, as was the case with most short-lived “states” that emerged during the Civil War, were not clearly delineated. However, Comrade Artyom, the main ideologue of the fledgling republic, repeatedly insisted that it encompassed what would be the Donetsk, Lugansk, Dnepropetrovsk, and Zaporozhye Regions of modern-day Ukraine, together with parts of its Kharkov, Sumy, Kherson, and Nikolaev Regions, as well as a part of Russia’s Rostov Region:

“Just a few months ago… the eastern borders of Ukraine were established right along the line which was and still is the western border of our republic. The western borders of the Kharkov and Yekaterinoslav Governorates, including the parts of the Krivoy Rog district and Kherson Governorate which are covered by railways and the districts of the Taurida Governorate above the Isthmus of Perekop have always been and still are the western borders of our republic. The Sea of Azov all the way to Taganrog and the borders of the Soviet coal-mining districts of the Don Region along the railway line connecting Rostov and Voronezh up to Likhaya Station, the western borders of the Voronezh Governorate and the southern borders of the Kursk Governorate complete the borders of our republic.”

Interestingly, Comrade Artyom, a Bolshevik, is citing the agreements reached on July 15, 1917, by Mikhail Tereshchenko, a minister of the Russian Provisional Government, and the Central Rada of Ukraine. Those talks were not coordinated with the central government, the results disappointed both Kiev and Petrograd, and the agreements were never ratified, which means the borders Comrade Artyom is referring to are nothing more than hypothetical. Kharkov, which used to be the capital of Soviet Ukraine, was chosen as the seat of the government of the Donetsk-Krivoy Rog Republic.

©  The Museum of Political History of Russia

Another thing to be aware of is that, according to the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk, the Ukrainian People’s Republic (UPR) officially discontinued its participation in World War I and was promised military assistance to free its territory from Soviet Russian troops. The Donetsk–Krivoy Rog Republic was thus doomed as it would have been a part of the UPR by default. Yet, no substantial action was taken to eliminate the Soviet Ukrainian republics, five of which were technically in existence at the time (the Ukrainian, Odessa, Don, Donetsk, and Crimean). Soviet Russia signed its own Treaty of Brest-Litovsk with the Central Powers on March 3, effectively confirming the UPR boundaries set in the ‘Ukrainian’ Treaty of Brest-Litovsk.

Donetsk–Krivoy Rog was not an independent state and essentially reported to two different governments, that of Soviet Russia (the All-Russian Central Executive Committee) and the Central Executive Committee of Ukraine. However, the need to make swift decisions to combat counterrevolution led the Council of People’s Commissars of Donetsk–Krivoy Rog to establish its own independent General Staff with a mandate to coordinate the patchwork of Red Guard squads active in Donbass (one of those squads was led by a young pipe fitter named Nikita Khrushchev). 

Tensions kept rising, which prompted the Donetsk commissars to address workers in early March with the following plea: “The enemy has come very close and is beginning to threaten the Donets Basin. Dispatch all armed units to Kharkov immediately.” On March 8, an emergency meeting was convened in Kharkov to draw up a defense plan, where a mobilization campaign was launched. Vladimir Antonov-Ovseyenko, the head of Soviet Ukraine at the time, proposed a “military union of the Soviet Republics of the South,” which would bring disparate military forces under unified command.

On March 16, the Council of People’s Commissars of Donetsk–Krivoy Rog issued a “Decree on Military Action,” where it announced the “accession of the republic to the South Russia Military Union for the purposes of jointly fighting German occupation.” Only three days later, on March 19, the Second All-Ukrainian Congress of Soviets in Yekaterinoslav (present-day Dnepr) decided to unite all quasi-states on Ukrainian territory as the Ukrainian People’s Republic of Soviets. This effectively spelt the end of the Donetsk–Krivoy Rog Republic, although documents signed by its Council of People’s Commissars continued to be issued until May.

©  The Museum of Political History of Russia

“A dangerous whim”

Initially, Russia’s central government was in favor of an independent Donetsk–Krivoy Rog Soviet Republic, which it hoped would prevent the Germans and Austrians from advancing into this territory under the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk, which the UPR had signed first. Curiously, just a few days later, Lenin changed tack. In a letter to the then-provisional commissar extraordinary for the Ukraine area Sergo Ordzhonikidze dated February 14, 1918, Lenin wrote:

“Immediate evacuation of grain and metals to the east, the creation of insurgency groups, the establishment of a unified front of defense from Crimea to Great Russia, and a decisive and unconditional restructuring of our forces in Ukraine in the Ukrainian fashion – these are the tasks at hand… 

As for the Donetsk Republic, tell our comrades… that, as much as they may contrive to carve their region out of Ukraine, it will still, based on [secretary of internal affairs of the UPR Vladimir] Vinnichenko’s geography, be included in Ukraine, and the Germans will attempt to conquer it. Given that, it would be absolutely ridiculous for the Donetsk Republic to refuse to join a unified front of defense together with the rest of Ukraine.”

According to Lenin’s plan, the high percentage of Bolsheviks in Donbass (60% of their total number in Ukraine) was going to serve as both the catalyst for the fight against the Germans and, later, as the main conduit for Bolshevik policies in the whole of Ukraine.

Ultimately, the plenary session of the Central Committee of the Russian Communist Party (Bolsheviks) held on March 15, 1918, decided to “consider the Donets Basin as a part of Ukraine.” That, however, did not save Donbass from being occupied by the Germans in April–May 1918.

©  The Museum of Political History of Russia

The Red Army recaptured Donbass in the winter of 1918–1919, but the Soviet leadership did not reinstate the Donetsk–Krivoy Rog Republic, instead keeping the region within Soviet Ukraine as the key proletarian counterweight to the largely peasant Ukrainian population.

They did not stop at the part of Donbass formerly belonging to the Kharkov Governorate and endowed the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic with a region in the south that they took from the Province of the Don Cossack Host. By 1920, Soviet Ukraine contained the whole of Donbass and the port of Taganrog on the Sea of Azov. That redrawing of borders could not be explained by ethnic motives. Even though the majority of people living around Taganrog were Little Russians (Ukrainians), the Donbass proletariat was mostly of Great Russian origin and represented a balanced cross section of Russia’s general population.

The only reason for giving Donbass to Ukraine was its status as a major industrial powerhouse in the south of Russia. Had it remained in the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic, the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic would have been an almost exclusively agrarian region without a sizeable proletarian population. At that time, the Bolsheviks were skeptical about peasants, especially well-to-do ones, as most Ukrainian farmers had been prior to the revolution. Lumping Donbass together with Ukraine was an attempt to have a loyal class in the nascent republic.

In 1925, a small part of Donbass with the towns of Shakhty and Kamensk, as well as Taganrog were given back to the RSFSR and the current Russian-Ukrainian border was established. However, most of Donbass, including the major cities of Yuzovka (Donetsk) and Lugansk, remained in the Ukrainian SSR so that it could have at least some industrial production of its own. Eventually, the Bolsheviks merged the coal-mining regions of Donbass first into the Donetsk Governorate and then into the Stalino Region, which later split into the Donetsk and Lugansk Regions.