Moscow ready to mediate as India & Pakistan caught up in fresh escalation

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Moscow would be ready to host negotiations between New Delhi and Islamabad, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said as tensions flare in the contested region of Kashmir.

The top diplomat made it clear that the Kremlin will not hesitate to help ease hostilities between the perennial rivals amid the latest escalation.

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Indian Air Force confirms its Mig 21 Bison shot down a Pakistani Air Force F-16

“If they [India and Pakistan] wish to, then certainly yes,” Russian FM said, after being asked whether Russia is ready to provide a place for talks.

Lavrov’s words were elaborated by Russian FM spokeswoman Maria Zakharova, who said the standoff involving two nuclear-armed nations needs a political and diplomatical solution. The Russian FM representative also urged both parties to show restraint.

India launched an air raid on the Pakistani-controlled territory on Tuesday. New Delhi said the strikes targeted a terrorist camp of the Jaish-e-Mohammed militant group, which claimed responsibility for the February 14 suicide bombings that killed over 40 Indian police officers.

On Wednesday, Pakistan claimed to have downed two Indian warplanes over the contested Kashmir region. New Delhi acknowledged the loss of one fighter but said they also shot down a Pakistani aircraft.

The latest tit-for-tat skirmishes between Islamabad and New Delhi raised fears of a full-fledged military conflict in the region. Turkey and Iran have already volunteered to mediate between the two arch-rivals in southern Asia.

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Russian LNG will be cheaper for Europe than US alternative – Novatek

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Europe will pay half as much for liquefied natural gas (LNG) from Russia than what US energy companies offer, according to independent Russian gas producer Novatek.

Washington has been pushing its own LNG on the European market, while criticizing Russian projects, including the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, which is to be completed by the end of this year. However, falling for US rhetoric may affect European customers given that the price for American LNG is much higher, according to Novatek.




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The company says it has been able to deliver LNG to Europe for $3.15 per million British thermal units (mmBtu) while US producers were offering it for $7-$8, Novatek’s Chief Financial Officer Mark Gyetvay told the International Petroleum week (IP week) conference as cited by Reuters.

The Russian energy giant says it has much lower production costs than its American rivals, extracting gas at a cost of 10 cents per mmBtu against $3 in the US, and liquefying gas for 50 cents compared to America’s $3.

“Russian gas will be very competitive versus the US Gulf coast,” Gyetvay told the gathering in London. He added that the energy company plans to extend annual production of sea-borne LNG by around 15 million tons to 70 million tons by 2030.

Earlier this year, Novatek’s Chairman Leonid Mikhelson vowed to cut production costs up to $750 per ton to solidify his company’s advantage on the world gas market.




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While the US is mulling more sanctions targeting Russia, including against the country’s LNG projects, Novatek says that it will not allow Washington to hold it “hostage” to its policy. In order to protect itself, the company pledged to build all equipment and technology in Russia.

In December 2018, the firm announced that its Yamal LNG plant in the Arctic reached full capacity of 16.5 million tons per annum. Novatek is also developing another ambitious facility for liquefying gas in the Arctic region, Arctic LNG 2.

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12yo arrested for writing ‘Hail Hitler’ on school playground (PHOTOS)

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Police in New York City have arrested a 12-year-old boy and charged him with aggravated harassment after he scrawled anti-Semitic graffiti across a school playground in the Queens borough.

The graffiti in PS 139’s schoolyard featured dozens of swastikas, a Nazi eagle and the words “Hail Hitler” and “No Jews Allowed” all written in chalk in the predominantly Jewish neighborhood.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo called in the State Police Hate Crimes Task Force to assist in the investigation.

“I am appalled and disgusted by the Swastikas and other anti-Semitic symbols of hate that were scrawled in a Queens schoolyard,” Cuomo said in a statement before the arrest. “In New York, we have zero tolerance for such vile acts of anti-Semitism.”

Thank you @NYPDHateCrimes for making an arrest in this case.

It is really disturbing to learn that this hateful graffiti was scrawled by such a young child.

Thanks to @CMKoslowitz for her leadership on this, she is a true advocate for her distinct & beyond. https://t.co/UaJm8Ltwox

— NYC Jewish Caucus (@NYCJewishCaucus) February 28, 2019

The boy was arrested, charged and subsequently released to his mother’s custody. All the graffiti was washed away before children returned to school from winter break Monday.  




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“For a 12-year-old to go ahead and do that… it’s very disturbing to hear,” City Councilman Chaim Deutsch, who chairs the Council’s Jewish Caucus, told the New York Daily News. “That’s why we need more education.”

Additional swastikas were found at another New York City playground but a connection between the two incidents has yet to be established.

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Philippines, US to discuss defense treaty, sea disputes – Manila

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Published time: 28 Feb, 2019 13:51 Edited time: 28 Feb, 2019 14:49

Philippines officials say a proposal to re-examine a 1951 Mutual Defense Treaty between Washington and Manila, and territorial conflicts in the South China Sea are likely to be discussed during a visit by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana will meet a Pentagon official next month before formal talks begin on reviewing the treaty, which calls on the allies to come to each other’s defense against an external attack, AP said. America’s top diplomat arrived in Manila on Thursday and is expected to also brief President Rodrigo Duterte about talks between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in Hanoi.

‘Progress’ but no deal: Mixed scorecard for Trump & Kim’s Hanoi summit

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Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un are leaving Hanoi empty-handed after two days of talks. Despite Trump’s talk of “great” prospects for North Korea, no formal deal has been inked. RT sums up the major takeaways from the gathering.

‘Sometimes you have to walk’

The major agenda item – and what ultimately prevented an agreement from being reached – centered around terms for removing US-imposed sanctions on Pyongyang.

Kim purportedly offered to dismantle a nuclear facility at Yongbyon in exchange for sanctions relief, but Washington demanded more comprehensive denuclearization that included multiple nuclear development-related sites. The two-day summit was aborted early after Kim and Trump failed to make headway on the contentious issue.




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“It was about the sanctions basically,” Trump said at a press conference after parting ways with the North Korean leader. “They wanted the sanctions lifted in their entirety and we couldn’t do that. Sometimes you have to walk, and this was just one of those times.”

Progress?

Critics have panned the summit as an abject failure and a “big mess,” but Trump told reporters that there were reasons to be optimistic about achieving a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula. He noted that progress has been made even though the two sides will leave Vietnam without an agreement, and that Kim’s “vision” for what a denuclearized North Korea would look like is more in line with Washington’s position now.

“It’s not exactly our vision but it’s a lot closer than it was a year ago.”

Missile tests v military drills

While no new deal was inked in Vietnam, Trump’s post-summit comments show that, at the very least, reconciliatory gestures made by both Washington and Pyongyang remain intact.




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Kim reportedly told Trump that the current freeze on North Korean weapons testing will stay in place.

“He said he’s not going to do testing of rockets or missiles or anything having to do with nuclear. And all I can tell is that’s what he said, and we’ll see,” Trump said.

For Washington’s part, Trump signaled that the US will continue to shun large-scale military drills with South Korea. Notably, the president, framed the decision as a cost-saving measure.

Partners in peace

The future success of any denuclearization deal will depend on North Korea’s neighbors, who have played a key role in helping to broker a suitable agreement, Trump said. Listing South Korea, Russia, Japan, China and “others,” the US leader acknowledged that the international community “is very important to this whole thing.”




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“I don’t want to do something that is going to violate the trust that we built-up. We have a very strong partnership.”

Trump said he would follow up with President Moon Jae-in of South Korea, who has been “very helpful” and “would love to do a deal.” Despite current tensions between the two, Trump also tipped his hat to Chinese leader Xi Jinping, calling him a “great leader” who was “helpful” in helping to facilitate the Hanoi summit.

Future BFFs?

Ultimately, Trump said that he wanted nothing more than to lift sanctions on Pyongyang, and predicted that the US and North Korea would one day enjoy a rosy relationship.

“I think frankly we’ll be good friends with Chairman Kim and North Korea, and I think they have tremendous potential. I’ve been telling everybody they have tremendous potential, unbelievable potential, and we’re going to see.”

Friends or not, there are currently no plans for a third meeting between the two leaders, a reality that may impede “progress” with negotiations.

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Harrowing footage shows scene of deadly fire after Egypt train crash (VIDEO, PHOTOS)

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Video footage showing the horrifying scene of the Cairo train derailment that killed at least 25 and injured another 50 has emerged online.

A fire broke out at the main train station in Egypt’s capital on Wednesday following an explosion caused by a train ramming into a barrier at Ramses station in central Cairo. The raging inferno was caught on camera by bystanders.

The actual moment of impact was captured by CCTV at the station.

Eyewitnesses report that the platform was packed as the train came speeding into the station.

I saw a man pointing from the locomotive as it entered the platform, and screaming ‘There are no brakes, there are no brakes’ before he jumped out of the locomotive. And I don’t know what happened to him,” eyewitness Ibrahim Hussein told Reuters.

READ MORE: Passenger trains collide in Egypt, at least 12 dead – local reports

I was standing on the platform and I saw the train speed into the barrier,” bystander Mina Ghaly added. “Everyone started running but a lot of people died after the locomotive exploded.”

Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly said the incident is being investigated. All train arrivals and departures from the station have been suspended.

Almost exactly one year ago, 15 people were killed and 40 injured when two trains collided outside a station in Kom Hamada.

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‘Mess with the best, die like the rest’: Pakistan & Indian celebs split on Twitter as tensions rise

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As tensions escalate between India and Pakistan, celebrities in both countries have hit Twitter to show support for their armies, although many famous faces are also calling urgently for peace.

Pakistani actress Mahira Khan said there was “nothing uglier,” and “nothing more ignorant” than cheering for war. Meanwhile, Mawra Hocane tweeted a Christopher Holliday quote saying there can be “NO winners in war,” and called on the media to “stop being provocative.”

Fahad Mustafa, a Pakistani actor, echoed their push for peace, saying “war does not determine who is right…only who is left.”

Nothing uglier. Nothing more ignorant than cheering for war. May sense prevail.. Pakistan zindabad. https://t.co/sH0VGGAERC

— Mahira Khan (@TheMahiraKhan) February 26, 2019

“There can be NO winners in war if we value Human Life at all.“

Christopher Holliday.

It’s time we understand this as humans.The media needs to take charge & stop being provocative. It’s our duty to inculcate peace & use our words for better & not worse.

Praying for peace always!

— MAWRA HOCANE (@MawraHocane) February 26, 2019

War Does Not DEtermine who is right ..Only who is left

Say no to war🙏🇵🇰

— Fahad Mustafa (@fahadmustafa26) February 26, 2019

Not everyone was calling for peace, however. Pakistani actor Hamza Ali Abbasi tweeted: “Well done India. Much improvement from the fake ‘Surgical Strike’ claim,” before calling on Pakistan’s forces to retaliate.

#Balakot WELL DONE INDIA! Much improvement from the fake “Surgical Strike” claim. This time yes IAF aircraft crossed LOC 4 to 6 miles at 2.55am & had to retreat at 2.59am due to PAF scrambling dropping the load on the way martyring our trees. But now, Pakistan MUST retaliate. pic.twitter.com/bSD8ryIOk0

— Hamza Ali Abbasi (@iamhamzaabbasi) February 26, 2019

Hearing PAF jets patrolling over Islamabad, gives me peace, puts a smile on my face. Thankyou Allah for blessing Pak with nuclear equipped Armed Forces… Verna Afghanistan, Syria aur Iraq bann ne mein dair na lagti seeing the war hysteria of lying idiot rabbid dogs like Modi.

— Hamza Ali Abbasi (@iamhamzaabbasi) February 26, 2019

Indian actor and director Ajay Devgn showed his support for the Indian army, with a strongly-worded tweet, saying: “Mess with the best, die like the rest. Salute #IndianAirForce.”

Responding to a tweet by MP Rahul Gandhi saluting pilots of the Indian Air Force, actor and former chairman of the Film and Television Institute of India Anupam Kher said: “Today will be a good day to start saluting Prime Minister Narendra Modi too.”

Celebrities like actor Mohanlal Viswanathan and ordinary Indians alike are tweeting a play on a popular phrase from a recent Bollywood movie, Uri: The Surgical Strike, “How’s the josh?” Instead of ‘josh’ they are asking, “How’s the Jaish?” referring to India’s strikes on Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM). They then answer their own question with the quip: “Dead sir.”

Tensions between India and Pakistan have escalated since 40 Indian troops were killed in a Jaish-e-Mohammed suicide attack in the contested region of Kashmir on February 14. India responded with an attack on a training camp, entering Pakistani airspace in the process. Two Indian aircraft reportedly entered Pakistan’s airspace on Wednesday, resulting in Pakistan shooting down two planes and capturing a soldier. India says it shot down a Pakistan fighter jet.

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‘I got porno offers afterwards’: Brazilian diver opens up on Olympic sex scandal

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Brazilian diver Ingrid Oliveira has opened up on the sex scandal from the 2016 Olympics in Rio, after it was reported she had kicked her teammate out of their room to romp with a canoeist.

READ MORE: Ex-porn star Mia Khalifa undergoes surgery to fix breast implant ruptured by hockey puck

Oliveira was reported to have enjoyed “a marathon night of sex” by the Brazilian press, which claimed she had booted her synchronized diving partner Giovanna Pedroso from the room they were sharing at the Olympic Village the night before they were due to compete.

The divers’ dismal performance at the Games, where they finished last in the women’s 10-metre synchronized platform, was put down to Oliveira’s sexual exploits, which also led to the pair splitting.

Oliveira, who refused to speak publicly about the incident for more than two and a half years, has finally opened up about a scandal which had a huge impact on her career.

The 22-year-old admitted she had sex with canoeist Pedro Goncalves, but rejecting claims she had sent her teammate packing.

He didn’t spend the night with me and I didn’t banish anyone from the room,” she said.

People don’t know, but in the Olympics it’s normal. You should have seen the number of condoms that were distributed in the Olympic Village.”

The diver said one-night stands were commonplace at major sports events, including the Olympics.

I talked to Giovanna, who I was sharing a room with, and said I was going to take him (Goncalves) there,” Oliveira said.

It wasn’t something only I did, she (Pedroso) and a lot of others also did the same thing in several competitions,” she added.

Oliveira said she didn’t expect such a huge fallout, noting that the Brazilian media attacked her while Goncalves was widely praised on social media for his sexual prowess in bedding her.

Oliveira said that along with insults and internet abuse, she also received indecent proposals to star in porn films following the scandal.

I received pornography. I received proposals to do sex programs, not TV programs. And I lost work. I was attacked around the world,” the diver revealed. “It was all because I’m a woman who had sex,” she added.

Domestic posturing or true escalation? Analyst fears new Kashmir incident prelude to global conflict

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India’s raid into Pakistan was a calculated provocation, and if New Delhi isn’t just playing to its home electorate, major world powers will be dragged into a war, a political analyst tells RT.

“What would they expect to happen? They are quite aware of Pakistan’s right to defend its territory. What is India hoping to gain?” Darius Shahtahmasebi, a New Zealand-based political analyst, says.

Either India is making a statement, posturing for its domestic population that it is doing something about Kashmir. Or they are actually trying to escalate the issue further, because they know that eventually Pakistan will respond




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While Islamabad preached “restraint” on Wednesday, if it does strike back, India could unleash a full-scale war. And Shahtahmasebi believes that even if the two countries decide to leave their nuclear arsenals off the table and engage in conventional localized warfare, the impact will be global.




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He notes that Pakistan is the nexus of Saudi geopolitical ambitions in the area, and India is a rising superpower, able to rely on support from Western allies. For China, the region is the main artery for its ambitious One Belt-One Road project.

“It’s not a minor conflict the rest of the world can close its eyes to. It would bring in China, it would bring in Saudi Arabia, it would bring in the United States, though as a former or current ally of both adversaries, it is now unclear quite where it stands during the Trump administration,” Shahtahmasebi told RT.

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Sky Bridge: China’s horizontal skyscraper nears completion (VIDEO)

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A staggering 1.12-million-square-meter megastructure is expected to open in the Chinese city of Chongqing later this year. It will consist of eight skyscrapers connected by a gigantic sky bridge.

Known as Raffles City Chongqing’s ninth ‘horizontal skyscraper’, the sky bridge, or ‘The Crystal’, is said to be one of the world’s highest. It is 300 meters in length, 32.5 meters wide, and 26.5 meters high. The construction is nestled above four of the 250-meter skyscrapers and links two adjacent towers by cantilevered bridges. At night, it transforms into a giant light beam, illuminating the sky with a rousing light show.

The megaproject was developed by one of Asia’s largest real estate companies, CapitaLand.

“After six years of construction using state of the art engineering technologies, we are proud to present in Raffles City Chongqing an iconic architectural form resembling a powerful sail surging forward on the historic Chaotianmen site,”said Lucas Loh, president (China & Investment Management) at CapitaLand.

“Upon Raffles City Chongqing’s structural completion, we are now focusing on the interior fit-out works, including transplanting trees to enliven The Crystal sky bridge, which will feature the tallest observation deck across Western China,” he added.

The megaproject occupies an area of 9.2 hectares and brings together a 235,000-sq m shopping mall, office spaces, residential apartments, residences, and a hotel. Two of its skyscrapers are 350 meters tall and are known as Chongqing’s tallest buildings; one of them was also named China’s tallest residential tower. The other six skyscrapers are about 250 meters tall. The ambitious development is strategically located at the confluence of the Yangtze and Jialing rivers.

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