Believe all victims? Cops now think Jussie Smollett faked ‘MAGA attack’ despite desperate denials

believe-all-victims-cops-now-think-jussie-smollett-faked-8216maga-attack8217-despite-desperate-denials

Police sources say Jussie Smollett likely hired two acquaintances to fake a Chicago “hate crime” assault, while conservatives are accusing liberal media outlets of accepting the actor’s story with little initial evidence.

Two Nigerian brothers were arrested and then released this week in connection with the incident on January 29. Citing law enforcement sources, CNN reported on Saturday night that they are now “cooperating fully” with the investigation, in which Smollett has become the chief suspect.

Abimbola and Olabinjo Osundairo are two recurring extras on the set of the TV show ‘Empire,’ in which Smollett stars, and know him personally.

In the hours after the story was published, Smollett released a fresh statement, not just reiterating that he was a genuine casualty, but insisting that he is now being re-traumatized.

“As a victim of a hate crime who has cooperated with the police investigation, Jussie Smollett is angered and devastated by recent reports that the perpetrators are individuals he is familiar with,” said his legal team.

“He has now been further victimized by claims attributed to these alleged perpetrators that Jussie played a role in his own attack. Nothing is further from the truth and anyone claiming otherwise is lying.”

The lawyers added that the involvement of an unspecified Osundairo brother who Smollett had hired as a personal trainer to “ready him physically for a music video” was “impossible.” They added that their client has “no inclination to respond to ‘unnamed’ sources.”

Persistent doubts

According to Smollett, last month’s attack took place as he was returning home from a Subway sandwich shop at 2am. The actor, who is black and gay, was purportedly accosted by two white men, who called him “Empire fa**ot” and “Empire ni***r”. The men allegedly tied a noose around his neck and poured bleach on his head, as one of them shouted “This is MAGA country!” in reference to Donald Trump’s political slogan.

The vicious attack on actor Jussie Smollett was an attempted modern-day lynching. I’m glad he’s safe.

To those in Congress who don’t feel the urgency to pass our Anti-Lynching bill designating lynching as a federal hate crime– I urge you to pay attention. https://t.co/EwXFxl5f2m

— Cory Booker (@CoryBooker) 29 January 2019

.@JussieSmollett is one of the kindest, most gentle human beings I know. I’m praying for his quick recovery.

This was an attempted modern day lynching. No one should have to fear for their life because of their sexuality or color of their skin. We must confront this hate.

— Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) 29 January 2019

Democratic presidential candidate Kamala Harris called the incident “outrageous,” while another potential 2020 nominee Cory Booker immediately branded the incident a “modern-day lynching,” as part of a wave of sympathy and support for Smollett, who has a history of progressive activism.

Shut the hell up you bitch ass nigga. You will continue to run this country further into the ground and risk lives every time you breathe. You’re not the president. Just a dumpster full of hate. FOH. Sick to my stomach that literal shit currently represents America to the world. https://t.co/qoNWllmZIm

— Jussie Smollett (@JussieSmollett) 12 January 2018

However, his account of the incident aroused almost immediate skepticism from some quarters, both official and general. Did two Empire-watching Donald Trump supporters happen to be randomly wandering through a deserted Chicago neighborhood when it was -14C outside, carrying a noose and chemicals, and then stumble upon Smollett? Or were they perhaps master stalkers, who could have predicted that the actor would have gone for a tuna sandwich and a salad – both of which remained intact after the attack – at this late hour?

Police also said that they didn’t manage to locate anyone matching the description provided by Smollett, despite studying hundreds of hours of footage from one of the most advanced CCTV systems in the world. Nor could they document the moment of the attack. Two silhouetted figures were identified in the vicinity, but their role remained unclear.

Doubts were compounded when Smollett refused to hand over his phone in the aftermath, and instead presented investigators with a PDF file purportedly showing a record of his calls, which detectives could not consider tamper-proof.

‘MSM uncritically accepted his lies’

Reports over the last week that cited inside sources have put together a radically different account of events.

Smollett purportedly paid $3,500 to the black LGBT-supporting Osundairo brothers to buy a noose and bleach, and play-act the attack, inflicting superficial injuries. Police have found evidence of them buying the rope, while bleach was located during a search of one of their houses.




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The Osundairos, who appear to be the shadowy figures in the surveillance footage, departed on a flight to Nigeria hours after the alleged incident, before being arrested the moment they touched down back in the US.

The details have resulted in much gloating online, not least from those claiming that because the story fitted a convenient political narrative, all attempts at critical analysis were abandoned.

It appears that Jussie Smollett tried to manufacture a hate crime to make Trump supporters look bad and most of the media not only uncritically accepted his lies as facts for weeks, but attacked those who questioned the validity of his false story.

— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) 17 February 2019

CNN is all in on the Jussie Smollett news… but they keep forgetting the part where he claimed attackers were Trump supporters🤔

— Brian Flood (@briansflood) 17 February 2019

They’re already talking about how @JussieSmollett can “redeem himself” and that he “shdnt be judged by this”…imagine reax if conservative had falsely accused liberal activists….

— Laura Ingraham (@IngrahamAngle) 17 February 2019

However, the story could result in more than just humiliation and career damage for Smollett, who may face up to three years in jail if he is found to have filed a false police report. It also brings attention to an earlier incident, in which police investigated a potential terrorist attack when the actor received an envelope containing white powder at his work address last month. The substance turned out to be ground-up aspirin.

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No limits for ‘Russian Tomahawks’? What we know about Moscow’s new nuclear cruise missile

no-limits-for-8216russian-tomahawks8217-what-we-know-about-moscows-new-nuclear-cruise-missile

Russia’s new nuclear cruise missile has entered the final stage of development following reports of successful tests. Officials say Burevestnik (‘Storm Petrel’) will have “unlimited” range and can outmaneuver any known defenses.

The missile’s nuclear power unit was successfully tested back in January, Russian media reported on Friday, citing sources. This “crucial” stage of testing “confirmed” that the reactor allows the missile to travel to an “unlimited range.”

Read more

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The military didn’t officially confirm the story, and it is not clear where and when the test reportedly took place. The videos released by the missile’s development team earlier showed how the engineers, dressed in all white and wearing safety masks, were carefully examining the prototype at an undisclosed location. The weapon itself was partially covered in the footage.

The weapon’s ambitious concept was unveiled by President Vladimir Putin during his State of the Nation address last March. The 9M730 Burevestnik, known as SSC-X-9 Skyfall under its NATO reporting name, is designed as a nuclear-powered and nuclear-armed intercontinental cruise missile capable of traveling “unlimited distances.” It is even able to circle around the globe for days, if required.

The military says that its ability to traverse virtually any distance will be coupled with an equally astounding “unlimited ability to maneuver.” It will make the missile extremely hard to intercept while penetrating an enemy’s defenses.

If the weapon becomes fully operational, Moscow will be able to launch missiles “from the Asian mainland, program them to cross the Pacific, go around South America, and penetrate US airspace from the Gulf of Mexico,” Popular Mechanics wrote earlier this week.

Last week, Washington DC-based publication the Diplomat reported that the missile went through a “partially successful” test on January 29 at a site in southern Russia. The report, which cited US government sources, noted that “no country to date” has deployed a nuclear-powered cruise missile due to “engineering challenges” and safety concerns.

If successfully deployed, Burevestnik will indeed be unprecedented, given its features and capabilities. At the same time, its purpose is somewhat similar to the US long-range Tomahawk naval cruise missiles, except that their maximum range is limited to 2,500km (1,550 miles).

The Russian missiles’ ‘sister’ project, the Poseidon nuclear-powered drone submarine, will undergo its sea trials this summer, the sources told local media. The project reportedly underwent successful nuclear power unit testing as well. Earlier reports suggested that the drone, which was described as a large nuclear-capable torpedo, would be able to travel at a speed up to 200kph (125mph) and dive as deep as 1km.

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Merkel’s spokesman backpedals on her suggestion that Russia is behind kids’ protest after outrage

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German Chancellor Angela Merkel enraged local activists after she appeared to suggest that the Kremlin was pulling the strings behind student climate protests. But her spokesman later said that she supported the demonstrations.

Merkel’s spokesman Steffen Seibert was left to do some urgent damage control after the chancellor appeared to pin the blame for schoolchildren-led environmental protests across Europe on the long arm of Moscow.

Speaking at the Munich Security Conference on Saturday, Merkel highlighted the threat of Russian “hybrid warfare” – a mix of cyberwar and cunning disinformation campaigns – that, according to the German PM, “can be felt every day in every European country.”

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Warning of the omnipotent threat to Europe’s security from Russia, Merkel noted that such warfare is “hard to detect, because you suddenly have movements that you wouldn’t have thought would appear.”

Seemingly citing an example of such an artificially concocted movement, Merkel mentioned the mass student demonstrations that see German schoolchildren skipping their lessons every Friday to protest against the government’s lukewarm response to climate change.

“In Germany now, children are protesting for climate protection,” she said. While conceding that it was “a really important issue,” Merkel appeared to cast doubt on its grassroot origins.

“But you can’t imagine that all German children, after years, and without any outside influence, suddenly hit on the idea that they have to take part in this process,” she said.

Merkel’s innuendo is not uncommon, as Moscow has been blamed for a range of international interferences by media and foreign governments, from Brexit in the UK, Yellow Vests in France, and – most recently – the global measles outbreak.

However, Merkel’s suggestion did not sit well with environmental activists at home, who were fuming at the suggestion.




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‘Fridays for Future Germany,’ the movement spearheading the protests in the country, posted a stark rebuke to the German chancellor’s remark on Twitter.

“Merkel puts us on a par with hybrid warfare. We don’t accept this. We are a self-organized movement of students,” the group tweeted.

Taking a swipe at Merkel, ‘Fridays for Future Germany’ activist Linus Steinmetz tweeted that “the Chancellor, apparently, lacks the imagination that young people can organize themselves politically and stand up for their own future.” 

Anscheinend fehlt der Bundeskanzlerin die Vorstellungskraft, dass Jugendliche sich politisch organisieren und selbst für ihre Zukunft eintreten können. Ich finde es tragisch, dass uns Jugendlichen nicht zugetraut wird für unsere eigenen Anliegen einzutreten. #FridaysForFuture

— Linus Steinmetz (@linus_steinmetz) 16 февраля 2019 г.

As the controversy grew, Markus Winkler, social media specialist for World Wide Fund (WWF) Germany, asked Seibert to clarify what made the German government allege that the protests were the work of Russian masterminds.

Kanzlerin #Merkel nannte #FridaysForFuture als Beispiel für die Mobilisierung durch Kampagnen im Netz. Das Engagement der Schüler für die Klimapolitik findet sie ausdrücklich gut.

— Steffen Seibert (@RegSprecher) 16 февраля 2019 г.

The request for evidence, which is often lacking in cases where Russia is to blame, saw Seibert backpedaling on Merkel’s remark. He said that Merkel merely mentioned ‘Fridays for Future’ as an “example of mobilization through social media campaigns.”

READ MORE: Got a problem? Just blame Russia

The chancellor’s spokesman added that she “expressively approves” of the movement.

According to the protests’ organizers, some 26,000 people turned up across 35 German cities to protest against the government’s failure to tackle climate change on Friday. Some 15,000 people took to the streets in the UK for the same cause.

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India to continue buying Venezuelan oil despite US warning

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India will look into commercial considerations and related factors to determine the value of oil imports from any country, an Indian official said, after a top US official warned countries against buying oil from Venezuela.

Earlier this week, U.S. National Security Advisor John Bolton warned countries and companies against buying crude oil from Venezuela, after the Latin American country’s Oil Minister Manuel Quevedo said during a surprise visit to India that Venezuela wants to sell more oil to the fast-growing Indian market.




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In a tweet with a Bloomberg article on Venezuelan-Indian oil relations attached, Bolton wrote: “Nations and firms that support Maduro’s theft of Venezuelan resources will not be forgotten. The United States will continue to use all of its powers to preserve the Venezuelan people’s assets and we encourage all nations to work together to do the same.”

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Raveesh Kumar, the spokesman of India’s Ministry of External Affairs, said at a press briefing on Thursday, as carried by Sputnik:

“Venezuela is the chair of OPEC and GECF. We don’t have any barter system with Venezuela; commercial considerations and related factors will determine the value of trade which we have with any country.”

At the start of the Venezuelan political crisis last month, Indian media reported that the Asian country continues to be one of the main buyers of Venezuelan crude oil. Indian refiners are still buying more than 400,000 bpd of oil from the troubled Latin American country, which is sitting on the world’s largest crude oil resources.

While the US and many European nations have recognized opposition leader Juan Guaidó as the interim president of Venezuela, India has only limited itself to issuing a statement that “We are of the view that it is for the people of Venezuela to find political solution to resolve their differences through constructive dialogue and discussion without resorting to violence.”  

“We believe democracy, peace and security in Venezuela are of paramount importance for the progress and prosperity of the people of Venezuela. India and Venezuela enjoy close and cordial relations,” is the official position of India, which the spokesman of India’s Ministry of External Affairs, Kumar, repeated at the briefing today.

This article was originally published on Oilprice.com

Russian heavyweight Vitaly Minakov loses undefeated record with controversial loss to Cheick Kongo

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French contender Cheick Kongo handed Vitaly Minakov the first defeat of his MMA career with a controversial unanimous decision in their heavyweight title eliminator at Bellator 216.

The two European heavyweights went toe-to-toe in a slow-paced rematch on the main card at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut. The pair previously met inside the Bellator cage back in April 2014, when Minakov claimed a unanimous decision victory.

READ MORE: Low blow! Mitrione takes out Kharitonov with agonizing below-the-belt kick at Bellator 215 (VIDEO)

However, Kongo turned the tables by claiming the win after a grueling three-round battle that saw all three judges award the contest to the Frenchman.

Minakov suffered a painful low blow mid-way through the opening round, but recovered after a brief injury timeout, and proceeded to force Kongo onto the back foot.

After a second round that lacked any real action, Minakov turned to his grappling in the third and final frame, taking the towering Frenchman to the canvas, where he briefly looked to lock up a choke, but the Russian heavyweight was unable to force the tap.

Kongo rallied in the final seconds with a final flurry of strikes that stunned Minakov in what proved to be the most decisive action of the contest.

Many believed it was too little, too late for the Frenchman, but the judges saw it otherwise.

One judge gave Kongo all three rounds for a 30-27 score, with the other two scoring it 29-28. But the verdict produced surprised reactions from Bellator commentators Mauro Ranallo and John McCarthy, and prompted fight analyst and Bellator star Chael Sonnen to state that he believed Minakov to have won the fight by two rounds to one.

It also drew a message of support from UFC heavyweight Alexey Oleynik, who tweeted: “Minakov was not in the best condition, made many mistakes and was tired. But he definitely didn’t lose the f…cking fight.”

Minakov was not in the best condition, made many mistakes and was tired. But he definitely didn’t lose the f…cking fight.

Минаков был далеко не в лучшей форме, допускал много ошибок, устал. Но он точно не проиграл этот гребаный бой#mma#sport#fight#warrior#bellator

— Alexey Oleynik (@oleynikufc) February 17, 2019

Minakov was bidding to recapture the Bellator heavyweight title that he had never lost inside the cage, after being stripped of the title following his switch from Bellator MMA to Russian-based organization Fight Nights Global in 2015.

Minakov added seven more wins to his undefeated record – all by stoppage – before rejoining Bellator ahead of Saturday night’s title eliminator.

However, his decision loss to Kongo saw him lose his undefeated record, and his chance at an immediate shot at current Bellator heavyweight champion Ryan Bader.

That opportunity now passes to Kongo, who will face Bader inside the Bellator cage later this year.




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‘I’d take the wall down’: 2020 hopeful O’Rourke says he’d ‘absolutely’ knock US-Mexico barrier

id-take-the-wall-down-2020-hopeful-orourke-says-hed-absolutely-knock-us-mexico-barrier

Failed Texas Senate candidate and likely presidential contender Beto O’Rourke said he would “take the (border) wall down,” becoming the first potential 2020 challenger to embrace the open borders rhetoric of the Democratic left.

As President Trump geared up to declare a national emergency and build a border wall without congressional approval, O’Rourke staked out a position completely at odds with the president.

Democrat Beto O’Rourke says he wants to knock down the existing border barriers on the southern border

MSNBC’s Chris Hayes: “If you could, would you take the wall down now? Knock it down?”

O’Rourke: “Yes, absolutely. I would take the wall down.” pic.twitter.com/0jYSc1kKh8

— Ryan Saavedra (@RealSaavedra) 15 февраля 2019 г.

“Would you, if you could, would you take the wall down here – knock it down?” MSNBC’s Chris Hayes asked O’Rourke in an interview recorded near the Mexican border in El Paso, Texas.

“Yes, absolutely,” O’Rourke answered. “I’d take the wall down.”

“We don’t need an emergency declaration, troops deployed, or additional border walls and fencing at a time of record safety and security along the US-Mexico border,” O’Rourke added in a tweet.

We don’t need an emergency declaration, troops deployed, or additional border walls and fencing at a time of record safety and security along the U.S.-Mexico border. https://t.co/2zjiHx851a

— Beto O’Rourke (@BetoORourke) 15 февраля 2019 г.

Border crossings have indeed been relatively low in recent years, but are climbing. Arrests along the Mexican border fell to around 304,000 in 2017, the lowest number since 1971. Since then, they have risen to 396,000 in 2018. Arrests are up again this year, with 201,500 illegal immigrants apprehended between October and January.

While large swathes of desert and badlands remain completely unguarded, some stretches of the border are protected by fencing, walls and other barriers. O’Rourke’s native El Paso is shielded by 124 miles of double-layered barrier which significantly slashed crossings after it was completed in 2008.

For all the critics trying to find ANY other explanation for why El Paso’s illegal crossings dropped after building a fence, how do you explain these graphs? How do you explain what we see in Brownsville, where fencing dramatically reduces crossings? pic.twitter.com/I3QQ7aEHDD

— Dan Crenshaw (@DanCrenshawTX) 12 февраля 2019 г.

El Paso and the Mexican city of Ciudad Juarez have been separated by a chain-link fence since the 1970s, with the latest reinforcements added since 2006. The barriers were built after then-president George W. Bush passed the Secure Fence Act, funding over 600 miles of fencing along the 2,000-mile border.

The act, O’Rourke continued, has “not in any demonstrable way made us safer. It’s cost us tens of billions of dollars to build and maintain. And it’s pushed migrants and asylum seekers and refugees to the most inhospitable, the most hostile stretches of the US-Mexico border, ensuring their suffering and death.”

O’Rourke’s embrace of open borders played well with some of the more fervent opponents of Trump’s wall, and with his own fangirls.

You need to run please!

— Emi 🇵🇷 🇺🇸 🇩🇪 Woke Boricua Ⓥ #BoycottJapan (@thepowerofmeow) 15 февраля 2019 г.

Why do Americans feel the need to cower behind a wall like a snowflake pansy? Did they lose their brass ones when the old guards passed away? Why are all the American women emasculating their president saying his is weak and needs to hide behind a wall?

— chipwattsinterpreter (@chipwattsinterp) 15 февраля 2019 г.

The former Texas Representative was mocked and slated by the right, however.

Dems: We’re not for open borders, we just don’t want more walls.

Beto: LEEROY JEEEENNNNKKINSSS!

— Julio Rosas (@Julio_Rosas11) 15 февраля 2019 г.

Curiously, some of the Democrats who are fervently opposing Trump’s border wall initiatives now were OK with Bush’s fences. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, a fierce opponent of Trump’s planned wall, voted in favor of the Secure Fence Act in 2006. So too did 64 House and 26 Senate Democrats. Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and Joe Biden all supported the act, which pledged $8 billion towards building barriers and another $46 billion for other border security initiatives.

Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi – Trump’s two opponents in the fight for wall funding – have endlessly criticized the wall, but neither have advocated to remove existing barriers.

“If Nancy Pelosi thinks that Walls are ‘immoral,’ why isn’t she requesting that we take down all of the existing Walls between the US and Mexico, even the new ones just built in San Diego at their very strong urging,” Trump tweeted last month. “Let millions of unchecked ‘strangers’ just flow into the US.”

If Nancy Pelosi thinks that Walls are “immoral,” why isn’t she requesting that we take down all of the existing Walls between the U.S. and Mexico, even the new ones just built in San Diego at their very strong urging. Let millions of unchecked “strangers” just flow into the U.S.

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) 21 января 2019 г.

Trump’s 2020 campaign manager, Brad Parscale, made a similar argument on Thursday. Naming a handful of potential Democratic presidential candidates, Parscale asked whether they would back O’Rourke’s call to tear down the wall.

O’Rourke has not announced his candidacy, but opened the week with a campaign-style rally in El Paso – right across the road from a Trump rally. While Trump promised he would “finish the wall,” O’Rourke declared that “walls end lives.”

Russia, Syria to open 2 corridors for refugees ‘stranded’ in US-controlled area

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Moscow and Damascus will establish two humanitarian corridors in an effort to rescue refugees “stranded” without medical assistance and supplies at Rukban tent camp in the US-controlled zone in Syria.

The checkpoints for “voluntary, unimpeded and safe passage” will start operating at Jleb and Jabal al-Ghurab on February 19, Russian and Syrian military said in a joint statement on Saturday. The two corridors are intended to help refugees leave the Rukban camp and move to the territory administered by the Syrian government, where they can access assistance.

The Rukban camp, housing around 40,000 displaced people, mostly women and children, is located in the southeastern part of the country, near the Jordanian border. The area is controlled by the US.




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The World Health Organization recently described the refugees there as “trapped” and “stranded,” and said they were living “in deplorable conditions” without medical care, generators or fuel to provide warmth during cold weather.

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Germans go gaga for Russian food discounter Mere amid nostalgia for ‘Iron Curtain’ era

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A Russian grocery retailer was nearly forced to close during its grand opening week in Germany when a huge crowd of Leipzig locals arrived and gobbled up almost the entire inventory.

The promising slogan ‘Only Lowest Prices Everyday’ evoked an enormous demand during the first days after the opening that toppled the most optimistic forecasts. The buying fever was reportedly triggered by very attractive prices for foodstuff and basic goods offered by the grocery store that had been opened in early February in a location where an Aldi market once stood.




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Mere, a food discounter belonging to one of Russia’s largest thrift shop chains Torgservis, offers a wide range of goods, from dairy products and coffee to canned food and sausages, manufactured mostly in Eastern European countries.

Shortly after the opening of the store in Leipzig, German media hurriedly accused the Russian business of attacking Aldi and Lidl, Germany’s biggest retail chains with a multi-billion turnover.

According to analysts, Mere will hardly face the problems of the US retail corporation Walmart, which had to withdraw from Germany in 2006 after 10 years of ineffective business.

“Many Germans cannot be identified as rich. There are many citizens living on welfare, pensioners, lonely and older people… In some parts of the country, especially in the East, unemployment rate totals eight percent,” Professor Johannes Ringel from Leipzig’s University told Russia’s state TV channel Rossiya 2.

“In this segment of the market, people usually keep a wary eye on their expenses. That’s why they will go shopping in Mere,” the economist added.

People living in the Eastern parts of Germany are still nostalgic about the German Democratic Republic and like purchasing goods produced in countries of the former Soviet bloc, the media reported. However, most of the customers are rushing to the store because of prices that are nearly 30 percent lower than at other supermarkets.

For more stories on economy & finance visit RT’s business section

Chicago PD releases ‘persons of interest’ in shady Jussie Smollett attack case

chicago-pd-releases-8216persons-of-interest8217-in-shady-jussie-smollett-attack-case

Fueling suspicions that the ‘racist, homophobic’ attack on actor Jussie Smollett was a hoax, Chicago police have released the two Nigerians arrested as “persons of interest” without charges, claiming they have more work to do.

Abimbola and Olabinjo Osundairo were released after a day of questioning after they were taken into custody at O’Hare airport as “persons of interest” in the Smollett case. While they didn’t quite fit the narrative Smollett gave – in which two masked (but white) men beat him up, shouted racist and homophobic slurs and a pro-Trump slogan, and poured bleach on him, then put a rope around his neck – they did know the ‘Empire‘ actor, having appeared in the series as extras themselves.

Case Update: Due to new evidence as a result of today’s interrogations, the individuals questioned by police in the Empire case have now been released without charging and detectives have additional investigative work to complete. pic.twitter.com/Hswn1Qjgcy

— Anthony Guglielmi (@AJGuglielmi) February 16, 2019

Police searched their residence on Wednesday night, recovering a number of items including a red hat, bleach, sneakers, and electronics. The two men had left for Nigeria on the night after Smollett was allegedly assaulted and were on their way back to Chicago when police apprehended them at the airport. They were officially arrested Friday morning, reportedly on suspicion of battery, and questioned further in the presence of their lawyer.




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‘Hate crime’ attack on ‘Empire’ actor Jussie Smollett was staged, reports suggest



Rumors exploded Thursday after two local news stations reported Smollett’s story had been a hoax – reports the Chicago police quickly attempted to quash, calling them “unconfirmed.” Fox Entertainment, which produces Empire, dismissed rumors he was being written off the series as “patently ridiculous,” a sentiment the show’s writers echoed.

The hoax rumors refused to die, however.

They were released and Jessie “lawyered” up today with a high profile defense attorney. Looking suspicious!

— Melinda (@Makeup_Freak) February 16, 2019

Normally I live by “never rat on you friends and always keep your mouth shut”. But in their case: they came here from Nigeria, went out to get rope and bleach when it was -10, faked an assault, and the mofo didn’t even give them a sandwich. I don’t blame them for snitching.

— thetacticalyuppie (@tacticalyuppie) February 16, 2019

Well in a statement released Thursday, police said they identified the two people in the surveillance photos and tracked them down using cameras, public transportation records and “corroborating info provided by Smollett.” That can only be phone records.

— Hans Rosenschwein (@HerrHansie) February 16, 2019

Becuase they flipped. They were minor accessories, maybe even unknowingly. Investigators likely getting evidence together for Smollett arrest warrant.

— My Name Is Earl (@TheBossman102) February 16, 2019

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Mueller recommends 19+ year sentence for Manafort

mueller-recommends-19-year-sentence-for-manafort

Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s office has requested that former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort get 19 years in prison after the would-be cooperator was found to be lying to the FBI, special counsel and a grand jury.

Manafort acted for more than a decade as if he were above the law, and deprived the federal government and various financial institutions of millions of dollars,” Mueller’s sentencing request states. “The sentence here should reflect the seriousness of these crimes and serve to both deter Manafort and others from engaging in such conduct.”

None of the crimes Manafort is going to prison for are directly related to the suspected Russia-Trump “collusion” to win the 2016 election that Mueller has been investigating for two years. Instead, he was convicted on numerous counts of bank and tax fraud.

Manafort violated his plea deal – on Wednesday, a Washington judge ruled that he had lied about a payment to a law firm and about contacts with a person “assessed” to have links with Russian intelligence – and thus destroyed his chances of a shorter sentence, antagonizing Mueller into the bargain.

In addition to 19.5 to 24 years in prison, Mueller’s office is also requesting Manafort pay a fine of up to $24.4 million and restitution in the amount of $24.8 million, with a forfeiture of $4.4 million.




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Manafort’s crimes amount to a pattern of criminal behavior that is “brazen” and “routine,” according to the sentencing request. “Manafort did not commit these crimes out of necessity or hardship…He nonetheless cheated the United States Treasury and the public out of more than $6 million in taxes at a time when he had substantial resources,” and committed fraud to further augment his cash flow due to his lavish lifestyle, the document states.

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