1,300+ people in distress as crippled cruise liner is battered by huge waves off Norway (VIDEOS)


At least 10 people have been injured during an ongoing, high-risk evacuation of the Viking Sky cruise liner, which had engine problems and was forced to anchor in Norway’s Hustadvika Bay with 1,300 passengers and crew on board.

After suffering an engine failure, the Viking Sky sent out a mayday call on Saturday afternoon, requesting emergency assistance as it began to drift towards the rocky western coast of Norway. In full emergency mode on the high seas, the crew managed to restart one of the vessel’s four engines before anchoring in the Hustadsvika Bay to allow helicopters and vessels to move in to help evacuate some of the 1,373 passengers and crew.

As high waves tossed the ship from side to side, first responders were airlifting passengers one by one. Video of the emergency, released by the authorities, showed the rescuers trying to reach the vessel under extremely difficult weather conditions.

Only some 166 people had been rescued by Saturday evening, most of them British and American. The operation to evacuate the rest of those in distress is expected to continue overnight, authorities said, noting that at least 10 people have been injured in the accident aboard the vessel, which was only commissioned in 2017 for the Viking Ocean Cruises.

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Jets, nukes & plasma rifles? New Zealand police flooded with fake gun surrender requests


The harsh gun control measures introduced by New Zealand triggered a protest backlash, with pranksters flooding police with bogus applications to surrender unlikely weapons such plasma rifles, fighter jets and even nuclear bombs.

After New Zealand adopted a ban on military-style semi-automatic and assault rifles following the Christchurch mass shooting, the police set up a special telephone number and an online application form to facilitate the collection of the newly banned weapons. The measure turned out to be quite popular as the officers received 474 calls in less than a day and, on Friday, almost 130 calls in just one hour.

However, the online application form was also targeted by what some local media called a “digital protest” against the tighter restrictions on weapon possession.

Some pranksters reportedly even attempted to register old Soviet MiG 15 fighter jets and American B61 nuclear bombs as weapons they would like to hand over. Some with more devious minds also tried to submit non-existent, futuristic plasma rifles, among other things.

The latest attempts by people to subvert our supply lines in New Zealand is disappointing.

We’ll be working with Google to write an algoritm to help sort out these fraudulent submissions and get our members their surrendered guns in a timely fashion. 🥳#GunControlpic.twitter.com/i0DGGMstP4

— Self Defence Prevention Alliance of Australia (@sdpaaus) March 22, 2019

Others directly vented their anger at the new rules right in the comment sections below the submission form, by saying that the New Zealand government seeks to “steal people’s property.” The total number of online applications amounted to 1,000, according to the police statement. It is unclear though, how many of these fake requests had been filed by actual New Zealanders, before authorities decided to shut down the facility to submit the forms from overseas.

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“Unfortunately, some people have decided it is a good use of their time to misuse the form and submit ‘fake’ notifications to hand in weapons,” Police Assistant Commissioner Tusha Penny wrote, in an angry statement. “While these individuals may be short of productive work to do, Police are not.”

Last week, a self-avowed white supremacist from Australia killed 50 people in two mosques in the city of Christchurch and injured almost as many, in what became the deadliest terrorist act in New Zealand’s modern history.

Less than a week later, to cheers of gun control advocates in the US and elsewhere, New Zealand banned all military-style semi-automatic and assault rifles, as well as high-capacity magazines and parts used to convert other weapons into the banned guns. The new regulations are expected to take effect by April 11. Those found in possession of the prohibited weapons after that date could face a fine up to NZ $4,000 ($2,751) or up to three years in prison.

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Paris Disneyland visitors flee in panic, police deployed as ‘false alarm’ triggers lockdown (VIDEOS)


Fears of a potential terrorist attack have put Disneyland Paris on a brief lockdown, with an elite tactical unit of the French National Police deployed to the scene, after a loud bang caused panic across the theme park.

Amid the confusion, visitors were reportedly being advised to take shelter inside restaurants, after panic began to spread near the train station and Disney village. Security forces quickly arrived at the scene, responding to rumors of an attack, to help evacuate visitors.

Our news reporter is currently under lock down at the rainforest cafe at Disney village, our other team member got evacuated through the kitchen at the steak house!

Something is going on at #disneylandparispic.twitter.com/K49weQJw9R

— dein-dlrp.de Disneyland Paris & Walt Disney World (@deindlrp) March 23, 2019

While authorities are still investigating what exactly happened, reports indicate that confusion spread following a loud noise that was heard coming from an escalator. Apparently the chaos was caused by a false alarm.

Several people were injured in the chaos and stampede, local news reports, adding that firefighters are still on-site, even though the lockdown was quickly lifted and people were being let back in to collect their belongings.

BREAKING: Technical problems with an elevator caused panic at Disneyland Paris. There is no threat. People are slowly being let back in. pic.twitter.com/4isbhcoleh

— Breaking News Global (@BreakingNAlerts) March 23, 2019

France continues to be on high alert, following a string of terror attacks in recent years, some of which occurred in popular tourist locations. In addition, the French police are working overtime to ensure security amid the statewide Yellow Vest protests, which took place again on Saturday, for the 19th week running.

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Russiagaters recover from initial shock after Mueller probe winds up & are hell-bent on hunting on


Media and politicians who’ve spent about two years anticipating Robert Mueller’s probe and to kick Donald Trump out of the White House, seem to have survived the first shock of its mundane end, but believe their fight is not over.

The Special Counsel sent his report to the US Attorney General on Friday. Although the results are still not known to the public, it’s been leaked that it contains no new indictments. The news seemed to have sent mainstream media and pundits into disarray, and even drove some to tears.

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However, by Saturday they all seemed ready for a new fight, brandishing statements and casting headlines that it is not over.

CNN has published a lengthy piece in the wake of the probe’s conclusion, which revolves around one simple idea: Trump’s ordeal is far from over. “If there is not legal liability for the President or his family in the Mueller report, it could still inflict significant political damage,” it said, all the while assuming that Mueller might have just failed to put paid to “the tradition that a sitting President can’t be indicted.”

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CNN also rushed to say that, regardless of its content, Mueller’s report would fail to exonerate Russia from meddling accusations, just as it was unlikely to stop a barrage of accusations against Trump. 

The New York Times, meanwhile, cheered up Trump’s critics by saying that, even though it was over, the Mueller probe has given rise to a “dozen other investigations” that would definitely ensure a “legal threat” would “continue to loom over the Trump presidency.”

Robert Mueller’s inquiry may be over, but prosecutors across the U.S. are pursuing about a dozen other investigations that largely grew out of his work, all but ensuring that a legal threat will continue to loom over the Trump presidency. https://t.co/9lTcE6XSOI

— The New York Times (@nytimes) March 23, 2019

This idea was shared by Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), who also said that “there are obviously other investigations that have been spawned and spun off by the facts in evidence that Robert Mueller has found.” “I think there is a high likelihood that there are indictments in this president’s future,” he added.

Across the pond, Britain’s The Guardian meticulously recycled all past speculations about the “secret” meetings of Trump’s inner circle members and alleged “Kremlin agents,” as well as “security communication channels” supposedly established at the Russian embassy at the behest of the Trump administration, while also pondering how the probe might have come to end with nothing.

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The paper then suggested that Mueller might have simply referred all future criminal cases “to other prosecutors.” “It is also still possible his report will be damning, establishing collusion or obstruction of justice in the court of public opinion if not a court of law, fueling demands for Trump’s impeachment and mortally wounding his chances of re-election,” the Guardian wrote.

Some ardent Trump critics apparently found an easier way to deal with this situation. Comedian Bill Maher simply said that the results of the probe change nothing and he still considers Trump to be a “traitor” – simply because he “has a TV.” Maher also assumed that the Democrats might be putting “too much trust” in the report, which does not look good for his liking.

The fresh assault by the Trump-bashers has sparked a backlash from some of the president’s supporters. “The American people know what a politically-motivated smear campaign looks like, and that’s exactly what this is,” a GOP chairwoman, Ronna McDaniel, wrote in a Twitter post.

Democrats like Adam Schiff have already moved from crying collusion to arguing that the Mueller Report is just the beginning.

Give me a break.

The American people know what a politically-motivated smear campaign looks like, and that’s exactly what this is.

— Ronna McDaniel (@GOPChairwoman) March 23, 2019

Some of them, however, preferred to attack the probe itself. Former Trump adviser Sebastian Gorka even compared Mueller to convicted Boston gangster ‘Whitey’ Bulger – once the second listed fugitive on the FBI’s Most Wanted list.

“Rod Rosenstein and Barack Obama cronies just spent $30 Million of your money to put Manafort in prison for mortgage fraud. ‬Congrats Bob ‘Whitey Bulger’ Mueller and the rest of the demented and un-America Collusion Truthers,” he wrote in Instagram.

Fox News, meanwhile, went even further and questioned the whole Mueller probe, as well as the entirety of the final report, by saying that the whole investigation process was “flawed from the beginning” and the report should be flat-out rejected, regardless of its content.

And, regardless of its content, the report is likely to remain a source of inspiration as well as an excuse for the mainstream media to shoot the breeze.

Any updates, Jake? C’mon, man — don’t pull a Mueller and leave us hanging. : )

— Melissa Shaw (@shawm711) March 23, 2019

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Over 130 dead, village ‘devastated’ after apparent ethnic attack in Mali


At least 134 people have been killed in an apparent ethnically-motivated attack on a village in southern Mali. Another village was also attacked, according to local officials, and the body count is expected to grow even further.

The village of Ogossagou, inhabited by Fulani herders, was attacked by a group of gunmen early in the morning. The attackers sported the outfits of another tribe, the Donzo hunters, according to the mayor of the nearby town of Bankass, Moulaye Guindo.

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The attack left at least 134 people dead and the village was completely “devastated,” the official added. The death toll is not final, as local law enforcement officers continue to examine the scene of the brutal attack.

“We are provisionally at 134 bodies recovered by the gendarmes,” Guindo told Reuters.

Another nearby Fulani village, Welingara, also came under attack, leading to an as-yet-unspecified number of deaths, the official said. The attack appears to be one of the deadliest the country has seen, despite experiencing years of ethnic and religious violence.

France intervened in the affairs of Mali –its former colony– in 2013, in an attempt to push back jihadist groups who at the time were rampant in the country’s north. The militants, however, have since established themselves in central Mali and neighboring countries. All in all, France has some 4,500 troops deployed to the Sahel region, the majority of them stationed in Mali.

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Trump Tower on Temple Mount? Pompeo video tour omits mosque on holy site, includes ‘Third Temple’


While Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s video tour from Jerusalem omits Muslim sites, Al-Aqsa mosque and the Dome of the Rock, it does include a model of the Third Temple some Jewish groups want in place of it.

The iconic mosque and shrine are located on Temple Mount, one of the holiest sites in the world for Muslims, Christians and Jews. The video posted by the State Department shows Pompeo visiting the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and the Western Wall, followed by a model of the Third Temple, which some groups want to erect on Temple Mount triggering concerns that Muslim sites would be affected.

The Third Temple plays an important eschatological role in Judaism and is associated with the era of the Jewish Messiah. While most Jewish-Orthodox scholars believe the Messiah will ultimately rebuild the Temple, some hardline religious organizations call for an immediate construction of it in the present times.

Trump Tower on Temple Mount?


— Southern Fried Infidel (@SFriedInfidel) 22 марта 2019 г.

In the video the model is accompanied by the words of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaking about the Golan heights, calling it “hard-fought” real estate.

His visit to the tunnels underneath the Wall and Temple Mount are a not subtle dog whistle to the fringe extremist movement that wants to retake the Temple Mount, blow up Al Aqsa mosque, rebuild the temple and institute a theocracy. It’s despicable. And he should be removed.

— Holtby For President (@FrenettMarco) 22 марта 2019 г.

Alright, the Jews get their land back! Time to take back the Temple Mount!

— Kana’i (@wailaupoint) 22 марта 2019 г.

Why wouldn’t you show Al Aqsa Mosque or the Golden Dome in your video? Are you denying the existence of The Muslim Palestinians? Was that a new 4 Seasons Hotel you are promoting?

— mak (@mkhatib0) 22 марта 2019 г.

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No new indictments!? Mueller concludes Russiagate probe, Dems demand ‘underlying evidence’


After two years investigating President Donald Trump’s alleged ‘collusion’ with Russia during the 2016 elections, Special Counsel Robert Mueller has at last delivered his final report to Attorney General William Barr for review.

The Attorney General has yet to communicate the findings to the US Congress and decide how much detail would be made public. The White House has not yet received or been briefed on the findings, but the administration is “looking forward to the process taking its course.”

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The Democrats, who have spent years pushing the Russiagate narrative, have urged the AG not to share the report’s conclusions with the White House yet, claiming that, otherwise, the administration would try to interfere in which parts of the report are made public. The Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, and Chuck Schumer, a senior Democratic Senator from New York, say it is imperative that the report is released in “full.”

Trump, confident that the entire affair was a mere ‘witch-hunt’, had earlier indicated he would not mind if the report were made public, so it is unclear why the Democrats would assume the White House wants to interfere. Donald Trump’s legal team said the president was “pleased” that Mueller has finally delivered on his probe, noting that the Attorney General “will determine the appropriate next steps.”

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“I remain committed to as much transparency as possible, and I will keep you informed as to the status of my review,” Barr wrote, in a letter to the leaders of the House and Senate Judiciary committees. The Attorney General also noted that he may advise on the findings of the report as early as this weekend.

The parts of the media that spent 2 years obsessing on Trump/Russia are now going to seamlessly pretend it was always unimportant whether Mueller indicted any Americans for conspiring with Russia over the election – when that was the key point all along & everyone knows this: https://t.co/oRiYPlUNnc

— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) March 22, 2019

The key question Mueller was trying to answer was whether the Trump campaign had colluded with Russia’s alleged attempt to sway the results of the US presidential elections back in 2016. Since his appointment as special counsel to head the investigation back in May 2017, the former FBI chief has managed to indict six former presidential advisers, 26 Russian nationals and three Russian companies – yet none of the charges proved any ‘collusion’ between Trump and Moscow.

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Although a handful of key Trump associates, including former campaign manager Paul Manafort and Republican operative Roger Stone, have been charged and have even pleaded guilty to procedural crimes, nobody has been charged with any offenses relating to collusion. 

Pelosi/Schumer: “make the full report public and provide its underlying documentation and findings to Congress. Attorney General Barr must not give President Trump, his lawyers or his staff any ‘sneak preview’ of Special Counsel Mueller’s findings or evidence”

— Burgess Everett (@burgessev) March 22, 2019

The Mueller report has been released to Attorney General Barr. We’ve been waiting for two years! Barr has the discretion about what he releases to the public. Let’s tweet, tweet, tweet and demand that the entire report be released! We deserve nothing less!

— Maxine Waters (@RepMaxineWaters) March 22, 2019

The report might prove a further disappointment to many as, according to a senior Justice Department official, Mueller is not recommending any additional indictments. Apparently not holding his breath for any smoking guns in the report, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Rep. Adam Schiff, has promised to subpoena Mueller himself, unless the Congress is provided with “underlying evidence” to sift through.

J. K. Rowling confirms that Harry Potter would have wanted the underlying documents to the Mueller report made public as well.

— neontaster (@neontaster) March 22, 2019

Even crazier, imagine if a political party and the entire mainstream media baselessly turned the Mueller investigation into a political weapon for two years. https://t.co/CeZjQpvp1P

— Michael “Pedro” Knowles (@michaeljknowles) March 22, 2019

Moscow has repeatedly rejected the allegations as absurd, emphasizing that, in contrast to what Washington might consider a modus operandi, it is not Russia’s state policy to interfere with other nations’ domestic affairs, and also noting that it was ridiculous and humiliating for a democratic superpower to complain that its elections were somehow influenced from outside.

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Time to celebrate? Trump say ISIS fully destroyed in Syria. US-backed militants disagree


US President Trump has again boasted of victory over Islamic State terrorists. This time they’ve supposedly fully lost territorial control in Syria, but US-backed militants actually fighting IS on the ground disputed this claim.

Trump faced the media on Friday, yet again showing his favorite visual aid map of “ISIS defeat.”

“Here’s ISIS on Election Day. And here’s ISIS right now,” Trump told the reporters “You guys can have the map. Congratulations. I think it’s about time.”

Earlier on Friday, White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders stated that IS (formerly ISIS/ISIL) no longer held any territory in Syria, citing US acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan, who had briefed Trump on that purported milestone.

The bold claims of –supposedly– the ultimate defeat of the terrorist group have quite unexpectedly come under friendly fire, from the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) militant group. Mustafa Bali, the head of SDF press service, personally challenged Trump’s claims on Twitter. To add insult to injury, he posted pictures to prove what has really been happening in the area.

The Kurdish-led group, backed by the US, is actually fighting IS on the ground in eastern Syria. Over the past few weeks the fighting concentrated around the Baghouz area, where IS fighters and their families have been holed-up in a makeshift camp. On Wednesday, Trump had already managed to jump the gun on the subject of the final defeat of IS, on that occasion promising the group’s destruction “by tonight.”

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‘Beautifully, technically, confidently’: Putin lauds Alina Zagitova for figure skating success


Russian President Vladimir Putin has congratulated 16-year-old Olympic gold medalist Alina Zagitova after she won the 2019 World Figure Skating Championships in Saitama, Japan, on Friday.

In a congratulatory note published on the Kremlin website, the Russian president spoke of his pride and admiration at the teenager’s performance, which wowed crowds in Japan.

Skating to an extract from Georges Bizet’s ‘Carmen,’ Zagitova added to the lead she had acquired on the short program with a free skate in which she appeared to pull out all the stops.

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A stunning triple-lutz and triple-toeloop combination was among the highlights of the first half of her performance. Five more triple jumps would then come towards the latter stage, meaning she scored an impressive total of 237.50 points overall for both performances.

You won beautifully, technically, and confidently,” Putin wrote. “Millions of fans and spectators were won over by your brilliant skill. 

Such achievements contribute greatly to the sporting glory of our country. Great job!”

Zagitova will add this championship to her ever-expanding trophy cabinet which already houses a 2018 Olympic gold medal, as well as Russian and European gold from the same year.

I realized that I needed a clean skate and I went into each jump determined to land it,” Zagitova said after her performance.

I was very nervous, but the experience from the Olympic Games helped me somehow.”

Zagitova is now unquestionably seen as one of the world’s best on the ice and it stands to reason that it won’t be long before the 16-year-old from Izhevsk adds to her already considerable trophy haul once more.

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‘Like Netanyahu’s spokesman’: What is behind Trump’s call to recognize Golan Heights as Israeli


Washington seems to be eager to once again blatantly violate international law, only to allegedly rig polls in another state in favor of one man – the Israeli prime minister, analysts believe.

US President Donald Trump has once again baffled the world with a tweet – this time by calling on the US to “fully recognize” Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights – a Syrian territory it occupied during the 1967 Six Day War and effectively annexed in 1981.

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If Washington actually goes for it, such a move would constitute a blatant disregard to international law as well as to the international commitments the US itself assumed when it supported a 1981 resolution, which declared the Israeli occupation of the Golan null and void. So why does the White House see it not just as possible but even a desirable outcome?

‘Family Friend’

It seems, out of all probable reasons, that the Trump administration might be motivated by a desire to help one Israeli politician swing a political situation in his favor back at home, where he faces tough competition in forthcoming elections, at a time when he faces corruption charges.

Officially, Trump denied any connection between his “long thought” decision and Netanyahu’s potential re-election that he supposedly “had no idea” about, but the timing of his sudden call is just too perfect to be a mere coincidence. Besides, it is an open secret that Netanyahu has close ties to some people in the Trump administration – and particularly to Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner – a fact that has been covered by both American and Israeli media.

“He [Trump] is clearly doing this to help his friend Benjamin Netanyahu with his really difficult re-election campaign amid allegations of corruption,” Jim Jatras, a former US diplomat, told RT. The official recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the Golan by the US could come as soon as next week, during Netanyahu’s visit to Washington, the analysts believe.

“It is a very transparent gift to Netanyahu,” Gideon Levy, a columnist at the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, said. Meanwhile, Abdel Bari Atwan, an author and the editor-in-chief of Rai al-Youm, an Arab world digital news and opinion website, went as far as to say that Trump “seems” to act as a “spokesman for Netanyahu.” Kushner, who arguably exerts significant influence on Trump’s Middle Eastern policy, could also play a major role in this ploy, as Alessandro Bruno, an independent political analyst, believes.

Intervention in Israeli elections?

As bad as a violation of international law for the sake of one man’s well-being might be, it is not the only problem associated with Trump’s new reckless idea. The whole move is effectively nothing but a blatant direct interference into Israeli elections, which is quite clearly aimed at giving one particular candidate a boost.

It is a flagrant interference in the election process, Levy said, adding that Netanyahu would likely try to present the whole ordeal as another “historic achievement” of his policies – just like he did with the US recognition of Jerusalem as the Israeli capital.

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It still remains unclear, whether this move would help Washington’s favorite to actually win, as, according to Levy, the Golan heights “are not on the table” right now and the US gift to Netanyahu “is unlikely to have a major effect.”

But Washington goes its way recognizing the Golan after its previous stunt with moving the US embassy to Jerusalem.

“There is no one in the world, who has any doubts about the legal status of the Golan Heights. The Golan Heights are an occupied territory. And here comes an American president and says: ‘no matter what the international law says, no matter what the world says. We recognize it as Israel’s sovereign land because Israel holds it for so many years,’” says Levy.

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