Charlie Hebdo Re-Runs Prophet Mohammad Cartoons to Mark Attack Trial

French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo is republishing caricatures of the Prophet Mohammad which unleashed a wave of anger in the Muslim world to mark the start of the trial of alleged accomplices in the militant attack against it 2015. Among the cartoons, most of which were first published by a Danish newspaper in 2005 and then by Charlie Hebdo a year later, is one of Mohammad wearing a bomb-shaped turban with a lit fuse protruding. “We will never lie down. We will never give up,” editor Laurent “Riss” Sourisseau wrote in a piece to accompany the front cover that will be published in print on Wednesday. Twelve people, including some of the magazine’s best-known cartoonists, were killed when Said and Cherif Kouachi stormed the Paris offices of Charlie Hebdo and sprayed the building with automatic gunfire. The Kouachi brothers and a third Islamist gunman who killed five people in the 48 hours that followed the Charlie Hebdo massacre were shot dead by police in different stand-offs, but 14 of their alleged accomplices go on trial on Wednesday. The decision to republish the cartoons will be seen by some as a defiant gesture in defense of free expression. But others may see it as a renewed provocation by a magazine that has long courted controversy with its satirical attacks on religion. After the 2006 publication of the cartoons, Jihadists online warned the weekly would pay for its mockery. For Muslims, any depiction of the Prophet is blasphemous. “The freedom to caricature and the freedom to dislike them are enshrined and nothing justifies violence,” the French Council of the Muslim Faith wrote on Twitter in response. Muslims have previously said the turban cartoon branded all Muslims as terrorists, as did a Charlie Hebdo cartoon showing the Prophet reacting to Islamist militants by …

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France Reopens Schools with New Safety Measures

Millions of French children returned to school Tuesday under new safety regulations, despite a recent rise in virus infections, in a nationwide experiment aimed at bridging inequality and reviving the economy.From his social media accounts, French President Emmanuel Macron urged people to wear masks. In an Instagram video, directed at France’s more than 12 million schoolchildren heading to school, Macron said while wearing a mask, “The virus is still there, and you have to protect yourself.”On Twitter, Macron wrote: “The challenges of this new school year are numerous, but we are finally all together! Let us show the same responsibility as in recent months. Welcome back everyone!”Masks are required throughout the school day — breaks and music classes included — for all students 11 and over, and all teachers and school staff. Hand-washing stations, social distancing and staggered play time also are part of the new routine.Teachers and parents alike expressed concern about the new regulations and what they would mean for the upcoming school year but generally supported the preventative rules.Masks also are mandatory starting Tuesday in all French workplaces, as the government encourages parents to return to their jobs while trying to keep infections under control.France reported 3,082 new coronavirus cases Monday, down from recent days, but still higher than European neighbors and well above the few hundred daily cases reported in May and June, before summer holidays sent infections rising again. France has more than 30,600 deaths related to the virus.Nations across Europe are seeking ways to get children back into the classroom safely and their economies functioning once again. At the same time, officials have expressed fears of a “second wave” of infections as people go inside and spend more time together as the fall season arrives.  …

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Czech Republic Pushes Back on China Over Senate Visit to Taiwan

Czech Foreign Minister Tomáš Petříček Monday pushed back on his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi’s assault over the Czech Senate delegation’s visit to Taipei — signs, observers say, that suggest the tide is turning against China in Europe. Relations between Prague and Beijing may take another plunge. While visiting in Slovenia, Petříček tweeted that Wang’s comments toward the delegation were “over the edge,” shortly after the Chinese official warned of “a heavy price” for Czech Senate President Milos Vystrčil to pay, now that he has defied China’s objection to the visit to Taiwan. Beijing considers Taiwan a renegade province.     “Minister Wang’s statements are over the edge. Such strong words do not belong in the relations between the two sovereign countries,” Petříček tweeted, calling on China to pursue “factual, practical cooperation without emotions that do not belong in diplomacy.”   Exchanges of protests   The Czech foreign minister said he had instructed his deputy to summon China’s ambassador in Prague and expressed the Czech ministry’s “fundamental disagreement” with China’s repeated negative words toward the delegation. Although the Czech government does not support the delegation’s visit to Taiwan, Petříček added that he has demanded an explanation from China and anticipated the delegation’s trip would have a negative impact on its relations with China. The Czech government, led by Czech President Miloš Zeman and Prime Minister Andrej Babis, still favors closer ties to China.   But while meeting U.S. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo in the Czech Republic in mid-August, Babis complained that the Chinese have not invested in the Czech Republic in the way he would imagine they should.  Pompeo’s warm reception was considered a warning sign to the once-promising relationship between Prague and Beijing.U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, front left, shakes hands with Czech Republic’s Foreign Minister Tomas Petricek, right, during a ceremony at the General Patton memorial in Pilsen near Prague, Czech Republic, Aug. 11, 2020.A heavy price to pay According to a statement released by China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Monday, Wang described Vystrčil’s trip to Taipei as “an unendurable provocation for which there will be retribution.”   He was quoted as saying “the Chinese government and Chinese people won’t …

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Czech, China Locked in Diplomatic Wrangling Over Taiwan

Czech Foreign Minister Tomáš Petříček Monday pushed back on his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi’s assault over the Czech Senate delegation’s visit to Taipei — signs, observers say, that suggest the tide is turning against China in Europe. Relations between Prague and Beijing may take another plunge. While visiting in Slovenia, Petříček tweeted that Wang’s comments toward the delegation were “over the edge,” shortly after the Chinese official warned of “a heavy price” for Czech Senate President Milos Vystrčil to pay, now that he has defied China’s objection to the visit to Taiwan. Beijing considers Taiwan a renegade province.     “Minister Wang’s statements are over the edge. Such strong words do not belong in the relations between the two sovereign countries,” Petříček tweeted, calling on China to pursue “factual, practical cooperation without emotions that do not belong in diplomacy.”   Exchanges of protests   The Czech foreign minister said he had instructed his deputy to summon China’s ambassador in Prague and expressed the Czech ministry’s “fundamental disagreement” with China’s repeated negative words toward the delegation. Although the Czech government does not support the delegation’s visit to Taiwan, Petříček added that he has demanded an explanation from China and anticipated the delegation’s trip would have a negative impact on its relations with China. The Czech government, led by Czech President Miloš Zeman and Prime Minister Andrej Babis, still favors closer ties to China.   But while meeting U.S. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo in the Czech Republic in mid-August, Babis complained that the Chinese have not invested in the Czech Republic in the way he would imagine they should.  Pompeo’s warm reception was considered a warning sign to the once-promising relationship between Prague and Beijing.U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, front left, shakes hands with Czech Republic’s Foreign Minister Tomas Petricek, right, during a ceremony at the General Patton memorial in Pilsen near Prague, Czech Republic, Aug. 11, 2020.A heavy price to pay According to a statement released by China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Monday, Wang described Vystrčil’s trip to Taipei as “an unendurable provocation for which there will be retribution.”   He was quoted as saying “the Chinese government and Chinese people won’t …

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VOA Interview: Belarus Opposition Leader Tsikhanouskaya

In an interview with VOA, Belarusian opposition leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya appears to reject any idea of imminent Western intervention or help, saying, “The Belarusian people have a responsibility for what’s going on. We think that we have to solve this problem by ourselves.” Belarusians have protested nearly nonstop since the election Aug. 9, in which President Alexander Lukashenko won a disputed sixth term. Protesters claim the election was rigged, an accusation that Lukashenko has denied. Tsikhanouskaya fled to Lithuania with her children after the election.  Here is a transcript of her recent interview with VOA. It has been edited for clarity and length. VOA: Do you believe that you have defeated Lukashenko and that most people in Belarus voted for you on Aug. 9? The Belarussian authorities claim that Lukashenko has won. What evidence do you have of your leadership? Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya: All the people who are on the streets now, and the evidence that Mr. Lukashenko didn’t win, and all the people who came to their polling station for voting. VOA: How realistic is that, that Lukashenko will sit down at the negotiating table with you? Tsikhanouskaya: It is realistic because the authorities will not have a way out of this situation. The only way out of this political crisis is negotiations. VOA: Some say you don’t have any plan or strategy. If you do, what is it? Tsikhanouskaya: Our plan is absolutely clear. It’s organization of new elections, fair and transparent. VOA: Do you think Lukashenko should be allowed to participate in new presidential elections? Tsikhanouskaya: No. So, as our elections are absolutely free and clear and transparent, so every person is allowed to participate in these elections. And so, Mr. Lukashenko is a citizen of our country, so physically, he can. But if he has a moral right to participate is a big question. VOA: This weekend, we saw …

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Belarusian Opposition Leader Rejects Western Help

Belarusian opposition leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya has told VOA that the country’s political crisis is “absolutely an internal affair” as she appeared to reject any idea of imminent Western intervention or help. Speaking Monday from Vilnius, Lithuania, Tsikhanouskaya said, “The Belarusian people have a responsibility for what’s going on. We think that we have to solve this problem by ourselves. “But if it happens that we will need one day the help of other countries, help in organizing this, maybe mediation or negotiation, of course any country that would like to help us with this question is invited,” she added. Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, candidate for the presidential elections, reacts during a news conference after the Belarusian presidential election in Minsk, Belarus, Aug. 10, 2020.Tens of thousands of people have taken to the streets of Belarusian cities in recent weeks to demand the resignation of President Alexander Lukashenko, who refuses to step down. Lukashenko claimed victory in elections August 9. Opposition parties, along with the United States and the European Union, say the poll was heavily rigged.  Lukashenko has denied rigging the election, yet he has used riot police and special forces personnel in a crackdown on demonstrations. Hundreds of protesters have been arrested, and widespread evidence of abuse and torture has been reported. At least four people were reported to have died during the demonstrations. Tsikhanouskaya was briefly detained and fled to neighboring Lithuania following the election, fearing for her and her family’s safety. She refused to elaborate further on why she left Belarus.  “I had big reasons to make this step. I can’t talk about this now. Maybe some [time] in the future I will talk all about my story but now I can’t comment on it.” VOA Interview: Belarus Opposition Leader Tsikhanouskaya Belarusian opposition leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya tells VOA, ‘Our plan is absolutely clear. It’s organization of new elections, fair and transparent’ Tsikhanouskaya stood for the presidency after her husband, Sergei Tsikhanousky, a prominent YouTube blogger, was arrested in May and barred from taking part in the …

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Belarus Opposition Leader to Address UN Security Council

Belarusian opposition leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya will address the United Nations Security Council on September 4, her team announced Monday.Tsikhanouskaya, who is currently in Lithuania citing fear for her safety, was invited to speak virtually by Estonia, which is a non-permanent member of the Security Council.Meanwhile, Baltic states have imposed travel sanctions on Belarusian leaders, including long-time president Alexander Lukashenko, as protests calling for him to resign continue following a disputed election.”We need peaceful dialogue and agreement between the regime and society, but we see that the regime is not ready for that,” Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda said on August 31 while announcing the measures.Protests began when Lukashenko was declared the winner of the presidential election early in August amid widespread allegations of voter fraud – extending his more than two decades in power.Tsikhanouskaya has not accepted the results.Tens of thousands protested in the Belarusian capital of Minsk on Sunday, the president’s 66th birthday. Carrying red and white flags, which have become symbols of the opposition, protesters convened around Lukashenko’s residence, facing security forces carrying shields and backed by prisoner vans and water cannon. According to reports, the crowds dispersed peacefully in the evening, although the Interior Ministry said at least 140 protesters were arrested.Earlier in August, Lukashenkso said that opposition protesters would face a tough crackdown, describing them as “sheep” manipulated by foreign masters. …

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Behind Russia’s Take on Mass Protests in Belarus

With mass protests in Belarus showing no signs of letup following contested presidential elections August 9, the country’s longtime leader Alexander Lukashenko is turning to Russia for his political survival. But behind the Kremlin’s response lies a mix of geopolitical and domestic concerns, as Charles Maynes reports from Moscow. Camera: Ricardo Marquina, Agencies   Produced by: Ricardo Marquina    …

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Thousands of Passengers Stranded Overnight on Trains in France

Rail officials say thousands of passengers were trapped overnight on high-speed TGV trains that were halted by electrical problems in southwestern France. SNCF, the national rail authority, apologized Monday for what it called “a series of electrical supply incidents” that started Sunday afternoon and disrupted service to Paris.  SNCF officials said a train from Hendaye, a popular tourist destination on the border with Spain, was carrying about 1,000 vacationers back to Paris when electrical issues halted it in the remote Landes region. Officials say those passengers were transferred to another train bound for Bordeaux in the middle of the night. Four high-speed trains connecting Bordeaux with other cities in the region were also stuck on tracks into the night, resulting in delays on other routes.  Frustrated travelers posted images on social media of children sleeping on floors, and described the challenges of wearing face masks for as long as 20 straight hours.  French media reported that several people were evacuated for medical reasons. SNCF Strategic Crisis Director Jérôme Attou told reporters in Bordeaux that authorities were still inspecting the tracks and the catenaries — power lines that deliver electricity to the trains — and getting the network back in working order. Attou said he expected trains to be running normally by Tuesday. France’s junior minister for transport, Jean-Baptiste Djebbari, said all passengers will be reimbursed three times the cost of their tickets.     …

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Scientists See Downsides to Top COVID-19 Vaccines from Russia, China 

High-profile COVID-19 vaccines developed in Russia and China share a potential shortcoming: They are based on a common cold virus that many people have been exposed to, potentially limiting their effectiveness, some experts say. CanSino Biologics’ vaccine, approved for military use in China, is a modified form of adenovirus type 5, or Ad5. The company is in talks to get emergency approval in several countries before completing large-scale trials, the Wall Street Journal reported last week. A vaccine developed by Moscow’s Gamaleya Institute, approved in Russia earlier this month despite limited testing, is based on Ad5 and a second less common adenovirus. A scientist works inside a laboratory of the Gamaleya Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology during the testing of a coronavirus vaccine, in Moscow, Russia, Aug. 6, 2020. (Russian Direct Investment Fund/Handout via Reuters)”The Ad5 concerns me just because a lot of people have immunity,” said Anna Durbin, a vaccine researcher at Johns Hopkins University. “I’m not sure what their strategy is … maybe it won’t have 70% efficacy. It might have 40% efficacy, and that’s better than nothing, until something else comes along.” Vaccines are seen as essential to ending the pandemic that has claimed over 845,000 lives worldwide. Gamaleya has said its two-virus approach will address Ad5 immunity issues. Both developers have years of experience and approved Ebola vaccines based on Ad5. Neither CanSino nor Gamaleya responded to requests for comment. Researchers have experimented with Ad5-based vaccines against a variety of infections for decades, but none are widely used. They employ harmless viruses as “vectors” to ferry genes from the target virus — in this case the novel coronavirus — into human cells, prompting an immune response to fight the actual virus. But many people already have antibodies against Ad5, which could cause the immune system to attack the vector instead of responding to the …

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At Least 3 Migrants Die After Boat Fire Off Italian Coast 

Italian Police say at least three migrants were killed, six were injured and one is missing after their boat caught fire in the Ionian Sea, off the coast of Italy Sunday. Coast Guard video shows the boat in flames and sailors frantically yelling instructions as they try to rescue the migrants in the water. Police say the ship’s engine reportedly caught fire and exploded, as it was being navigated into port. It is unclear exactly how many migrants were originally on the boat. Media reports about 21 migrants were on board the boat when it arrived but 13 of them had already been escorted on shore by the Italian police before the fire.  ANSA news agency reported that the police were escorting the boat with the remaining migrants to the port of Crotone in Calabria when the fire occurred. Several migrants suffered serious burns and were taken to the hospital in Crotone. Meanwhile, the recent increase in migrant arrivals in Italy has sparked protests on the Mediterranean island of Lampedusa, which bears the brunt of the landings. Mayor Toto Martello called for a “general strike” demanding more assistance from the Italian government on Sunday after a rusty fishing boat landed during the night allowing 450 migrants to disembark on the island. Italian officials have responded by sending three more COVID-19 quarantine ferries to the island, with one due to arrive on Monday and two more on Wednesday.  …

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Montenegrin Election Produces No Clear Winner

In Montenegro, pollster CEMI forecast that the pro-Western Democratic Party of Socialists (DPS) of President Milo Djukanovic is narrowly ahead of the pro-Serbian and pro-Russian alliance For the Future of Montenegro after Sunday’s parliamentary election.As neither of the two main political parties will secure the necessary simple majority of 41 deputies in the 81-seat parliament to govern alone, they each will need to seek the support of smaller parties in hopes of forming a coalition government.Speaking to supporters, Djukanovic said the DPS remains the strongest party in the parliament.“Such a result means that the Democratic Party of Socialists is the strongest party in Montenegro and in these elections (supporters cheering and applauding) – not only in terms of votes, but also in terms of the mandates,” he said.Djukanovic said the DPS is waiting for the official results and will “unconditionally comply” with the outcome.Meanwhile, the leader of For the Future of Montenegro alliance, Zdravko Krivokapic, claimed victory.“People of Montenegro, freedom has happened!” Krivokapic said. “Good things come to those who wait. After 31 years of an absolute power, this had to happen.The state election commission is expected to announce the results of Sunday’s parliamentary elections in the coming days.Montenegro, under the DPS and Djukanovic, broke with Serbia and Russia to join NATO in 2017 after declaring independence from Serbia in 2006.Internally, DPS and Djukanovic, have faced accusations of an autocratic rule, as well as of widespread graft and criminal links.   …

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Montenegro’s Ruling DPS Narrowly Ahead of Opposition in Vote, Pollster Forecasts

The pro-Western Democratic Party of Socialists (DPS) of President Milo Djukanovic was narrowly ahead of Montenegro’s pro-Serbian and pro-Russian alliance in parliamentary elections Sunday, pollster CEMI said in a preliminary forecast.On the basis of 89% of ballots from a sample of polling stations, CEMI forecast the DPS secured 34.8% of votes, while the alliance of mainly Serb nationalist parties, For the Future of Montenegro, which wants closer ties with Serbia and Russia, was just behind with 32.7%.As neither of the two largest contenders will secure the 41 deputies in the 81-seat parliament needed to rule alone, they would need to seek coalition partners.The Peace is Our Nation, an alliance of centrist parties also opposed to the DPS, came third with 12.5% of the votes, CEMI said. Another alliance led by the green United Reform Action (URA) party received 5.7% of the votes.The result was a major setback for the DPS, which has been in power for three decades, and Djukanovic, who led the country through the violent collapse of the former Yugoslavia in the 1990s, the dissolution of a state union with Serbia in 2006 and steered it into NATO in 2017.A pro-Serb government might move the country closer to Serbia and Russia, but it is not expected to lead it out of NATO and to abandon its EU membership bid.Nela Savkovic, a DPS official, told reporters that the party had secured enough votes to form a coalition with “traditional partners” that include national minorities and some smaller parties.At the headquarters of the Democratic Front, which is the mainstay of For the Future of Montenegro, the leader of the pro-Serb alliance, Zdravko Krivokapic, claimed victory.”Dear citizens, we are expressing our gratitude for your perseverance and dignity … the regime has fallen,” Krivokapic, a university professor, told his jubilant backers.Krivokapic’s alliance …

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French President Hosts International Conference to Raise Funds for Lebanon

French President Emmanuel Macron hosted a U.N.-backed international donors’ virtual conference Sunday to raise funds for Lebanon following a massive blast at the port of Beirut last week that killed at least 158 people and injured about 6,000 others.U.S. President Donald Trump announced his participation in a tweet Friday, after he talked with Macron and his Lebanese counterpart Michel Aoun, tweeting that “everyone wants to help!””We will be having a conference call on Sunday with President Macron, leaders of Lebanon, and leaders from various other parts of the world,” he said.In the meantime, U.S. has delivered emergency aid to Lebanon, starting with food, water, and medical supplies, under Trump’s direction. Initially it has pledged more than $17 million in disaster aid for the country.In other developments, Lebanese security forces fired tear gas Saturday at thousands of demonstrators who gathered in Beirut’s main square to protest the government’s management of the recent explosion that devastated large parts of the city.At the beginning of a planned protest, a small group of men started throwing stones at security forces as they tried to jump over barriers blocking entry to the parliament building. Police responded by firing tear gas at the protesters.A police spokesman said an officer was killed during scuffles. A police officer at the scene said that the officer died after falling down an elevator shaft when he was chased by protesters into a building in the area.Protesters run away from a tear gas canister during clashes with police after this week’s deadly explosion at Beirut port which devastated large parts of the capital in Beirut, Lebanon, Aug. 8, 2020.The demonstrators also stormed the foreign ministry building while others in Martyrs Square set up symbolic nooses for politicians and chanted “the people want the fall of the regime.”The protesters later set fire to …

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US Tops 5 Million Coronavirus Infections

The United States has more coronavirus cases than any other country.  There are more than 5 million infections in the U.S., according to a New York Times database. Brazil and India follow as numbers two and three, respectively, in the number of infections.  Brazil has more than 3 million cases and India has more than 2 million.Brazil on Saturday became the second country in the world to pass 100,000 deaths from the coronavirus, second to the United States, which has more than 162,000 deaths.Brazil’s president, Jair Bolsonaro, said last week he had “a clear conscience” despite the toll. Bolsonaro himself survived COVID-19 last month and said he had done “everything possible to save lives.” Because of insufficient tests, experts say, the number of Brazilians with the virus could be six times higher.In the U.S., the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation has released a model predicting nearly 300,000 deaths by December 1 if Americans don’t start consistently wearing face masks.IHME Director Dr. Christopher Murray said in a statement that if 95 percent of Americans started wearing masks, more than 66,000 lives would be saved.Naga women, wearing face masks as a precaution against the coronavirus, sit by the side of a road selling poultry on the eve of International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples, in Kohima, India, Aug. 8, 2020.Mexico’s health ministry reported nearly 6,500 new COVID infections Saturday and almost 700 deaths. Mexico follows only the U.S. and Brazil in the numbers of COVID deaths.  Mexico has more than 46,000 COVID deaths, according to John Hopkins University data.In France, the government ordered face masks must be worn outside in busy areas — except around some tourist sites, including the Eiffel Tower — starting Monday. The government said the French tourism industry has lost at least $35-$47 billion due to …

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Report: Pompeo Warns Russia Against Taliban Bounties

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has warned Russia’s foreign minister about alleged bounty payments to Taliban militants for killing U.S. troops in Afghanistan, according to The New York Times.The Times reported Friday that Pompeo made the warning to Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov during a July 13 phone call, citing unidentified U.S. officials.It said Pompeo’s warning was the first known rebuke from a senior U.S. official to Russia over the alleged bounties program.Pompeo has previous declined to say whether he specifically raised the bounty allegations with Russia. However, he told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee last month that he has “raised all of the issues that put any Americans at risk” each time he has spoken to Lavrov.Trump has called the reports of Russian bounties on U.S. troops “another Russian hoax” despite concerns about them from the intelligence community.Trump told reporters in Florida last month, “It was never brought to my attention and it perhaps wasn’t brought because they didn’t consider it to be real. And if it is brought to my attention, I’ll do something about it,” he said.During an interview with “Axios on HBO,” Trump said he had not raised the bounty allegations in a recent phone call with Russian President Vladimir Putin.“That was a phone call to discuss other things, and, frankly, that’s an issue that many people said was fake news,” Trump said.White House officials have said that Trump was not briefed on the suspected bounties because the assessment was not conclusive. However, several media outlets, including the Times, have reported that the issue was included in one of the president’s written daily briefings in February. Trump has said he was never personally told about the issue.Russia has denied that it paid bounties to Taliban militants for killing U.S. troops in Afghanistan. …

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Lukashenko’s Biggest Election Opponent: the Internet

In the closing days of the Belarus presidential election campaign, opposition candidates are holding mass rallies and incumbent President Alexander Lukashenko is visiting businesses, giving speeches to the Security Council and government – and lashing out at the news media.During a meeting with campaign staff, Lukashenko railed at local and international media, saying the Belarussian edition of Russian daily Komsomolskaya Pravda “will soon turn into a tabloid” and accusing foreign outlets, including the BBC and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, of being biased and calling for riots.Lukashenko, who has been in power for 26 years, asked the Foreign Ministry to intervene.“There is no need whatsoever to wait until the end of the election campaign. Get them out of here if they do not comply with our laws and call people to Maidans,” he said on July 23, referring to mass protests in Ukraine in 2013 over the country’s move away from the European Union.In the months leading up to the August 9 vote, journalists and bloggers in Belarus have been arrested, harassed and even deported as Lukashenko faces an unexpectedly tough election amid discontent with the economy and his poor handling of the coronavirus pandemic.The president, who says he People look at a presidential election information board in Minsk, Belarus, Aug. 7, 2020.Opposition presidential candidates were also A man stands next to an election campaign poster during a rally held by supporters of Svetlana Tikhanouskaya, a candidate in the upcoming presidential election and President Alexander Lukashenko’s main challenger, in Minsk, Belarus, Aug. 6, 2020.Earlier in the campaign, Sergei Tikhanovsky was the main irritant for authorities, said Klaskovsky.“He traveled all over the country,” Klaskovsky said. “In small towns, he would give the microphone to disadvantaged people blasting the authorities. And the authorities felt that it was dangerous, because their biggest fear is …

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