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Preview Entertainment superstar Dwayne Johnson, better known as The Rock, will present the winner of the UFC 244 main event between Jorge Masvidal and Nate Diaz with a special $50,000 "BMF" belt, according to UFC president Dana White.
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Entertainment superstar Dwayne Johnson, better known as The Rock, will present the winner of the UFC 244 main event between Jorge Masvidal and Nate Diaz with a special $50,000 "BMF" belt, according to UFC president Dana White.

White confirmed that a specially-minted "Baddest Mother F****r In The Game" belt, dubbed the "BMF" belt, will be created for the contest between Masvidal and Diaz, which headlines New York's Madison Square Garden on Saturday, November 2.

READ MORE: Bad Motherf*ckers: Who are the next contenders for the UFC's 'BMF' title?

Speaking to TMZ Sports about the value of the belt, White said: "That's a good question. I think the belt's like 50 grand."

And the UFC president also said The Rock will be on hand to present the belt after the former WWE superstar answered Jorge Masvidal's original suggestion by saying he would love to be there to do it.

White continued: "He's gonna (present the belt).

"He's taking my job. Listen, if The Rock wants to do it, The Rock gets what The Rock wants."

Author: RT
Posted: 21-09-19
Preview The US has granted exemptions from tariffs on parts for Apple’s new Mac Pro and on some accessories made in China. This comes amid a wider easing of duties on Chinese goods, but contrasts with President Trump’s earlier remarks.
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The US has granted exemptions from tariffs on parts for Apple’s new Mac Pro and on some accessories made in China. This comes amid a wider easing of duties on Chinese goods, but contrasts with President Trump’s earlier remarks.

According to the notices published by the Office of the US Trade Representative in the Federal Register on Friday, Apple has been given approval for 10 of its 15 requests for tariff exemptions.

Also on rt.com
Amid trade dust-up, Apple plans to move Mac Pro manufacturing to China – report

Although the company builds its new Mac Pro computers on US soil, some structural parts for the devices – like, for instance, circuit boards– are manufactured in China and therefore are subject to Trump’s 25% levies. These circuit boards have been granted a tariff exemption, as have Mac Pro stainless-steel exterior enclosure, finished Magic Mice and Magic Trackpads. Several requests are still under a substantive review by the trade regulator.

Apple had filed formal requests for the exemptions with President Donald Trump’s administration back in July. The company’s reasoning for the desired exemptions in its initial filing was that “there are no other sources for th[ese] proprietary, Apple-designed component[s].” Apple argued that tariffs on its products could reduce its contribution to the US economy and “weigh on Apple’s global competitiveness” as Chinese tech manufacturers are the main competitors of the products Apple makes.

Also on rt.com
Dog leashes, plastic straws & Christmas lights: Trump exempts 400+ Chinese goods from tariff list

However, following Apple’s request for special tariff consideration, President Trump initially tweeted that the company would not be given any waivers and told it to make its Mac Pro in the United States.

Apple will not be given Tariff wavers (sic), or relief, for Mac Pro parts that are made in China. Make them in USA, no Tariffs!” Trump’s tweet stated. Following that tweet, the company even saw a slight drop in its shares.

Apart from Apple components, Friday’s tariff exemption list includes some 400 types of Chinese products. The move to exempt these goods stems from some 1,100 exclusion requests made by a vast number of companies in the United States over the past several months. The list includes a range of computer components used not only by Apple, but by nearly all computer manufacturers, including chips from Intel Corp, Nvidia Corp and Advanced Micro Devices Inc, considered some of the most expensive parts in the machines. All exemptions, however, are temporary, set to expire by this time next year.

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

Author: RT
Posted: 21-09-19
Preview The chief of Iran’s elite Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) has vowed to shoot down all drones violating the nation’s airspace and repel any aggressor. The warning came after the US accused Iran of hitting Saudi oil sites.
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The chief of Iran’s elite Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) has vowed to shoot down all drones violating the nation’s airspace and repel any aggressor. The warning came after the US accused Iran of hitting Saudi oil sites.

Tehran is ready for “any scenario,” and remains determined to fight back “until the full destruction of any aggressor,” IRGC commander, Major General Hossein Salami, told reporters at a news conference on Saturday.

“Whoever wants their land to become the main battlefield, go ahead,” he said.

Salami made his comments while showcasing the pieces of a US RQ-4 Global Hawk spy drone that was downed by the IRGC over the Strait of Hormuz in June. Iran claimed the drone had violated its airspace, though this was disputed by Washington. Salami vowed to “take action” against all foreign drones violating the nation’s borders.

“If anyone crosses our borders, we will hit them,” he stated.

Also on rt.com
A hole in a damaged pipeline is seen at Saudi Aramco oil facility in Khurais, Saudi Arabia, September 20, 2019. © Hamad l Mohammed / Reuters
Even Saudis don’t believe fiction of Iranian attacks on oil plants – Zarif

Tensions between Iran and the US flared up once again last week, after armed drones struck two Saudi oil refineries, temporarily crippling the kingdom’s oil production.

Yemen’s Houthi rebels were quick to admit making the attack. The US and the Saudis, however, blamed Iran, which strongly rejected having been involved in the drone strikes.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo indicated that Washington may increase its ‘maximum pressure’ against Tehran and build an anti-Iranian coalition. Iranian military officials responded by renewing their pledge to fiercely retaliate if attacked.

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Author: RT
Posted: 21-09-19
Preview Yellow Vest protesters seeking respite from tear gas in a Paris train station were accompanied by an unexpected live soundtrack as a talented pianist played on nearby, undeterred by the melée around him.
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Yellow Vest protesters seeking respite from tear gas in a Paris train station were accompanied by an unexpected live soundtrack as a talented pianist played on nearby, undeterred by the melée around him.

Playing on a public piano, the musician added a dreamlike quality to the tense situation.

🔴 Manifestation sauvage et fond de piano : séquence surréaliste gare Saint-Lazare à Paris.

Suivez notre live ➡ https://t.co/xJldSDYqoJ#acte45 #GiletsJaunes pic.twitter.com/ou4pEyRIS7

— Yahoo Actualités (@YahooActuFR) September 21, 2019

Demonstrators, taking to the streets for the 45th week of nationwide protests, sought refuge inside the capital’s Saint-Lazare station after police fired tear gas outside to disperse crowds.

Security forces then followed the protesters into the station in an attempt to flush them out and evacuate the building.

#GiletsJaunes : des gaz lacrymogènes utilisés pour disperser des manifestants près de #SaintLazare#Acte45 #Paris

⚡️EN CONTINU :
➡️ https://t.co/iTPuhpCLAN pic.twitter.com/ihENy7mUaq

— RT France (@RTenfrancais) September 21, 2019

Police arrested 90 people on Saturday morning, according to official figures, and over 7,000 officers have been deployed in Paris alone for Saturday’s rallies.

Also on rt.com
A protester throws a projectile during clashes with police during anti-government demonstration in Nantes, France on September 14, 2019.
Tear gas, water cannons, injuries: Chaos erupts in Nantes amid Yellow Vests rally (VIDEOS, PHOTOS)

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Author: RT
Posted: 21-09-19
Preview While the ‘mainstream’ global economy is struggling with deflation and negative interest rates ‘insanity,’ bitcoin seems to be entering the stage as an answer to economic problems, an expert has told RT.
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While the ‘mainstream’ global economy is struggling with deflation and negative interest rates ‘insanity,’ bitcoin seems to be entering the stage as an answer to economic problems, an expert has told RT.

Bonds are a bubble,” Australia-based bitcoin podcaster Stephan Livera told RT’s Keiser Report, stating the same about fiat money and even overvalued stocks. He claims the only thing that’s not in a bubble is bitcoin.

Bitcoin is the answer to these bubbles. They offer cheap and available credit opportunity, while under the hard money such as the gold or bitcoin standard, we would see much less credit available and more of a true pricing,” Livera explains, noting that this is the major advantage of bitcoin in the long run, when people want to see their wealth safely stored and not easily wasted.

Livera is an adept of the Austrian school of economics, which states that prices are distributed by subjective factors like a person’s preference to buy or not to buy a particular good. He says bitcoin is the money of the future, which will help eliminate the trouble with existing mainstream economics – over time.

From an Austrian economics point of view, one can explain why fixed money supply is not necessarily a problem, and why problems like deflation and so on in the mainstream economics point of view are not such a problem within the Austrian economics. I call it the bitcoin Austrian perspective,” the expert said.

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

Author: RT
Posted: 21-09-19
Preview Moscow showcased its multiple rocket launchers and mine-clearing vehicles during a massive military drill with China and India.
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Moscow showcased its multiple rocket launchers and mine-clearing vehicles during a massive military drill with China and India.

The video, released by the Zvezda TV channel on Friday, starts with several Solntsepyok (Blazing Sun) self-propelled multiple rocket launchers positioning themselves along the road. Each vehicle can fire up to 24 missiles before reloading. The launchers are seen barraging the nearby field with rapid fire as the target area immediately gets showered by large blasts, which quickly turn into clouds of grey smoke.

In a separate footage, the army showcases its UR-77 Meteorit (Meteorite) mine-clearing vehicles, also known by the name Zmey Gorynych – called after a fire-breathing, three-headed dragon from Slavic folklore. They launch long mine-clearing line charges across the field. Once the charges detonate, they set off the mines planted in the area, creating a wall of fire.

Both videos were filmed during the large-scale Tsentr-2019 (Center-2019) exercise in southern Russia and Central Asia, in which China and India are also participating.

Also on rt.com
© Sputnik / Vladimir Astapkovich
Center-2019: 128,000 troops participate in massive Russia, China & India drill (VIDEOS, PHOTOS)

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Author: RT
Posted: 21-09-19
Preview The Venezuelan government has released what it says is more evidence of Western-backed opposition leader Juan Guaido’s ties to notorious Colombian drug lords and paramilitaries.
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The Venezuelan government has released what it says is more evidence of Western-backed opposition leader Juan Guaido’s ties to notorious Colombian drug lords and paramilitaries.

On Friday, Venezuela’s Communication and Information Minister Jorge Rodriguez revealed a video of what he said was Guaido mingling with members of Los Rastrojos criminal syndicate and paramilitary group during his trip to Colombia in February. The footage shows a smiling Guaido posing with the alleged cartel members, riding alongside them in an SUV towards a helicopter.

Gob Bolivariano capturó a Nandito, quien fue el autor de las fotografías entre @jguaido y narcoparamilitares de los rastrojos. Testimonio revelador de los nexos entre @jguaido y narcoparamilitares, así como coordinación de los rastrojos con @IvanDuque https://t.co/Me91UTtPIu

— Jorge Rodríguez (@jorgerpsuv) September 20, 2019

Rodriguez claimed that the cartel facilitated Guaido’s trip, including his meetings with Colombian leadership, which openly backs him. A Colombian NGO previously released photos of the opposition leader with the alleged gangsters, and similar pictures were later published in Venezuela. During Friday’s briefing, Rodriguez showed yet another batch of similar photos of Guaido posing with and hugging various casually-dressed men, whom the Venezuelan government identifies as Los Rastrojos members.

Among the men photographed with Guaido is Ivan Posso Pedrozo, aka ‘Nandito,’ the cartel’s logistics and finance officer. He was captured by Venezuela near the Colombian border in September. The government released an interrogation video, in which Pedrozo admitted organizing Guaido’s travel through Colombia.

Also on rt.com
FILE PHOTO. Juan Guaido during a news conference in Cucuta, Colombia February 23, 2019. ©REUTERS / Luisa Gonzalez
Driving to Colombia? New photos show Juan Guaido in car with ‘drug cartel gangster’

The gangsters planned to start riots along the border as a distraction, while they smuggled Guaido into Colombia, Rodriguez said. He also claimed that they have taken and retained photos with the opposition leader as an “insurance policy” so the cartel could blackmail the politician if he comes to power in Venezuela.

Guaido denied getting help from the syndicate and said its members were among hundreds of people with whom he posed for selfies while crossing the border. He further dismissed Rodriguez’s allegation as “fake news” being spread by the government to smear him.

Also on rt.com
FILE PHOTO © REUTERS/Carlos Jasso
‘Shameful heritage of neocolonialism’: Venezuela slams US invoking military aid treaty

The speaker of the opposition-controlled parliament, Guaido was declared ‘interim president’ in January, challenging the incumbent Nicolas Maduro. Guaido’s claim was quickly backed by the US and its allies in Europe and South America, including Venezuela’s neighbors, Colombia and Brazil. Countries like China, Russia, Iran and Turkey continue to recognize Maduro as the legitimate leader of Venezuela.

Guaido and his supporters have made several calls for the army and police to join them in toppling Maduro, but they remained loyal to the government.

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Author: RT
Posted: 21-09-19
Preview Oil markets went for a wild ride this week in the aftermath of the drone strike on one of the world’s most important crude processing facilities.
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Oil markets went for a wild ride this week in the aftermath of the drone strike on one of the world’s most important crude processing facilities.

The attack led to Brent crude futures spiking by 20 percent in early Monday morning trading. Despite the severity of the supply outage (some 5.7 million bpd), Saudi Arabian and OPEC sources quickly reaffirmed the markets that crude flows wouldn’t be upended.

As a result, prices fell 6 percent on Tuesday morning, and continued to fall on bearish inventory that same day.

Also on rt.com
A hole in a damaged pipeline is seen at Saudi Aramco oil facility in Khurais, Saudi Arabia, September 20, 2019. © Hamad l Mohammed / Reuters
Even Saudis don’t believe fiction of Iranian attacks on oil plants – Zarif

Riyadh was quick to confirm to some of its Asian trading partners that it would be able to supply all contracted volumes. Thus far, there have been no reports of failed loading/delivery, even though rumors emerged on Thursday morning that the Saudis had requested to buy additional crude oil volumes from Iraq. True or not, Saudi Aramco sources were quick to deny that this wasn’t the case.

The US, China trade war and concerns about the global economy have, for months, fueled bearish sentiment in markets, but this week, albeit briefly, traders’ attention returned to the supply side of the equation. 

The central questions this week are: how quickly can Saudi Arabia restore its production capacity and how severe is this supply outage in reality?

Although they can’t tell the entire story, Brent spreads can shed a light on what the most informed oil buyers currently think. 

At the start of the curve, the 1-month Brent spread is trading at 107-cents backwardated, suggesting that the outage will last at least a few weeks. The 2month/3month spread is trading at 94-cents backwardated, the 3month/4month spread is trading at 67 cents backwardated and the 4month/5month Brent spread is trading at 49 cents backwardated. We have to go all the way out to the 7month/8month spread to find a diff that is trading at less than 40-cents of backwardation. The strong backwardation in the futures price curve here suggests that major oil buyers don’t fully believe the Saudi argument that it will restore full production by the end of September.

Bearish sentiment in August nearly led to a contango situation in the market, and while many analysts still believe that the second half of 2019 will see relative tightness in crude markets, sentiment matters. 

While bullish sentiment lifted the futures price curve on Monday, the tides changed on Wednesday with the price difference between one-month and 7-month Brent contracts narrowing rapidly, suggesting a more bearish outlook.

Also on rt.com
Workers are seen at the damaged site of Saudi Aramco oil facility in Abqaiq, Saudi Arabia on September 20, 2019.
We stop, you stop! Houthis offer Saudi Arabia mutual halt to strikes in wake of devastating oil-plant attacks

While uncertainty remains about how Washington and Riyadh will respond to what they have identified as attacks that came from Iranian soil, with Iranian equipment, there seems to be some kind of consensus that market remains adequately supplied.

For now, the geopolitical risk premium in oil remains intact, and oil continues to trade slightly higher, but unless the Persian Gulf is shocked by another attack like the one on Abqaiq and the Khurais field, prices aren’t likely to skyrocket again in the short-term.

This article was originally published on Oilprice.com

Author: RT
Posted: 21-09-19
Preview Saudi Arabia may have joined the US in blaming Iran for last week’s attack on its oil facilities, but the kingdom’s response clearly shows it doesn’t believe it to be true, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has said.
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Saudi Arabia may have joined the US in blaming Iran for last week’s attack on its oil facilities, but the kingdom’s response clearly shows it doesn’t believe it to be true, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has said.

“Since the Saudi regime has blamed Iran – baseless as that is – for the attacks on its oil facilities, curious that they retaliated against Hodaideh in Yemen today – breaking a UN ceasefire,” Zarif wrote on Twitter.

It is clear that even the Saudis themselves don't believe the fiction of Iranian involvement

A key Saudi oil facility was seriously damaged last Saturday in a raid by drones and cruise missiles, leading to a sharp drop in production. Yemen’s Houthi rebels claimed responsibility for the attack, but Washington and Riyadh insist the group was incapable of launching such an elaborate assault, and accused Iran of being the perpetrator.

Despite this, Saudi Arabia launched bombing sorties in Yemen targeting the Houthi-controlled port of Hodeidah on Friday, which the Yemeni rebels called a dangerous escalation that could “blow up” a UN-negotiated truce between the two parties.

The Saudis have been intervening in Yemen since 2015 in an attempt to return a Riyadh-friendly president to power. The conflict is perceived by Saudi Arabia as a proxy war against Iran, its regional arch-rival. Tehran denies supporting the Houthis militarily.

Also on rt.com
MIM-104 Patriot PAC-3 surface-to-air missile system
US sending more troops & air defenses to ‘protect’ Saudi Arabia & UAE – Pentagon

Washington responded to the attack on Saudi oil infrastructure by deploying more troops to the Middle East. The incident was a major embarrassment for the US since its costly air defense systems failed to protect the site from the drones and missiles. Saudi Arabia is a leading buyer of American arms and has been using them extensively in Yemen, but last week’s debacle questions whether those investments were wise.

The US is also set to impose additional sanctions on the Iranian banking system in retaliation. Washington framed these as measures necessary to stop the funding of terrorism by Tehran, but Zarif said the US wants to stifle Iran’s foreign trade and “its access to food and medicine.”

“This move is unacceptable and dangerous,” the Iranian official said.

Iran is already living under increasingly harsh sanctions from the US, which the Trump administration has been ratcheting up since the president’s first months in power. 

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Author: RT
Posted: 21-09-19
Preview Mars may be hiding water deep beneath its surface, NASA’s InSight lander has discovered – and the planet’s magnetic field has a life of its own, pulsing at the stroke of midnight in a manner utterly unlike anything found on Earth.
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Mars may be hiding water deep beneath its surface, NASA’s InSight lander has discovered – and the planet’s magnetic field has a life of its own, pulsing at the stroke of midnight in a manner utterly unlike anything found on Earth.

There may be liquid water on Mars after all – dozens of miles inside the planet, according to magnetic measurements from the InSight lander, which has been exploring Mars since landing in November. The probe’s magnetometer seems to register an electrically conductive layer up to 62 miles beneath the surface, appearing similar to how water deep within the Earth appears using terrestrial magnetometers.

Also on rt.com
© ESA/Roscosmos/CaSSIS
Ridged red planet: Sand dunes of Mars revealed in stunning new detailed PHOTO

Unfortunately for would-be Martian colonists eager to find out whether there really is water down there, InSight can only drill 16 feet beneath the surface, leaving a potential oasis woefully out of reach.

In another intriguing discovery, the red planet’s magnetic field wiggles mysteriously at midnight, according to measurements from InSight’s magnetometer, which found that field to be 20 times stronger than what had been predicted based on previous orbital measurements. The pulses last as long as two hours.

Also on rt.com
© CNSA/CLEP
China reveals new PHOTOS of strange substance from dark side of the moon

Scientists suspect a protrusion in the weak magnetic envelope surrounding the planet is “plucking” the surface magnetic field to cause the eerily-timed pulsations, suggesting the anomaly aligns with InSight’s perch in Elysium Planitia every night at midnight, causing the magnetometer to go wild as if on a timer.

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Author: RT
Posted: 21-09-19
Preview The US is sending reinforcements to Saudi Arabia and UAE to protect what it believes to be its own assets, and put additional pressure on Iran, increasing the risk of a sudden and devastating regional war, analysts told RT.
Read Full Article at RT.com

The US is sending reinforcements to Saudi Arabia and UAE to protect what it believes to be its own assets, and put additional pressure on Iran, increasing the risk of a sudden and devastating regional war, analysts told RT.

​The Persian Gulf is a powder keg, and any aggressive action by the Saudis or any other regional player “could trigger some sort of conflict that draws the US in” – but Americans are unlikely to fall in line with yet another war, especially to defend such a repugnant ally, Colin Cavell, associate professor of political science at Bluefield State College, told RT.

Washington is putting itself in a “very tenuous situation” and even though it will likely try to sell potential war with the usual line that they’re “fighting for freedom and democracy,” Cavell warned “there’s a pretty widespread feeling among US troops that that’s not the case.”

The US is trying to protect what it considers to be their oil, their strategic lifeline.

Also on rt.com
© Reuters / Carlos Barria
‘We are not your prostitutes!’ Tulsi Gabbard slams Trump for ‘pimping out’ US soldiers to Saudi Arabia

The embarrassing attack that crippled Saudi oil production has once again proved that Riyadh is extremely dependent on the US militarily, be it arms supplies, training or operational support, Richard Becker of the US anti-war and social justice ANSWER coalition told RT.

“The Saudi military has bought hundreds of billions of dollars in weaponry from US manufacturers,” Becker explained. “It is clear that the Saudi military is not a strong military and it very much needs the US there.”

That’s an essential part of the relationship between the US and Saudi Arabia.

With Iran, which is realistically no match to the US militarily, already surrounded by dozens of bases and other assets, including submarines and aircraft carriers, another handful of troops makes little difference, but nevertheless escalates the crisis, Becker believes.

That’s the real provocation, they are not there to defend the US from Iran… They are a form of pressure and control over Iran.

Also on rt.com
MIM-104 Patriot PAC-3 surface-to-air missile system
US sending more troops & air defenses to ‘protect’ Saudi Arabia & UAE – Pentagon

And the argument that sending American troops to Saudi Arabia will somehow help bring Iran to the negotiating table, as Defense Secretary Mark Esper claimed was one of the aims of the deployment announced on Friday, is “almost laughable,” Becker says.

What kind of enticement is there to enter negotiations if the other party has [unilaterally] broken what was in fact a treaty among six countries and Iran

“The negotiating table is with the JCPOA plus five…for Iran to agree to some separate negotiation based upon intimidation and bullying by the US is illogical,” Cavell added.

Trump can huff and he can puff but he’s not going to blow the Iranian house down.

Also on rt.com
Smoke billows from an Aramco oil facility in Abqaiq © AFP
US defense failure… Why Washington has to blame Iran over Saudi attacks

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Author: RT
Posted: 21-09-19
Preview Two teens were injured as a shooting interrupted a high school football game in Philadelphia’s Nicetown-Tioga neighborhood, forcing an evacuation of the stadium.
Read Full Article at RT.com

Two teens were injured as a shooting interrupted a high school football game in Philadelphia’s Nicetown-Tioga neighborhood, forcing an evacuation of the stadium.

The victims were rushed to the hospital after gunshots broke out behind the bleachers at Marcus Foster Memorial Stadium, where Simon Gratz High School and Imhotep Charter High School were playing a football game. In the ensuing chaos, hundreds of fans were evacuated from the stadium before the game was completed. Both victims are in stable condition, according to local media.

#BREAKING Police are investigating a shooting that broke out behind the bleachers of a football game in West Hunting Park. A 15-year-old and 14-year-old are in the hospital suffering from gun shot wounds. The latest in a live report on @CBSPhilly Video cred: @WipeTwiceVideoS pic.twitter.com/SCT4Basyim

— Kimberly Davis CBS3 (@KimberlyDavisTV) September 21, 2019

No suspect has yet been arrested and an investigation is reportedly ongoing.

DEVELOPING: Philadelphia police responding to shots fired outside a high school football game.

Happened near Germantown & W Hunting Park next to Marcus Foster Memorial Stadium. Witnesses tell me the game was in the 2nd quarter.@6abc pic.twitter.com/Sxk0geAHNv

— George Solis (@GeorgeSolis) September 21, 2019

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Author: RT
Posted: 21-09-19
Preview YouTube is reversing course – and apologizing profusely – after an attempt to strip popular channels of their verification checks nearly triggered an uprising. Management listening to the users - is this a social media first?
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YouTube is reversing course – and apologizing profusely – after an attempt to strip popular channels of their verification checks nearly triggered an uprising. Management listening to the users - is this a social media first?

YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki took to Twitter on Friday to grovel before the enraged YouTube community, apologizing for the “frustration and hurt” caused by the mass un-verification and for “missing the mark” with the rollout. “We heard loud & clear how much the badge means to you,” she tweeted, alluding to the deluge of angry comments all YouTube management accounts received on Thursday.

To our creators & users–I’m sorry for the frustration & hurt that we caused with our new approach to verification. While trying to make improvements, we missed the mark. As I write this, we're working to address your concerns & we’ll have more updates soon.

— Susan Wojcicki (@SusanWojcicki) September 20, 2019

Channels with over 100,000 subscribers that had been stripped of their badges have had them reinstated and no longer have to appeal to keep them – though “we’ll continue reviewing those channels to ensure we’re protecting creators from impersonation.

UPDATE 1: We heard loud & clear how much the badge means to you. Channels that currently have verification will now keep it without appeal. We’ll continue reviewing those channels to ensure we’re protecting creators from impersonation. More on our changes: https://t.co/B715A8xq2f

— Susan Wojcicki (@SusanWojcicki) September 20, 2019

A post on the YouTube Creator Blog explained that the platform was only trying to protect celebrities - er, creators - from impersonation, and that viewers sometimes got confused when they saw the check mark, mistaking it for endorsement from YouTube rather than verification of identity.

Also on rt.com
Images presented by Google at the official YouTube blog © https://support.google.com/youtube
‘Why does YouTube do dumb things?’: Checkmark overhaul leaves creators FURIOUS

Following Thursday’s ill-advised removal of the verification check mark from a number of popular YouTubers’ channels, social media was flooded with outraged users demanding their badge be reinstated. The change had been sprung on them with no warning, and, according to the emails they had received, there was no way to become reverified.

The reversal mollified many of the top creators who’d had the rug pulled out from under them, but Wojcicki’s tweets were still engulfed with angry YouTubers skewering her for “missed the mark” on every new YouTube “feature” rollout – especially the last year’s worth of mass deplatformings – and begging her to try consulting creators before making any huge changes next time. “Quick question, when do you think you’ve ever actually hit the mark? Genuinely curious,” sneered one commenter.

In every instance you've made everything much worse. You had one of the greatest social network websites and blew it. Even worse you continue to do so. Content creators and users have no faith in you at all. Nor should they. Your apology is meaningless without actual improvement.

— Hallcyon Bombadil, Connoisseur (@hallcyon) September 20, 2019

I know your fondness for using viewers as guinea pigs for live updates, but polling your actual community for once before making major public changes would be great.

— Girbeagly (@Girbeagly) September 20, 2019

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Author: RT
Posted: 21-09-19
Preview Facebook has suspended tens of thousands of apps for improperly using users’ personal information – orders of magnitude larger than the 400 they’d previously acknowledged – but they’ve promised to do better next time. Again.
Read Full Article at RT.com

Facebook has suspended tens of thousands of apps for improperly using users’ personal information – orders of magnitude larger than the 400 they’d previously acknowledged – but they’ve promised to do better next time. Again.

Some 69,000 apps were suspended by Facebook for potentially slurping up users’ personal info without their knowledge or consent, according to a court filing unsealed in Boston on Friday. While 59,000 of those ended up on the chopping block merely because their developers refused to comply with Facebook’s investigation, 10,000 set off alarm bells for the likelihood they misappropriated data, according to the documents, whose release triggered a damage-control blog post from the company.

The apps were suspended “for a variety of reasons,” Facebook pleaded – they weren’t necessarily “posing a threat to people.” Wherever the company found wrongdoing – such as a pair of apps that infected users’ phones with malware in a lucrative fraud scheme – they insist they’ve put a stop to it, bragging they’ve even hauled the app developers into court. Facebook has even hired more people to sniff out bad actors, so they can “review every active app with access to more than basic user information.”

Also on rt.com
© Global Look Press/ZUMAPRESS/Alexander Pohl
Facebook will bankroll an ‘independent supreme court’ to moderate your content & set censorship precedents

Perhaps most tellingly, Facebook refused to release the names of the apps or the 400 developers who manufactured them to the Massachusetts prosecutor and fought tooth and nail to keep the document revealing the extent of app developers’ privacy violations sealed. Until Friday, Facebook users had only heard of 400 app suspensions – yet time and again, after near-weekly revelations that the company has, as Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Oregon) told the New York Times on Friday, “put up a neon sign that said ‘Free Private Data,’” the company prostrates itself before regulators, lawmakers, and (almost as an afterthought) the users whose privacy has been violated, apologizing and promising they'll change.

Now that the company is under the microscope of multiple antitrust probes, lawsuits, and other legal battles, the scapegoating has begun in earnest, but these app developers are still just scapegoats – Facebook's policies were what allowed them to hoover up users' data in the first place. And Facebook doesn't want to scare away the app developers it calls “a vital part of the Facebook ecosystem,” so it admits it “won’t catch everything.” That neon sign advertising free data is still beaming away.

The same company that cooperated with the NSA to create a backdoor for the agency to spy on its users, which hired an architect of the Patriot Act as its chief lawyer while it was already knee-deep in privacy scandals, and which has stated in court that it doesn’t believe its users have a right to privacy is still trusted by billions with their private data.

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Not a free speech platform: Facebook declares it’s a ‘publisher’ & can censor whomever it wants, walking into legal trap

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Author: RT
Posted: 21-09-19
Preview Yemen’s Houthi rebels have announced a halt on strikes against Saudi Arabia, adding that they expect reciprocal steps from Riyadh. The ceasefire offer comes days after a major attack on Saudi oil refineries claimed by the Houthis.
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Yemen’s Houthi rebels have announced a halt on strikes against Saudi Arabia, adding that they expect reciprocal steps from Riyadh. The ceasefire offer comes days after a major attack on Saudi oil refineries claimed by the Houthis.

The televised announcement was made on Friday by Mahdi al-Mashat, head of the Houthi political council in Sana’a. It comes as the Saudi-led coalition launched a massive operation against “legitimate military targets” north of the port of Hodeidah, in southwestern Yemen.

READ MORE: Saudi-led coalition strikes Yemen’s Hodeidah in wake of refinery attacks claimed by Houthis

“I call on all parties from different sides of the war to engage seriously in genuine negotiations that can lead to a comprehensive national reconciliation that does not exclude anyone,” said Mashat. If the Saudis ignore the ceasefire offer and continue bombing, the group reserves its “right to respond,” he warned. 

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MIM-104 Patriot PAC-3 surface-to-air missile system
US sending more troops & air defenses to ‘protect’ Saudi Arabia & UAE – Pentagon

This is not the first instance of Houthis making a ceasefire gesture to try and stop the Saudi bombing campaign – but this time they appear to have some added leverage. The offer comes just a week after a strike on oil processing facilities in Abqaiq and Khurais halved Saudi Arabian production and spiked global oil prices by nearly 20 percent. 

The Houthis claimed responsibility for the strike, which demonstrated failure of Saudi Arabia's US-made air defenses, but Riyadh and Washington chose to blame Iran for the attack instead.

READ MORE: Riyadh gave NO PROOF Tehran launched oil-plant attack – but still ‘expects US to do its dirty work for them’

No proof of Tehran’s involvement in the launch of drones and missiles has so far been provided, with Saudi Arabia only identifying the source of the attack as somewhere in the “north.” Iran has denied any involvement in the attack.

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FILE PHOTO © US Army / Handout via Reuters
Saudi air defenses like Patriot & Aegis don’t match their advertised properties, unfit for real combat – Russian Army (MAP)

Meanwhile, the Houthis also capitalized on the attack’s outcome by promptly threatening another member of the Saud-led coalition, the UAE. Earlier this week, the rebels claimed that they’ve picked dozens of Emirati targets that would be attacked by drones unless Abu Dhabi ceases its participation in the Yemen war. 

Conflict has ravaged the Arabian peninsula country since 2015, when a coalition led by Saudi Arabia and the UAE invaded Yemen trying to reinstall the ousted pro-Saudi President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi. While they have been unable to defeat the Houthis despite their overwhelming advantage in numbers and weaponry, the war has taken a heavy toll on the people of Yemen. Tens of thousands have been killed in the conflict, while millions have been deprived of the very basic healthcare, food and clean water, with starvation and disease rampant.

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©  Reuters / Al Masira TV;  Reuters / Naif Rahma
‘Protect your glass skyscrapers’: Yemen’s Houthis claim to have NEW ATTACK DRONE & threaten UAE with DOZENS OF STRIKES

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Author: RT
Posted: 21-09-19
Preview The droning noise that the US dubbed “sonic attacks” on the unwell diplomats in Havana has previously been attributed to crickets. But the mystery symptoms prompted more studies, with one now pointing to… gases that kill insects.
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The droning noise that the US dubbed “sonic attacks” on the unwell diplomats in Havana has previously been attributed to crickets. But the mystery symptoms prompted more studies, with one now pointing to… gases that kill insects.

There might be more to the infamous story that caused a diplomatic row between Cuba on one side, and the US and Canada on the other – but it’s still not what the US government wants you to believe.

After US and Canadian personnel complained of frequent, strange grating noises and experienced symptoms including headache, nausea, hearing and memory loss during 2016 and 2017, their reports spiraled into unfounded accusations that Havana was using an unknown malicious device to “attack” the embassies. Diplomats were recalled, notes sent and diplomatic staff cut down. It went as far as President Donald Trump publicly accusing the Cuban government of ill will. Canada refrained from jumping the gun and blaming anyone for the mystery “Havana syndrome” – and it appears they were right to hesitate.

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The US Embassy on the Malecon coast in Havana, FILE PHOTO. © Global Look Press
Cuba mystery deepens as study claims US diplomats’ brains had changed

The new study, conducted by a Canadian team of researchers affiliated with the Brain Repair Centre at Dalhousie University and the Nova Scotia Health Authority, determined that the symptoms were consistent with prolonged exposure to pesticides.

The researchers have examined the Canadian “Havana syndrome” victims, including the brain of a pet dog that was in Havana during the alleged “attacks” and has since died.

The study detected different levels of brain damage in an area susceptible to neurotoxins contained in some insecticides. What’s more, the “attacks” coincided with the Zika epidemic in the Caribbean, which prompted abundant fumigation in and around places the diplomats lived. The fumigation was conducted both by Cuban and Canadian authorities, so it’s unclear who used the offending pesticides.

We report the clinical, imaging and biochemical evidence consistent with the hypothesis of over-exposure to cholinesterase inhibitors as the cause of brain injury, the study reads.

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FILE PHOTO: A bushcricket in Oregon, US © Global Look Press / Robin Loznak
Crickets strike again? Canada to halve diplomatic staff at Cuba embassy over 'mysterious illness'

At the same time, the study stressed that other causes of the sickness could not be ruled out and further research is needed. It remains unclear whether the fumigation affected the locals as well.

The new findings follow other studies that tried to explain what sounds the affected diplomats heard. In January, the University of California at Berkeley presented research suggesting the noises heard and recorded by the diplomats might have actually been nothing more than the chirping of insects – Indies short-tailed crickets in particular.

A similar theory was presented by Cuban researchers in 2017, with local scientists pinning the blame on the Jamaican field cricket, which is common to the island.

Can the media finally blame the insects, or is the mysterious Cold War-style “sonic weapon” targeting diplomats still way too appealing for headlines and political speeches? Perhaps it’s just wishful thinking, but if only some of those speeches were written by informed people in labs.

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FILE PHOTO: The US embassy in Cuba, where mysterious ‘attacks’ on US embassy staff were reported © AFP / Yamil Lage
Cue the crickets: Berkeley researcher finds Cuba ‘sonic attack’ sound is actually insects chirping

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Author: RT
Posted: 20-09-19
Preview Under a new law that just went into effect in New York, children who were not vaccinated on religious grounds will no longer be permitted to attend public elementary schools in the state.
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Under a new law that just went into effect in New York, children who were not vaccinated on religious grounds will no longer be permitted to attend public elementary schools in the state.

The new law, which was passed in June and took effect on Friday, gave parents of unvaccinated children a 14-day deadline from the start of the school year to show they had taken steps to give their children at least the first age-appropriate dose in each required immunization, such as the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine.

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© Reuters / Lindsay Wasson
US judge rejects parents’ challenge to NYC mandatory measles vaccine order

Several other states, including California, Maine, Mississippi and West Virginia, recently took the added step to eliminate vaccination exemptions for anything other than medical necessity, in an attempt to curb the worst measles outbreak the US has seen in 25 years. 

Of the more 1,241 cases in 31 states confirmed by the Centers for Disease Control as of September 2019, roughly 83% have been in New York. The outbreak has disproportionately affected the orthodox Jewish community.

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FILE PHOTO
New York City declares health emergency over measles outbreak in Williamsburg

New York schools found to be in violation of the exclusion rule face a fine of up to $2,000 per violation. A challenge to the law is still to be heard by the New York Supreme Court, however, the policy can stay in effect while the dispute continues. 

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Author: RT
Posted: 20-09-19
Preview More US troops and air defense systems are headed for the Persian Gulf to “bolster defenses” of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, the Pentagon announced after the embarrassing attack on Saudi oil facilities.
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More US troops and air defense systems are headed for the Persian Gulf to “bolster defenses” of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, the Pentagon announced after the embarrassing attack on Saudi oil facilities.

Speaking at the Pentagon on Friday, US Defense Secretary Mark Esper blamed the September 14 attack on Saudi oil facilities on Tehran, calling it a “dramatic escalation of Iranian aggression” in the region. In response to requests for assistance from Saudi Arabia and the UAE, Esper said the US will expedite the delivery of weapons and send more troops and equipment to the Gulf, primarily “air and missile defense” assets.

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FILE PHOTO © US Army / Handout via Reuters
Saudi air defenses like Patriot & Aegis don’t match their advertised properties, unfit for real combat – Russian Army (MAP)

The deployment has three objectives, according to Esper: to help bolster Saudi and Emirati defenses, “ensure the free flow of commerce” in the Persian Gulf, and “protect and defend the international rules-based order” that Iran is supposedly defying.

Exact details of the deployment are still being worked out, said General Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, adding that he could only describe it as “not thousands.”

Locations of Saudi and Emirati Patriot launchers (circles: detection zone, red: kill zone) based on data from a Russian Ministry of Defense source © RT

The newest batch of troops and missiles joins a steady stream of military assets the Pentagon has been sending to the region for months, parallel to the “maximum pressure” campaign of sanctions against Iran. Tehran has repeatedly said that any attack on Iran would be met with a disproportionate and devastating response against both US assets and allies like Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

Tehran has rejected the accusations of involvement in the September 14 attack, the responsibility for which was claimed by the Houthi rebels in Yemen. Anonymous US officials have accused Iran of launching the attack from its territory, but neither Esper nor Dunford wanted to comment on that claim.

Esper maintained that the weapons used in the attack were “Iran-produced and not launched from Yemen,” but would not say more, except to note that Saudi Arabia was “still vulnerable to attack.”

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© Reuters / Carlos Barria
‘We are not your prostitutes!’ Tulsi Gabbard slams Trump for ‘pimping out’ US soldiers to Saudi Arabia

The strike on Aramco’s Abqaiq petroleum facilities and Khurais oil field temporarily crippled Saudi oil production, but resulted in no human casualties, and Saudi officials insisted that things would get back to normal by the end of September. 

Wherever the drones and missiles came from, the attack was a major embarrassment to the Saudis – as well as the US, which has supplied the Kingdom with most of its air defense hardware. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who has just returned from Saudi Arabia, tried to dismiss the issue by saying that “some of the finest [weapons] in the world don’t always pick things up.”

The Russian military has taken note of the lack of performance by the US-supplied Patriot and other air defense systems, and President Vladimir Putin even joked that the Saudis ought to consider buying the Russian missiles instead, following the lead of Iran and Turkey.

On Friday, the Houthis announced they would stop their attacks on Saudi Arabia if the Saudi-led coalition would halt its operations in Yemen. Riyadh has not officially responded to the offer.

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Workers are seen at the damaged site of Saudi Aramco oil facility in Abqaiq, Saudi Arabia on September 20, 2019.
We stop, you stop! Houthis offer Saudi Arabia mutual halt to strikes in wake of devastating oil-plant attacks

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Author: RT
Posted: 20-09-19
Preview The largest shopping center in Vladivostok has gone up in flames. Emergency services are trying to put out the fire, while the shocked residents of the largest city in Russia’s Far East are posting images on social media.
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The largest shopping center in Vladivostok has gone up in flames. Emergency services are trying to put out the fire, while the shocked residents of the largest city in Russia’s Far East are posting images on social media.

It is unclear how many people may have been inside the mall when it caught fire, in the early hours of Saturday local time. There were no reports of casualties.

The fire appears to have broken out in one of the stores, and quickly spread to the rest of the facility, affecting over 1,000 square meters (10,700 square feet) of space, according to local authorities.

Ребят, там тц Максим горит pic.twitter.com/XK9Fd3ydpp

— просто Алина (@roseisincoma) September 20, 2019

News of the Vladivostok fire comes on the heels of a massive blaze that gutted the main shopping center in the Chechen capital of Grozny on Thursday. The Grand Park mall took twelve fire trucks and about 50 emergency personnel to contain.

⚡Появилось видео пожара в торговом центре Владивостока: https://t.co/euX0z05lxf#пожар #торговыйцентр #происшествия #Владивосток pic.twitter.com/Tdx5uyOSBd

— Пятый канал Новости (@5tv) September 20, 2019

Russians are still traumatized by the March 2018 conflagration at the Zimnaya Vishnya mall in the central Siberan city of Kemerovo, where 64 people – including 41 children – perished. Investigators later found that the emergency doors inside the converted factory were locked, preventing the evacuation and contributing to deaths from smoke inhalation. 

Vladivostok is a city of some 600,000 residents and the capital of Primorsky region, on the shores of the Sea of Japan. It is the home to Russia’s Pacific Fleet.

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Author: RT
Posted: 20-09-19
Preview The United Nations is being urged by more than 1,000 of its employees to reduce its carbon footprint by cutting down on perks, such as business-class flights and travel allowances.
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The United Nations is being urged by more than 1,000 of its employees to reduce its carbon footprint by cutting down on perks, such as business-class flights and travel allowances.

Staff members are calling on the organization to take a leaf out of its own climate change manual and make changes to address the group’s carbon footprint, according to Reuters which obtained the letter addressed to the UN’s Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. 

© Reuters / Denis Balibouse
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© AFP / Thomas B. Shea
'Catastrophic flooding' threatens heart of Texas oil industry

Our commitments need to be more ambitious and at least as concrete as those of the UN Member States and non-party stakeholders attending the UN Climate Action Summit,” the letter, by a group called the ‘Young UN,’ read. 

More than 40,000 people are employed by the UN across 60 countries which, together, contribute to a staggering carbon footprint that is greater than several of its member states. In 2017, its own data showed the organization emitted 1.86 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent.

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© Rosturism
Major UN-led global tourism industry event closes in Russia

The Young UN says one of the main in-house issues that need to be tackled is travel, which accounts for nearly half of the organization’s emissions. Travel allowances should be cut, says the group, as the daily fee covering food and accommodation act as a staff incentive. Employees should be rewarded for downgrading their business class seats, the group suggests. 

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Author: RT
Posted: 20-09-19