Odds and Ends 

Why Would Russia, Chinaand IranPlan Joint Naval Exercises?

KARACHI, PakistanThe waters around the Arabian Peninsula have calmed for the moment, but preparations for combat continue, with joint exercises and security conferences showing just how profoundly the regions strategic balances are shifting. As confidence declines in U.S. President Donald J. Trumps ability to navigate the difficult moral and military choices in the region, new players are entering the picture in and around the Persian Gulf. An Israeli delegation attended a U.S.-backed maritime-security conference that began Sunday in Manama with delegations from Saudi Arabia and Bahrain as a vast international…

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‘Russians never surrender’: Maria Butina arrives back in Moscow

Graduate student linked to NRA and Republicans served most of 18-month sentence for conspiring to act as a foreign agent Maria Butina, who was jailed in the US in April after admitting to working as a Russian agent, arrived in Moscow on Saturday to be greeted by her father and Russian journalists who handed her flowers. Russians never surrender, an emotional Butina told reporters at Sheremetyevo airport, flanked by her father and a Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman. Clutching a bouquet of white roses, the 30-year-old graduate student thanked her supporters…

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Moscow Cops Raid Offices of Putin Opponent Alexei Navalny, Who Just Wont Quit

MOSCOWAt about 8 oclock Thursday night, days before municipal elections, police special forcesmen in black uniforms with faces hidden under black balaclavasbroke the door to opposition leader Alexei Navalnys Anti-Corruption Foundation, stormed in and confiscated pretty much everything: computers, cameras, film lights, cell phones, clothes, food, as well as thousands of documents important for independent election observers. Two hours later police detained nine of the foundations members in different corners of the Russian capital. During the raid Navalny, famous for his cool resistance and extraordinary stamina, took a video of…

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This Senator Tried to Make Nice With Russia. It Shut Him Out.

2Early this week, two SenatorsRon Johnson (R-WI) and Chris Murphy (D-CT)announced that the government of Russia had blocked them from entering the country for a planned official visit. The snub represented an abrupt turn of events, especially for Johnson. Just last year, the Wisconsin Republican had visited Moscow and then worked to set up talks with members of the Russian Duma, people familiar with the outreach told The Daily Beast. Those efforts havent blossomed. And neither have U.S.-Russia relations more broadly. The Kremlins decision to withhold visas from both Johnson…

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Headlines 

I left Russia to escape Putins assault on reason. Now I fear the UK is on the same path | Peter Pomarentsev

We need to develop a more collaborative political discourse, built on facts, not spin Nothing is true and everything is possible. That was my one-line attempt to sum up the politics and propaganda that enveloped Russia at the start of the 21st century. It was a world where politicians no longer cared whether they were caught lying; where old ideologies were dead and conspiracy thinking had become the new way to explain the world; where all the old political categories (socialist and liberal, conservative and communist) seemed utterly meaningless and…

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Police hijack a botnet and remotely kill 850,000 malware infections

In a rare feat, French police have hijacked and neutralized a massive cryptocurrency mining botnet controlling close to a million infected computers. The notorious Retadup malware infects computers and starts mining cryptocurrency by sapping power from a computer’s processor. Although the malware was used to generate money, the malware operators easily could have run other malicious code, like spyware or ransomware. The malware also has wormable properties, allowing it to spread from computer to computer. Since its first appearance, the cryptocurrency mining malware has spread across the world, including the…

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A Missile Explosion, a Radiation Spike, and Kremlin Secrecy Bring Back Memories of Chernobyl

MOSCOWNot much has changed in Russia since Soviet authorities hid the truth about the nuclear catastrophe in Chernobyl more than three decades ago. At the time, Soviet military commanders, KGB generals, and Communist Party leaders were terrified theyd get sacked or end up in the Gulag if the truth came out, so they preferred to lie to the public, delaying the evacuation when radiation equivalent of 500 Hiroshima bombs was released into the atmosphere. Today, it seems the generals of President Vladimir Putins Russia have not learned the dangers of…

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Senate Intelligence Committee releases first volume of its investigation into Russian election hacking

The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence today released the first volume of its bipartisan investigation into Russia’s attempts to interfere with the 2016 U.S. elections. Helmed by Select Committee Chairman Richard Burr, the Republican from North Carolina, and Virginia Democratic Senator Mark Warner, who serves as Vice Chairman, the committee’s report Russian Efforts Against Election InfrastructureThrough two and a half years the committee has held 15 open hearings, interviewed over 200 witnesses, and reviewed nearly 400,000 documents, according to a statement and will be publishing other volumes from its investigation…

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Taron Egerton speaks out against Rocketman scene cuts in Russia

Actor who stars in Elton John biopic says he is crestfallen at removal of gay scenes Taron Egerton, the star of the Elton John biopic, Rocketman,has said he is dismayed that gay scenes have been cut from the film in Russia. Egerton, who has won praise for his portrayal of John in the film, Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/film/2019/jun/01/taron-egerton-speaks-out-against-rocketman-gay-scene-cuts-in-russia

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‘It’s an outrage’: Putin attacks 18-month prison term for Maria Butina

Russian president says sentence an attempt by US to save face after Butina found guilty of conspiring to infiltrate US conservative circles Vladimir Putin on Saturday described as an outrage the sentencing of Russian gun rights activist Maria Butina to 18 months in prison in the US, calling her treatment a travesty of justice. The Russian president described the sentencing as an attempt by the US to save face in his first public comments in the wake of Butinas sentencing in on Friday. Her case has been high-profile amid the…

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Maria Butina sentenced to 18 months for trying to infiltrate US right and NRA

Russian, 30, admitted conspiracy to act as a Russian agent after building a network that reached into Donald Trumps circle A federal judge sentenced the Russian gun-rights activist Maria Butina to 18 months in prison on Friday, after she tried to infiltrate US conservative groups and the National Rifle Association to promote Russian political interests around the 2016 election. After serving time in prison, Butina, 30, would be deported, a US district court judge said in a ruling the Russian embassy in Washington attacked as political and driven by repressive…

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Kirsten Gillibrand pledges to not use hacked information in 2020 presidential campaign

Sen. Gillibrand felt compelled to let everyone know she wouldn't take info from the Russians.Image: Kena Betancur/Getty Images Donald Trump set such a low bar during the 2016 election that one Democratic candidate is pledging not to use stolen or hacked information from foreign actors in the 2020 race. This is how we live now, folks. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand issued the detailed pledge on Tuesday. While many Democratic candidates, including Gillibrand, went on the record with the Daily Beast in February saying they wouldn’t use hacked material in their respective…

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Whats Trump Up to Amid Mueller Report Mania? Hanging With Kid Rock

After uttering his no collusion mantra at least The New York Times, he played golf and had lunch with Kid Rock at Mar-a-Lago. With much of Washington, D.C. in an 11th hour frenzy since Mueller delivered hisreportedly in tow as Muellers report landed. But he has not made a peep on Twitter or otherwise commented on the end of the Russia investigation. Sources cited by the Times say his lawyers and aides have urged him to keep quiet and count on Attorney General William Barr to handle the report. While…

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Trumpworld Gloats About Mueller: The Fat Lady Has Sung

Trumpworld spent Sunday doing the unthinkable: using Robert Mueller to dunk on Democrats. There was a collective sigh of relief among Trump loyalistsand a very public victory lapin the hours after Attorney General William Barr no evidence of collusion between President Trump and Russia and inconclusive findings over whether Trump obstructed the investigation. As Washington waits for Barr to release a version of Muellers full reportwhich he is expected to do in the near futureDemocrats made clear that Sunday was just the beginning of the fight. While top party leaders…

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Trump provokes global anger by recognising Israel’s claim to Golan Heights

Russia, Iran and Turkey condemn US president while Syria vows to recapture territory lost in 1967 war Syria has vowed to retake the Golan Heights as Donald Trumps call for the US to recognise the occupied territory as part of Israel elicited strong responses from Russia, Turkey and Iran. The president ended half a century of US foreign policy and broke from post-second world war international consensus that forbids territorial conquest during war said on Friday that the country was now more determined to liberate it by all possible means…

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