‘Sheer evil’ pedophile football coach Barry Bennell handed 30 years in jail

Pedophile former football coach and scout Barry Bennell, described as “sheer evil” and the “devil incarnate,” has been sentenced to 30 years in jail with one year on license for abusing dozens of youth players over three decades.

Bennell was told by the judge during sentencing at Liverpool Crown Court on Monday that he had inflicted “the maximum impact upon your victims” and that he may well die in prison, the Guardian reported.

Victims reportedly cried “yes” as the sentence was read out.

The former Manchester City scout and coach for English lower-league club Crewe Alexandra was present in court for the first time during his five-week trial, having previously appeared only via video link.

Bennell rarely looked up from the floor as once promising footballers he molested and raped, now in their 40s and 50s, read out victim impact statements in court.

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© Phil Noble

Many detailed their struggles with depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder, attacks, flashbacks and nightmares following their ordeals.

At his trial last week, the 64-year-old Bennell was described as an “industrial scale child molester” who had an “almost insatiable appetite for boys” as he was found guilty of 43 counts of child sex offences, having admitted a further seven charges, carried out from 1979 to 1990 on 12 young boys.

During the trial, another 86 victims came forward to speak of their abuse at the hands of Bennell, which police are currently considering in the public interest to pursue.

He has previously served three separate jail terms for child sex crimes. In 1994 he was arrested during a football trip to Florida and subsequently convicted of sexual abuse offenses in the US. He was also convicted in the UK in 1998 and 2015.

Sentencing, judge Clement Goldstone told Bennell: “To those boys you appeared as a god… in reality you were the devil incarnate. You stole their childhood and their innocence to satisfy your own perversions.”

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Saudi Arabia says European businesses are helping Iran finance terrorism

Riyadh has accused European firms doing business in Iran of enriching the country’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and therefore supporting its military activities in the Middle East.

“We believe that a large percentage of the Iranian economy is controlled by the Revolutionary Guards and companies associated with the guards. And we believe that any dealings with those companies only serve to enrich the Revolutionary Guards and cause them to cause more mischief within the region and the world,” Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir told CNBC.

The claims come as Iran has inked deals worth of billions dollars with European companies since international sanctions were lifted in exchange for limitations on its nuclear program. A whole range of European giants, including Airbus, Siemens, Peugeot and Total have signed major contracts with Iranian state and private companies.

The Revolutionary Guard is reportedly Iran’s most powerful security entity, which holds control over a significant share of the country’s economy and has huge influence within its political system. The military branch has been accused of backing groups like Hezbollah around the Middle East.

The comment by the Saudi official echoes similar claims by US national security advisor H.R. McMaster, who said that European nations doing business with Iran were writing a blank check to the IRGC.

Al-Jubeir also said that the 2015 deal failed to resolve the issue of Iran’s “radical behavior.”“They also do not deal with the issue of Iran’s support for terrorism,” he stated.

Tehran has repeatedly denied accusations of sponsoring terrorism and that it is abiding by all the parameters of the nuclear agreement – a claim being backed up by the UN inspection body. Moreover, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif accused the US of jeopardizing the deal.

“I believe President Trump has tried to walk away from that deal from day one of his presidency, and he has done everything in bad faith to prevent Iran from enjoying the benefits of the deal already. So we believe the United States is already in violation of very serious and important provisions of the nuclear deal,” Zarif said, as quoted by CNBC.

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Brit died after Egyptian hospital turns off life support due to unpaid medical bills, inquest hears

A British man has died after an Egyptian hospital refused to continue his treatment, citing his void travel insurance. Adrian King’s family tried to raise £7,000 (US$ 9,800) in 11 days but were too late, an inquest has heard.

King from Stafford was holidaying with a friend in Hurghada on Egypt’s east coast when he fell ill with suspected kidney failure, the inquest heard.

The 39-year-old was taken to a nearby hospital, subsequently slipping into a coma. The staff at the Hurghada hospital initially treated with him dialysis and a life support machine. Staff soon found out that his insurance was invalid. King had not declared a stomach infection two years before the trip, and his provider said it could not continue to back treatment.

The machines that were keeping him alive were then turned off. 

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© Free Laura Plummer

Adrian’s dad, Charles Bumford, told the hearing: “A man at the hospital stood in my son’s room and told me: ‘The insurance is null and void – you pay now or I switch off the machines.’

“I didn’t have the £7,000 [$ 9,800] he was asking for at that time. As he walked out of the room he started switching things off.”

“I cannot believe that the British Consulate cannot do more for a British citizen. To give no answer to the question, “why can’t you do something?” I think that is really shocking.”

Nicola Wright, who was on holiday with King, stated that as the situation worsened the hospital failed to provide her with information.

“They did the second dialysis and then said that the insurance was voided,” she told the inquest.

“They never said he had a cardiac arrest or anything, they said it was stopping, because the funding was stopped. That’s when they said they wouldn’t do anymore dialysis and from there he passed away.”

No autopsy was conducted on Adrian after he died in May last year.

Egyptian authorities embalmed his body for it to be repatriated back to the UK but the family had to raise the funds to pay for their son’s return.

Coroner Andrew Haigh said: “The cause of his death is a combination of kidney failure, the collapse in the hot desert, followed by limited medical treatment.

“I do propose sending a report to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in this country. There is the potential there could be further casualties.”

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Wish you were here: Facebook reckons postcards can verify location of election ad buyers

In a bid to combat foreign actors purchasing adverts related to US election candidates Facebook has announced it will roll back the years and resort to using postcards to verify the identity and location of ad buyers.

The company revealed their retro plans one day after US Special Counsel Robert Mueller  confirmed 13 Russians and three Russian entities had been indicted for allegedly meddling in the 2016 US presidential election in a bid to promote eventual winner Donald Trump over his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton.

Facebook has long been accused by US lawmakers of not doing enough to spot alleged Russian operatives using its platform to spread divisive political content and disinformation on the social network.

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© Ilya Pitalev

Under the new rules anyone wishing to buy an election advert, specifically mentioning a candidate running for federal office, will be sent a postcard containing a specific code which they will need to share in order to complete their purchase, confirming their location and identity.

“If you run an ad mentioning a candidate, we are going to mail you a postcard and you will have to use that code to prove you are in the United States,” Reuters cites Katie Harbath, Facebook’s global director of policy programs, as saying on Saturday.

Though Harbath admitted that it “won’t solve everything,” it was the best idea Facebook boffins could come up with it. However, the company did not offer any solutions as to how they could prevent potential crafty Russian sleuths from setting up local mailing addresses and hiring US citizens or dispatching sleeper agents to check on them.

RT.com reached out to Facebook for comment but the company had yet to reply at the time of publication.

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‘Part of your body’: Japanese scientists reveal on-skin display

A team of Japanese scientists has developed an ultra-thin elastic LED display that can comfortably be worn over the skin. The device can be used to take body readings and receive simple messages.

The researchers from the University of Tokyo and Dai Nippon Printing (DNP) showcased their work at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Austin, Texas, on Saturday. The display consists of a one-millimeter-thick rubber sheet embedded with some 400 micro-LEDs that can be stretched and twisted without breaking the circuit.

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© Armin Weigel / Global Look Press

The device can be worn on the skin for a week without causing irritation, during which time its wireless communication module can transmit medical data to doctors from their patients, which is particularly useful for elderly or disabled patients who have difficulties using existing devices.

“With this, even in home-care settings, you can achieve seamless sharing of medical data with your home doctors, who then would be able to communicate back to their patients,” Professor Takao Someya, one of the project leaders, told the Japan Times.

The data can be shared to a smartphone or the cloud, and the display can also send and receive messages, including emojis. These messages can remind patients to take their medicine, but can also simply be used for keeping in touch.

“Place displays on your skin, and you would feel as if it is part of your body. When you have messages sent to your hand, you would feel emotional closeness to the sender,” said Someya.

“I think a grandfather who receives a message saying ‘I love you’ from his grandchild would feel the warmth, too.”

As of now, the display can monitor body temperature, blood pressure and myoelectricity (the electric impulses of muscles) as well as record electrocardiograms. DNP hopes to put its first model on the market within three years.

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WADA officers disrupt Russian figure skating star Zagitova’s training

Olympic figure skating gold medal contender Alina Zagitova was prevented from conducting a full training session on Monday, after a doping officer interrupted the Russian’s practice in PyeongChang.

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Evgenia Medvedeva(R) , Alina Zagitova(L) © Global Look Press

“Zagitova took to the ice as was scheduled, but several minutes later she was forced to leave the skating rink, because a doping officer ordered her to take a doping test. The training turned out to be disrupted,” a member of the Russian figure skating squad told R-Sport.

The 15-year-old star, who is making her senior debut this season, is widely considered among the favorites to clinch the Olympic title in South Korea.

A fierce battle for gold in the women’s figure skating is expected to unfold between two Russian stars, Zagitova and two-time world champion Evgenia Medvedeva, both of whom delivered remarkable routines in the team event, helping the Olympic Athletes from Russia (OAR) to win their first silver at the PyeongChang Games.

Medvedeva, 18, set a new world record in the short program, while Zagitova also displayed a near-perfect performance in the free skating event, setting a new personal best. World and European champion Medvedeva had long been unrivalled at the international level, until her equally talented teammate Zagitova broke her two-year winning streak at the 2018 European Championship in Moscow.

READ MORE: Russian figure skater Medvedeva sets world record in short program at PyeongChang

The newly crowned European champion Zagitova is able to land a rarely seen triple Lutz-triple loop combination, and she is the only skater to place all of her jumps in the second part of her routine, a step which gives her an essential advantage over the rest of competitors, as elements executed in the latter part of the routine are rewarded with extra bonuses.

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Venezuela about to launch its ‘petro’ cryptocurrency

The pre-sale of the commodity-backed digital currency ‘petro,’ which has been announced by Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, is expected to start on Tuesday. The country hopes this will help to replenish its depleted budget.

The new cryptocurrency will be limited to 100 million units, called the mene. The petro token will be backed by Venezuelan oil, gas, gold and diamond reserves. 

Venezuela’s regulator said last week that it would draw investment from Qatar, Turkey and other Middle Eastern countries, as well as from European nations and the US.

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© Christian Hartmann

The Latin American country is turning to virtual currency as a result of US sanctions, according to Venezuelan journalist and political scientist Francisco Toro.

“They have been trying to figure out ways to get around anti-money laundering sanctions provisions, and crypto is maybe one way they can do that,” he told CNBC.

“I do think that part of this is about getting investors from non-traditional lenders, from Russia and China, to put in some more money, to lend fresh cash. The financial sanctions — the US sanctions, the European sanctions — are not the main reason Venezuela can’t raise financing.”

The ‘petro’ cryptocurrency was announced by Maduro at the beginning of December as a way “to innovate toward new forms of international finance for the economic and social development of the country.”

Maduro explained that the purpose of the currency was “to advance the country’s monetary sovereignty, to carry out financial transactions and to defeat the financial blockade against the country.”

“We are facing a financial war against the country which we have denounced, and the opposition has denied. There are business people who are unaffected by Donald Trump’s blockade. With this, we will join the 21st century,” he said.

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Russian senators list 100 examples of US meddling in foreign nations’ affairs

A Russian parliamentary commission has prepared a report that lists over 100 cases of US interference in other nations’ internal affairs since the end of World War Two.

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FILE PHOTO: Antimaidan movement activists stage a

We have counted approximately 100, about 101 or 102 absolutely verified and recorded facts of American involvement in the sovereign affairs of over 60 UN member-nations since the approval of this organizations’ charter that bans any such involvement – since 1946 till this day,” the head of the upper house Commission for Protection of State Sovereignty, Senator Andrey Klimov, was quoted as saying on Monday by TASS.

The senator named one particular example from the list – the 1973 coup d’état in Chile that installed Augusto Pinochet as a military dictator and as a result of which the country’s parliament was dissolved and numerous human rights violations were committed. “Every such fact has a multitude of episodes of the US interference,” he noted.

Klimov told TASS that the annual report would be finalized and released at the end of the month, and added that senators were preparing a different edition which would be distributed among a “closed circle of persons” and which would not be released to the wider public in the foreseeable future.

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© Alexey Vitvitsky

At the same time, Klimov noted that not all cases of US involvement in other nations’ affairs could be formally described as such and thus were not included in the report. As an example, he named Donald Trump’s inauguration speech, in which the US president said that Washington was constantly meddling in other nations’ affairs and called for an end to such practices. “And these were the words of an inaugurated president, the commander-in-chief of the US military forces, who had been briefed through all files,” he said.

Another example was the 2003 speech of George W. Bush in which the then-US president urged change in political regimes in between 40 and 50 foreign countries.

The upper house commission for monitoring and countering foreign nations’ attempts to influence internal Russian politics was formed in mid-2017. Back then, upper house Speaker Valentina Matvienko said that attempts to meddle in Russia’s internal affairs had been ongoing for years and that up to $ 100 billion was sent to Russia from abroad annually to sponsor “political activities.” “We know the consequences of such meddling… and will not allow anyone to threaten Russia’s sovereignty,” she said.

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Theresa May branded a ‘hypocrite’ as she prepares tuition fee review

Theresa May is to call for a review into tertiary education fees in England, admitting students face “one of the most expensive systems of university tuition in the world.” She is accused of hypocrisy, having voted for a fee rise.

Tuition fees in Britain have skyrocketed. In a decade they have gone up three-fold meaning higher education is becoming – once free – is now becoming rich man’s world.

May is to call for a year-long review into the matter while also arguing for an end to “outdated attitudes” that suggest that success can only be achieved through higher education.

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Gavin Barwell and Lord Ashcroft © Reuters

But, here’s where it gets confusing: May was in the cabinet and voted for a rise in tuition fees, apparently at the time having no problems with the policy. Though this wasn’t always the case.

While just a rising Tory star in opposition, May voted against Tony Blair’s 2004 Higher Education Act, which saw the raising tuition fees to £3,000 (now almost US$ 4,200) annually.

Fast forward to the Tory-led Coalition government and the then-home secretary had second thoughts.

On December 9, 2010, May voted to raise the UK’s undergraduate tuition fee cap to £9,000 per year – a threefold rise. And it passed.

Now, seemingly flip-flopping once more, the UK leader will announce an independent review of fees and student finance.

The debt burden faced by students and the high interest rate on loans is now concerning the government. In an about-face, May will boldly call the system unfair, stating the UK has “one of the most expensive systems of university tuition in the world” which does not offer value for money.

“The competitive market between universities which the system of variable tuition fees envisaged has simply not emerged,” May will say during a speech in Derbyshire. “All but a handful of universities charge the maximum possible fees for undergraduate courses. Three-year courses remain the norm and the level of fees charged do not relate to the cost or quality of the course. We now have one of the most expensive systems of university tuition in the world.”

Education Secretary Damian Hinds has previously said tuition fees could eventually be dictated on a subject by subject basis.

“What we need to look at is the different aspects of pricing – the cost that it is to put on the course, the value that it is to the student and also the value to our society as a whole and to our economy for the future,” he told the BBC’s ‘Andrew Marr Show’.

The PM came under fire on Twitter, with Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn reminding his follower of her voting record. While others labelled the PM a “hypocrite.”

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German army exposed as lacking basic equipment for NATO missions – report

The German military, which will assume the lead in NATO’s 5,000-strong high-readiness force by 2019, is ill-prepared for the mission as troops lack bulletproof vests, winter uniforms and even tents, a local newspaper report says.

“The land forces are facing a capability gap in the area of mobile accommodation items until at least 2021,” states an internal Defense Ministry paper quoted by Rheinische Post newspaper. The document also says the Bundeswehr will need 10,282 “housing units” to contribute to NATO’s Very High Readiness Joint Response Force (VJTF), but only 2,500 are available – much of which are also unsuitable for foreign deployments.

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FILE PHOTO © Hannibal Hanschke

Going further, the document admits that even providing a sufficient number of bulletproof vests and winter clothing for overseas missions “is not possible” because of an “equipment gap.”

Commenting on the Rheinische Post’s report, some parliamentarians voiced unease over the situation. “[The fact] that even basic equipment such as protective vests and winter clothing is missing, shows the wretched condition the Bundeswehr finds itself in,” Marie-Agnes Strack-Zimmermann, Free Democratic Party MP in charge of defense, told the newspaper. She promised to discuss “this scandalous situation” during an upcoming parliamentary hearing.

Earlier, other media reports suggested that the German military had trouble preparing for the mission. Only last week, Die Welt newspaper revealed the German army’s 9th armor brigade only has nine operational Leopard 2 tanks, whereas 44 are required for the VJTF.

The same unit, said to be the backbone of the NATO force, has only three out of 14 Marder armored infantry vehicles. The reason for the shortfall was a lack of spare parts and the high cost of maintaining the vehicles.

The VJTF, which is posited to serve as the military bloc’s vanguard force, comprises a 5,000-strong multinational brigade supported by air, maritime and special forces. It is expected to be able to deploy at short notice “following the first warnings and indicators of potential threats, before a crisis begins.”

The VJTF was created in 2014, when NATO launched a massive military buildup near Russia’s borders following the outbreak of the crisis in Ukraine.

Moscow has consistently criticized NATO’s military assets being moved closer to Russia’s frontiers. Some Russian – and Western – officials maintained the buildup has more to do with justification of the alliance’s existence rather than countering real security threats.

“A very real deployment of heavy artillery and additional large contingents takes place on the NATO-Russia border,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told the Munich Security Conference earlier this week, referring to the Baltic states and Poland. “With an imagined Russian threat,” Washington is ensuring its dominance in Europe through NATO, the top diplomat stated.

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