Former Soviet gymnast Tatiana Gutsu has accused her ex-teammate Vitaly Scherbo of raping her during a competition in Stuttgart in 1991 when she was 15.
Barcelona 1992 gold medalist Gutsu, now 41, gave details of the alleged assault in a Facebook post in which she labeled fellow gold medalist Scherbo, who would have been 19 at the time, a “monster” who had kept her in a “prison.”
Ukrainian Gutsu also claimed that other Soviet teammates were aware of Scherbo’s alleged crimes, but failed to “protect” her and instead covered for him.
“This is me being brave after 27 years,” Gutsu, who won team and all-around gold in Barcelona, said in the post, written in broken English.
“Tatyana Toropova who I thought was my friend and a teammate in the National team of USSR thank you for not being brave for me when I need it [sic] you the most to stand, stand up for me and fight for the women rights in such a horrific act, no means no.
“You were there you heard everything you never stand stand up to protect me… Rustam Sharipov [1996 Olympic gold medalist] thank you for being a great body for your friend and not protecting me as a little girl at 15.
“Who rape me in Stuttgart Germany DTB 1991. Vitaly Scherbo. Monster who kept me in my own prison to be afraid for so many years.
“I know you will try to [defend] yourself. But my details are much stronger than your words. I’m strong now [than] ever. You can’t [break] me down anymore. This my Cinderella story.
“I survive you and I will supports anyone out there who is afraid to speak out I will try to gain my confidence and straight in myself to help others.”
Gutsu and Scherbo represented the Unified Team, comprised of former Soviet athletes after the collapse of the USSR, at the 1992 Games, at which both gymnasts claimed team and all-around titles.
Scherbo, who currently owns a gymnastics school in Las Vegas, went on to add four more golds to his Barcelona medal haul by dominating in the men’s pommel horse, rings, vault and parallel bars finals.
Gutsu made the allegations as part of the #MeToo campaign, launched by actress Alyssa Milano, by which women from around the world speak up to share personal experiences of sexual assault.
The campaign began in reaction to the recent scandal involving Harvey Weinstein, in which dozens of Hollywood actresses accused the film producer of sexual harassment.
It has since become a global phenomenon, gaining 65,000 replies to Milano’s original tweet, more than 12 million Facebook posts with the hashtag and over 500,000 subsequent tweets.
Gold is better than cryptocurrencies due to its durability and intrinsic value, explains American banking giant Goldman Sachs.
“Precious metals remain a relevant asset class in modern portfolios, despite their lack of yield,” analysts at Goldman Sachs wrote, as quoted by Bloomberg.
“They are neither a historic accident or a relic,” and are still relevant despite new assets like cryptocurrencies, they said.
As uncertainty in markets grows, the price of gold rises, they explained. In the long term, gold will gain because of the continuing demand in emerging markets, particularly in China.
Goldman analysts used several criteria to compare gold and bitcoin, including durability, portability, intrinsic value and unit of account. In three categories gold is better, losing to bitcoin only in portability.
“While both require expertise for correct long-term storage, gold wins because cryptocurrencies are vulnerable to hacking through online wallets or the user’s computer or smartphone, are subject to regulatory risk, and network and infrastructure risk during a crisis,” they said.
“Transferring bullion can be expensive, given its weight, need for a high level of security and high import taxes in some countries, such as India. In contrast, it’s much faster and cheaper to move bitcoins,” Goldman analysts added.
Gold has a limited amount, while it is difficult to control supply in case of cryptocurrencies; gold is better at keeping its purchasing power, and has much lower daily volatility, they said.
This year, bitcoin has rallied about 600 percent, starting the year at less than $ 1,000 and jumping to near $ 6,000. Gold prices have risen 12 percent. Bitcoin’s total values is approaching $ 100 billion, more than the market cap of corporations like Bayer, Goldman Sachs and Nike.
A senior Russian diplomat has urged the US and other nations to follow Russia’s example and decommission their chemical arsenals.
“We have inherited the world’s largest arsenal of such weapons of mass destruction, and we carried out a plan for its elimination in good faith,” said Vladimir Yermakov, deputy head of the Foreign Ministry’s Department for Weapons Control and Non-Proliferation.
Speaking before a session of the First Committee of the UN General Assembly, the diplomat reaffirmed Russia’s commitment to honoring its obligations under international agreements.
“We call upon all nations that still possess chemical weapons to immediately follow Russia’s example,” said Yermakov.
“This concerns primarily the state that had initiated the convention and has always been the promoter of its ideas and now for some reason remains the owner of the largest stocks of chemical weapons,” he added, apparently referring to the US.
He also expressed bewilderment at the fact that the US, while possessing the world’s largest chemical-weapons arsenal, had attempted “to cast a shadow on the great achievements of other countries, such as Syria.”
Yermakov also thanked several nations that had financially contributed to the Russian chemical weapons destruction program, such as the US, the UK, Italy, Poland Germany and France.
Russia destroyed the last of its chemical-weapon stockpiles in late September. President Vladimir Putin personally monitored this process via TV link and called it a historic event.
On October 9, Putin ordered the dissolution of the State Commission on Destruction of Chemical Weapons, as this body no longer had a purpose to serve.
In late September, the US announced plans to destroy their own stockpiles of chemical weapons by late 2023.
A judge who gained notoriety for granting a rapist joint custody of a child conceived during the rape of a pre-teen girl has rescinded the controversial order following widespread outcry.
Judge Gregory Ross of the Sanilac County Circuit in Michigan ruled on Tuesday that Christopher Mirasolo won’t have any parental rights regarding the 8-year-old boy he fathered when he raped a 12 year old.
Judge Ross, who previously granted custody to Mirasolo after DNA testing established he was the child’s biological father, said he didn’t know Mirasolo had two criminal convictions for sexual conduct when he made the order.
Mirasolo was 18-years-old when he raped the child’s mother in 2008. He held the girl, her 13-year-old sister and her friend captive for two days. During that time he raped the girl and threatened to kill her and her friend if they spoke to anyone about what happened.
“I was kidnapped for two days. I didn’t know if I was ever going to go home. He threatened to kill me and my best friend if we told anyone,” the woman, whose name is Tiffany, said to CBS.
Mirasolo was arrested a month later after it was revealed that the girl was pregnant. He took a plea deal for attempted third-degree criminal sexual conduct in January 2009 and was discharged on December 20, 2010.
Ten people said to have far-right links were detained in a series of raids conducted by French anti-terrorist police in the Paris and Marseille areas on Tuesday. Their intended targets were reportedly mosques, migrants and a former presidential candidate.
The arrests were made in Seine-Saint-Denis, north of Paris, and in the city of Marseille in southern France on Tuesday morning and afternoon, French TV station M6 reported. The suspects, including two minors, are nine young men and one woman, aged from 17 to 25 years.
It is not clear if the suspects had elaborated plans for an imminent attack on either a person or a religious institution, with Reuters citing a court official as saying that they had a “vague” draft that would involve mounting an attack on a place of worship, a politician or migrants.
The suspects harbored “intentions to commit violent actions”, according a judicial source, cited by AFP. No details have been given as to the nature and supposed timing of the actions.
According to M6, among the targets picked by the group, were “a close relative” of French President Emmanuel Macron and a former presidential candidate. The one was named by Le Parisien as government spokesman Christophe Castaner and the other as Jean-Luc Melenchon, the far-left presidential candidate in the most recent election.
Melenchon was reportedly dropped from the list of potential targets by the would-be assailants after he failed to win the election, securing only 19 percent of the vote in the first round.
Responding to the news, Melenchon’s spokesman expressed concerns over his not being notified of an ongoing investigation that allegedly involved his assassination.
Melenchon “was not informed and requests for protection during the legislative elections were rejected,” the spokesman said.
The raids were reportedly a part of a larger investigation into Logan Alexandre Nisin, a former militant of far-right organization Action Francaise Provence, who was arrested on June 28. Nisin had been posting threats online, calling for like-minded individuals to join him on a crusade against “blacks, drug dealers, migrants and jihadist scoundrels.”
Nisin reportedly ran a Facebook page in appreciation of Anders Brevik, who massacred 77 people and injured over 150 in a combined bombing and shooting attack in Norway in 2011. Police discovered two revolvers and a rifle at Nisin’s home upon his arrest.
Israeli security forces have raided eight Palestinian outlets, closed two broadcasting stations and arrested two people in an overnight, large-scale counterterrorism operation across the West Bank, according to an Israel Defense Forces (IDF) statement.
The Palestinian media, which Israel suspects of distributing and broadcasting materials inciting terrorism, were raided in a joint operation of the IDF, the Israel Security Agency security (Shin Bet) and Civil Administration operating in the West Bank on Tuesday night.
The security forces also raided eight Palestinian media organizations and closed the Ramasat and TransMedia broadcasting stations. The shutdown reportedly triggered clashes between the military and locals in Ramallah and Nablus, in which some Palestinians were injured, according to Palestinian news agency Wafa. In Ramallah a man was wounded by “an Israeli rubber-coated steel round,” Wafa says.
قوات الاحتلال تغلق مقرات شركات ترانسميديا وبال ميديا ورامسات الإعلامية في الخليل ونابلس ورام الله وبيت لحم لمدة 6 شهور وتصادر معداتها فجراً. pic.twitter.com/QmZAWmdwJg
The Israeli forces also seized equipment and documents of companies providing services to Hamas – the Al-Aqsa and Al Quds TV channels – declared illegal by the IDF Central Command.
“The operation is part of the expanded counterrorism effort, in which the security forces operate against all elements of terrorism including incitement,” the IDF said, adding that the security forces will continue their efforts against it.
Israel has previously raided TransMedia, which runs several offices across the country, including two offices in Jerusalem, the area disputed by Palestinians and Israelis, and an office in Hebron in the West bank. In March 2016 their office in Ramallah was ransacked during an operation against the Palestine Today TV station accused of incitement on behalf of “Islamic Jihad.”
US Defense Secretary James Mattis is having a hard time convincing Congress to cut “excess infrastructure” from the military, estimated to be nearly one-fifth of all military property. Jobs may be at risk, and the savings may not be there, lawmakers fear.
“I must be able to eliminate excess infrastructure in order to shift resources to readiness and modernization,” Mattis wrote to Congress on October 6. The letter was released Tuesday by House Armed Services Committee vice chairman Rep. Adam Smith (D-Washington), according to the Washington Examiner.
Mattis estimates that 19 percent of US military properties worldwide may be dispensable, a figure cited in a Pentagon report urging a Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) review. The estimate is based on the military’s needs in 2012. A BRAC review would assess how what Pentagon has matches its current needs, and could potentially bring about base closures by the 2020s, the Examiner reported.
However, the recommendation has repeatedly faced obstacles in the legislature. While getting rid of excess assets could save up billions over the long run, its opponents argue that the immediate costs the closures will incur could outweigh the long-term savings. Even if the benefits are greater, some lawmakers are worried they might take quite a while to come about: for example, the last round of BRAC took place in 2005, and it is only expected to start generating savings next year.
Another concern is that of local communities, which benefit from the money the Defense Department pours into developing the local military bases and surrounding infrastructure.
Not all branches in the US military are equally excessive, Smith said. Factored in the average 19 percent figure are the Army with 29 percent “unneeded” assets and the Air Force with 28 percent.
Across all its services and agencies, the Defense Department possesses almost 5,000 military sites around the world, according to its Base Structure Report for fiscal year 2015.
The Canadian Senate has passed Bill S-226, known as the Sergei Magnitsky Law, mirroring similar US legislation. Moscow has repeatedly slammed the bill as a violation of international law and vowed to respond.
Although the bill, titled “Justice for Victims of Corrupt Foreign Officials Act (Sergei Magnitsky Law),” envisions imposing sanctions on any foreign national, not only on Russians, it mentions exclusively the high-profile cases linked to Russia in its preamble.
Among them is the death of Sergei Magnitsky in a pre-trial detention facility in 2009. Magnitsky was a tax accountant employed by the US-British investor Bill Browder, who was accused by the Russian authorities of orchestrating large-scale tax evasion and embezzling hundreds of millions of rubles from the Russian budget. The lawyer was a prime suspect in the investigation. Browder, however, insisted that Magnitsky fell victim to persecution and torture by the Russian penitentiary system after he allegedly uncovered corruption crimes by Russian tax officials. As result of a three-year lobbying campaign, spearheaded by Browder, in 2012 the US Senate approved the so-called Magnitsky Act, allowing the US to freeze the assets of, and bar entry to, Russians accused of human rights violations. The bill has soured relations between Washington and Moscow.
The other cases listed in the Canadian bill’s preamble refer to the death of Alexander Litvinenko in 2006 In London, which was blamed by British investigators on Russian secret services, the assassination of Russian opposition politician Boris Nemtsov in central Moscow in 2015 and the detention of former Ukrainian pilot turned MP, Nadezhda Savchenko, who was tried in a Russian court and found guilty of murdering Russian journalists in Eastern Ukraine. She was subsequently freed in a prisoner swap for two Russian nationals jailed by Kiev.
A foreign national is subject to the restrictions under the Canadian version of the Magnitsky Law if he or she is found to be complicit in torture or other human right violations against “individuals in any foreign country” who wants to shed light on the illegal activity by the government or to “obtain, exercise, defend or promote” human rights. The bill also targets foreign nationals involved in corruption.
Speaking on the bill after it was unanimously approved by the Canadian House of Commons in early October, Canada’s Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland said that the legislation was designed to enable Canadian authorities to impose sanctions and travel bans on foreigners found to be complicit in these offenses.
The bill’s final reading was passed by the Senate on Tuesday. To become law, it now requires royal assent to be given by Canada’s Governor General, which is usually a mere formality.
The legislation’s apparent focus on the alleged misdeeds by Russian officials was slammed by Moscow as aggression that would not be left unanswered.
Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova described the bill as a copy of the “odious American Magnitsky Act,” saying that it will deal a blow to already strained Russia-Canada relations.
“We warn again that in case the pressure of the sanctions put on us increases … we will widen likewise the list of Canadian officials banned from entering Russia,” Zakharova said in early October.
Konstantin Kosachyov, the head of the Upper House Committee for International Relations, dubbed the bill “yet another confirmation of the existence of the dangerous tendency when national legislation is applied to international relations.” The lawmaker argued that neither Canada, nor any other single country, has the right to play the role of a “global ombudsman.”
“Who has empowered Canada with the right to do such things in the international arena, to decide who is corrupt in other nations and who is not, to apply repressive measures to foreign citizens?” he said.
The spokesman for the Russian Embassy in Ottawa, Kirill Kalinin, said that while the bill is “disguised as a pro-human rights and anti-corruption measure” it goes against Canada’s national interests, as it will alienate “one of the key world powers,” in times when diplomacy is of crucial importance.
“Unfortunately, we are witnessing the continuation of failed policies, pressed by Russophobic elements,” he said in a statement, noting that Russia would respond “with resolve and reciprocal countermeasures.”
More than 100 US veterans and relatives of American soldiers killed or wounded in Iraq have sued five major pharmaceutical corporations for knowingly financing Iran-backed terrorist organizations in Iraq.
A lawsuit filed in US District Court in Washington, DC on Tuesday claims that AstraZeneca, General Electric, Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer and Roche Holding financed terrorist organizations that have killed hundreds of American soldiers in Iraq.
The companies have been accused of paying kickbacks to officials in Iraq’s Health Ministry at a time when the office was controlled by the Jaysh al-Mahdi, or Mahdi Army, an Iraqi militia backed by Iran.
Although Jaysh al-Mahdi is not considered a terrorist organization by the US State Department, the Shia militia was backed by Hezbollah, which is designated as a terrorist organization. The lawsuit also includes 27 pages of itemized deaths and injuries American troops sustained from Jaysh al-Mahdi from 2005 to 2009.
The lawsuit argues the companies financed the terrorist organization by paying bribes to Health Ministry officials worth as much as 20 percent of a total contract’s value.
The plaintiffs argue the companies paid Health Ministry officials these “commissions” by providing extra drugs and equipment. The lawsuit argues that these “free goods” were deliberately packaged in “a manner conducive to street resale,” which ensured Health Ministry officials could then sell them on the black market or give them to fighters directly.
The plaintiffs also argue that the companies created a “slush fund” from 2004 to 2013 designed to pay for after-sales support and other services, but the money was really for the Health Ministry officials.
The plaintiffs argue that by making these payments, the companies “aided and abetted Jaysh al-Mahdi’s terrorist operations against Americans in Iraq.”
Beginning in 2004, the Health Ministry began requiring foreign companies to pay these “commissions” in order to win contracts. After the US invasion of Iraq threw the country into sectarian violence, Jaysh al-Mahdi, whose members swore fealty to anti-American cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, took over the ministry.
Under their control, the lawsuit says the ministry “functioned more as a terrorist apparatus than a health organization.”
“Public hospitals were converted into terrorist bases where Sunnis were abducted, tortured, and murdered. [Health Ministry] ambulances transported Jaysh al-Mahdi death squads around Baghdad. Armed terrorists openly patrolled the halls of [Health Ministry] headquarters in downtown Baghdad, which became too dangerous for Americans to enter and which one percipient witness described as a ‘Mahdi Army camp,’” the lawsuit reads.
The Health Ministry became a cover for Jaysh al-Mahdi, which some US officials began calling “the pill army,” because the fighters were paid in pills rather than money, according to the lawsuit.
The lawsuit cites a Pentagon press release, which stated that a senior official with alleged ties to the Jaysh al-Mahdi militia “orchestrated several kickback schemes by using inflated contracts for ministry equipment and services.”
“These kickbacks, which officials believe have funneled millions of US dollars to militia elements, support sectarian attacks and violence targeting Iraqi civilians,” the Pentagon said.
The lawsuit argues that the companies knew the Health Ministry was being run by a terrorist organization and cited how they have previously paid large sums of money to settle similar charges in the past.
In 2011, Johnson & Johnson paid $ 70 million to settle charges that its subsidiaries paid kickbacks to win contracts in Iraq and other countries. GE also paid more than $ 23 million in 2010 to settle charges that it had paid kickbacks for Health Ministry contracts under the Oil-for-Food program.
“Most of the defendants have a documented history of paying bribes that supported terrorism under Saddam,” Ryan Sparacino, one of the plaintiffs’ attorneys, told the Financial Times.