Winter Olympics: Day 15 roundup

The penultimate day of the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics saw the first woman to win gold in two different sports, while the American men won their first-ever gold medal in curling. Canada took bronze in men’s ice hockey.

Pyeongchang 2018 Olympische Winterspiele (Reuters/I. Kato)

Day 15 of the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics was one of several firsts, but the name on everyone’s lips for all the right reasons was that of Ester Ledecka.

The 22-year-old made history on Saturday as she became the first athlete to win gold in skiing and snowboarding disciplines, adding to her Super-G gold in alpine skiing by clinching the snowboarding parallel giant slalom.

Ester Ledecka’s dream @Olympics continues with another finish at the top of the podium. After claiming in Women’s Super-G, she is creating her own legacy as a two sport star with a in Women’s

More news: http://bit.ly/2F1o3v2 

“It was a great day, I enjoyed every run and I’m very happy to be here and stand on the highest place,” said Ledecka, who is looking forward to a rest after her extraordinary exploits. “Tomorrow is the finish of the Olympics, right? I was here many days; I’m really looking forward to getting home.”

Russia’s hopes of flying flag take another hit

A decision regarding whether the Olympic Athletes from Russia (OAR) will be allowed to fly their flag during the closing ceremony of the Pyeongchang Games is set to go down to the wire following the latest doping case against the team.

The Court of Administration for Sport has confirmed that OAR bobsledder Nadezhda Sergeeva has tested positive for the banned substance trimetazidine and has been disqualified form the Winter Olympics.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport announced on Saturday that bobsledder Nadezhda Sergeeva had tested positive for a banned substance, disqualifying her and teammate Anastasia Kocherzhova from the two-women bobsleigh event.

“Everyone is trying to understand what caused the violation,” Russian news agency TASS quoted coach Sergey Zhurkin as saying. “It is very strange. Everyone is shocked.”

USA curl their way to glory

The aforementioned Ledecka, wasn’t the only celebrate a first on Day 15 on the Pyeongchang Games as the United States claimed their first-ever Olympic men’s curling title.

Congratulations USA @TeamShuster we did it! John shuster, Tyler George, Matt Hamilton, John Landsteiner and Joe Polo. Magnificent, I’m so proud of you guys!

Down by two stones heading into the final end, the US team, skippered by John Shuster, scored five to crush Sweden 10-7 amidst chants of “USA! USA!”

“I think during the entire (eighth) end we could feel it building,” said Shuster. “Their margin for error was incredibly small. I can’t tell you how un-nervous I was.”

Final day fireworks?

As well as the closing ceremony, there are four remaining medals events on Sunday. The four-man bob, the women’s curling final and the men’s ice hockey final between Germany and the Russians will all be closely watched.

Speaking about yesterday’s semifinal between Germany and Canada, and the lack of NHL players at the , the @IIHFHockey‘s chief was rather poetic.

We’re OK with Leberkäse and Weißwurst, too 😎

Elsewhere, Norway’s Marit Bjoergen goes for a record-equalling eighth Winter Games career gold in the women’s cross-country 30km mass start, an event which could have a big impact on the final medals table.

As it happened!

15:35 – The final buzzer sounds and Canada have beaten the Czech Republic 6-4 to win the bronze medal in men’s ice hockey. That wraps up the penultimate day at the Pyeongchang Winter Olympic Games.

14:49 – In the bronze-medal match, neither team scored in the second frame. Early in the third, the score remains Canada 3 – Czech Republic 1.

14:15 – South Korea’s Lee Seung-Hoon has won the inaugural men’s speedskating mass start race at the Winter Olympics. His gold was greeted with wild delight by home fans inside the Gangneung Oval. Belgium’s Bart Swings

13:58 – From the “by the way” file, Canada lead the Czech Republic 3-1 after 20 minutes of play in the bronze-medal game of the men’s ice hockey tournament.

13:57- And it’s just about time for the final of the men’s speedskating mass start…

13:39 – Japan’s Nana Takagi wins the gold medal in the women’s speedskating mass start, ahead of local favorite Kum Bo-Reum of South Korea, who took silver, and bronze medalist Irene Shouten. Pechstein finished well back in 13th place.

13:32 – And the final of the women’s speedskating mass start is underway! Can Claudia Pechstein finish among the medals?

13:17 – The Canadian and Czech men are back on the ice a day after losing to Germany and the OAR team in their respective semifinals on Friday. It’s not what either team, particularly the defending gold medalists, Canada, was aiming for. However, taking home a bronze Olympic medal would be better than going home completely empty handed.

 

12:27 – And it seems the ageless Claudia Pechstein has picked up enough points to make it through to the final! The five-time Olympic gold medalist finished fourth in the second semifinal, with five points.

12:13 – It’s the semifinal of the women’s speedskating mass start, featuring Germany’s Claudia Pechstein. Could this be her final Olympic event? She’s just turned 46, but she says she plans to be in Beijing in four years’ time.

10:11 – The Americans have won their first-ever gold medal in men’s curling, beating Sweden 10-7 in the final.

09:55 – The German Olympic Sports Confederation has just announced that former NHL defenseman Christian Ehrhoff will carry the flag for Germany at Sunday’s closing ceremony. Ehrhoff is part of the German men’s ice hockey team that is to face the Olympic Athletes from Russia (OAR) team in Sunday’s gold-medal match.

Eishockey-Spieler Christian Ehrhoff wird morgen unsere Fahne bei der Abschlussfeier der Olympischen Spielen in tragen.

08:10 – Finland’s Iivo Niskanen has won the gold medal in the men’s cross-country skiing 50km mass start. Olympic Athlete from Russia (OAR) Alexander Bolshunov won silver, 18.7 seconds behind Niskanen, followed by his OAR teammate, Andrey Larkov, who took bronze. This is Finland’s first Olympic gold in the event in 58 years!

07:59 – The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has found Nadezhda Sergeeva guilty of doping, using the banned substance Trimetazidine. This means the Olympic Athlete from Russia (OAR) team of Sergeeva and Anastasia Kocherzhova have been disqualified from the two-women bobsleigh event in Pyeongchang – in which they had finished 12th.

“The athlete has accepted a provisional suspension beyond the period of the Games and reserved her ‘rights to seek the elimination or reduction of the ineligibility period’ following the conclusion of the Games,” the CAS said a statement posted on its website on Saturday.

07:17 – Now it’s Nevin Galmarini’s turn to take his place atop the podium. But the biggest cheer preceeded him, when Lee Sangho received his version of Soohorang – the white tiger toy the athletes are presented with. The medals will come later and Galmarini probably won’t care too much about the chants of ‘Lee Sangho, Lee Sangho’ that were all that could be heard during his big moment.

07:10 – Ester Ledecka jumps on to the top of the podium for the second time in these games to collect her cuddly toy alongside the Germans who came second and third. What a week she’s had.

07:08 – Back over to the cross country, where they are a little over the halfway mark. Finland’s Iivo Niskanen is out in front for now, but world champion Alex Harvey, of Canada, lurks ominously in fourth.

07:00 – GOLD FOR SWITZERLAND! Nevin Galmarini lies on the snow with his arms open wide after beating home favorite Lee Sangho to the gold. The Swiss snowboarder was always in control there, with Sangho forced to take riskier options after a sluggish start.

06:57 – No rest in this event. We’re straight in to the men’s bronze medal match and Zan Kosir of Slovenia takes the gong after Sylvain Dufour’s early mistake proved fatal. The home crowd are just getting warmed up for their man now…

06:55 – Just a reminder, this was the one that Ledecka was expected to do well in, it was the other gold that was the big schock. That’s not to denigrate an exceptional achievement though. It never looked in doubt in this one. The big question now is: will she wear her visor to the press conference again?

06:50 – GOLD FOR CZECH REPUBLIC! Ledecka’s done it. She got off ahead of Jörg and just kept the German at bay to win by almost half a second. She’s not only the first person to win medals in snowboarding and skiing in the same Olympics, she’s won gold in both. Brilliant stuff.

View image on TwitterView image on Twitter

And 🥈 goes to too!

But Ester Ledecka of ) wins her second 🥇 of the week, adding snowboarding gold to her alpine skiing triumph! live ➡️ http://p.dw.com/p/2tFtL 

06:46 – Bronze for Germany! Ramona Hofmeister gets off to a stunning start, putting pressure on her opponent. As she did in the semifinal, Alena Zavarzina took one too many risks and fell, leaving a Hoffman to cruise home and start the celebrations. Now to the big one…

06:44 – Wow. What a race! To the delight of the Pyeongchang crowd, Lee Sangho is in the final. That one was nip and tuck the whole way, both making mistakes at the same time and both dipping for the line at the same time but it was the South Korean who edged it. By one hundreth of a second. Incredible.

06:39 – Nevin Galmarini is the first man to book his place in the final. Sylvain Dufour will have to settle for a bronze medal match.

06:37 – This time the German snowboarder benefits from an early error. Selina Jörg is allowed to cruise down the whole course after her opponent makes an absolute mess of the course early. Joerg was able to put her hands on her helmet in joy very early on, with Alena Zavarzina gone. The OAR athlete will face Ramona Hofmeister for bronze and Joerg will try to spoil Ledecka’s efforts to be the first to win a Winter Olympics ski/snowboard double.

06:33 – Ledecka makes the final! The Czech cruises to a win in an outfit that, I think, is supposed to bring to mind a robot or machine or some sort. Whatever it is, she dominated Hofmeister, who took a gate very wide very early, tried desperately to recover and ended up flat on her face.

06:28 – The men’s semifinal lineup will be: Sylvain Dufour (France) vs. Nevin Galmarini (Switzerland) and  Zan Kosir (Solvenia) vs. Sang ho Lee (South Korea)

06:25 – There will be no German medal in the men’s snowboarding though. Stefan Baumeister is off the pace from the start and continues to make mistakes. He’s out at the quarterfinal stage.

06:19 – There will be a German medal in the women’s section of the parallel giant slalom. Selina Jörg follows Hofmeister in to the semifinals. Joerg will face Alena Zavarzina, an Olympic Athlete from Russia, will Hofmeister will take on Ledecka. Even if both Germans lose, they’ll meet in the bronze medal race.

06:11 – Ramona Hofmeister provides more good news for the Germans, winning her quarterfinal in a fetching leopardskin scarf. Possibly even a snood, it’s hard to tell. Ester Ledecka’s double dream is still alive, she’s through too.

Ester Ledecká is two races away from Olympic history. This could be groundbreaking stuff! Switching sports between Olympics is one thing; winning gold in two different sports at the same Games is unheard of!

06:09 – The men’s heats of the parallel giant slalom are done, with Germany’s sole competitor, Stefan Baumeister, safely through to the quarterfinals.

06:03 – They’ve set off in the cross.country. Watching them over the flat, it’s hard to escape the thought that these guys must do a lot of work on the cross trainer at the gym.

05:54 – The women’s snowboarding heats are done and Ester Ledecka will face Austria’s Daniela Ulbing in the quarterfinals. German are represented by Ramona Theresia Hofmeister and Selina Joerg.

05:48 – There’s a fair few of men’s heats to get through in the snowboarding, so a bit of time to mention the next event to start, the men’s 50km mass start cross country skiing. Though it begins in about 10 minutes, this is quite the trek so it’ll likely take about an hour and 45 minutes.  Canada’s Alex Harvey is the world champion and might be expected to extend his country’s record medal haul. But he’ll be challenged by a pair of Norwegians – Hans Christer Holund and Martin Johnsrud Sundby – who’ll be keen to extend their country’s lead on the medal table.

05:39 – And Ester Ledecka is in the next round, beating Switzerland’s Patrizia Kummer comfortably in her heat. Even for the Winter Olympics, this one’s a pretty graceful and picturesque event.

05:30 – The heats in the women’s parallel slalom are just getting underway, and there’s one woman to watch for in the final.

Looking ahead to the Women’s Snowboard Parallel Giant Slalom (06:30 CET), 22-year-old Ester Ledecká of the Czech Republic is aiming to become the first athlete to win gold in both snowboarding and skiing events!

05:12 – After a frantic few hours we have a brief pause before the parallel giant slalom events for both men and women. There will be a series of heats before quarterfinals, semifinals and then bronze and gold medal runs. All of which should take a shade over an hour. It’ll begin in about 20 minutes.

05:05 – The bobsleigh heats are over for the day now and Germany are in a strong position. Francesco Friedrich’s crew lead their fellow Germans, piloted by Nico Walther by 0.15 seconds. They are tied with one of the Swiss teams. The final German outfit are a little further back in sixth, but still just 0.25 seconds behind. There will be two more runs on Sunday.

04:45 – GOLD FOR SWITZERLAND! After a tight start, Austria’s Marco Schwarz loses his way, leaving Daniel Yule to cruise home. Switzerland are the first ever winners of the Alpine Skiiing Team event.

04:44 – The Swiss lead! Wendy Holdener holds ‘er nerve (sorry) to put them 2-1 up in a tight race. If the Swiss win the next one, gold is theirs.

04:41 – Switzerland level through Ramon Zenhaeusern.

04:39 – First blood to Austria. Katharina Liensberger takes the point.

04:38 – Here we go. Austria vs. Switzerland for the first ever Alpine Skiing Team gold.

04:36 – Brilliant from Leif Kristian Nestvold-Haugen, who holds his nerve to take the point, make up the time with 0.12 seconds to spare and secure a bronze for Norway.

04:35 – The Norwegian skier makes a big mistake early on and can’t recover. France 2-1 up, Norway need a win and to make up a decent wedge of time to get bronze.

04:33 – This one is even tighter. Norway’s Sebastian Foss Seolvevaag  levels things up and there’s just over a tenth of a second between the teams.

04:30 – Tessa Worley puts France 1-0 up. Tha one was tight all the way but she just kept edging slightly further ahead. The gap was 0.19 seconds.

04:23 – We’ll have a suitably Alpine final – Austria vs. Switzerland – after the Swiss also sealed a 3-1 win. But first it’ll be France vs. Norway for bronze.

04:18 – Austria have made it through to the gold medal match with a 3-1 win, meaning Norway will battle for bronze.

04:11 – So the semifinals will be: Austria vs. Norway and France vs. Switzerland.

04:10 – Linus Strasser wins the point but can’t quite make up enough lost ground and Germany lose out by 0.16 seconds.

04:08: – Lena Dürr is pipped to the line. 2-1 to the Swiss, Germany need to win the last race to stay alive.

04:06 – Switzerland equalize and make back some of that ground.

04:05: – Germany’s Marina Wallner takes the first point, with a huge lead of over 2 seconds. Big advantage Germany.

04:03 – Back to the skiing for Germany vs. Switzerland, the last of the quarterfinals.

03:53 – The four-man  bobsleigh heats are still going on and Germany currently occupy first and second positions, through the crews of Francesco Friedrich and Nico Walther respectively. The third German team is down in seventh but it’s looking pretty good in one of the country’s strongest events.

03:50 – We’re in to the quarterfinals of the Alpine Team Event, it’s rapid stuff. Germany are taking on Switzerland in the last of them.

03:41 – Linus Strasser is Germany’s final man and he flies down the course to win his race and make up enough ground on his Slovakian rival to take Germany through to the last eight. A great comeback.

03:37 – Germany go 2-0 down after the first two and in big danger of exiting at the first hurdle but they get one back and it’s down to the last skier…

03:31 – The German team face Slovakia next up. Italy, Norway, USA, Sweden and Austria have already booked quarterfinal spots.

03:30 – While that breathless final was ending, Alpine Team Skiing was making its Olympic debut. The event sees two male and two female skiers in a knockout format on the slalom course. The first woman goes head-to-head against the other team’s first woman, with the winner of the race getting a point. This is then repeated for each member of the team and the most points win. If it’s a tie, the fastest combined team time wins. Got it?

03:25 – That’s Canada’s 28th medal of the games, a record for them. It’s their 11th gold. Morgan’s medal for Great Britain means the’ve also beaten their record Winter Olympics haul with 5 in Pyeongchang.

03:22 – Which means… GOLD FOR CANADA! Sebastien Toutant’s first two runs were excellent and his combined score of 174.25 was enough to hold of Kyle Mack (USA) and Great Britain’s Billy Morgan, who take silver and bronze respectively.

03:21 – Max Parrot is the only man who can disturb the top three but he fails to land it!

03:17 – Kyle Mack fails too. Of course, the competitiors are going for the big points but that’s four in a row now. By my calculations, he’s guarenteed a medal though.

03:15 – Torgeir Bregrem becomes the third man in a row to fail and – after such a promising start, he’s gone. It’s basically down to Kyle Mack and Max Parrot now, only they can deny Sebastien Toutant.

03:11 – Chris Corning has to go for a big score to get in a medal spot. He does, but fails to land it. Another one bites the dust.

03:10 – Sebastien Toutant just fails to keep his feet at the last so doesn’t change his score. But he still has the lead.

03:06 – Billy Morgan lands a very tricky jump including a double grab and rewards himself with a huge whoop before miming cracking a beer at the bottom of the slope. The judges vindicate his joy, awarding him an 85.50 that puts the Brit in the bronze medal spot.

02:57 – That’s the end of run 2, just one left. Sebastien Toutant still leads from Kyle Mack, with his US colleague Chris Corning in 3rd. Realistically there’s probably six men who can get a medal here – the top three plus Torgeir Bregrem (Norway), Billy Morgan (Great Britain) and Max Parrot (Canada). Those last three have a shot because one of their first two runs scored somewhere in the 80s.

Sebastien Toutant is in the top podium position at the end of the 2nd run in finals 💪

3rd run coming up 🔜@SebToots | @CanadaSnowboard |

 

02:52 – Team USA’s Kyle Mack has just nailed a Bloody Dracula. While it sounds like a dreadful 80s B Movie, it’s apparently what the move where you grab the back of the board with both hands is called. And it’s put him in second.

02:47 – Mark McMorris, another Candian and multiple X Games winner, has just made a mess of his effort for the second time running. He’s out of contention and will be furious at failing to nail either run.

02:44 – Sebastian Toutant, of Canada, has put himself in a very strong position here with an 89.50 – the best run of the final so far – to add to his 84.75, that’s 174.25 in total. That’ll prove a difficult mark to beat. Torgeir Bergrem, who led after run 1, will need something special in the third run, his 42.50 just now won’t do him any good.

02:31 – Quick update on the four-man bobsleigh. Francesco Friedrich’s Germany crew still lead from South Korea. The other two German sleds stay in 3rd and 6th. There will be one more heat today.

02:28 – There’s an outbreak of Gangnam Style in the snowboard crowd. The sooner they get back out there for the second run the better.

02:22 – Bergrem holds on to his lead after the first run. There are two more runs to come for each of the 12 snowboarders and the best combined score from two of the three runs wins. Can Norway extend their lead in the medal table early on?

02:15 – German crews sit in positions 1, 3 and 6 with 20 of 29 having completed their first bobsleigh runs. Norway’s Torgeir Bergrem has just put down the first real marker of the snowboard big air final, with a 88.50. That might be enough to be in medal contention, but a long way to go yet.

02:00 – The first of three runs in the final men’s big air snowboarding is about to begin. Whoever wins here will be the first man ever to claim big air gold, it’s the event’s Winter Olympic debut. Red Gerard, the 17-year-old American who won slopestyle gold (see below) is up first.

Watch video01:21

17-year-old snowboarder Red Gerard wins Olympic gold

01:50 – Some mixed news for the Germans after their first runs. First the good; the second four down, piloted by Francesco Friedrich, are leading the way after setting a track record of 48.54 seconds. The last German sled, piloted by Nico Walther and one of the favorites had a steady run and sit in third behind their teammates and the South Koreans. But the first Germans down were the most fancied and Johannes Lochner’s men were a little shaky, clipping a corner early and currently down in sixth. No harm done really though, at this stage it’s really about recording a time and improving as the four heats progress.

01:35: – It’s over to the four-man bobsleigh first, for the first of two heats over the next few hours. The Germans are historically strong in this event, having won gold four times in a row between 1994 and 2006 and taken silver in 2010. The country’s three teams will go off sixth, seventh and eighth.

01:30 – Hello again and welcome to the penultimate day of the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics! After Germany’s stunning upset win over Canada in the men’s ice hockey and a 15-year-old restoring some Russian pride yesterday, we’re hoping for more of the same today. The start of the day will mainly be about the Alpine Team Event knockout clashes, the four-man bobsleigh heats and all sorts of snowboarding before we hit a seam of medals in a few hours.

 

COURTESY: DW

Explosions hit Myanmar’s troubled Rakhine state

Three early morning blasts have rocked the capital city of Myanmar’s restive northwestern Rakhine state, which has been at the center of a protracted conflict between the Buddhist majority and Rohingya Muslims.

Myanmar bombings (picture-alliance/AP Photo)

The bombs reportedly targeted government officials in Sittwe, the capital of Myanmar’s Rakhine state. At least one person — a police officer — was wounded in the attack.

Security officials also seized three unexploded devices from different parts of the city.

“There were three bomb explosions around 4 a.m. local time (2130 UTC Friday), where one policeman was slightly injured. We are still investigating [the] crime scenes,” police officer Aung Myat Moe said.

One of the Saturday blasts took place in front of a high-ranking government official’s residence.

Tin Maung Swe, Rakhine’s state secretary, told the Deutsche Presse-Agentur news agency that one explosion “was nearby my home,” adding that the two other bombs targeted a school and a courthouse.

The blasts come only three days after a large bomb killed two bank employees and wounded two dozen other people in the northeastern city of Lashio.

Read more: Myanmar police kill several in Rakhine Buddhist riot

Ongoing insurgency

Last year’s violent attacks in Rakhine state by Rohingya insurgents sparked a massive military response that forced more than 600,000 Rohingya Muslims to flee to Bangladesh. Myanmar authorities now face accusations of severe human rights abuses during the operation, which security forces dub “clearance operations.”

The United Nations said the military response was disproportionate and amounted to “ethnic cleansing.”

Read more:

HRW alleges ‘ethnic cleansing’ of Rohingya in Myanmar

Myanmar bulldozed scores of Rohingya villages, says human rights group

At least 6,700 Rohingya people killed, says Doctors Without Borders

Although no group has so far claimed responsibility for Saturday’s bombings, the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army has vowed to continue its “resistance” against Myanmar’s government.

Read more: Myanmar’s Rohingya rebels – What you need to know

The Rohingya are an ethnic minority in Myanmar, originating from the Indian sub-continent. For several centuries they have lived predominantly in Rakhine — also known as Arakan. They are predominantly Muslim.

Viewed by the United Nations and the United States as one of the world’s most persecuted minorities, thousands of Rohingya from Myanmar and Bangladesh flee their countries every year in a desperate attempt to reach the Muslim-majority countries of Malaysia and Indonesia.

Watch video02:03

Rohingya crisis – pictures keep memories alive

shs/jlw (Reuters, AP, dpa)

Each evening at 1830 UTC, DW’s editors send out a selection of the day’s hard news and quality feature journalism. You can sign up to receive it directly here.

COURTESY:DW

Somalia: Death toll mounts after Mogadishu palace attack

Dozens of people were killed in twin car bomb blasts in the Somali capital, Mogadishu, in what appears to have been a foiled attack on the presidential palace. Islamist militant group al-Shabab claimed responsibility.

Somalia Mogadishu - people on rubble in the aftermath (picture-alliance/abaca/S. Mohamed)

The number of deaths from Friday’s twin car bomb explosions in the Somali capital, Mogadishu, rose to at least 38, officials said on Saturday.

Al-Qaeda-linked Islamist group al-Shabab has claimed responsibility for the attack, which targeted the presidential palace and subsequently a hotel. The attacks follow months of relative calm.

Read more: Rights group: Al Shabab forcibly recruits children

– A  vehicle that was loaded with explosives was used to try to breach a checkpoint on the way into the presidential palace Villa Somalia, according to officials who said security forces thwarted the attack. A blast at the checkpoint was reportedly followed by gunfire.

– A second explosion later, which destroyed vehicles outside the hotel as well as the compound’s perimeter wall, was reported to have caused a substantial proportion of the casualties.

– The attack was claimed by al-Shabab in a statement posted online. The group, which claimed to have killed 35 soldiers while having lost five of its fighters, said it was targeting the government and security services.

Mogadishu attack (Reuters/Universal TV)The attack on Friday evening came after a prolonged period of relative calm

Security officials claimed they had been successful in thwarting the main thrust of the attack. “The security forces foiled the intent of the terrorists,” the AFP news agency reported Abdulahi Ahmed, a security officer, as saying. “They were aiming for key targets, but they could not even go closer, there were five of them killed by the security force.”

Al-Shabab aims to overthrow the Somali government and impose its own harsh interpretation of Islamic law on the country.

Read more:  Germany to end participation in EU military mission in Somalia

The group was pushed out of the capital in 2011 by an African Union force, but still controls large parts of the countryside and launches regular attacks, targeting the government, military and civilians.

More than 500 people were killed in twin bomb blasts in Mogadishu in October, in the deadliest attack in the country’s history. Although al-Shabab was blamed, it did not claim responsibility for the attack.

rc/jm (AFP, AP, Reuters, dpa)

Each evening at 1830 UTC, DW’s editors send out a selection of the day’s hard news and quality feature journalism. You can sign up to receive it directly here.

 

COURTESY: DW

Russian millennials look to their future: ‘If we don’t do anything now, we will keep living like our parents’

Russian millennials look to their future: 'If we don't do anything now, we will keep living like our parents'
Two young people embrace outside a craft beer bar in Volgograd. Many young Russians in the southern Russian city say they want to leave because of a lack of economic opportunities. (Vasiliy Kolotilov / For The Times)

 

Russian millennials have really known only one leader: Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin.

They have no memories of the Soviet Union. They were in diapers when Boris Yeltsin was president.

On March 18, some will be voting for the first time. They will do so with the certain knowledge that President Putin, who has been either president or prime minister since 1999, will win again.

And yet, it could be a pivotal moment for this generation.

The next six years under Putin could be when millennials develop their political voice — whispers of which can be heard already in rap lyrics and in the demonstrations organized by opposition figure Alexei Navalny. Alternatively, Russia’s autocratic government could continue to tamp down youthful restlessness.

The millennial generation is inheriting a Russia in decline. Low global oil prices and Western sanctions aimed at punishing the Kremlin’s illegal annexation of Crimea have hurt the economy. Global oil consumption, which feeds Russia’s economy, is expected to continue its downward trajectory, and so is Russia’s birthrate.

Top: Volgograd schoolchildren practice a ceremonial march near the city’s eternal flame monument dedicated to the fallen in the Battle of Stalingrad. Left, Arsen Avanesov, 22, enjoys a Friday night with his former university classmates at a cocktail bar on the Volga river embankment in Volgograd. Right, Anastasia Reunova, 28, and her boyfriend, Andrei Boboshka, help her son Stepan, 2, feed sheep and goats at a petting zoo near the Siberian city of Tyumen. (Vasiliy Kolotilov / For The Times)

Putin said recently that it was not his responsibility to “foster the opposition,” and he has made sure that Navalny is barred from running. The core of Navalny’s support has been the urban young, and he has managed to rally supporters in the street like no other candidate in post-Soviet Russia. Putin still commands overwhelming support among older generations.

Still, although thousands of young Navalny supporters risked arrest at anti-Kremlin demonstrations around the country during the last year, the ranks remain small, if growing. Recent polls indicate that 65% of people ages 18 to 23 would vote for Putin — if they go to the polls.

The Times interviewed young Russians across the country’s nine time zones to hear what was on their minds in the run-up to the election.

 
Raul Ranoa / Los Angeles Times

The rap star

Edik “Kingsta” Levin, St. Petersburg

Edik Levin came to St. Petersburg to be a student, but he stayed to become a rap star.

He arrived six years ago from the Siberian city of Tomsk, where he had decided at age 13 that he wanted to become a rapper, like Dr. Dre and other American stars. He called himself Kingsta.

Edik Levin
Rapper Edik Levin in the basement of St. Petersburg’s Griboedov club, where he and his friends organize rap battles, on Dec. 18, 2017. Vasiliy Kolotilov / For The Times

His mother didn’t have much tolerance for his rap star dreams.

“She would always tell me, ‘Stop sitting writing; think about your future; you need to pay attention to school,’” Levin, 24, said.

Levin was convinced that if he wanted to be an artist or be in show business, he needed to be in St. Petersburg, the country’s second-largest city and, in many ways, its artistic capital. So he entered a university there to study international relations, but he wrote rap lyrics in his dorm room whenever he could.

“If I had told my mom that I was going here to write rap, she would have said I was an idiot,” he said.

Left, A ska band called The Fish performs before a rap battle in a St. Petersburg bar. Right: Edik Levin, 24, chats with friends online in his apartment, which he has turned into a mini recording studio to record his rap music.

Like most young Russian rappers, Levin was inspired by the lyrical sparring of Oxxxymiron, an Oxford University-educated Russian rapper known for his aggressive, curse-ridden verses. His lyrics frequently include offhand criticism of modern-day Russia and Kremlin policies.

The digital age has changed the way young Russians get their information. Millennials forgo the state media’s patriotic and anti-Western propaganda for YouTube channels and social media feeds. They exchange video bloggers’ and rappers’ links on VKontakte, the Russian version of Facebook.

A “battle” between Oxxxymiron, whose real name is Miron Fyodorov, and another rapper in August gained 3 million views overnight. It’s since been viewed almost 29 million times.

Rap battling, with its profanity-laden rhyming insults, started as an underground movement in Russia. It has now emerged as the millennial generation’s outlet for free speech.

Edik Levin
Edik Levin with his cat in the mini studio of his St. Petersburg apartment. Vasiliy Kolotilov / For The Times

“The older generation is used to being under control. They think if you have your small, family home, just be happy with that and don’t risk anything,” Levin said. “The youth is more progressive. School kids are going to [Navalny’s] rallies not because it is trendy, but because they have realized that if we don’t do anything now we will keep living like our parents.”

After Oxxxymiron’s battle went viral, a lawmaker called for legislation to rein in media promoting rap, which he said represented “moral squalor.”

“We are a bit afraid now,” Levin said. “Before, we didn’t care when only 100,000 people watched our videos.” Now their battles get more views on YouTube than some TV stations have viewers, he said.

Levin’s YouTube channel contains a battle in which an insult to Putin is repeated several times in the back and forth between opponents. Levin considered bleeping it out, but then decided a few hours before posting it to keep it.

“I thought that what’s happening in the country is horrible. I am not planning to lead crowds and organize a revolution,” he said. “But if people such as the well-known rappers are afraid and keep silent, then nothing will change, then ordinary people will be silent as well.”


The frustrated

Arsen Avanesov, Volgograd

When Arsen Avanesov graduated from university last spring with a degree in psychology, he made a promise to himself: Stay in Volgograd, where he was born and raised, for a year and look for a job in his profession.

Avanesov wants to be a counseling psychologist, but in Volgograd, such a profession is looked down upon as some kind of scam, he said.

“In large regions like Moscow or St. Petersburg, the psychologists are trusted, they are visited,” he said. “But for Volgograd, I can say, people just don’t get it here.”

Arsen Avanesov
Arsen Avanesov, 22, discusses politics with his father over dinner at his house in suburban Volgograd. Vasiliy Kolotilov / For The Times

He’ll wait tables in the meantime, but if he can’t find a job within a year, he’s going to join the ranks of thousands of other young Russians from Volgograd and other provincial Russian cities and leave. His Plan B is to go to Moscow or St. Petersburg first and then try his luck in Western Europe, where several of his friends have found jobs in software design and programming.

Avanesov was 4 when Yeltsin resigned on New Year’s Eve 1999 and appointed then-Prime Minister Putin as acting president. Now 22, he has no memory of that transition of power and doesn’t see another one coming any time soon.

“I respect Putin as a person because when he took over Russia; times were hard and his methods have helped the country overcome the disorder,” Avanesov said. “But now the country definitely needs someone more modern, and I would say with different methods of governance.”

Avanesov doesn’t believe Navalny is the answer. “He can’t bring anything constructive,” he said.

“If someone were to ask me whom would I vote for today — although I won’t vote because I don’t want to — but I would vote for Putin,” he said. “I don’t see any other challengers who could do something better than Putin.”

The sculpture “Motherland is Calling” stands in the distance in Mamayev Kurgan memorial complex in Volgograd. (Vasiliy Kolotilov / For The Times)
Russian millennials
Russian millennials

Left, young men show off their strength at an outdoor gym on the promenade along the Volga River in central Volgograd. right, two skateboarders entertain themselves in Volgograd on Sept. 2, 2017. Vasiliy Kolotilov / For The Times

History runs deep in Volgograd and its long embankments along the mighty Volga River, an important strategic and commercial artery in Russia. During the Soviet era, the city was a large industrial center with weapons, aluminum and shipbuilding factories.

But with the collapse of the Soviet infrastructure, many of Volgograd’s industries closed. Thousands of people were left without jobs. The city is now one of the poorest of Russia’s 15 cities with populations over 1 million.

This year the city, formerly known as Stalingrad, celebrated the 75th anniversary of the pivotal World War II battle fought here between the Soviet Red Army and Hitler’s troops. The city is still pockmarked with the scars of that battle, widely considered the greatest of the war and one of the largest in history. It lasted 200 days, cost nearly 2 million lives and nearly destroyed the city’s landscape before it ended on Feb. 2, 1943.

You can’t turn your head in Volgograd without seeing a war memorial. The tallest one, the Motherland Calls, is 279 feet from the base of the female figure to the tip of her sword thrust into air. She overlooks the city’s new $278-million stadium built for the 2018 soccer World Cup.

The global event will bring some temporary work for Volgograd’s young, especially those who can speak foreign languages and can feed the short-term tourist economy. But long-term opportunities for young people like Avanesov remain centered in Moscow and St. Petersburg.

“When I’ve been to Moscow, I realize that Moscow and Volgograd are two absolutely different towns of absolutely different countries,” he said. “No one is paying attention to us. We just grow up and we don’t know what to do here.”


The economic future: Russia’s petroleum engineers

Katerina Borodina, Tyumen

To get a sense of how important the oil and gas industry is to the city of Tyumen, and indeed the whole of Russia, consider a November ceremony honoring 17 young petroleum industry professionals after the completion of a vigorous training course at a subsidiary of Rosneft, Russia’s largest oil company. After swearing allegiance to the profession and promising “to achieve high results,” the trainees stepped across a stage to where a company executive dipped his finger into a hard hat full of sweet crude oil and swiped the forehead of each graduate.

With that, a new cohort of oil and gas professionals was indoctrinated into Russia’s most important industry.

It is an industry in which Katerina Borodina, 27, sees opportunities for young people to help develop Russia’s new oil and gas frontiers.

Katerina Borodina, 27, stands in front of the Bridge of Lovers crossing the Tura River in central Tyumen, where Katerina works in the oil and gas industry. “The hardest part about being a Siberian woman is convincing people we don’t have bears running down the street!” she says. Vasiliy Kolotilov / For The Times

“What’s happening now on the offshore shelves can be compared with western Siberia 70 years ago, when we were starting to discover massive fields of oil and gas,” she said. “Now the shelf represents the same prospects.”

Borodina, raised in Tyumen by her mom after her dad died, surprised herself by becoming a geological engineer for Rosneft. She had good grades in school, loved to sing and wanted to become a doctor. But her chemistry scores earned her a full scholarship to the local university’s geological engineering department, and she fell in love with the subject within the first week of classes.

Tyumen is more than 1,000 miles east of Moscow in the heart of western Siberia. It was founded in the 16th century when the Russian Empire was pushing its expansion east of the Ural Mountains. Today, the city is developing rapidly around the oil and gas industry. Average salaries are higher here than in other parts of Russia. The city may lack the glamour of Moscow, but it has enough cafes, restaurants and shopping malls to cater to its newly prosperous population.

Russia's poverty rate
Raul Ranoa / Los Angeles Times

Borodina isn’t much on the bar and club scene. She works a lot, even on the weekends. She spends a lot of time with her mother, Tanya, whom she likes to take out for a night of karaoke.

She worries about her mother, who has struggled to raise her and her half brother, who’s 14. She especially worried about her grandmother, whose pension is about $200 a month. Borodina said her salary is slightly higher than the $700 average monthly salary for young professionals in Tyumen, so she can afford to help out her family.

“I think Russia offers a lot of opportunities for young people, but it’s completely forgotten about its older people, the people who worked all their lives for the state,” she said. “It’s not right how hard it is for them to get by now.”

Borodina says she hasn’t given much thought to voting this time around. She said she probably will vote, but she doesn’t know for whom. It doesn’t really make much difference whether she votes or not, she said.

“We know who’s going to win, don’t we?” she said.

Anastasia Reunova, Tyumen

Anastasia Reunova, 27, is one of the few women who works in the data analysis department of a major oil services company in western Siberia. When she was in college, professors would tell her to pick another profession because going into this business as a woman would be too hard.

She proved them wrong, was hired by Salym Petroleum Development, a joint venture between Royal Dutch Shell and Russia’s Gazprom Neft, and her career soared. She’s done stints in the company’s field offices in Salym, a remote oil field deep in the Siberian wilderness. It’s a 14-hour trip to get there from Tyumen. Once there, the workers stay in dorm-like accommodations with modern amenities such as gyms. Though the fieldwork could feel isolating after six weeks, the camaraderie made it worth it, she said.

Anastasia Reunova, 28, and her boyfriend, Andrei Boboshko, 31, enjoy a hot lunch with Reunova’s son, Stepan, after visiting a petting zoo in Tyumen. Vasiliy Kolotilov / For The Times

So did the pay. Fieldworkers make 1½ times the monthly salary of a typical home office worker in Tyumen. After two years of working monthlong field shifts, Reunova was able to save enough money to buy a car and make a down payment on a one-bedroom apartment.

“It’s not bad, right?” she said as she walked around the unfinished, bare walls of the new apartment she will share with her 18-month-old son and her boyfriend.

Reunova’s life is something that her mother could have never imagined. Her generation didn’t grow up with the benefits of the Soviet system, in which apartments and jobs were assigned by the state.

“We’ve had to be more creative and figure things out on our own because the state doesn’t do that anymore,” she said. “I think our generation is more self-sufficient. We’re figuring things out on our own because we’ve had to.”

Andrei Boboshko
Anastasia Reunova and boyfriend Andrei Boboshko make a shopping list at their new apartment before heading to the construction store on Nov. 25, 2017. The couple are remodeling the apartment Reunova bought last year. Vasiliy Kolotilov / For The Times

Left: A member of the Tyumen Walruses, a winter swimming club, does pull-ups during the club’s annual competition day. Right: A club member swims in an opening of a frozen lake in Tyumen to get ready for the club’s annual competition. Right: A member swims to get ready for the competitions. (Vasiliy Kolotilov / For The Times)

The anti-corruption protests that rattled local authorities across the country this spring and summer didn’t get much traction here.

“Russia will always be Russia with or without corruption,” she said. “Everyone knows it exists.… But we can’t change things, so we just accept that it exists and work around it. Our generation has figured out how to do that.”

Reunova doesn’t know whether she will go to the polls on March 18, although she might be enticed by the promotional giveaways that authorities use to lure people to vote. “They give you all these incentives to go, you know, like cakes and prizes, so … maybe I will just go to see what is there,” she said.


The Navalny activist

Nikita Panfilov, Vladivostok

The volunteers in Navalny’s campaign office in Vladivostok tell stories of police harassment like soldiers rehashing battle scenes. Of the dozen young volunteers sitting around the conference table, at least half have been dragged into police vans and held for hours for participating in unsanctioned protests. One has served three stints of 20-day jail sentences. Another had police from the anti-extremist unit search his apartments without a warrant.

Nikita Panfilov, 20, eluded arrest for months as a volunteer, but the hours he has spent waiting outside police stations for his friends to be released have changed the way he views his country. He has become a devoted member of Navalny’s campaign, whose nationwide appeal to Russian youths has shaken the Kremlin.

Russian millennials
Nikita Panfilov, 20, a volunteer at opposition leader Alexei Navalny’s regional headquarters, distributes campaign leaflets on a suburban train in Vladivostok. Vasiliy Kolotilov / For The Times

Then on Jan. 23, 10 months after Panfilov started volunteering for the Navalny campaign, police came to the campaign office and escorted him to a police station for questioning. They threatened to charge him with trying to organize an unsanctioned rally but released him after several hours with no charges.

“Interesting part is that I don’t even feel nervous,” he wrote on Telegram, a messaging app, shortly after being released. “Just a bit disappointed. Horrible things are happening.”

The police are now harassing his parents and grandparents, and that has him worried, he said.

Navalny has little chance of becoming president; the Kremlin won’t even give him permission to register his campaign. But his anti-corruption campaign has gathered more than 100,000 volunteers across the country, most of them young, and is teaching members of an otherwise apolitical generation how to organize politically.

Nikita Panfilov chats with other volunteers in Alexei Navalny’s campaign headquarters in Vladivostok. (Video by Vasiliy Kolotilov / For The Times.)

Left: The Kontrabanda underground bar in Vladivostok. Right: The Golden Horn Harbor of Vladivostok. Right: The Golden Horn Harbor of Vladivostok.

“For young people in Russia, Navalny’s campaign is first of all an opportunity and also something very new,” Panfilov said. “We hadn’t seen anything like this before. All our childhood, all our youth, we had that strong understanding that nothing will change.”

Panfilov was born and raised in Vladivostok, Russia’s most important port in the Far East. People in Vladivostok frequently compare their city to San Francisco because it’s tucked into a scenic bay and spread out among rolling hills.

The city also has a bit of an iconoclastic spirit; it was one of the last cities in the Russian Empire to support the Bolsheviks.

Located about 4,000 miles east of Moscow, the region surrounding Vladivostok shares a border with China and North Korea. Ships come in from the Sea of Japan, also known as the East Sea, to transport goods west on Russia’s Trans-Siberian Railway.

Panfilov understands why his parents see Putin as their savior, having struggled through the crime, banditry and chaos of those turbulent, post-Soviet years. But the cost of Putin’s economic stability is now bumping up against young Russians’ desire for a different future.

When he looks around, Panfilov said he sees the scars of the breakup of the Soviet Union. Factories aren’t working, young people leave to work in China or Korea. Some make it to Europe. Russia’s best computer programmers work outside the country, he said.

Russian millennials
Nikita Panfilov and his girlfriend in their apartment in Vladivostok on Dec. 2, 2017.. Panfilov and his family have been harassed by the local police for his participation in demonstrations supporting opposition activist Alexei Navalny. Vasiliy Kolotilov / For The Times

The world sees Russia as one big gas station, he said.

Panfilov studies Korean at one of Vladivostok’s universities. When he’s not studying, he’s often hunched over a notebook, drawing detailed, pen-and-ink sketches in the one-room apartment he shares with his girlfriend.

Most of his free time is spent at the Navalny headquarters helping campaign for signatures to allow Navalny to register his candidacy. Many of his Saturday mornings are devoted to handing out leaflets on commuter trains.

What bothers him most is that many are willing to complain but not look for solutions.

“Either people will live worse and keep believing the propaganda … or people’s anger will get so bad that any peaceful change of power will become impossible,” he said.

St. Isaac Cathedral is seen across the Neva River from the Peter and Paul fortress in St. Petersburg.
St. Isaac Cathedral’s golden dome shines in the distance across the Neva River from the Peter and Paul Fortress in St. Petersburg. Vasiliy Kolotilov / For The Times

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Ayres is a special correspondent.

This story was supported with a grant from the United Nations Foundation

Courtesy: L A Times

Actually, there is a clear link between mass shootings and mental illness

Actually, there is a clear link between mass shootings and mental illness
A woman cries as she visits a makeshift memorial for the victims of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting victims in Parkland, Fla. on February 16. (Matt McClain / The Washington Post)

 

“Repeat after me: Mass shooters are not disproportionately mentally ill.”

This is the opening line of a meme that’s been circulating in the aftermath of the shooting in Parkland, Fla.

But this and other efforts to downplay the role of mental illness in mass shootings are simply misleading. There is a clear relationship between mental illness and mass public shootings.

At the broadest level, peer-reviewed research has shown that individuals with major mental disorders (those that substantially interfere with life activities) are more likely to commit violent acts, especially if they abuse drugs. When we focus more narrowly on mass public shootings — an extreme and, fortunately, rare form of violence — we see a relatively high rate of mental illness.

According to our research, at least 59% of the 185 public mass shootings that took place in the United States from 1900 through 2017 were carried out by people who had either been diagnosed with a mental disorder or demonstrated signs of serious mental illness prior to the attack. (We define a mass public shooting as any incident in which four or more victims are killed with a gun within a 24-hour period at a public location in the absence of military conflict, collective violence or other criminal activity, such as robberies, drug deals or gang turf wars.)

Mother Jones found a similarly high rate of potential mental health problems among perpetrators of mass shootings — 61% — when the magazine examined 62 cases in 2012.

Both rates are considerably higher than those found in the general population — more than three times higher than the rate of mental illness found among American adults, and about 15 times higher than the rate of serious mental illness found among American adults.

It’s possible for mass public shootings to be both a gun problem and a mental health problem.


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And yet this nuance often gets lost in mainstream news reports. In a story that largely suggested mass murderers are not “insane,” the New York Times cited research showing that, in fact, mass murderers are nearly 20 times more likely to have a “severe” mental illness than the general population.

According to our research, only one-third of the people who have committed mass shootings in the U.S. since 1900 had sought or received mental health care prior to their attacks, which suggests that most shooters did not seek or receive care they may have needed.

This treatment gap is underscored by evidence showing that the U.S. has higher rates of untreated serious mental illness than most other Western countries. Additional researchshows that the gap is even larger for males, who have committed 99% of the country’s mass public shootings.

Although the link between mass shootings and mental illness has only recently gained widespread recognition, the correlation itself is longstanding. Indeed, we see it in some of the earliest such shootings in the U.S. Gilbert Twigg, who opened fire on a concert crowd in Winfield, Kan., in 1903, killing nine, had displayed signs of paranoia beforehand. Howard Unruh, who shot and killed 13 people in Camden, N.J., in 1949, was later diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia. (Both were also Army veterans who had seen combat.)

One of the primary reasons some are reluctant to establish the link between mass shootings and mental illness is a fear that it will lead to the stigmatization of such disorders. This concern is valid. The vast majority of people with mental disorders are not violent, after all.

Conversely, some have insisted — wrongly, in our opinion — that mass public shootings are strictly a mental health problem rather than a gun problem. They, too, are on the wrong side of the evidence. It’s possible for mass public shootings to be both a gun problem and a mental health problem.

Increasing access to mental health care may reduce mass public shootings. But while such events are more commonplace than they should be, the reality may be that they’re still too rare to develop and implement policies that reduce their incidence or severity specifically.

Policymakers should therefore focus on strategies that have shown promise in reducing gun violence in general, like a federal universal background check.

Because there’s still a lot we don’t understand about mass shootings, we need to invest in research to develop evidence-based solutions. In the meantime, the media should stop glorifying this violence. In the midst of our tribal hyperpartisanship, the debate over mass shootings is doomed to continue ignoring facts. We won’t make any progress until those on the mental health side and those on the gun side find common ground that’s rooted in empirical reality.

Grant Duwe is research director for the Minnesota Department of Corrections and the author of “Mass Murder in the United States: A History.” Michael Rocque is a professor of sociology at Bates College.

Follow the Opinion section on Twitter @latimesopinion or Facebook

Courtesy: L A Times

Lisa Marie Presley sues former manager for $100 million after announcing massive debt

Lisa Marie Presley, the daughter of Elvis Presley, has sued her former manager Barry Siegel for $100 million after claiming he mismanaged her trust from the King of Rock and Roll.

According to Us Weekly, when Elvis died in 1977, he left his daughter a trust fund that has since been managed by Siegel. But Presley claims that in 2005 Siegel sold 85 percent of her interest in Elvis Presley Enterprises for $100 million and used the money he obtained from the sale to invest in Core Entertainment.

The entertainment company reportedly went bankrupt in 2006, however, losing Presley big money. Presley said that she was not notified of the Core deal and lost $24.5 million as a result of the bankruptcy.

“Siegel never provided Lisa with the required accounting at any time after the Core deal,” the court documents obtained by Us Weekly read. “Siegel reportedly led Lisa to believe she was in ‘good shape’ with her finances.”

Though the singer only cited the $24 million lost from the bad investment, she has sued Siegel for $100 million for financial blips she believes have yet to be accounted for.

The court documents read that Presley has “been damaged in an amount that has not yet been fully ascertained, but is believed to be in excess of $100 million.”

The news of Presley deciding to sue Siegel comes after the star announced that she was $16 million in debt following her divorce from Michael Lockwood, whom she was married to for 10 years.

FILE - In this Dec. 15, 1956 file photo, Rock-n-Roll legend Elvis Presley entertains a packed house as a headlining act during a special performance of the KWKH Louisiana Hayride at Hirsch Coliseum in Shreveport, La. A home once owned by Presley in the 1950s as he was skyrocketing to fame was damaged by fire Saturday, April 22, 2017. The Commercial Appeal says Rhodes College looks after the house, now owned by music industry veteran and philanthropist Mike Curb. (Langston McEachern/The Shreveport Times via AP)

Lisa Marie’s father, Elvis. Court documents read that Presley has “been damaged in an amount that has not yet been fully ascertained.”  (AP)

According to court documents obtained by Us Weekly, Presley owes $10 million in taxes and $6 million on her home in England. In addition to her bigger debts, the star also owes more than $47,000 in credit card debt and an estimated $250,000 in miscellaneous bills.

Siegel, who claims that Presley also has “uncontrollable spending habits,” has countersued the singer, according to The Blast.

The attorney for Siegel defended the former manager’s Core Entertainment deal and said to the The Blast, “The 2005 deal she is complaining about now cleared up over $20 million in debts Lisa had incurred and netted her over $40 million cash and a multi-million dollar income stream, most of which she managed to squander in the ensuing years.”

He then added, “It’s clear Lisa Marie is going through a difficult time in her life and looking to blame others instead of taking responsibility for her actions.”

You can find Morgan M. Evans on Twitter @themizfactor.

Courtesy: Fox News

Deadly blasts rock Somalia after months of relative calm

At least 18 people have been killed in Mogadishu after two bombers struck the city’s government quarter. The attacks were later claimed by al-Shabab terrorists.

Somalia Mogadischu Autobomben Anschlag (Reuters/Universal TV)

At least 18 people were killed and 20 injured when twin blasts rocked the Somali capital of Mogadishu on Friday, shattering a months-long period of relative stability for the city. The attacks came just a day after Somalia’s interior ministry issued a warning about possible car bombs.

The first blast, the work of a suicide car bomber, occurred near the headquarters of Somalia’s intelligence service. The second came close to parliament, the presidential palace and police headquarters – all of which are in close proximity to each other in Mogadishu’s government district.

There was also gunfire heard at Villa Somalia, the official name of the presidential palace.

The al Qaeda-linked al-Shabab group claimed responsibility for the attacks on its radio station, Andalus. The terrorists have long sought to overthrow Somalia’s internationally-recognized government in favor of implementing Islamic fundamentalist laws.

The terrorists were largely forced out of the capital by African Union troops in 2011, but they continue to be highly active in large parts of the countryside. In October, they launched their deadliest-ever attack on the capital, killing 500 people – also using vehicles laden with explosives.

es/msh (AP, AFP, dpa)

COURTESY: DW

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