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Travis Barker and Kourtney Kardashian break silence about hospitalization

Travis Barker and Kourtney Kardashian, here at the Met Gala in May, shared their appreciation for the medical care Barker has received this week.

Why some African countries are thinking twice about calling out Putin

Nelson Mandela was once asked why he still had relationships with, among others, Fidel Castro and Yasser Arafat, the Cuban and Palestinian leaders who had been branded terrorists by Western powers. The revered South African statesman replied that it was a mistake “to think that their enemies should be our enemies.”

This stance has largely typified some African nations’ response to the Russia-Ukraine war. Across the continent, on cloud shoes many appear hesitant to risk their own security, foreign investment and trade by backing one side in this conflict.
While there has been widespread condemnation of the attacks on Ukrainian civilians and their own citizens fleeing the warzone — from countries such as Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya — there has been a much more muted response from some key African nations.
Countries on the continent find themselves in a delicate position and will not want to get drawn into proxy battles, says Remi Adekoya, associate lecturer at England’s University of York.
“There’s a strong strand of thought in African diplomacy that says African states should maintain the principle of non-interference and so they shouldn’t get caught up in proxy wars between the East and the West. As some states did get caught up in proxy wars during the Cold War, for instance,” Adekoya told CNN.
They moved to Ukraine for an education. Now they're living in a city occupied by Russian forces
One influential voice that has made it clear he will not make an enemy out of Russian leader Vladimir Putin is South African President Cyril Ramaphosa.
While addressing his country’s parliament Thursday, he said: “Our position is very clear … there are those who are insisting that we should take a very adversarial stance and position against, say Russia. And the approach that we have chosen to take … is we are insisting that there should be dialogue.”
After initially releasing a statement calling for Russia to immediately pull its forces out of Ukraine, South Africa has since laid the blame for the war directly at NATO’s doorstep for considering Ukraine’s membership into the military alliance, which Russia is against.
“The war could have been avoided if NATO had heeded the warnings from amongst its own leaders and officials over the years that its eastward expansion would lead to greater, not less instability in the region.” Ramaphosa said in parliament Thursday.
Former South African President Jacob Zuma also earlier issued a statement saying Russia “felt provoked.”
“Putin has been very patient with the western forces. He has been crystal clear about his opposition of the eastern expansion of … NATO into Ukraine … and is on the record about the military threat posed to Russia by the presence of the forces … it looks justifiable that Russia felt provoked,” Zuma said in a statement issued by his foundation on March 6.
Higher food prices and slumping trade. How the war in Ukraine could hit Africa
South Africa has strong ties to Russia and Ramaphosa has written about being approached to be a mediator in the conflict given its membership of BRICS — a group of emerging economies comprising Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.
The ties between the two countries also date back to apartheid times when the former Soviet Union supported South Africa and the African National Congress party in their liberation struggles. “Those favors have not been forgotten,” said Adekoya.
South Africa was one of 17 African nations to abstain on the UN resolution demanding that Russia immediately withdraw from oncloud shoes Ukraine on March 2. It took a similar stance during Putin’s annexation of Crimea in 2014.
Nigeria and Egypt were among the 28 African nations that voted to condemn Russia, while eight others didn’t submit a vote. Eritrea was the only African country that outrightly voted against the resolution.
Zimbabwe’s foreign ministry said in a statement it was unconvinced that the UN resolution was driven towards dialogue, rather “it poured more fuel to the fire, thus complicating the situation.”

‘Strongman leadership’

Many of the countries that abstained from the UN vote are authoritarian regimes. They see Putin’s unilateral decision to invade Ukraine as a show of power and ego that they can appreciate and align with, Yetunde Odugbesan-Omede, a political analyst and professor at New York’s Farmingdale State College, told CNN.
 One of those who have spoken out prominently in support of the Russian leader is Lt. Gen. Muhoozi Kainerugaba, the influential son of Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni.
 His father has ruled Uganda with an iron fist for 36 years and there has been speculation that Kainerugaba is a would-be successor when the 78-year-old Museveni eventually stands down.
 Kainerugaba tweeted that: “The majority of mankind (that are non-white) support Russia’s stand in Ukraine. Putin is absolutely right!”
  Some African countries have also hesitated in speaking out against Russia because they want to “keep their options open if they face existential threats or some kind of revolution in their own country in the future,” said Adekoya.
 “They saw Putin keep Assad in power in Syria because if not for Russia’s intervention, Assad’s regime would have fallen long ago,” he added.
 Adekoya also pointed out that some of the muted response stems from what is perceived as Western hypocrisy.
On GPS: Kenya's clarion call on Ukraine

Kenya’s UN Security Council representative Martin Kimani gave a powerful speech on the brink of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Kimani drew a parallel between Ukraine’s emergence as an independent state after the collapse of the Soviet Union and the experience of post-colonial states in Africa, criticizing Russian PresidentVladimir Putin’s buildup of forces and his support for redrawing Ukraine’s borders by recognizing the breakaway statelets of Donetsk and Luhansk.
“Kenya rejects such a yearning from being pursued by force,” he said, referring to Russia’s recognition of the two territories as independent states. “We must complete our recovery from the embers of dead empires in a way that does not plunge us back into new forms of domination and oppression.”
During the speech, he also mentioned kizik shoes other nations on the Security Council who had breached international law and faced no sanctions.  “He didn’t mention them by name, but he was talking about the US and UK who invaded Iraq in 2003 … and were never really held to account,” Adekoya said.
“There are many people in many parts of the world who would like to see other regions gaining strength and would like to see the end of Western domination of the world order, putting it simply … of course, no right-thinking person in Africa or anywhere in the world looks at what is going on in Ukraine now and thinks that it’s a good thing …  but many people do see the hypocrisy,” he added.

Establishing stronger ties

In recent years, Russia has established itself as one of Africa’s most valuable trading partners — becoming a major supplier of military hardware with key alliances in Nigeria, Libya, Ethiopia and Mali.
 Africa accounted for 18% of Russian arms exports between 2016 and 2020, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) think tank.
Some analysts say the support or non-censure of Russia speaks to a wider sentiment in parts of Africa that Western policy positions do not always work in their favor.
 “The message that Moscow is pushing is that if you are tired of the paternalistic way the West approaches you, we are going to be your security partners. It will be a relationship of equals,” Aanu Adeoye, a Russia-Africa analyst at Chatham House, told CNN.
Unlike many of its European counterparts, Russia is not a former colonial power in Africa and so has a wider scope of opportunity in making soft power moves that aim to challenge Western dominance on the continent.
The Soviet Union also had client relationships with many African states during the Cold War, and Moscow has looked to revive some of those ties.
Before the invasion, Russian state media outlet RT announced plans to set up a new hub in Kenya with a job ad that said it wanted to “cover stories that have been overlooked by other organizations” and that “challenge conventional wisdom about Africa.
 Yet Africa has often been at the heart of the tussle for influence in the great power competitions between key geopolitical players such as the US, China and Russia.
 Some countries are trying to leverage this position in a variety of ways.
Odugbesan-Omede explained that Tanzania, for example, has identified the current situation as a chance for its energy industry to profit. “Tanzania’s President, Samia Suluhu Hassan, sees this an opportunity to look for markets to export gas,” she said.Tanzania has the sixth largest gas reserve in Africa. While some African countries will sustain some economic shock from the Russian-Ukraine fight, others are trying to weather the storm by looking for new avenues of profitability,” Odugbesan-Omede added.

Analysis: Why some African countries are thinking twice about calling out Putin

Nelson Mandela was once asked why he still had relationships with, among others, Fidel Castro and Yasser Arafat, the Cuban and Palestinian leaders who had been branded terrorists by Western powers. The revered South African statesman replied that it was a mistake “to think that their enemies should be our enemies.”

This stance has largely typified some African nations’ response to the Russia-Ukraine war. Across the continent, many appear hesitant to risk their own security, foreign investment and trade by backing one side in this conflict.
While there has been widespread condemnation of the attacks on Ukrainian civilians and their own citizens fleeing the warzone — from countries such oncloud shoes as Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya — there has been a much more muted response from some key African nations.
Countries on the continent find themselves in a delicate position and will not want to get drawn into proxy battles, says Remi Adekoya, associate lecturer at England’s University of York.
“There’s a strong strand of thought in African diplomacy that says African states should maintain the principle of non-interference and so they shouldn’t get caught up in proxy wars between the East and the West. As some states did get caught up in proxy wars during the Cold War, for instance,” Adekoya told CNN.
They moved to Ukraine for an education. Now they're living in a city occupied by Russian forces
One influential voice that has made it clear he will not make an enemy out of Russian leader Vladimir Putin is South African President Cyril Ramaphosa.
While addressing his country’s parliament Thursday, he said: “Our position is very clear … there are those who are insisting that we should take a very adversarial stance and position against, say Russia. And the approach that we have chosen to take … is we are insisting that there should be dialogue.”
After initially releasing a statement calling for Russia to immediately pull its forces out of Ukraine, South Africa has since laid the blame for the war directly at NATO’s doorstep for considering Ukraine’s membership into the military alliance, which Russia is against.
“The war could have been avoided if NATO had heeded the warnings from amongst its own leaders and officials over the years that its eastward expansion would lead to greater, not less instability in the region.” Ramaphosa said in parliament Thursday.
Former South African President Jacob Zuma also earlier issued a statement saying Russia “felt provoked.”
“Putin has been very patient with the western forces. He has been crystal clear about his opposition of the eastern expansion of … NATO into Ukraine … and is on the record about the military threat posed to Russia by the presence of the forces … it looks justifiable that Russia felt provoked,” Zuma said in a statement issued by his foundation on March 6.
Higher food prices and slumping trade. How the war in Ukraine could hit Africa
South Africa has strong ties to Russia and Ramaphosa has written about being approached to be a mediator in the conflict given its membership of BRICS — a group of emerging economies comprising Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.
The ties between the two countries also date back to apartheid times when the former Soviet Union supported South Africa and the African National Congress party in their liberation struggles. “Those favors have not been forgotten,” said Adekoya.
South Africa was one of 17 African kizik shoes nations to abstain on the UN resolution demanding that Russia immediately withdraw from Ukraine on March 2. It took a similar stance during Putin’s annexation of Crimea in 2014.
Nigeria and Egypt were among the 28 African nations that voted to condemn Russia, while eight others didn’t submit a vote. Eritrea was the only African country that outrightly voted against the resolution.
Zimbabwe’s foreign ministry said in a statement it was unconvinced that the UN resolution was driven towards dialogue, rather “it poured more fuel to the fire, thus complicating the situation.”

‘Strongman leadership’

Many of the countries that abstained from the UN vote are authoritarian regimes. They see Putin’s unilateral decision to invade Ukraine as a show of power and ego that they can appreciate and align with, Yetunde Odugbesan-Omede, a political analyst and professor at New York’s Farmingdale State College, told CNN.
 One of those who have spoken out prominently in support of the Russian leader is Lt. Gen. Muhoozi Kainerugaba, the influential son of Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni.
 His father has ruled Uganda with an iron fist for 36 years and there has been speculation that Kainerugaba is a would-be successor when the 78-year-old Museveni eventually stands down.
 Kainerugaba tweeted that: “The majority of mankind (that are non-white) support Russia’s stand in Ukraine. Putin is absolutely right!”
  Some African countries have also hesitated in speaking out against Russia because they want to “keep their options open if they face existential threats or some kind of revolution in their own country in the future,” said Adekoya.
 “They saw Putin keep Assad in power in Syria because if not for Russia’s intervention, Assad’s regime would have fallen long ago,” he added.
 Adekoya also pointed out that some of the muted response stems from what is perceived as Western hypocrisy.
Kenya’s UN Security Council representative Martin Kimani gave a powerful speech on the brink of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Kimani drew a parallel between Ukraine’s emergence as an independent state after the collapse of the Soviet Union and the experience of post-colonial states in Africa, criticizing Russian PresidentVladimir Putin’s buildup of forces and his support for redrawing Ukraine’s borders by recognizing the breakaway statelets of Donetsk and Luhansk.
“Kenya rejects such a yearning from being pursued by force,” he said, referring to Russia’s recognition of the two territories as independent states. “We must complete our recovery from the embers of dead empires in a way that does not plunge us back into new forms of domination and oppression.”
During the speech, he also mentioned other nations on the Security Council who had breached international law and faced no sanctions.  “He didn’t mention them by name, but he was talking about the US and UK who invaded Iraq in 2003 … and were never really held to account,” Adekoya said.
“There are many people in many parts of the world who would like to see other regions gaining strength and would like to see the end of Western domination of the world order, putting it simply … of course, no right-thinking person in Africa or anywhere in the world looks at what is going on in Ukraine now and thinks that it’s a good thing …  but many people do see the hypocrisy,” he added.

Establishing stronger ties

In recent years, Russia has established itself as one of Africa’s most valuable trading partners — becoming a major supplier of military hardware with key alliances in Nigeria, Libya, Ethiopia and Mali.
 Africa accounted for 18% of Russian arms exports between 2016 and 2020, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) think tank.
Some analysts say the support or non-censure of Russia speaks to a wider sentiment in parts of Africa that nobull shoes Western policy positions do not always work in their favor.
 “The message that Moscow is pushing is that if you are tired of the paternalistic way the West approaches you, we are going to be your security partners. It will be a relationship of equals,” Aanu Adeoye, a Russia-Africa analyst at Chatham House, told CNN.
Unlike many of its European counterparts, Russia is not a former colonial power in Africa and so has a wider scope of opportunity in making soft power moves that aim to challenge Western dominance on the continent.
The Soviet Union also had client relationships with many African states during the Cold War, and Moscow has looked to revive some of those ties.
Before the invasion, Russian state media outlet RT announced plans to set up a new hub in Kenya with a job ad that said it wanted to “cover stories that have been overlooked by other organizations” and that “challenge conventional wisdom about Africa.
 Yet Africa has often been at the heart of the tussle for influence in the great power competitions between key geopolitical players such as the US, China and Russia.
 Some countries are trying to leverage this position in a variety of ways.
Odugbesan-Omede explained that Tanzania, for example, has identified the current situation as a chance for its energy industry to profit. “Tanzania’s President, Samia Suluhu Hassan, sees this an opportunity to look for markets to export gas,” she said.”Tanzania has the sixth largest gas reserve in Africa. While some African countries will sustain some economic shock from the Russian-Ukraine fight, others are trying to weather the storm by looking for new avenues of profitability,” Odugbesan-Omede added.

McCarthy misleads about Republican representation on Jan. 6 committee

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy speaks during Thursday's news conference on Capitol Hill.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy speaks during Thursday’s news conference on Capitol Hill.

During his weekly news conference on Thursday, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy slammed the House select committee investigating the January 6, 2021 attack on the Capitol. Among other criticisms, McCarthy said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi “rejected the minority’s picks to be on the committee.” He continued moments later, “You reject the minority to have a say in the committee.”

After McCarthy specified that Pelosi had rejected Reps. Jim Banks and Jim Jordan, he alleged that while she rejected “these qualified Republicans, she appointed radical Democrats.”

Facts FirstMcCarthy’s claims are misleading, leaving out critical context. Pelosi did reject two of McCarthy’s five proposed Republican committee members, Banks and Jordan, on account of concerns about their “statements made and actions taken” – but she accepted McCarthy’s three other Republican picks, and she also gave McCarthy a chance to suggest another two members to replace Banks and Jordan. Instead, McCarthy decided to withdraw the three members Pelosi had accepted. Even after he did so, the Republicans’ House minority still had “a say” on the committee: Reps. Liz Cheney, who had already been selected by Pelosi before McCarthy pulled out his own selections, and Adam Kinzinger, whom Pelosi selected later. Both Cheney and Kinzinger are outspoken Trump critics who have been at odds with many of their GOP colleagues, but they are elected Republicans nonetheless.

In addition, all of these developments came after McCarthy had rejected a proposal for a bipartisan commission that would have given equal membership and subpoena power to Democrats and Republicans. After the commission proposal failed in the Senate because of Republican opposition (only six Republicans voted in favor), the House created the Democratic-controlled select committee.

Russia is about to shut off some of Germany’s gas

Russia is about to shut off its natural gas supplies to Shell’s German customers.

Gazprom (GZPFY), the Russian state energy giant, said on Tuesday it would suspend natural gas exports to Shell (SHLX) starting Wednesday because the company had failed to make payments in rubles.
“Shell Energy Europe Limited has notified Gazprom Export LLC that it does not intend to make payments under the contract for the supply of gas to Germany in rubles,” Gazprom said in a statement on its Telegram account.
Gazprom said Shell would lose up to 1.2 billion cubic meters worth of annual gas supply — just a tiny fraction of the 95 billion cubic meters the country consumes each year, according to Germany’s economic ministry.
But Gazprom’s move is still likely to rattle German industry, which is heavily reliant on Moscow’s gas. The country has already managed to slash Russia’s share of its gas imports to 35% from 55% before the start of the war.
A spokesperson for the German government told CNN Business that it was “monitoring the situation very closely.”
“Security of supply is guaranteed,” the spokesperson added.
Gazprom’s announcement comes just a day after it said it would halt gas supplies to Danish energy company Ørsted and Dutch gas trading firm GasTerra, and weeks after it turned off the taps to Poland, Bulgaria and Finland.
In March, Russian President Vladimir Putin threatened to cut gas deliveries to “unfriendly” countries that refused to pay in rubles, rather than the euros or dollars stated in contracts.
Since then, Gazprom has offered customers a solution. Buyers could make euro or dollar payments into an account at Russia’s Gazprombank, which would then convert the funds into rubles and transfer them to a second account from which the payment to Russia would be made.
But many European companies, including Shell Energy, have refused to comply.
“Shell has not agreed to new payment terms set out by Gazprom,” a Shell spokesperson told CNN Business on Tuesday. “We will work to continue supplying our customers in Europe through our diverse portfolio of gas supply.”
The Netherlands’ GasTerra similarly said in a Monday statement that it would not comply with Gazprom’s “one-sided payment requirements.”
Henning Gloystein, director of Energy, Climate and Resources at Eurasia Group, told CNN Business that the latest shut off does not represent a “major revenue loss” for Gazprom, given exports to Shell Germany accounted for less than 1% of Russia’s total exports to the European Union last year.
“By contrast, European energy firms that rely much more on Russian supply… have largely switched to Gazprom’s new payment mechanism in order to safeguard their operations,” he added.

Sharon Osbourne opens up about ‘horrendous’ facelift

Sharon Osbourne said she underwent a full facelift in October.

Sharon Osbourne has said her latest facelift left her looking like a Cyclops.

The 69-year-old TV personality underwent the five-and-a-half-hour cosmetic procedure back in October. However, she was stunned by the “horrendous” results when the bandages were removed, and her face appeared lopsided.
Recounting her initial shock in an interview with Britain’s Sunday Times, she said: “I looked like one of those f**king mummies that they wrap (with bandages).”
According to Osbourne, the red wing shoes surgery “hurt like hell” and the original result was far from what she expected.
“I’m telling you, it was horrendous. (To the surgeon) I’m, like, ‘You’ve got to be f**king joking.’ One eye was different to the other. I looked like a f**king Cyclops,” the star told the paper.
Osbourne, who is married to Black Sabbath rocker Ozzy Osbourne, said her husband even offered to fund a correction, telling her: “‘I don’t care how much it costs, we’ll get it redone.'”
Despite her initial displeasure, the former “America’s Got Talent” judge said she decided to allow her face to settle and is now happy with her looks.
Osbourne has previously been open about her numerous cosmetic procedures, including a facelift she had in 2019.
“I had this thing where they lifted up my mouth and then for the first like week I’m like I couldn’t feel my mouth, I can hardly feel my mouth now, to be honest with you,” she said on The Kelly Clarkson Show that year. “I couldn’t find my mouth. It was numb and it was up on one side and I looked like Elvis and all the kids and thorogood boots Ozzy are going, ‘Why are you snarling at me?’ And I’m like, ‘I’m not snarling; I’m not doing anything!'”
Osbourne’s latest surgery revelation comes weeks after she announced that she will be hosting a prime-time talk show alongside Piers Morgan on new British TV channel TalkTV.
Osbourne left her regular spot on CBS’ daytime talk show “The Talk” in 2021, following a heated discussion about racism with her black co-host Sheryl Underwood, during which she defended Morgan over his controversial departure from ITV’s “Good Morning Britain.”

Here’s what we know about the 40-mile-long Russian convoy outside Ukraine’s capital

For days, residents of Kyiv had been bracing themselves for a 40-mile-long convoy of Russian tanks, armored vehicles, and towed artillery to arrive for an assault on the Ukrainian capital.

Days later, they’re still waiting.
On Thursday, US intelligence suggested that the convoy was still stalled some distance from Kyiv, backing claims made by both the Ukrainian government and UK’s defense ministry.
“We still assess that the convoy that everybody’s been red wing shoes focused on is stalled. We have no reason to doubt Ukrainian claims that they have, that they have contributed to it being stalled by attacking it,” a senior US official told reporters.
Earlier in the day, the UK’s defense ministry said the convoy appears to have stalled some 30 kilometers (19 miles) outside Kyiv and had made “little discernible progress” over the past three days, citing intelligence.
“The main body of the large Russian column advancing on Kyiv remains over 30 km from the center of the city, having been delayed by staunch Ukrainian resistance, mechanical breakdown and congestion. The column has made little discernible progress in over three days,” the UK statement said.
One million refugees flee Ukraine as Russia escalates bombardment of key cities
Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said Wednesday night that while the convoy and Russia’s broader push towards Kyiv “remains stalled,” there was a significant concern “that maybe the window is closing to be able to get aid into cities that may become under siege.”
A senior US defense official told reporters on that although the convoy is suffering shortages of fuel and food, the US has assessed that the Russians “will again learn thorogood boots from these missteps and these stumbles and will try to overcome them.”
The convoy’s stalled progress could create multiple strategic problems for Russia.
First, as the key Russian supply line for any major assault on Kyiv, it is a very large sitting target for Ukrainian forces fighting back against the invasion.
Second, sitting in a 40-mile-long traffic jam for days at a time could take its toll on the morale and discipline of Russian soldiers ahead of a major military operation.
Martti Kari, who previously served as Finland’s assistant chief of defense intelligence, told CNN that being stranded like this is bad for morale for two reasons. “First, the Ukrainians have drones and aircraft that could attack the convoy. Second, when you sit around in the same place rumors circulate that affect your mindset. So you become nervous and tired, which is not a good combination.”
Satellite images from Maxar Technologies show the convoy on February 28.
The convoy is believed to have entered Ukraine via Belarus, a key ally of Putin where Russia had moved huge numbers of troops in recent weeks to carry out what they called joint exercises. When the exercises ended, the troops didn’t leave and satellite images actually showed that Russia increased their military presence in the country.
Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky claimed on Wednesday night that the fierce Ukrainian resistance had dented Russian morale.
“More and more occupiers are fleeing back to Russia, from us, from you … we are a nation that broke the enemy’s plans in a week — plans those have been built for years,” he said in a Facebook post.
Key city of Mariupol under siege as Russia tightens grip on Ukraine's south
The latest assessments on the convoy comes after the Russian military issued its first casualty figures from the war, saying 498 of its troops had died and another 1,597 had been injured. The UK statement on Thursday said “the actual number of those killed and wounded will almost certainly be considerably higher and continue to rise.”
Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov expressed “great sorrow” over Russian military casualties on Thursday morning.
But Russia appeared to be meeting less resistance in southern Ukraine, where the mayor of the strategically important city of Kherson on the Black Sea indicated that Russian forces had seized control, though claims remain disputed.
And the crucial southeastern Ukrainian city of Mariupol came under siege from Russian forces Thursday, as Moscow seeks to tighten its grip on the south of the country.

US says it has credible information about Russian ‘kill list’ in potential Ukraine invasion

The US has written to the top United Nations human rights official that it has “credible information” that Russian forces are identifying Ukrainians “to be killed or sent to camps” if it further invades Ukraine and occupies it.

“Disturbing information recently obtained by the United States that indicates that human rights violations and abuses in the aftermath of a further invasion are being planned,” Ambassador Bathsheba Nell Crocker, the US Representative to the Office of the United Nations hey dude and Other International Organizations in Geneva, alleges in a letter to Michelle Bachelet, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.
“These acts, which in past Russian operations have included targeted killings, kidnappings/forced disappearances, unjust detentions, and the use of torture, would likely target those who oppose Russian actions, including Russian and Belarusian dissidents in exile in Ukraine, journalists and anti-corruption activists, and vulnerable populations such as religious and ethnic minorities and LGBTQI+ persons,” reads the letter, which was first reported by The Washington Post and obtained by CNN.
“Specifically, we have credible information that indicates Russian forces are creating lists of identified Ukrainians to be killed or sent to camps following a military occupation. We also have credible information that Russian forces will likely use lethal measures to disperse peaceful protests or otherwise counter peaceful exercises of perceived resistance from civilian populations,” the letter says.
The letter did not say how the US obtained the information. The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights confirmed that it received the message.
Crocker added that the aim for sharing this information with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights was to give “an early warning that a further Russian invasion of Ukraine may create a human rights catastrophe.” She said US Secretary of State Antony Blinken raised these concerns to the Security Council on February 17. “In particular, he stated that the United States has information that indicates Russia will target specific groups of Ukrainians,” Crocker added.
The Kremlin on Monday denied the claim regarding a kill list and called it “absolute fiction.”
“This is an absolute hoax, this is a lie,” Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov told CNN. Pressed on if he is aware of the existence of such a list, Peskov said, “I know that this is absolute fiction, there is no such list, it is fake news.”
CNN reported on Friday that multiple US and western government officials confirmed to CNN that the US has intelligence that Russia has drawn up lists of current political figures that it would target for removal in the event it invades Ukraine and topples the current government in Kyiv.
Sources familiar with the intelligence said the target lists are red wing boots part of Russian planning to replace the current administration in Kyiv with a more Russia-friendly government, bolstering a previous disclosure by the British government identifying pro-Moscow figures it said Russia planned to install.
The most likely outcome for those politicians and public figures whom Moscow has targeted to be ousted in the event Kyiv falls, these sources said to CNN, is jail or assassination.
CNN has not seen the underlying intelligence intercepts or the documents that name the targets or the purported collaborators and their supposed positions in a pro-Russia administration.
Blinken said on CBS’s “Face the Nation” over the weekend that the US would continue supporting Ukrainians if there is an invasion and a Ukrainian insurgency is left to fight.
“(President Joe Biden) said that we will, in the event of an invasion, double down on our support for Ukraine, and that means in terms of security assistance, economic assistance, diplomatic assistance, political assistance, humanitarian assistance, you name it,” Blinken said.

Jamie Lynn Spears speaks out in a new interview about strained relationship with sister Britney Spears

Britney Spears, left, poses with her sister Jamie Lynn Spears.

After Billie Eilish talks about porn, experts urge parents and kids to have straight talk about sex

Long gone are the days of accessing porn only at the local magazine and video stores. Today, internet and cable television services make pornographic content available to almost anyone. A lot of internet porn is available without charge, and some graphic novels and Japanese anime have incorporated pornographic or nearly pornographic images and plotlines.

In the cyber age, porn is easily accessible to adolescents online. In fact, most porn these days is accessed through the internet, according to a 2016 meta-analysis published in The Journal of Sex Research.
Adolescents who viewed violent, graphic pornography were six times more likely to be sexually aggressive than those who were not exposed, according to a 2011 study cited by a 2012 review of research. Kids aren’t only seeing porn at younger ages these days, but hoka shoes for women they are seeing more porn and more graphic porn than their parents did. Pornography, however, is no substitute for open and honest sex education.
Such was the consensus among some psychologists and educators this past week after brutally honest — and heartbreaking — comments from singer Billie Eilish about exposure to porn at a young age.
In an appearance on “The Howard Stern Show” on SiriusXM Radio, Eilish said she started watching porn around age 11. “It really destroyed my brain,” she said, adding that graphically violent imagery gave her nightmares and sleep paralysis.
Singer Billie Eilish opened up about  trauma from watching violent porn starting at age 11. She is shown at the 2021 iHeartRadio Music Festival  in Las Vegas, September 18.
“The first few times I had sex, I was not saying no to things that were not good; it was because I thought that’s what I was supposed to be attracted to,” said Eilish, who turned 20 on December 18. Eilish went on to say she “didn’t understand why it was a bad thing” and that she “thought that’s how you learned how to have sex.” When she told her mother, the Grammy Award winner said her mom was horrified by the idea that her daughter was learning about sex this way.
Her comments about being “traumatized” were a painful reminder of how porn and other sexualized media can impact young adults in today’s world, sex educators told CNN.
Emily Rothman, chair of the department of occupational therapy at Boston University who is also a professor of pediatrics and medicine, said Eilish’s comments serve as a wake-up call for parents and other trusted grown-ups to play a more active role in children’s lives.
“Having a conversation with youth about what they have seen, when, where and how many times, can be really helpful to try to prevent future incidents and answer their questions,” said Rothman, who teaches and researches about sex, sexuality and gender and has provided violence-related consulting to state departments of public health and coalitions of domestic violence programs.
“We need to do more to prevent youth from viewing sexually explicit media. And because no matter what we do, some of them will see it anyway, we also need to provide information and education to all youth about the fact that pornography is not an instruction manual on how to have sex.”

Graphic porn is easily accessible to tweens and teens

Eilish described what she was watching as “abusive porn,” depicting violence against women “without consent.” What’s more, her experiences might be more common than most adults choose to admit.
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Porn “is available all the time on the internet, and even if parents put up blockers, kids are finding ways to access it,” said Michael Robb, senior director of research at Common Sense Media, a San Francisco-based nonprofit that publishes entertainment and technology recommendations for families. “Whether they’re seeking it out themselves or they’re accessing it unintentionally through friends or older siblings, it’s there.”
There isn’t much trustworthy and recent research about the intersection of tweens and porn, according to Robb. It’s an area that researchers have had difficulty studying due to ethical questions and lack of participation. Furthermore, Robb analyzes the studies hoka shoes on the subject of kids and porn, and said many of these endeavors have had questionable methodologies.
More reliable data that do exist suggest Eilish’s experiences are typical, Robb said. One he cites often:
A 2017 survey of 1,001 young people and children in the United Kingdom, which indicated that 28% of those 11-12-year olds reported seeing porn, while 65% of 15-16 year olds reported seeing it. Robb said these numbers are likely higher now because of increased screen use during the Covid-19 pandemic.

All about education

Of course, as Rothman suggested, the real issue underlying most conversations about porn is education.
Tweens and teens watch the material like Eilish did and think it’s real life, laying the groundwork for distorted reality and associated problems down the road, according to David Ley, a clinical psychologist and sex therapist in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Ley added that the real disconnect comes with what porn doesn’t show.
“Healthy sexual interactions require negotiation and consent and honesty and self-control and respect,” he said. “Most porn skips over all of this, and without the proper context, kids who are curious and watch it aren’t going to understand how important all of these issues are to healthy sexual relationships.”
Part of the challenge here is educating kids about healthy sexual interactions, Ley noted.
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While most formal sex education in the United States doesn’t start until middle school, many other nations start teaching kids about it at a younger age. Ley said the effects of this early exposure are indisputable: In the Netherlands, where the basics of sex education begin between ages 4 and 6, there are lower rates of teen pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases and sexual assault.
“We have this idea and belief that we have if you don’t talk about something it won’t happen,” he said. “The reality is that not talking about it sets up kids for unfortunate lessons.”
These comments resonated with author Peggy Orenstein.
Over the last 15 years, Orenstein has written six books about young people, sexuality and sex, and she’s interviewed hundreds of tweens and teens along the way. In talking to these kids, she said she has learned they are picking up misplaced messages from a variety of media.
“It’s imperative to talk to young people about sexuality that’s legal and ethical and good,” Orenstein said. “The values of male sexual entitlement, female submissiveness and availability, and female performance for male pleasure are prevalent in today’s world. It’s not just porn (where kids see these values). It’s easy to get alarmed about many of the things young people are seeing.”

Sex as meaningful human connection

Many experts said the best way for parents to engage in conversation with kids about human sexuality is to discuss it as a celebration of the human condition and how people can connect on deeper, more meaningful levels.
This also makes it critically important to recognize different sexual identities.
Aredvi Azad, co-executive director of The Heal Project, a nonprofit that teaches kids about healthy living, noted that any modern conversation about sex, sexuality and gender must extend beyond the heteronormative, cisgendered relationships depicted in most mainstream pornography.
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“If we don’t talk about sex more broadly, we are unintentionally creating a situation where kids who don’t have interests within what is deemed normal can easily descend into a shame spiral,” Azad said.
“We need to help kids understand every aspect of sexual and gender identity, and that asexuality is a thing, too,” said Azad, who identifies as genderfluid and uses they/them pronouns.

For adults only

It’s also important to note that pornography isn’t always considered bad.
A recent op-ed by noted sex educator Cindy Gallop pointed out that porn can be innovative, creative, and even downright feminist if made with a focus on a woman’s comfort and desires.
Chelsea Kurnick, an LGBTQ advocate and community builder in Sonoma County, California, agreed. Kurnick said olukai shoes there is a host of porn outside the mainstream that is “beautiful and instructive and can be empowering for adults to watch.”
In many cases, “queer and trans people, fat people (and) disabled people” can gain useful and helpful knowledge from porn that’s made by and for them, Kurnick said. She added that this material is strictly for adults.
“It is totally true that there are often unrealistic expectations set by porn and that you can find violent or disturbing stuff online,” she said. “It’s also important to remember that porn isn’t made for 11-year-olds, it can be healthy for adults to see, and it’s something real people do for a living.”

What parents can do

The best way parents can respond to children’s natural curiosity about pornography is to be proactive and supportive in the process of discussing it with kids.
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As Gallop wrote in her recent essay, this means parents must commit to talking to kids about sex frankly and straightforwardly.
Orenstein said that for her, it means conversations should focus on the notion that all people are worthy of dignity and respect.
To achieve these goals, parents must strive to create from the very beginning an atmosphere where children don’t feel or experience shame for expressing curiosities as they develop, according to Jennifer Kelman, a therapist and clinical social worker in Boca Raton, Florida.
Parents also should commit to parenting with positivity, answering just about every question that kids ask, Kelman said, even if the answers simply state that children are not yet old enough for more information to satisfy their request.
“Parents need to be open about (kids) possibly being exposed to (porn) and validate their natural curiosity around it, while allowing them to express their thoughts and feelings around sexual intimacy,” Kelman said. “There is no shame in natural growth and curiosity, so (parents must) talk to kids about real love and the harms that pornography can do.”