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Russia signals it will take more Ukrainian children, a crime in progress

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KIEV, Ukraine — Russia’s kidnapping and deportation of Ukrainian children since invading the country has been so well-documented and chilling that doctors at a local hospital hastily hid babies as Russian forces prepared to withdraw from the southern city of Kherson last fall and falsified their records.

When Russian soldiers arrived, staff at the Kherson Regional Hospital said the infants were too seriously ill to move, recalled Olha Pilyarska, head of the neonatal anesthesiology department, in an interview on Saturday.

“They have placed lung ventilators near all the children,” she said.

The efforts saved 14 babies from being taken in a campaign that systematically transferred thousands of Ukrainian children to Russia to be placed in foster care and put them on the path to becoming Russian citizens. When the International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday for forcibly deporting children, it was a strong acknowledgment of acts that were not only carried out in public, but continue to this day.

The arrest warrant adds Putin’s name to an infamous list of despots and dictators accused of humanity’s worst atrocities. But this case is unusual in that the charges were not announced years after the abuses began, but rather in real time. The judges in The Hague referred to an urgent need for action, since the deportations are “allegedly ongoing”.

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Although the court has issued arrest warrants before – for example for Muammar Gaddafi of Libya – investigations into war crimes often take years, which means that indictments are not announced until well after the atrocities have taken place. Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir was indicted in 2009 for war crimes that began in 2003.

But Russian authorities, far from covering up the deportations, have paraded the children in photo ops in Red Square and at lavish concerts celebrating the war. They have also signaled that more deportations are underway.

Across southern Ukraine, local Russian proxies are issuing new “evacuation orders” ahead of an expected Ukrainian military offensive this spring. Such orders were often the prelude to increased deportations. And about a month ago, Russian forces blocked all roads leading from the occupied territories to the rest of Ukraine, making it much more difficult for people to escape. Now the only open roads lead deeper into occupied territory or into Russia.

“Russians are deporting more and more people from temporarily occupied Zaporizhzhzhia and Kherson districts,” the Ukrainian National Resistance Center, the government agency overseeing events in occupied Ukraine, said on Friday, noting public statements by local Russian authorities.

More than a year after a war that has turned into a bloody slog, Ukrainian and allied leaders are fighting with shaky – if still strong – support for Ukraine’s continued supply of military equipment. Ukrainian officials said the warrant underscores the moral imperative of the conflict.

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“World leaders will think twice before shaking hands with Putin or sitting down with Putin at the negotiating table,” Andriy Kostin, Ukraine’s chief prosecutor, said of the arrest warrant. “It is another clear signal to the world that the Russian regime is criminal.”

Russia, which like the United States is not a party to the International Court of Justice, dismissed the arrest warrant as meaningless. Their leaders have made it clear that they intend to continue deporting children to Russia, in what they have described as an act of humanitarian compassion.

The court in The Hague also issued an arrest warrant for Maria Lvova-Belova, the Kremlin’s child rights officer, who is the public face of the deportation program. She proudly spoke about the organization of a large-scale system of deportation of children from Ukraine. After the arrest warrant, she vowed to “keep working.”

Putin acknowledged the work at a televised meeting with Lvova-Belova last month. “The number of applications from our citizens for the adoption of children from the Donetsk and Luhansk republics, from the Kherson and Zaporizhia regions is also growing,” he said.

The scale of deportations in Ukraine last year has not been seen in Europe for generations.

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The United Nations estimates that 2.9 million Ukrainians have moved to Russia since Moscow launched its full-scale invasion, but it’s impossible to quantify how many left voluntarily and how many were forced to do so. That number includes about 700,000 children, according to Russians and Ukrainians, and most are said to be with their families.

The exact number of children separated from their parents or orphaned is not known. Russia has relocated 2,000 children without guardians; Ukrainian officials say they have confirmed 16,000 cases, although some of them could be with a relative.

“The actual total number of deportees could be much higher,” Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in a statement on Friday after The Hague’s announcement. The court has “identified at least hundreds of children abducted from orphanages and children’s homes,” said Karim Khan, the court’s chief prosecutor. He said these deportations, carried out with the intention of removing the children permanently from their own country, violated the Geneva Convention and constituted war crimes.

The court in The Hague acted unusually quickly in the case. It has come under intense scrutiny since Russia invaded Ukraine, when 43 countries — a third of the court’s members — called for intervention almost immediately. Major donors, including the European Union, sent money and dozens of prosecutors to speed up what is often seen as cumbersome bureaucracy. And the court’s investigators, who are often thwarted by hostile governments, received unreserved support from Ukrainian authorities.

The forcible transfer of children from one national group to another with intent to destroy the group can also amount to genocide, a charge made by Kateryna Rashevska, a lawyer with the Regional Center for Human Rights, a Ukrainian organization investigating the kidnapping of children examined said hoped would be the next step.

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Russia has conducted the deportations under the guise of rescue operations, medical rehabilitation initiatives and adoption programs. But the facts have been brought to light through testimonies, reports from the New York Times and other Western media, the Ukrainian news media, independent investigators, the United Nations and a variety of governmental and human rights organizations.

“You committed the crime in full view and you were proud to do it,” Stephen Rapp, a former ambassador at large who headed the State Department’s office for global criminal justice, said in an email.

The Kremlin has repeatedly used Ukrainian children as part of its campaign to bolster support for the war. For example, when children from a dormitory fled the Russian bombing of Mariupol at the beginning of the war, they were stopped at a Russian checkpoint. Pro-Russian media teams rushed to the scene, witnesses said, and cameras followed the children as they were taken deeper into Russian-held territory.

It was presented as a rescue operation. “All Russian channels showed that Ukrainians are bad,” said Oleksandr Yaroshenko, a volunteer who witnessed the incident at the checkpoint.

In Kherson, local officials and witnesses described an orchestrated nature of the Russian kidnappings. Shortly after Russian troops took the city, they worked with local collaborators to compile lists of children in hospitals, orphanages and schools, according to Ukrainian prosecutors and witnesses.

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Surveillance camera footage showed armed Russian soldiers entering an orphanage in October, and local officials said 50 children were taken from the facility. Some of them were later put in front of cameras in Russia’s state news media, according to Kherson residents.

The deportations recall one of the darkest chapters in Russian history, when Stalin used deportations to tighten control of the Kremlin. From 1936 to 1952, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees estimated at least 3 million people were herded from their homes on the western borders of the Soviet Union and other regions and dumped thousands of miles away in Siberia and Central Asia.

The Kremlin euphemistically referred to these people as “special settlers”.

At the hospital for newborns in Kherson, staff managed to save most of the children, but two were kidnapped, Pilyarska said.

“Some children from Kherson are still in Crimea. We can sometimes see them in Russian media,” she said by phone from the hospital, which has come under fire in recent days. “The others just disappeared and we don’t know anything about them.”

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5 killed in west Sudan tribal violence, rights group says

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CAIRO (AP) — Two days of tribal violence in western Sudan’s long-settled Darfur region killed at least 5 people, tribal leaders and a rights group said on Friday.

Violence between African Masalit tribesmen and Arab herdsmen in west Darfur erupted on Thursday after two gunmen fatally shot a merchant in a remote area, leaders of both groups said.

In a statement, Masalit tribesmen accused Arab militias of being behind the killing. The killing sparked a series of targeted attacks that killed at least four other people, the tribal leaders and rights group said.

Five victims were later identified by the Darfur Bar Association, a Sudanese rights group focused on human rights in the western province. The group urged both sides to de-escalate tensions.

The violence comes as quarrelsome bipartisan talks continue in Khartoum over how the African country will institute civilian rule after 17 months of military rule.

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Sudan has descended into chaos after a military coup led by the country’s top general, Abdel-Fattah Burhan, ousted a Western-backed government in October 2021, turning the short-lived transition to democracy on its head.

But last December, the country’s ruling military and various pro-democracy forces signed a tentative agreement in which they pledged to resume the transition.

Last week, signatories to the December accord pledged to begin forming a new civilian-led interim government on April 11. However, many important political forces in the country remain opposed to the agreement.

Since the military takeover, Sudan has also seen a surge in inter-tribal violence in the west and south of the country.

Analysts see the violence and growing insecurity in Sudan’s remote regions as a result of the power vacuum created by the military takeover.

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I’m a champion bodybuilding goliath – my title-winning workout makes a specific area of your body mega-ripped

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ERIN Banks has unveiled his title-winning workout that will transform a specific area of ​​your body into a mega-ripped phenomenon.

The master body builder is one of the biggest names in the lifting world, but his latest fitness regimen has wowed fans.

Erin Banks is a professional female bodybuilder from the USA

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Erin Banks is a professional female bodybuilder from the USAPhoto credit: Getty
He is known for his V-taper physique

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He is known for his V-taper physiquePhoto credit: KMPH

banks began competing professionally in 2019 and has since won the Men’s Physique Olympia as well as the highly regarded Arnold Classic.

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However, his success was not pure luck, but dedication.

Most days, Banks starts his day at 4:30 a.m., where he kicks off fast cardio.

For the rest of the day he balances family life with a strength program and finishes it by 8 p.m. at the latest.

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He told BarBend, “If I’m really locked down for these shows and prep, I’ll be in bed by 7pm.

“I don’t like to push beyond that because recovery is key.

“Routine is so important.

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“I believe a lot of my success comes from what I do every day – adapt and stay focused.”

However, Banks is most notable for his incredible V-shaped physique, evident through his huge back muscles.

And he has now let fans in on his secret workout, which he does twice a week.

It contains:

  • Lat pulldowns with straight arms: 4 x 20 reps (moderate weight to warm up)
  • Chest Assisted T-Bar Row: 4 x 12 reps (Hard)
  • Seated Lat Pulldown: 4 x 12 reps (hard)
  • Rack pulls: 3 x 10 reps (super hard)
  • Extended row: 4 x ten reps (super hard)
Banks tenses his back muscles

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Banks tenses his back musclesPhoto credit: Instagram
He is an Arnold Classic Champion

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He is an Arnold Classic ChampionPhoto credit: Instagram

Before competing professionally, Banks was a gifted athlete in high school and then majored in kinesiology in college.

Despite his inclination towards fitness, he admitted that he never wanted to be a bodybuilder.

But in 2017, trainer Terry Reeves “begged” Banks to try.

Since then, the 33-year-old has perfected his craft to become the best in the world.

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He said: “We’ve tried to preserve every other part of the body, but once you start exercising to the extreme, everything grows.

“During these months we became more sophisticated.”

During one cut, Banks burned about 2,700 calories per day.

After a ten-week break from competition, he increased it to 3,200 calories.

Most of its nutrient gains come from chicken breast, rice, and broccoli.

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He said, “After 10 to 12 weeks, we push that stuff aside.

“It’s based on being the best.

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“I’ve never gotten bored with food, so for the past three years I’ve prepared myself and eaten the same things over and over again.”

After his InstagramBanks teased that he would try the Classic Physique division when he retires.

The 33-year-old has massive traps

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The 33-year-old has massive trapsPhoto credit: Instagram
The mega ripper has more than 315,000 followers on Instagram

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The mega ripper has more than 315,000 followers on InstagramPhoto credit: Instagram

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Rodolphe Jaar pleads guilty in Haiti president’s assassination

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The late former President of Haiti Jovenel Moise.

The late former President of Haiti Jovenel Moise.

Haitian-Chilean national Rodolphe Jaar pleaded guilty before a US judge on Friday to three counts relating to his role in the assassination of Haitian President Jovenel Moise, who was killed at his home in July 2021, court documents showed.

Jaar is one of 11 defendants in the case, including businessmen accused of helping to obtain vehicles and firearms from Florida and former Colombian soldiers accused of gunning down Moise in his bedroom.

According to the US Department of Justice, Jaar had been charged with helping get arms to the Colombians who also lived in a home he controlled and helping them while they were in hiding from Haitian authorities.

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He was arrested in January 2022 in the Dominican Republic, which shares the island of Hispaniola with Haiti.

Jaar’s sentencing, which could face life imprisonment, was set for June 2 in Miami, according to court documents.

Moise’s murder left a political vacuum in the Caribbean nation and emboldened powerful gangs that now effectively control large parts of the country and whose turf wars are fueling a humanitarian crisis that has displaced at least 160,000 people.

Jaar’s lawyer declined to comment.


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