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Ukraine war comes home to Russians as Putin imposes draft

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A day after President Vladimir Putin announced a draft that could bring 300,000 civilians into military service, thousands of Russians across the country received draft papers on Thursday, and some were marched to buses and planes for training — and perhaps a trip into military service soon Frontlines in Ukraine.

According to interviews, Russian news reports and social media posts, Putin’s escalation in the war effort resonated across the country. As the day wore on, it became increasingly clear that Putin’s decision had ripped open the cocoon that protected much of Russian society from their leader’s invasion of a neighbor.

Mothers, wives and children bade a tearful farewell in remote regions as officials — in some cases ordinary schoolteachers — delivered draft notices to homes and apartment blocks. In mountainous eastern Siberia, Russian news media reported, school buses were confiscated to take troops to training grounds.

Russian officials said conscription was limited to those with combat experience. But the net seemed wider, and some men decided it was best to push the envelope.

Yanina Nimayeva, a journalist from the Buryatia region of Siberia, said her husband, a father of five and an emergency room worker in the region’s capital, was inexplicably called up. She said he received a summons to an urgent meeting at 4 a.m. where it was announced that a train had been organized to take men to the city of Chita.

“My husband is 38 years old, he is not in the reserve, he did not serve,” Nimayeva said in a video addressed to regional officials.

Despite the Kremlin’s crackdown on dissent, protests erupted across Russia on Wednesday night in response to Putin’s move, with at least 1,312 people arrested, according to human rights organization OVD-Info. More protests were reported Thursday, including in Dagestan, an impoverished southern Russian region, where anti-movement protesters blocked a federal highway.

“When we fought in 1941 to 1945 – the was a war,” yelled one man in a video of an angry crowd that was shared widely on social media. “And now it’s not war, it’s politics.”

Military-age men clogged airports and border crossings to escape, and some ended up in distant cities like Istanbul and Namangan, Uzbekistan. “We have decided that we no longer want to live in this country,” said a reservist after arriving in Turkey.

Historians said it was the first time since World War II that the Kremlin had declared a war mobilization. However, Putin’s spokesman claimed on Thursday that officials would continue to describe the invasion he ordered as only a “military special operation” and not a war.

In Moscow, where there have been reports of conscription of young professionals with no military experience, a Russian lawyer, Grigory V. Vaypan, compared Thursday’s shock to February Centre County Report, the day Putin’s invasion began.

“Then the war started there,” he said. “Now it started here too.”

Despite Russia’s challenges on the front lines, where Ukrainian troops often outnumbered Russian soldiers, Putin has long refused to call for military service, fearing a domestic backlash, analysts say. Despite its authoritarian rule and increased crackdown on dissidents this year, the Kremlin has been keeping a close eye on public opinion and has tried to avoid protests.

A backlash did indeed erupt after Putin’s speech on Wednesday, although there were no immediate signs that a nationwide anti-election campaign movement was emerging. In the city of Baksan, in the North Caucasus region of Kabardino-Balkaria, more than 100 people gathered near the city hall to protest against the conscription of their loved ones, said a local activist, who asked that his name be withheld for his safety .

“Kabardino-Balkaria woke up horrified yesterday, like the rest of Russia,” Ibragim Yaganov, a regional activist now in Poland, told the New York Times. “The war that was on TV somewhere far away suddenly came to people’s homes.”

Insults, accusations and talk of war crimes flew at the United Nations Thursday as the Security Council met. The meeting was convened to discuss evidence of war crimes and human rights abuses by Russian forces, but Russian diplomats attempted to reverse the narrative and portray Russia as the aggrieved party.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov claimed Ukraine had launched an “attack” on ethnic Russians in the Donbass region and said the aim of the countries supplying arms to Ukraine was to prolong the conflict and “to Russia.” wear down and weaken”.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said, “Tell President Putin to end the horror he started.” It was the first time before the war that he and Lavrov were in the same room together.

In Moscow, where OVD-Info reported 538 arrests at anti-war rallies on Wednesday, authorities developed a novel method to discourage protests: handing out draft summonses to demonstrators. According to OVD-Info, they did so in at least six Moscow police stations where anti-war demonstrators were taken.

One protester, Mikhail, 29, said he was held at a Moscow police station for 8 1/2 hours. The Times withholds his last name for his safety. At the ward, Mikhail said, an officer wrote him a draft and threatened him with jail time if he refused. He refused anyway and went into hiding after his release.

“You stand there wondering whether you should go and fight and die there or spend 20 years in prison,” Mikhail said in an interview. “It’s a pretty tricky question to ask yourself head-on, a question that shouldn’t be asked that way — especially if you haven’t done anything wrong.”

To neutralize dissatisfaction, Putin said on Wednesday that conscripts would be paid like contract soldiers. According to Russian news reports, this meant conscripts could earn more than $3,000 a month, five times the average Russian salary.

While some Russian men fled conscription, others seemed to have resigned themselves to their fate. A correspondent for Novaya Gazeta – the independent newspaper whose license the Russian government revoked this month – wrote that he “does not want to kill anyone” but that if he were drafted he would be doing his duty.

“How am I supposed to look my parents in the eye when they send their younger son away and I, the elder, manage to sit it out?” wrote correspondent Ivan Zhilin. “What does my future look like now? Kill or be killed?”

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Tropical rains flood parts of Thailand, 5,000 seek shelter

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Waist-deep water inundated some riverside neighborhoods and other areas of Thailand on Thursday after a tropical depression triggered torrential rain and downed trees, causing at least one death.

The heaviest rainfall, about 22 centimeters (8.5 inches) in 24 hours, was recorded in the northeastern province of Ubon Ratchathani, where more than 5,000 people were evacuated to higher-elevation shelters.

One person was reportedly killed and two injured by falling trees in Sisaket province.

The remnants of Tropical Storm Noru advanced into Thailand overnight after striking central Vietnam, causing power outages and blowing away roofs and billboards. No casualties were immediately reported in Vietnam.

Flooding has affected more than 10,000 homes in Thailand, according to the Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation.

A resident wades through floodwaters in Ubon Ratchathani province, northeast Thailand, on Thursday, September 29, 2022. (AP)

Rescue workers waded through waist-deep water to distribute food and care packages to people trapped in their homes.

In Nonthaburi province, which borders the capital Bangkok, an overflow of the Chao Phraya River flooded several riverside neighborhoods.

Officials said more sandbags will be made available to help stem the floodwaters.

The Meteorological Department said Noru continued to weaken but warned seasonal monsoon rains will continue, adding to the already flooded situation across much of the country.

As the rains continued to fall, several dams released water to prevent overflow, affecting low-lying agricultural land and communities downstream.

Before hitting Vietnam, Noru was a powerful typhoon that claimed eight lives in the Philippines, including five rescuers who drowned trying to save people from rising tides.

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Putin plans to formally annex 4 regions from Ukraine Friday : Centre County Report

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Russian soldiers stand in central Moscow’s Red Square on Thursday as the square is cordoned off ahead of a ceremony to allegedly incorporate new territories into Russia. Banners on the stage read: “Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhia, Kherson — Russia!”

Alexander Nemenov/AFP via Getty Images


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Russian soldiers stand in central Moscow’s Red Square on Thursday as the square is cordoned off ahead of a ceremony to allegedly incorporate new territories into Russia. Banners on the stage read: “Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhia, Kherson — Russia!”

Alexander Nemenov/AFP via Getty Images

MOSCOW — The Kremlin says Russian President Vladimir Putin intends to officially annex four territories of Ukraine on Friday — capping a week in which Moscow-backed proxies claimed victory in staged and internationally condemned referendums.

Speaking to reporters Thursday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Putin invited Russian lawmakers to the Kremlin’s ornate St. George’s Hall for a signing ceremony on the incorporation of Ukrainian lands at 3:00 p.m. local time on Friday.

The Russian leader will also make a long speech, Peskov said.

In a similar move, Moscow authorities announced they would restrict traffic in the city center on Friday ahead of a mass rally in support of the annexation.

Near the Kremlin, workers set up stages and billboards in support of the annexation, which read: “Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhia, Kherson – are Russia!”

A countdown clock to the celebration is now prominently displayed on the screen of the state television channel Russia 24.

Russian lawmakers could be discussing the incorporation of the regions as early as October 4. Reuters reportedciting the head of the upper house of parliament.

Russia’s deputy authorities in Ukraine’s four regions arrived in Moscow on Wednesday, reportedly carrying Referendum results they claim to show an overwhelming majority of residents want to join the Russian Federation.

The trial has drawn widespread international condemnation. Ukraine and its Western partners have called the referendums held at gunpoint a “sham.” The chief of political affairs of the United Nations these ballots determined violated international law and the results cannot be considered an expression of the will of the people.

The Russian government’s attempt at annexation has unfolded as it works to mobilize hundreds of thousands of additional troops to fight in Ukraine after a Ukrainian counter-offensive retook areas in the northeast and south this month.

Western officials have pointed to this point in time as evidence of the Kremlin’s desperation to consolidate Russia’s gains before they fizzle out completely.

Meanwhile, Russian officials have insisted that the newly incorporated countries are entitled to full protection under Russian military doctrine – even threatening to use Russia’s nuclear arsenal to force Kyiv and the West to accept the new borders.

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Former eBay execs get prison time for ‘extreme’ harassment campaign against couple

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Two former eBay Inc. security executives were jailed Thursday for leading a campaign to harass and intimidate a Massachusetts couple through threats and disrupting home deliveries after their online newsletter drew the ire of the company’s then-CEO would have.

Jim Baugh and David Harville were sentenced to 57 and 24 months in prison, respectively, for their roles in a widespread harassment campaign in which the couple were sent cockroaches, a funeral wreath and a bloody Halloween pig mask.

US District Judge Patti Saris, who handed down the verdict during the Boston hearings, called it an “hard to imagine” scheme fueled by a “toxic culture” at the Silicon Valley e-commerce company.

“It was extreme and outrageous,” said Saris.

She asked Baugh, eBay’s former senior director of safety and security, and Harville, former director of global resiliency, to also pay fines of $40,000 and $20,000, respectively, after they pleaded guilty to cyberstalking had pleaded guilty.

From Baugh’s guilty plea in April:

In couCentre County Report, both apologized to David and Ina Steiner, a couple in Natick, Mass. who produce the EcommerceBytes newsletter, and spoke of being relentlessly terrorized by eBay employees.

“As agents of eBay, they made our life hell,” David Steiner told the judge.

Drastic allegations

Prosecutors said senior executives viewed the newsletter critical of eBay and a threat to its business, and in August 2019 then-CEO Devin Little wrote to another executive that it was time to “take her down” and moved based on Ina Steiner.

Little, a former Thomson Reuters executive who resigned as eBay CEO in September 2019, was not charged, but seven other people were. A spokesman said Little had “absolutely no knowledge” of the actions they had taken.

Then eBay CEO Devin Wenig is shown at a conference in Washington, DC on November 8, 2018. It has been repoCentre County Reported that Little was upset by comments in the couple’s newsletter, but he has denied any involvement in the campaign against them. (Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images)

The campaign was overseen by Baugh, a former Central Intelligence Agency employee who his lawyer said felt pressured to take action.

At Baugh’s direction, the Steiners received anonymous, harassing Twitter messages, bizarre emails and unsolicited home deliveries such as spiders and a book about surviving the loss of a spouse, prosecutors said.

It also alleged that pornographic magazines with the husband’s name on them were mailed to a neighbor’s house and ran a Craigslist ad inviting prospects to sexual encounters at the victim’s home.

civil proceedings open

Prosecutors said other eBay employees involved were Harville, whom Baugh recruited with a contractor for an “operation” to monitor the Steiners and unsuccessfully attempt to install a GPS tracker on their car.

eBay apologized to the Steiners last year.

“The wrongdoing by these former employees was wrong, and we will do everything that is fair and reasonable to try to address what the Steiners went through,” the company said. “The events of 2019 should never have happened and as eBay expressed to the Steiners, we are very sorry for what they have suffered.”

The couple have sued the company and Little, among others, with the Boston Globe repoCentre County Reporting earlier this year that attempts to settle the lawsuit out of couCentre County Report have so far failed.

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