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In reversal, US poised to approve Abrams tanks for Ukraine

Officials say the U.S. is poised to approve sending M1 Abrams tanks to Ukraine, as international reluctance to send tanks to the battlefront against the Russians appeared to begin eroding. According to one official, the U.S. announcement to send a bit more than 30 tanks is expected to come Wednesday in coordination with an announcement by Germany that it will approve Poland’s request to transfer German-made Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine. Officials say the Abrams tanks could be bought under an upcoming Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative package, which provides longer-range funding for weapons and equipment to be purchased from commercial vendors. Weapons provided through the assistance initiative can take months to reach the battlefield.

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Proud Boys expecting ‘civil war’ before Jan. 6, witness says

A witness at the Capitol riot trial of Proud Boys leader Enrique Tarrio says that the month before the riot, members of the far-right extremist group were growing increasingly angry about the outcome of the 2020 election and were expecting a “civil war.” Matthew Greene testified on Tuesday in the case against former Proud Boys national chairman Enrique Tarrio and four lieutenants under a cooperation deal with the government after pleading guilty to storming the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, with fellow extremists. Prosecutors allege that members of the Proud Boys carried out a coordinated attack on the Capitol in a desperate attempt to keep President Donald Trump in power.

Senators grill Ticketmaster after Taylor Swift fiasco

Senators grilled Ticketmaster Tuesday about its spectacular breakdown last year during a sale of Taylor Swift concert tickets. Republicans and Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee debated possible action, including making tickets non-transferable to cut down on scalping and requiring more transparency in ticket fees. Some suggested it may also be necessary to split Ticketmaster and concert promoter Live Nation, which merged in 2010. Ticketmaster is the world’s largest ticket seller, processing 500 million tickets each year. In mid-November, Ticketmaster’s site crashed during a presale event for Swift’s upcoming stadium tour. The Justice Department has also opened an investigation into the breakdown.

Extreme Israeli group takes root in US with fundraising bid

An Israeli group raising funds for Jewish extremists convicted in some of the country’s most notorious hate crimes is collecting tax-exempt donations from Americans. That is according to an investigation by The Associated Press and Israeli investigative platform Shomrim. The findings give a sign that Israel’s radical right is gaining a new foothold in the United States. The amount of money raised through the U.S. nonprofit is not known. But the money trail runs from New Jersey to imprisoned Israeli radicals who include the assassin of the late Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin as well as people convicted in deadly attacks on Palestinians.

FDA proposes limits for lead in baby food

The Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday proposed maximum limits for the amount of lead in baby foods like mashed fruits and vegetables and dry cereals after years of studies revealed that many processed products contained levels known to pose a risk of neurological and developmental impairment. The agency issued draft guidance, which would not be mandatory for food manufacturers to abide by. The guidelines, if adopted, would allow the agency to take enforcement action against companies that produced foods that exceeded the new limits. The agency estimated that the proposed levels could reduce the dietary exposure to lead for some young children by about 25%.

Rights groups dismayed at lack of criticism for Peru abuses

In less than two months, more than 50 people have died in Peru, largely protesters at the hands of police officers. And while a few international voices of concern have emerged, much of the regional and global community has largely remained silent, to the dismay of human rights advocates, who are calling for condemnation of the state violence unleashed since Pedro Castillo was impeached and imprisoned for trying to dissolve Congress. Peru’s new President Dina Boluarte was notably absent from a meeting of regional leaders Tuesday in Argentina’s capital, where most avoided mention of the civilian deaths in Peru. The issue was not included in the summit’s closing document.

Earthquake kills 1 in Nepal’s mountains

An earthquake in Nepal has rattled villages in remote Himalayan mountains, killing at least one person and injuring many more. The 5.9 magnitude earthquake with an epicenter in northwestern Bajura district hit on Tuesday afternoon, sending people fleeing their houses. The chief district officer says one person was confirmed dead but details are still sketchy because many of the villages are only accessible by foot. The earthquake also buried cattle and farm animals and could be felt across the border in India.

By wire sources

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Ukraine war: 80 years on, we are facing German tanks again – Putin – BBC

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President Putin laid a wreath at the Mamayev Kurgan memorial complex in VolgogradImage source, Reuters

Vladimir Putin has compared Russia’s invasion of Ukraine to the fight against Nazi Germany, in a speech to mark the 80th anniversary of the conclusion of the Battle of Stalingrad.

Citing Germany’s decision to send Leopard tanks to Ukraine, he claimed history was repeating itself.

“It’s unbelievable but true,” he said. “We are again being threatened by German Leopard tanks.”

Germany is one of many countries helping Ukraine defend its territory.

Russia launched its bloody, full-scale invasion almost one year ago, prompting Western countries to send weapons and aid to the government in Kyiv.

Speaking in Volgograd – the modern name for Stalingrad – Mr Putin hinted that he could seek to move beyond conventional weapons.

“Those who hope to defeat Russia on the battlefield do not understand, it seems, that a modern war with Russia will be very different for them,” the 70-year-old leader said. “We are not sending our tanks to their borders, but we have the means to respond. It won’t be limited to the use of armoured hardware. Everyone must understand this.”

Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov declined to elaborate on Mr Putin’s comments, but did tell reporters that “as new weapons are delivered by the collective West, Russia will make greater use of its potential to respond”.

Mr Putin was in Volgograd to mark the anniversary of the end of the Battle of Stalingrad, the World War Two conflict which saw the Soviet army capture nearly 91,000 German troops and turn the tide of the war.

Over a million people perished in the battle – the bloodiest of World War Two.

Throughout the war in Ukraine, Mr Putin has falsely sought to present Russia’s invasion as a battle against nationalists and Nazis – who he claims are leading the Kyiv government.

And he returned to the theme throughout his speech.

“Now, unfortunately, we see that the ideology of Nazism, already in its modern guise, in its modern manifestation, again creates direct threats to the security of our country,” he said.

“Again and again we have to repel the aggression of the collective West.”

But he vowed that while it was “unbelievable but true” that Russia was again being threatened by German tanks, Moscow had an answer for any country that threatened it.

Volgograd was temporarily renamed Stalingrad for the day to mark the occasion, and earlier this week a new bust of the former Soviet leader Joseph Stalin was unveiled.

Stalin – who led the Soviet Union between 1924 and his death in 1953 – was accused of orchestrating a famine in Ukraine between 1932-33.

The event – called the Holodomor by Ukrainians – killed an estimated 5 million people and was recognised as a genocide earlier this week in Bulgaria.

Mr Putin also laid flowers at the grave of the Soviet marshal who oversaw the defence of the city, and visited the main memorial complex where he led a moment of silence for those that died in the battle.

Meanwhile, thousands of Volgograd residents lined the city’s streets to watch a military parade.

As planes roared overhead, modern and World War Two-era tanks rolled along the centre of the city. Some of the modern vehicles were marked with the letter Z, which has become the symbol of Russia’s invasion.

Local media reported that regional Governor Andrey Bocharov – who accompanied Mr Putin to the memorial complex – was not at the parade. He had not been seen since 24 January, leading to speculation that he was isolating before meeting the president.

Elsewhere, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Russia was preparing to take “revenge” against the West for aiding Ukraine.

“Now Russia is concentrating its forces. We all know that. It is preparing to try to take revenge, not only against Ukraine, but against a free Europe and the free world,” Mr Zelensky said in Kyiv.

Speaking alongside EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, Mr Zelensky said Russia was “increasing the pace of adaptation to sanctions” and urged the EU leader to impose additional restrictions on the Russian economy.

Later, addressing the National Prayer Breakfast in the US via videolink, Mr Zelensky thanked President Biden for his support and set Ukrainian forces a goal of defeating the Russian invasion in the next year.

“We must do everything we can together so that next year – on the first Thursday of February – we will be able to pray simply with thanks for the obtained salvation from evil,” Mr Zelensky said.

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Putin invokes Stalingrad battle as justifying Ukraine fight – Crossroads Today

MOSCOW — Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday marked the 80th anniversary of the World War II Soviet victory over Nazi German forces in the battle of Stalingrad, and invoked the long and grueling fight as justification for the conflict in Ukraine.

Putin laid a wreath at the eternal flame of the memorial complex to the fallen Red Army soldiers in Volgograd, the current name of the city, which stretches along the western bank of the Volga River. The memorial is dominated by an 279-foot sculpture of a sword-wielding woman, Europe’s tallest statue.



APTOPIX Russia Stalingrad Battle Anniversary

A giant statue of “Mother of the Homeland” is illuminated Wednesday atop the memorial site on Mamayev Hill for the 80th anniversary of the Soviet victory in the battle of Stalingrad in Volgograd, once known as Stalingrad, Russia.






Russia Stalingrad Battle Anniversary

People lay flowers at the Tomb Stalingrad during a wreath-laying ceremony Thursday at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier near the Kremlin Wall in Moscow as Russia marks the 80th anniversary of the Soviet victory in the battle of Stalingrad.






Russia Stalingrad Battle Anniversary

Communist’s party supporters with Red flags gather Thursday around the statue of Soviet Marshal Georgy Zhukov after a wreath-laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier near the Kremlin Wall in Moscow as Russia marks the 80th anniversary of the Soviet victory in the battle of Stalingrad.




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Ukraine war: 80 years on, we are facing German tanks again – Putin – BBC

President Putin laid a wreath at the Mamayev Kurgan memorial complex in VolgogradReuters

Vladimir Putin has compared Russia’s invasion of Ukraine to the fight against Nazi Germany, in a speech to mark the 80th anniversary of the conclusion of the Battle of Stalingrad.

Citing Germany’s decision to send Leopard tanks to Ukraine, he claimed history was repeating itself.

“It’s unbelievable but true,” he said. “We are again being threatened by German Leopard tanks.”

Germany is one of many countries helping Ukraine defend its territory.

Russia launched its bloody, full-scale invasion almost one year ago, prompting Western countries to send weapons and aid to the government in Kyiv.

Speaking in Volgograd – the modern name for Stalingrad – Mr Putin hinted that he could seek to move beyond conventional weapons.

“Those who hope to defeat Russia on the battlefield do not understand, it seems, that a modern war with Russia will be very different for them,” the 70-year-old leader said. “We are not sending our tanks to their borders, but we have the means to respond. It won’t be limited to the use of armoured hardware. Everyone must understand this.”

Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov declined to elaborate on Mr Putin’s comments, but did tell reporters that “as new weapons are delivered by the collective West, Russia will make greater use of its potential to respond”.

Mr Putin was in Volgograd to mark the anniversary of the end of the Battle of Stalingrad, the World War Two conflict which saw the Soviet army capture nearly 91,000 German troops and turn the tide of the war.

Over a million people perished in the battle – the bloodiest of World War Two.

Throughout the war in Ukraine, Mr Putin has falsely sought to present Russia’s invasion as a battle against nationalists and Nazis – who he claims are leading the Kyiv government.

And he returned to the theme throughout his speech.

“Now, unfortunately, we see that the ideology of Nazism, already in its modern guise, in its modern manifestation, again creates direct threats to the security of our country,” he said.

“Again and again we have to repel the aggression of the collective West.”

But he vowed that while it was “unbelievable but true” that Russia was again being threatened by German tanks, Moscow had an answer for any country that threatened it.

Volgograd was temporarily renamed Stalingrad for the day to mark the occasion, and earlier this week a new bust of the former Soviet leader Joseph Stalin was unveiled.

Stalin – who led the Soviet Union between 1924 and his death in 1953 – was accused of orchestrating a famine in Ukraine between 1932-33.

The event – called the Holodomor by Ukrainians – killed an estimated 5 million people and was recognised as a genocide earlier this week in Bulgaria.

Mr Putin also laid flowers at the grave of the Soviet marshal who oversaw the defence of the city, and visited the main memorial complex where he led a moment of silence for those that died in the battle.

Meanwhile, thousands of Volgograd residents lined the city’s streets to watch a military parade.

As planes roared overhead, modern and World War Two-era tanks rolled along the centre of the city. Some of the modern vehicles were marked with the letter Z, which has become the symbol of Russia’s invasion.

Local media reported that local Governor Andrey Bocharov – who accompanied Mr Putin to the memorial complex – was not at the parade. He had not been seen since 24 January, leading to speculation that he was isolating before meeting the president.

Elsewhere, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Russia was preparing to take “revenge” against the West for aiding Ukraine.

“Now Russia is concentrating its forces. We all know that. It is preparing to try to take revenge, not only against Ukraine, but against a free Europe and the free world,” Mr Zelensky said in Kyiv.

Speaking alongside EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, Mr Zelensky said Russia was “increasing the pace of adaptation to sanctions” and urged the EU leader to impose additional restrictions on the Russian economy.

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