'They asked which role I play in bed!' Russian women's world powerlift champ humiliated at being asked to prove gender on flight

Russia’s women’s powerlifting and bench press world champion Anna Turaeva has told of her humiliation at being asked to prove she is a woman by airline employees while boarding an internal Russian flight recently.

Turaeva is a six-time world champion in powerlifting, as well as a ten-time European champion and has held the world, European and Eurasian records in her discipline. She is also a bench press champion and record holder. 

The stocky, skin-headed Turaeva was flying from St. Petersburg in the very north west of Russia, to the southern town of Krasnodar through Moscow when she experienced an incident she described as “humiliating” while boarding her flight.

Addressing readers as “my dears”, Turaeva wrote: “Today I want to share with you a horror which happened to me yesterday. I have a strong character and nothing can faze me. But people are different and also react differently.

“I flew transit from St Petersburg to Moscow and then Moscow to Krasnodar. At the entrance they refused to let me through, citing the fact that in my passport, my gender is written as ‘female’. 

“It was humiliating. In front of the entire queue, they gave me a lecture like a kid with questions of an intimate nature. They wanted to know which role I play in life and between the sheets.”

Turaeva shaves her head and regularly bares her chiselled chest to go topless in pictures on her Instagram account, even being snapped seemingly enjoying being the centre of attention for a group of bikini-clad girls on the beach.

Nevertheless, Turaeva called the confusion by the air company “anarchy” and described the process of proving she was in fact a woman like being a five-yer-old being “lectured with intimate questions”.

“Despite this, I didn’t allow myself the slightest offence and tried to resolve the problem. The entire queue watched this anarchy, and I felt absolutely helpless.

“And I, like a five-year-old child, tried to prove that I was a woman. I tried to explain why it was this way  and why they were not right. As if it was some kind of obligation. I did everything that was asked of me, so that they would finally believe my origin. And then a miracle happened. They let me on the flight!

Turaeva then went on to explain how things got worse when she tried to board her connecting flight at Moscow’s Vnukovo airport to make the last leg of her journey from the Russian capital to Krasnodar.

“But it all didn’t end there. Having landed in Moscow, I got into yet another awful situation, where they met me with aggression. It was genuinely frightening. I felt like a criminal or something even worse. Not an ounce of respect, or a sense of delicacy and I’m not even talking now about subordination.

“To the company I say: I worked hard all my youth and won world championships through blood and sweat for my country not for you to treat me this way!”

Turaeva has received support from fans online who have called the actions of the employees “homophobic”; others commented that although it is their job to ask difficult questions, the staff may have found another way of dealing with such a sensitive matter.

Others believed that given even Turaeva’s photos on Instagram are hard to judge which gender she may belong to, it is easy to understand their position. It was reported that the airline had already begun an investigation into the matter and had promised to find a resolution. 

Source: NEWS

'It's been extremely tough': NBA superstar LeBron James says life in the NBA bubble is 'the most challenging thing I've ever done'

Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James says living and playing as part of the NBA’s biosecure “bubble” during the COVID-19 pandemic might just be the biggest challenge of his entire sporting career.

James and his Lakers teammates relocated from California to Orlando, Florida in July as the NBA established biosecure bubbles in which teams can operate safely during the coronavirus era.

James’ desire to claim his fourth NBA title was made even tougher when he learned that he would have to play under quarantine measures at Walt Disney World, where his Lakers will take on the Miami Heat in Game 1 of the NBA Finals on Wednesday night.

Speaking to reporters ahead of the game, James admitted that the circumstances around the season have made it the toughest test of his sporting career.

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“It’s probably been the most challenging thing I’ve ever done as far as a professional, as far as committing to something and actually making it through,” he said.

“I would be lying if I sat up here and knew that everything inside the bubble, the toll that it would take on your mind and your body and everything else, because it’s been extremely tough.”

Such has been the Lakers’ stellar form, James’ side has been installed as the betting favorites to win the best-of-seven series against his former team. 

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“The main thing was for us to finish the season and compete for a championship,” said James.

“That’s just been my mindset throughout these – I don’t even know how many days it is. However many days it is, it feels like five years. So it really doesn’t matter.

“I’ve been as locked in as I’ve ever been in my career.”

But while James has admitted to being even more focused on his on-court performances, he has also, unusually for him, been active on social media through the playoffs as he campaigns for racial justice and encouraging fans to vote in the US presidential election in November.

“Everything about 2020 is different, and to make the most of it, you have to be able to adjust,” said James.

“I’ve adjusted in the sense of understanding that there’s also a bigger opportunity coming up as well in November, while I’m still keeping the main thing the main thing and the focus on leaving a legacy here.”

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Source: NEWS

16 months after citizens cast their votes, Belgium forms new coalition government

A near-500-day deadlock has been broken in Brussels with the King expected to name the new prime minister on Wednesday. But excluded parties have vowed to organize resistance.

It is expected that caretaker finance minister, Alexander De Croo of the Flemish liberals (Open Vld), will be named by King Philippe as the new prime minister later today. The new coalition government will take over from the caretaker administration of Sophie Wilmes (Reformist Movement), which has guided Belgium through six months of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Following marathon discussions which started on Tuesday evening, a ‘broad church’ coalition of seven parties, known as the Vivaldi coalition, struck a deal early on Wednesday morning to form a new government. The coalition led by De Croo includes Flemish and Francophone Socialists, liberals and Greens (spa and PS; MR and Open Vld; Ecolo and Groen) and Flemish Christian democrats (CD&V). The agreement comes 493 days after the election on May 26, 2019, a period which has seen 12 ‘preformateurs’ attempt to form a coalition government and routinely fail due to party differences.

The new coalition excludes Belgium’s largest party at the 2019 elections, the conservative New Flemish Alliance (N-VA) Party which achieved 16 percent of the vote, as well as the right-wing Vlaams Belang (VB), Belgium’s second-largest party. The two groups have vowed to organize resistance to the government with N-VA leader Theo Francken promising to “fight this project on land, at sea and in the air.”

Alexander De Croo took to Twitter to thank all the negotiating parties for the agreement reached and claim that “talent wins games, teamwork wins championships.” Meanwhile, leader of the French-speaking Socialists, Paul Magnette, tweeted that he was on his way to deliver their report to the King and form a government.

The new government will have to tackle the coronavirus pandemic which has hit Belgium hard. The nation has one of the world’s highest Covid fatalities per capita, with the total death toll exceeding 10,000 on Wednesday.

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Source: NEWS

NATO boss Stoltenberg tells Georgia to ‘prepare for membership’ – influential Russian senator says it’s a ‘signal’ to Moscow

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg has urged Georgia to prepare to become a member of the US-led military bloc. On Tuesday, the premier of the former Soviet state Giorgi Gakharia was in Brussels to discuss closer cooperation.

Georgia’s effort to join NATO began in 2005, just six years after it left the Russian-dominated CSTO. The integration of the Caucasus nation is seen by NATO leaders as having substantial strategic benefits, including extra Black Sea ports close to Russia. Earlier this year, an agreement between Tblisi and the bloc included joint exercises in the Black Sea and the sharing of more traffic radar data.

“I urge [Georgia] to continue making full use of all the opportunities for coming closer to NATO and to prepare for membership,” Stoltenberg said, in a press conference. “This is important for Georgia, and for NATO.”

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The secretary-general also noted that the bloc “supports Georgia’s territorial integrity,” calling on northern neighbor Russia to “end its recognition of the regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.” Abkhazia and South Ossetia are two de-facto states, recognized by most of the world as part of Georgia. According to Tbilisi, the two regions are actually occupied by Moscow.

Speaking to RT, veteran Russian senator Aleksey Pushkov said that the potential induction of Georgia as a member means that NATO sees Russia as its main opponent. Pushkov, a member of the pro-Putin United Russia party, is the former chairman of the Duma’s Foreign Affairs Committee and is widely considered to be close to the Kremlin.

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“In 2008, Paris and Berlin were against Georgia’s accession. But the situation has since changed, and it might be that the advocates for Georgia inside NATO now have the upper hand,” he explained. “It is also a signal to Russia: the alliance sees it as the main and actually the sole adversary.”

In 2008, then-US President George W. Bush pushed for Georgia to join the Membership Action Plan, a mechanism that allows for a continuous review of aspiring members, providing feedback and advice. However, Bush was defeated by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who was concerned that admitting Georgia would increase tensions with Russia.

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Source: NEWS

Second thoughts? Americans fantasize about being able to vote for Bernie Sanders, following ‘chaos’ of first debate

After the first debate between President Donald Trump and challenger Joe Biden was negatively received both on the left and the right, some US voters regretted not having the primary runner-up Bernie Sanders on the stage.

The Tuesday night debate has been described by American media as a “debacle” and even “pure chaos,” due to the candidates talking over each other, name-calling, and seeming to never address the issues.

This prompted a wave of online nostalgia for Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, the progressive policy-focused Democratic primary candidate, who came close to winning the party’s nomination and being put up against Trump. His exit from the race was seen by many of his supporters as a result of unfair political machination after two other candidates, Senator Amy Klobuchar and former mayor Pete Buttigieg, dropped out on the same day and endorsed Biden just before the major ‘Super Tuesday’ elections day.

Following the hectic Trump/Biden debate this week, Sanders was nationally trending on Twitter. Commenters were saying the democratic socialist Senator “should have been up there,” but voters were now “stuck with bumbling Joe.”

Some commenters were saying that Sanders “won” that debate, despite not even participating.

More skeptical commenters, like ABC news reporter Matt Bevan, were “struggling to see” how Sanders could have done better than Biden, against Trump’s highly aggressive debate tactics.

Conservative host Saagar Enjeti even argued that Sanders was “the real loser” of the night, being “disavowed and attacked by both candidates on the stage.”

Republican Trump and Sander’s supposed ally Democrat Biden did push back against the ideas of the US progressive movement, such as universal healthcare, a green energy program and cutting police funding.

Most notably, during the night, Biden boasted of “beating” the left-winger Sanders in the primary “by a whole hell of a lot.” To Trump’s claim that the Democratic Party is being run by far-left agents, the former vice president replied by saying “My party is me. I am the Democratic Party right now,” referring to his self-descriptor of a ‘moderate.

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Source: NEWS