US diplomats are ‘a**holes’, Russian space chief says as State Department silent on anniversary of Gagarin’s historic space flight

Moscow has accused US diplomats of failing to acknowledge Soviet spaceflight achievements during commemorations held in honor of Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin, who became the first human to orbit the Earth 60 years ago this week.

The US State Department’s Russian-language Facebook page posted a short message on Monday commemorating what it called the “anniversary of peoples’ stay in space,” and paid tribute to “international cooperation facilitated by space exploration.” Alongside the statement was a graphic featuring an American astronaut performing a spacewalk.

The head of Russia’s Roscosmos space agency, Dmitry Rogozin, lashed out angrily at the post. Writing on Twitter later that day, he called the officials “a**holes,” adding that “superpowers don’t behave like this.”

On Tuesday, the Russian Embassy in Washington added its voice to the row, claiming that the State Department had “again demonstrated memory loss regarding the history of space exploration” and accusing the diplomats of distorting Gagarin’s memory.

“Our forgetful colleagues can find the bust of the space pioneer at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington D.C. Sculptures of Yuri Gagarin also were erected in Cleveland, Colorado Springs, New York City, Houston and Chicago,” the envoys said. “Thousands of Americans, including astronauts and NASA personnel, visit these sites every year to honor the memory of the Soviet cosmonaut.”

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Just last week, the Embassy noted, a NASA astronaut had been ferried up to the International Space Station on a Russian Soyuz spacecraft named after Gagarin. “Let’s hope that these facts will help American diplomats in the future not to be shy to say out loud the name of the first cosmonaut on Earth,” Moscow’s representatives concluded.

A series of commemorations were held throughout the former USSR and across the world to mark the Soviet-Russian cosmonaut’s maiden voyage into the stars. On April 12, 1961, his Vostok-1 spacecraft blasted off from a launch pad in the desert of Kazakhstan, before orbiting the Earth once. He landed in a Russian potato field, much to the surprise of local farmers, just 108 minutes later.

The mission marked the first major milestone in the space race between Moscow and Washington as Cold War rivals. However, since the fall of the Soviet Union, the two nations have largely cooperated on international projects aimed at the peaceful development of space travel. NASA paid tribute to Gagarin on Monday, saying that “as we reflect on his accomplishment today, we look ahead to the future of human space flight as we prepare to send humans back to the Moon.”

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Weightlifting champ Simon Martirosyan ‘kills man in car crash’ in Armenia days after setback at European Championships in Moscow

Multiple weightlifting world record holder Simon Martirosyan is said to have been involved in a serious car accident which led to the death of a man who he ran over in his native Armenia.

The tragedy occurred on Monday night in Armenia’s capital Yerevan when the weightlifting champion, who was reportedly at the wheel of his Mercedes CLՏ 550, is said to have knocked down a man crossing the road at a non-pedestrian area.

According to local accounts, Martirosyan called an ambulance and helped medical staff to transport the injured man to hospital, but he died on his way to the facility without regaining consciousness.

The outlet added that Armenian police have opened a criminal case in the wake of the fatal accident, with Martirosyan reportedly being probed over possible disregard of traffic rules resulting in the death of a person by negligence.

His car was taken off the road by police, who will investigate the incident.

Medical tests taken after the accident revealed that no alcohol or drugs were found in Martirosyan’s blood.

The prominent weightlifter, who is widely considered one of the top contenders to clinch gold at the upcoming Summer Games in Tokyo, could face up to five years in jail if charges are pressed and he is found guilty.

The 24-year-old world and European champion returned to Armenia days ago after his abject defeat at the European Weightlifting Championships in Moscow, where he was knocked out of the competition without registering a single jerk attempt.

The Olympic silver medalist was said to have competed with a serious injury which affected his performance in the men’s 109 kilograms at the European Weightlifting Championships in Moscow.

Dmytro Chumak of Ukraine won the event, claiming his third European title at three different weights categories: 94kg (207lb), 102kg (225lb) and now 109kg (240lb).

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US ‘on autopilot to inflation’ thanks to Fed’s constant money printing, Peter Schiff tells Boom Bust

The US Federal Reserve believes that the country’s economic recovery could spur temporary inflation, promising that it has tools to deal with it if it goes beyond the desired threshold.

RT’s Boom Bust discussed the aftermath of such a loose monetary policy with economist Peter Schiff. He believes that the US economy is still too weak, and inflation is actually “masquerading” as the recovery.

“All we’re doing is spending the money that the Federal Reserve prints, but that money-printing, that is inflation. And that’s what’s driving the appearance of the economic growth,” he said during the latest show.

According to Schiff, the Fed will never use the tools it is talking about, because such a move would destroy “the house of cards” it has built. In order to get things right, the US needs to reverse all the stimulus measures, as well as cut money supply by hiking taxes and allowing interest rates to rise. However, all of this is unlikely to happen, and consumer prices are ultimately going to “go though the roof,” the analyst noted.

“We’re on autopilot here on the road to inflation,” Schiff concluded, recalling the government’s assurances before previous financial crises hit.

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British variant of Covid-19 virus not linked to increase in severe disease or death, two studies published in the Lancet claim

The so-called B.1.1.7 variant of the Covid-19 virus first identified in Britain does not lead to more severe symptoms in hospitalized patients, according to research published in two medical journals from the Lancet family.

The two studies, released on Monday by the Lancet Infectious Diseases and the Lancet Public Health journals, look at the highly contagious B.1.1.7 strain which was identified in the UK late last year and has since spread around the world.

The first study was published in the Lancet Infectious Diseases, a monthly journal of original research. It analyzed samples from 341 Covid-19 patients who were admitted to British hospitals in November and December last year and compared their outcomes. Some 58% of the patients were infected with B.1.1.7 and 42% with a different variant. The researchers say they found no evidence of an association between B.1.1.7 and increased risk of severe disease and death in patients. Some 36% of those infected with the British variant developed severe symptoms, compared to 38% of those with the other strain.

The research however confirmed the findings of earlier studies, saying that B.1.1.7 proved more transmissible than other versions of the virus.

The second paper was published in the Lancet Public Health – an online-only, open access title in the Lancet’s family of medical journals. In this case, the researchers investigated symptom reports from nearly 37,000 users of the Covid Symptom Study app in the UK and aimed to confirm or dispel earlier evidence suggesting that “the B.1.1.7 variant increases the risk of admission to hospital and death.”

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The authors were referring to a paper published in February by the New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group which claimed that it was “likely” that infection with the British strain was “associated with an increased risk of hospitalisation and death” compared to other strains. The paper went on to assure that the “absolute” risk of death per infection remained “low.”

Other studies published in March, such as those in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) and Nature, the weekly international research journal, also suggested that the British strain was more deadly than other Covid-19 variants in circulation.

The research confirmed that the British variant was indeed more transmissible – by 35% – than the previous strains. It failed to find, however, any changes in reported symptoms or the duration of the disease in users diagnosed with B.1.1.7.

The paper goes on to suggest that vaccines were “likely to remain effective against the B.1.1.7 variant” since there was no apparent increase in the reinfection rate.

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The researchers stressed however that their findings weren’t the final word on the impact of the British strain.

The B.1.1.7 variant of SARS-CoV-2 which was identified in the UK late last year has since become one of the most dominant strains in the UK, the US and many other countries.

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FDA calls for ‘pause’ on Johnson & Johnson Covid vaccine after six women get blood clot disorder resulting in one death

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the CDC have called for a pause of Johnson & Johnson’s Covid-19 vaccine after it reportedly caused at least one death and gave others serious blood clotting.

“We are recommending a pause in the use of this vaccine out of an abundance of caution,” declared the FDA on Tuesday, pointing toward six “extremely rare” cases of people suffering a “severe type of blood clot” after being vaccinated. Over 6.8 million Americans have received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, with even more internationally.

Revealing that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) “will convene a meeting of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) on Wednesday to further review these cases and assess their potential significance,” the FDA added in its statement that until the investigation is complete, it is “recommending this pause” of Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine.

This is important to ensure that the health care provider community is aware of the potential for these adverse events and can plan due to the unique treatment required with this type of blood clot.

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The six affected people were all women between the ages of 18 and 48 who developed the condition between six and 13 days of vaccination, the statement says.

Professor Sabra Klein, the co-Director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Women’s Health, Sex, and Gender Research, responded to the news by questioning when the FDA and the CDC would “start requiring partitioning and analyzing clinical trials by biological sex” to determine vaccine effects on women.

Last week, the European Medicines Agency announced an investigation into Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine and its potential links to blood clotting.

The AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine is also being investigated over blood clot cases, and several countries have advised against using the vaccine on young recipients.

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GameStop, Foot Locker, & dozens more looted in Minnesota CHAOS following police shooting of Daunte Wright (VIDEOS)

Masked looters broke into and robbed dozens of Brooklyn Center, Minnesota stores, including GameStop, Foot Locker and Family Dollar, after protests over police shooting a black man spiralled into violence.

Journalists captured videos of Minnesotans breaking into and looting a number of popular brand stores on Sunday evening. GameStop, McDonalds, Foot Locker, Family Dollar and Sally Beauty Supply were all targeted, as police were seen protecting a Walmart.

One video shows a Kids Foot Locker store with smashed up windows and doors, with a phone store beside it also broken into and wrecked.

Another video shows a liquor store being looted, with bottles smashed all over the floor.

In one video posted by photojournalist Rebecca Brannon, a female looter could be heard shouting “I need this! I need this!” as she roamed around an auto store, while in a separate clip a woman in a car could be heard telling another person in a looted Family Dollar, “When I beep this horn, that means come out.”

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While cars could be seen queuing up as normal at a Taco Bell in one video, the McDonald’s across the street didn’t fare quite so well, having also been smashed up and looted.

The looting started after 20-year-old black Minnesotan Daunte Wright was shot and killed by police during a traffic stop on Sunday afternoon. The stop was reportedly made due to air fresheners that were hanging from Wright’s rearview mirror – which is regarded by law as an illegal obstruction. Police claimed Wright then tried to drive away after they realized there was a warrant out for his arrest during the stop.

Brooklyn Center descended into chaos following the shooting, with protesters attacking and jumping on police cruisers as law enforcement used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse riots.

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