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Russian intelligence officers offered cash prizes to Taliban fighters to kill US, British troops in Afghanistan, sources said



Russian intelligence officers offered cash prizes to Taliban fighters to kill US, British troops in Afghanistan, sources said

The official was unclear about Russia’s precise motivation, but said incentives, in their judgment, caused coalition casualties. The official did not specify the date of the accident, their number or nationality, or whether this was a casualty or injury.

“This callous approach by GRU is shocking and despicable. Their motivation is confusing,” the official said.

US intelligence concluded last month that Russian military intelligence offered the prize, amid peace talks, the New York Times reported Friday.

Quoting officials explaining the matter, the Times reported that President Donald Trump was briefed on intelligence findings and that the White House National Security Council held a meeting about it at the end of March.

White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said in a statement Saturday that President and Vice President Mike Pence were not briefed “about alleged intelligence of the Russian gift.”

McEnany said his statement “did not speak of the supposed intelligence allegation but for the inaccuracy of the New York Times story,” which said Trump had been briefed.

McEnany did not deny the validity of US intelligence reportedly that Russian intelligence units offered gifts to militants linked to the Taliban to carry out attacks on coalition forces in Afghanistan.

National Intelligence Director John Ratcliffe said in his own statement late Saturday that he had “confirmed that neither the President nor the Vice President had been briefed on intelligence alleged by the New York Times in his report yesterday.”

He added: “The White House statement which addressed this issue earlier today, which denied such directives were happening, was accurate. The New York Times report, and all subsequent news reports about the alleged directing were inaccurate.”

CNN has contacted the Office of the Director of National Intelligence for additional comments. CNN has also contacted the Department of Defense, the Department of Foreign Affairs, and the CIA, and did not receive comments.

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According to the Times, the Trump administration held an expanded briefing on intelligence assessment this week and shared information about it with the British government, whose troops are also believed to have been targeted.

The newspaper reported that officials thought of possible responses, including starting with diplomatic complaints to Moscow, requests to stop, and sanctions – but the White House had not yet permitted any action.

The Russian Embassy in Washington, DC, on Friday denounced the Times report as “baseless accusations” which had led to death threats against Russian diplomats in Washington and London.

“With no reason to #BlameRussians,” the Times created “new false stories,” the embassy wrote Indonesia.

The Taliban also rejected the Times report that they were offered gifts from Russia to target US troops in Afghanistan.

“We strongly reject this accusation. The nineteen-year jihad of the Islamic Emirate does not owe a favor to the good of the intelligence organs or foreign countries and the Islamic Emirate does not need anyone to set goals,” a spokesman for the militant group Zabihullah Mujahid said in a statement Saturday.

In its covert operation, Russian spy units inside the GRU intelligence agency had offered prizes for the successful attack last year, and Islamic guerrillas, or armed criminal colleagues, are thought to have collected prize money, the Times reported.

The European official told CNN that Russian intelligence officers worked for the GRU unit known as 29155, which had previously been blamed by European intelligence officials for the attempted assassination of Sergei Skripal, a former KGB agent who had been recruited years before by British intelligence, and his daughter in 2018 in Salisbury, England, and other prominent attacks in Europe.

The US concluded that the GRU was behind interference in the 2016 US elections and cyber attacks on the Democratic National Committee and high-ranking Democratic officials. Russian military agencies have also been accused by the West for attempting to kill and poison attacks in Europe in recent years.

The Times reported that the motivation behind the operation was unclear and there was uncertainty about how far in the Kremlin the operation was authorized.

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The US intelligence assessment is said to be based in part on interrogations of captured militants and Afghan criminals, according to the newspaper.

Former Vice-President Joe Biden on Saturday called Trump’s presidency a “gift” for Putin, referring to the New York Times report at a town hall focused on Asia Pacific Pacific issues. “This is the betrayal of every American family with loved ones on duty in Afghanistan or anywhere abroad. I am frankly angry with the report, and if I am elected president, don’t make mistakes about it, Vladimir Putin will be confronted . ”

New Jersey Senator Bob Menendez, the top Democrat on the Foreign Relations Committee, on Saturday call for The Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell, will pass a law sanctioning Russia for voting on the floor of a room.

Texas Rep. Michael McCaul, Republican member of the Parliament’s Foreign Affairs, said in a statement on Saturday that he “immediately contacted the Administration,” adding that if the allegations in the New York Times report were true, the government “must act quickly and take serious action to hold the regime accountable Putin. “

Rep. Rep. Adam Kinzinger from Illinois, an Air Force veteran who served in Afghanistan and Iraq, tweeted that “Russia is not a partner, and should not be negotiated with” and that Trump “needs to immediately uncover and deal with this, and stop Russia’s shadow war.”
Trump has sought to improve relations between Washington and Moscow and share an unusual warm relationship with its Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin.

But Trump and his administration point to US sanctions against Russia, arguing that he is tougher on the country than the previous president.

During a 2018 press conference with Putin in Helsinki, Finland, Trump, in an amazing move for an American president, refused to accept US intelligence that Russia was meddling in the 2016 presidential election, instead appearing to harmonize with Putin’s rejection.
Last month, Trump said he wanted to invite Russia to the G7 summit, even though Russia was suspended in 2014 from a working group of leading industrialized nations for its annexation of Crimea.
In February, the US and the Taliban signed a historic agreement in Dohar, Qatar, moving the possibility of a full withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan and the longest-running potential of the American war.

US forces are currently serving in Afghanistan as part of a US-led NATO mission to train, assist and advise Afghan forces and focus on counterterrorism operations targeting local ISIS affiliates and al Qaeda.

The Trump administration has almost completed its decision to withdraw more than 4,000 troops from Afghanistan in the fall, according to two administration officials. This move will reduce the number of troops from 8,600 to 4,500 and will be the lowest number since the earliest days of the war in Afghanistan.

This story has been updated with additional reactions, statements from the White House press secretary, information from European intelligence officials and statement from the Director of National Intelligence.

Karen Smith, Sarah Mucha, Nicky Robertson and Jeremy Diamond from CNN contributed to this report.

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Prize for the Portuguese. Andre Silva is Champions League Player of the Week



Prize for the Portuguese.  Andre Silva is Champions League Player of the Week

BUTndre Silva won the competition and became the best player of the week in the Champions League, informed UEFAthis Thursday.

The former Porto striker scored in Jota’s 3-1 victory over Celtic Leipzig, scoring a brace in a match that was signed after his Portuguese compatriot equalized.

In addition, Andre Silva also provided the assist for Nkunku, scoring the first goal of this Wednesday’s game in which huge show of foreign fans.

In addition to the Leipzig striker, Di Maria (Juventus), Bellingham (Borussia Dortmund) and Di Lorenzo (Napoli) also fought in the fight for the prize, but it was the Portuguese who managed to smile after voting for the third round of the competition, the famous This Thursday is the fair.

Read also: Diogo Costa and Andre Silva named to Champions League Team of the Week

See also: Andre Silva among the nominees for the title of the best player of the week in the Champions League

See also: double dose. Andre Silva returned to celebrate and sentenced doubts

See also: Andre Silva took advantage of Hart’s colossal mistake and responded to Jota’s goal

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Eternal Portuguese deja vu – Renaissance



Eternal Portuguese deja vu - Renaissance

At the end of the summer of 1972, exactly half a century ago, SEDES – Associação para o Desenvolvimento Económico e Social (the most famous reformist think tank during Marseilles) issued a document for the country entitled “Portugal: The country we are, the country we want to be “. The Marseille spring had already turned into autumn: Américo Thomas had just been re-elected, the colonial war had dragged on, repression had intensified, and an economic crisis was already brewing. Seeing the general frustration, and at the same time willing to go against it, the signatories of CEDES began by asking “Where will we be and how will we be in 1980?” to criticize the obstacles that overshadowed Portugal in the early 1970s.

Among the “problems that are getting worse without a solution”, emigration stood out, indicating the country’s inability to offer better living and working conditions to those who left; the growing inflationary process, reflected in the cost of living; the inevitability of economic integration in Europe when the country is not ready for international commercial competition; “disaggregation of regional economies” with “continuous depopulation of municipalities and regions” within the country; or “deterioration of public administration” when the government fails to promote a “prestigious, moralized, revitalized and efficient public sector”. “No one will have any difficulty,” continued the text, “to add to a new list of urgent questions that seriously endanger national life, about which much has been said and which, year after year, continue to wait for a sufficient solution.” Therefore, “the prevailing feeling in the country” in contemplation of the recent past and present could not but be “annoyance at urgent battles, the need for which was endlessly discussed, at decisions that were changed or postponed, and at rejected goals” or which were not clearly formulated ” .

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Between “untapped resources” and/or “lack of organizational and decision-making capacity” there was “widespread anxiety” stemming from the inevitable observation that “we are very far from the results that we could achieve thanks to the progress of the Portuguese and Portugal”. This was the macro goal of the reformist, humanist and liberalizing technocrats that SEDES brought together. “Ultimately,” they reminded Marcelo Cayetano, “the real obstacle can only be associated with the low political priority of economic and social development in our country.” So, in short, there was an urgent need to “radically change our economic, social and political way of life”, since “a national balance based on general anemia, repression and weakening of various participants” is unsustainable and pernicious.

SEDES did not know that the Estado Novo would fall in April 1974, that democracy would come in 1976, and Europe from the EEC (after EFTA) in 1986 of repression, finally gained the freedom that was discussed between the lines of the 1972 manifesto ., there would be conditions for solving (almost) all economic and social problems of development and cohesion.

Fifty years have passed since this manifesto, and almost the same number has already been in democracy. However, if we compare the above quotes with the Portuguese present, the feeling of deja vu is indescribable. SEDES wondered what the country would be like in 1980 and is wondering today (in its recent study “Ambition: Doubling GDP in 20 Years”) where we will be in 2040. It may be a replay of a sad fate: knowing (some) where to go, but never getting there!

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Algeria interested in Portuguese companies investing in renewable energy – Observer



Algeria interested in Portuguese companies investing in renewable energy - Observer

Foreign Minister João Gomes Cravinho met this Wednesday with his Algerian counterpart Ramtan Lamamra, who expressed interest in Portuguese companies investing in Algeria’s solar and wind energy.

Speaking with Lusa, João Cravinho also said that for 2023 it was decided to hold a “high-level meeting chaired by the prime ministers” of the two countries, a meeting to be held in Algiers, in addition to the state visit of the President of Algeria. Algeria to Portugal.

The Portuguese foreign minister said today’s visit to Algeria, where he was with Ramtan Lamamra, whom he has known since 2005 when he was ambassador to Lisbon, is “based on old knowledge”, but also a visit to a country that “does not to be a neighbor”, shares “a lot of fears”. “Not being a neighboring country, it almost shares many concerns about the region, the Mediterranean, the European Union’s relationship with Africa and the Arab world. It was important for us to talk about what we can do together as part of the geopolitical and geo-economic transformation,” he explained.

João Cravinho stressed that the issue of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine was a factor “which could not but be the subject of dialogue”, and also added that “geo-economic issues related to energy, renewable energy sources and the opportunities that come with the digital transition” also were on the table.


“While Algeria is a major exporter of fossil fuels, it is also a country with huge potential in terms of solar and wind energy. We have very qualified companies in these areas, and the Algerian side has expressed interest in [ter] Portuguese investors in these areas,” the minister said.

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The official said that it would be a matter of working with the Portuguese Agency for Investment and Foreign Trade (AICEP), with the Secretary of State for Internationalization, as well as with a sectoral ministry, namely the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change. A “high-level meeting chaired by the prime ministers” of the two countries is scheduled for 2023, a meeting to be held in Algiers, in addition to the Algerian President’s state visit to Portugal.

“We have a very busy calendar between the two countries. Now we will try to organize a mixed commission, where technical specialists from both countries will gather,” he said, stressing that there are “14 legal documents that are practically finalized and will be signed” in 2023.

João Gomes Cravinho was on a visit to Algiers today to assess bilateral relations in the economic sphere, as well as in terms of cooperation, language and culture, and to discuss international issues.

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