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27
SEP
7am

Spanish court formally sends Shakira to trial for tax fraud

MADRID, Sept 27 (Reuters) - A Spanish court on Tuesday formally ordered Colombian superstar Shakira to stand trial on accusations that she failed to pay 14.5 million euros ($14.31 million) in income taxes, a court document released on Tuesday showed.
The ‘Hips Don’t Lie’ singer, 45, whose full name is Shakira Isabel Mebarak Ripoll, rejected in July a deal to settle the case, which meant she would have to stand trial in a case that could see her sent to prison for eight years.
The Esplugues de Llobregat court on Tuesday confirmed the trial will go ahead on a date still to be announced.
The prosecutor is seeking an eight-year prison term for the singer, who is accused of failing to pay taxes between 2012 and 2014, a period in which she said she was leading a “nomadic life” because of her work.
“The order to send Shakira to trial is just another step in any proceedings of this kind. The situation has not changed and everything continues as normal. Shakira’s legal defence will do its job by presenting its written arguments at the appropriate time,” a statement from her lawyers said.
Shakira vowed last week to fight what she claimed were “false” accusations by Spanish authorities and added that she had already paid what the Spanish tax office said she owed before they filed a lawsuit.
(Reporting by Emma Pinedo; Editing by Aislinn Laing and Frank Jack Daniel)
27
SEP
7am

Mystery leaks hit Russian undersea gas lines, raising European suspicions

STOCKHOLM/COPENHAGEN, Sept 27 (Reuters) - European countries on Tuesday raced to investigate unexplained leaks in two Russian gas pipelines running under the Baltic Sea near Sweden and Denmark, infrastructure at the heart of an energy crisis since Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
Experts and also Russia, which built the network, said the possibility of sabotage could not be ruled out.
Sweden’s Maritime Authority issued a warning about two leaks in the Nord Stream 1 pipeline, shortly after a leak on the nearby Nord Stream 2 pipeline was discovered that had prompted Denmark to restrict shipping in a five nautical mile radius.
Both pipelines have been flashpoints in an escalating energy war between European capitals and Moscow that has pummelled major Western economies, sent gas prices soaring and sparked a hunt for alternative energy supplies.
“There are some indications that it is deliberate damage,” said a European security source, while adding it was still too early to draw conclusions. “You have to ask: Who would profit?”
Russia also said the leak in the Russian network was cause for concern and sabotage was one possible cause. “No option can be ruled out right now,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.
Neither pipeline was pumping gas to Europe at the time the leaks were found amid the dispute over the war in Ukraine, but the incidents will scupper any remaining expectations that Europe could receive gas via Nord Stream 1 before winter.
“The destruction that occurred on the same day simultaneously on three strings of the offshore gas pipelines of the Nord Stream system is unprecedented,” said network operator Nord Stream AG. “It is not yet possible to estimate the timing of the restoration of the gas transport infrastructure.”
Although neither were in operation, both pipelines still contained gas under pressure.
Denmark’s energy minister Dan Jorgensen said in a written comment leaking gas had been detected in Nord Stream 2 on Monday between Russia and Denmark.
Gazprom GAZP.MM, the Kremlin-controlled company with a monopoly on Russian gas exports by pipeline, declined comment.
Russia slashed gas supplies to Europe via Nord Stream 1 before suspending flows altogether in August, blaming Western sanctions for causing technical difficulties. European politicians say that was a pretext to stop supplying gas.
The new Nord Stream 2 pipeline had yet to enter commercial operations. The plan to use to supply gas was scrapped by Germany days before Russia sent troops into Ukraine in February.
MALFUNCTION OR SABOTAGE?
Jakub Godzimirski, a research professor at the ...
26
SEP
10pm

NASA’s DART spacecraft hits target asteroid in first planetary defense test

Sept 26 (Reuters) - NASA's DART spacecraft successfully slammed into a distant asteroid at hypersonic speed on Monday in the world's first test of a planetary defense system, designed to prevent a potential doomsday meteorite collision with Earth.
By Steve Gorman
Humanity’s first attempt to alter the motion of an asteroid or any celestial body played out in a NASA webcast from the mission operations center outside Washington, D.C., 10 months after DART was launched.
The livestream showed images taken by DART’s camera as the cube-shaped “impactor” vehicle, no bigger than a vending machine with two rectangular solar arrays, streaked into the asteroid Dimorphos, about the size of a football stadium, at 7:14 p.m. EDT (2314 GMT) some 6.8 million miles (11 million km) from Earth.
The $330 million mission, some seven years in development, was devised to determine if a spacecraft is capable of changing the trajectory of an asteroid through sheer kinetic force, nudging it off course just enough to keep Earth out of harm’s way.
Whether the experiment succeeded beyond accomplishing its intended impact will not be known until further ground-based telescope observations of the asteroid next month. But NASA officials hailed the immediate outcome of Monday’s test, saying the spacecraft achieved its purpose.
“NASA works for the benefit of humanity, so for us it’s the ultimate fulfillment of our mission to do something like this – a technology demonstration that, who knows, some day could save our home,” NASA Deputy Administrator Pam Melroy, a retired astronaut, said minutes after the impact.
DART, launched by a SpaceX rocket in November 2021, made most of its voyage under the guidance of NASA‘s flight directors, with control handed over to an autonomous on-board navigation system in the final hours of the journey.
Monday evening’s bullseye impact was monitored in near real time from the mission operations center at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Maryland.
Cheers erupted from the control room as second-by-second images of the target asteroid, captured by DART’s onboard camera, grew larger and ultimately filled the TV screen of NASA‘s live webcast just before the signal was lost, confirming the spacecraft had crashed into Dimorphos.
DART’s celestial target was an oblong asteroid “moonlet” about 560 feet (170 meters) in diameter that orbits a parent asteroid five times larger called Didymos as part of a binary pair with the same name, the Greek word for twin.
Neither object presents any actual threat to Earth, and ...
26
SEP
3pm

Ukraine Latest: Kremlin Grants Citizenship to Edward Snowden

(Bloomberg) -- The Kremlin granted citizenship to Edward Snowden, the former National Security Agency contractor who disclosed a top-secret spying program and has been living in Russia since fleeing the US nine years ago.
The US said that may mean Snowden could be conscripted. “The only thing that has changed is that as a result of his Russian citizenship, apparently now, he may well be conscripted to fight,” State Department spokesman Ned Price said.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy called on Russians to flee or surrender to avoid the Kremlin’s mobilization effort, saying it would help sooner end what he called the “criminal war.”
Seven months into the conflict, President Vladimir Putin’s order to add another 300,000 troops has triggered sporadic protests throughout the country, amid fears that the government will soon close the border for draft-aged men.
(See RSAN on the Bloomberg Terminal for the Russian Sanctions Dashboard.)
Key Developments
Russian Exodus Grows Amid Fears Kremlin May Restrict Borders
Biden Aide Says US Has Warned Kremlin Against Using Nuclear Arms
Russians Confront New Normal as Annexation Voting Continues
Zelenskiy Says China’s Position on Russian Invasion ‘Ambiguous’
On the Ground
With partial mobilization underway, Russia’s military attacked the southern Odesa region with drones overnight, damaging military infrastructure, Ukraine’s southern operational command said on Facebook. Russian missiles also hit Zaporizhzhia, local authorities said. Ukraine’s General Staff said in its morning update that more than 40 settlements, from Kupyansk and Kramatorsk in the east to Mykolaiv and Odesa in the south, were shelled over the past day.
(All Times CET)
Putin Raises Stakes on Ukraine’s Bid for More Powerful Weapons (8:46 p.m.)
Ukraine’s military is on the offensive against Russian forces and asking for more powerful weapons to press its advantage, but so far there is no sign that allies will step up their commitments.
Instead, Putin dramatically raised the stakes in a Sept. 21 speech, threatening nuclear war and launching sham votes aimed at expanding Russia’s borders into occupied Ukraine.
While supporters have piled arms into Ukraine since Russia invaded in late February, they have shied away from sending the longest-range missile systems, combat aircraft and NATO standard tanks.
Russia Expels Japanese Diplomat in Vladivostok on Spying Charges (8:42 p.m.)
Russia expelled a Japanese consul in Vladivostok, accusing the diplomat of paying for sensitive information.
Motoki Tatsunori was given 48 hours to leave the country, the Foreign Ministry said, according to Tass. Earlier, the Federal Security Service said the envoy in the Far Eastern city had been caught collecting “restricted information” ...
26
SEP
3pm

Kremlin says no decision yet on whether to seal Russia’s borders to stop men fleeing

KYIV, Sept 26 (Reuters) - The Kremlin said on Monday no decision had been taken on whether to seal Russia's borders to stop an exodus of military-aged men fleeing the country, after days of chaotic scenes during its first military mobilisation since World War Two.
US warns Russia against using nuclear weapons in Ukraine
Fourth day of voting in referendums on joining Russia
Ballot boxes taken door to door, says Ukraine
Heavy fighting continues along frontline
Russians protest against military draft
By Tom Balmforth
Asked about the prospect of the border being shut, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters: “I don’t know anything about this. At the moment, no decisions have been taken on this.”
Reports that Russia might close the frontier have contributed to turmoil since President Vladimir Putin gave the order last week to call up hundreds of thousands of reservists in the biggest escalation yet of the seven-month Ukraine war.
Flights out of Russia have sold out and cars have piled up at border checkpoints, with reports of a 48-hour queue at the sole road border to Georgia, the rare pro-Western neighbour that allows Russian citizens to enter without a visa.
“Everyone who is of conscription age should be banned from travelling abroad in the current situation,” Sergei Tsekov, a senior lawmaker who represents Russian-annexed Crimea in Russia’s upper house of parliament, told RIA news agency.
Two exiled news sites – Meduza and Novaya Gazeta Europe – both reported that the authorities were planning to ban men from leaving, citing unidentified officials.
The mobilisation was accompanied by an announcement by Putin that Moscow would stage votes to annex four Ukrainian provinces occupied by its forces. The West calls the votes, due to conclude on Tuesday, a sham pretext to seize territory captured by force.
The mobilisation has led to the first sustained protests in Russia since the war began, with one monitoring group estimating at least 2,000 people have been arrested so far. All public criticism of the “special military operation” is banned.
The past few days have also seen the first sustained criticism of the authorities on state-controlled media since the war began, with pro-Kremlin commentators denouncing officials for calling up people too old to fight.
On a talk show on Russia’s main state channel, pro-Kremlin commentators demanded harsh punishments for draft officers who call up the wrong people.
“Can we just shoot them?” asked presenter Vladimir Solovyov. “I am in favour. I would just drag out a couple of those draft ...
26
SEP
7am

Swathes of land swamped in northern Philippines after typhoon

BULACAN, Philippines, Sept 26 (Reuters) - Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr conducted an aerial survey of damage on Monday brought by typhoon Noru, which left heavy flooding across several northern provinces as authorities rushed to get aid to thousands of evacuees.
Five rescue workers were killed in Bulacan province, its Governor Daniel Fernando told DZMM radio, while residents there were seen wading through waist-deep waters and other stranded on rooftops.
Floods submerged swathes of farmland and communities in the north, video and images shared by the president’s office showed, after the category 3 typhoon dumped heavy rains and brought strong winds after making landfall at the weekend.
The stock market, government offices and schools were closed on Monday as authorities raced to deal with the aftermath of Typhoon Noru, which has weakened since passing through the Philippines on Sunday night and was headed out over the South China Sea toward Vietnam.
“This is the worst flooding that happened here,” resident Elpidio dela Cruz told Reuters in Bulacan, standing in a knee-deep water outside his house.
“The water reached the second floor,” he added.
Another Bulacan resident, Teody Simbulan, appealed for aid. “People here need help like food, water and medicine,” he added.
Marcos ordered supplies to be airlifted and equipment be provided to help the cleanup in worst-affected communities. He also directed officials to provide emergency power to cut-off areas.
The Philippines, an archipelago of more than 7,600 islands, sees an average of 20 tropical storms yearly. In 2013, Typhoon Haiyan, one of the most powerful tropical cyclones ever recorded, killed 6,300 people.
By Adrian Portugal and Neil Jerome Morales
(Additional reporting by Eloisa Lopez; Editing by Kanupriya Kapoor, Martin Petty)
25
SEP
3pm

Rihanna to perform at Super Bowl LVII

Rihanna appears set to perform at Super Bowl LVII on Feb. 12 at Glendale, Ariz.
The nine-time Grammy winner posted a photo of her arm holding a football on social media Sunday and the NFL shared the same image on Twitter with the caption “Let’s GO” and the hashtag SBLVII.
Taylor Swift originally had been offered the headlining halftime slot, but TMZ reported Friday that she declined.
The league announced earlier this week that Apple Music had replaced Pepsi as the sponsor of the halftime show.
The NFL said more than 120 million viewers watched the halftime show held at Super Bowl LVI, which featured Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Eminem, Mary J. Blige and Kendrick Lamar. That performance just earned an Emmy Award for Outstanding Variety Special (Live).
Past Super Bowl performers include Michael Jackson, Jennifer Lopez, Beyoncé, Justin Timberlake, Lady Gaga, Bruno Mars, Prince, Paul McCartney and Madonna.
–Field Level Media
25
SEP
3pm

Uganda says Ebola caseload rises to 16 as outbreak grows

KAMPALA, Sept 25 (Reuters) - Uganda said on Sunday its Ebola caseload had jumped to 16 people while a further 18 people also likely had the disease, fuelling fears of a spreading outbreak that involves a strain for which a vaccine has not yet been found.
In a tweet, the ministry of health also said the death toll of confirmed cases remained four while 17 others classified as probable cases had also died. The outbreak had also now spread to three districts, all in central Uganda.
The east African country last week announced the outbreak of Ebola, a haemorrhagic fever whose symptoms include intense body weakness, muscle pain, headache and sore throat, vomiting, diarrhoea and rashes among others.
The current outbreak, attributed to the Ebola Sudan strain, appears to have started in a small village in Mubende district around the beginning of September, authorities have said.
The first casualty was a 24-year old man who died earlier this week.
The World Health Organization says the Ebola Sudan strain is less transmissible and has shown a lower fatality rate in previous outbreaks than Ebola Zaire, a strain that killed nearly 2,300 people in the 2018-2020 epidemic in neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo. Read full story
(Reporting by Elias BiryabaremaEditing by Alistair Bell)
23
SEP
8am

War crimes were committed in Ukraine, says UN-mandated inquiry

GENEVA, Sept 23 (Reuters) - War crimes including rape, torture and confinement of children have been committed in Russian-occupied areas of Ukraine, the head of a U.N.-mandated investigation body said on Friday.
Ukraine and its Western allies allege a litany of rights abuses by Russian soldiers since the Feb. 24 invasion, but Moscow denies that as a smear campaign.
“Based on the evidence gathered by the Commission, it has concluded that war crimes have been committed in Ukraine,” Erik Mose, who heads the Commission of Inquiry on Ukraine, told the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva.
He did not specify who was to blame but the commission has focused on areas previously occupied by Russian forces such as Kyiv, Chernihiv, Kharkiv and Sumy.
Investigators from the commission, created by the rights council in March, visited 27 places and interviewed more than 150 victims and witnesses.
They found evidence of a large number of executions including bodies with tied hands, slit throats and gunshot wounds to the head, Mose said.
He said investigators had identified victims of sexual violence aged between four and 82. While some Russian soldiers had used sexual violence as a strategy, the commission “has not established any general pattern to that effect”, Mose added.
‘DARK WORLD’
Russia denies deliberately attacking civilians during what it calls its “special military operation”.
Russia was called on to respond to the allegations at the council meeting but its seat was left empty. There was no immediate official reaction from Moscow.
The commission will next turn its attention to allegations of “filtration” camps in Russian-occupied areas for processing Ukrainian prisoners as well as claims of forced transfers of people and adoption of Ukrainian children in Russia.
Ukraine and some other nations urged the commission to also investigate a mass burial site near Izium, in eastern Ukraine, where hundreds of bodies have been found.
“If left unanswered, (Russia’s violations) will drag us into a dark world of impunity and permissiveness,” Ukraine’s envoy Anton Korynevych told the council by video link.
Sometimes investigations launched by the council can be used before national and international courts, such as in the case of a former Syrian intelligence officer jailed for state-backed torture in Germany in january.
Mose said he was in touch with the International Criminal Court about the commission’s findings. The body is due to submit a complete report to the council at the end of its mandate in March 2023, including with recommendations on how to hold perpetrators ...
23
SEP
7am

Russia starts annexation vote in occupied areas of Ukraine, West condemns ‘sham’

KYIV, Sept 23 (Reuters) - Russia began referendums on Friday aimed at annexing four occupied regions of Ukraine, raising the stakes of the seven-month-old war in what Kyiv called an illegal sham that saw residents threatened with punishment if they did not vote.
The votes on whether the regions should become part of Russia began after Ukraine earlier this month recaptured large swathes of northeastern territory in a counteroffensive. Russia’s war has killed tens of thousands of people, uprooted millions and pummelled the global economy.
With Russian President Vladimir Putin also announcing this week a military draft to enlist 300,000 troops to fight in Ukraine, the Kremlin appears to be trying to regain the upper hand in the grinding conflict.
And by incorporating the four areas into Russia, Moscow could portray attacks to retake them as an attack on Russia itself, a warning to Kyiv and Western supporters.
Putin on Wednesday said Russia would “use all the means at our disposal” to protect itself, an allusion to nuclear weapons.
The referendums had been discussed for months by Moscow-installed authorities in the four regions – in Ukraine’s east and southeast – but Kyiv’s recent battlefield victories prompted a scramble to schedule them.
Voting in the provinces of Luhansk, Donetsk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia, representing about 15% of Ukrainian territory, is due to run from Friday to Tuesday.
Serhiy Gaidai, Ukraine’s Luhansk region governor, said that in the town of Starobilsk, Russian authorities banned the population from leaving the city until Tuesday and armed groups had been sent to search homes and coerce people to get out to take part in the referendum.
“Today, the best thing for the people of Kherson would be not to open their doors,” said Yuriy Sobolevsky, the displaced Ukrainian first deputy chairman of the Kherson regional council, said on messaging app Telegram.
The referendums have been condemned by Ukraine, Western leaders and the United Nations as an illegitimate, choreographed precursor to illegal annexation. There will be no independent observers, and much of the pre-war population has fled.
The Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), which monitors elections, said the outcomes would have no legal bearing as they do not conform with Ukraine law or international standards and the areas are not secure.
REPORTS OF COERCION, PANIC
Gaidai said that in the Russian-held town of Bilovodsk, a company director told employees voting was compulsory and anyone refusing to take part would be fired and their names given to ...
23
SEP
6am

Americans humble Internationals in Presidents Cup foursomes

The US made a fast start at the 14th Presidents Cup at Quail Hollow Golf Club in North Carolina.
The Presidents Cup got off to the blowout start many had predicted as the US humbled a scrappy International team 4-1 in the opening foursomes on Thursday.
The powerful US team had looked poised for a sweep of the five matches until the Internationals snatched an unexpected point when South Korea’s Kim Si-woo and Australian Cam Davis took down the all-star American pairing of world No 1 Scottie Scheffler and Sam Burns 2-up.
The US, who have dominated the biennial competition with an 11-1-1 record, came out with purpose, having never lost on home soil. Things had looked very grim for the Internationals after the hosts swept the opening three matches to power 3-0 ahead.
But salvaging a point ended a rough day on a positive note for captain Trevor Immelman’s men, limiting the damage heading into Friday’s fourballs, although the challenge ahead remains daunting.
“We’re going to keep fighting,” assured Immelman. “It’s what we do. Nobody here expects us to win. We’ve got to have that belief deep down.
“We’re up against maybe the strongest American team ever assembled on paper. We’ve got our work cut out for us, but like I said, we’ll keep going, man. We’ll keep going until they ring the bell.”
The Internationals, with a record eight Presidents Cup debutants in their 12-man team, started as massive underdogs against a US squad featuring nine of the top 15 in the world rankings.
With temperatures nudging towards 380C the event got off to a steamy and raucous start, with chants of “USA, USA” from the pro-American crowd echoing across the Quail Hollow Club.
Read more in Daily Maverick: “Presidents Cup the first major victim of defections to LIV”
US captain Davis Love III’s squad did not waste any time giving the crowd reasons to cheer as they quickly seized control.
Immelman sent out his most experienced pair of Australian Adam Scott, playing in his 10th Presidents Cup, and Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama first to face the US duo of world No 4 and 5 Patrick Cantlay and Xander Schauffele, hoping the veterans might set the tone for his young squad.
First point
But the Internationals’ two Masters champions failed to gel as Cantlay and Schauffele steamrolled to a 6&5 win, needing just 13 holes to clinch their team’s first point.
When it comes to foursomes, 2021 FedEx champion Cantlay and Tokyo Olympic ...
22
SEP
6pm

Raytheon Beats Lockheed, Boeing for $1 Billion Hypersonic Cruise Missile

Raytheon Technologies Corp. beat Lockheed Martin Corp. and Boeing Co. for a $1 billion contract to design, develop and produce a new hypersonic weapon for the US Air Force, the Pentagon announced Thursday.
Raytheon was awarded the “task order” for the Hypersonic Attack Cruise Missile that calls for weapon system design, development and initial delivery expected to be completed by March 2027.
The HACM, which has been co-developed with the Pentagon’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, will use air-breathing propulsion to reach five times the speed of sound. It will be the Air Force’s second hypersonic missile after Lockheed’s ARRW, which is a hypersonic weapon that’s boosted into the atmosphere and then glides to its target.
Air Force officials have indicated that the HACM might be used on both fighters and bombers, with one official saying a B-52 bomber potentially could carry as many as 20, according to a report by the Congressional Research Service.
At least eight hypersonic weapons are in development, the service said.
Russia said in February that it had test-fired a hypersonic missile, sending a message to the US and NATO allies just before its invasion of Ukraine. Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu has asserted that hypersonic weapons will make up the core of Russia’s non-nuclear deterrence capability in the future. The US says Russia has deployed its Avangard Hypersonic Glide Vehicle and its Tsirkon hypersonic anti-ship and land-attack missile.
China is investing heavily in hypersonic weapons as well, putting one in orbit last year that flew 25,000 miles (40,000 kilometers) in more than 100 minutes of flight, according to the top US nuclear commander.
Russia and China are able to press ahead on new weapons without the oversight by lawmakers and the public that can slow testing and deployment under the Pentagon’s acquisition system.

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