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Journalist Fined £210 After Protesting on Russian State TV

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The Russian journalist who interrupted a state TV news broadcast by holding up a sign protesting against the country’s invasion of Ukraine has been fined.

There were fears that Marina Ovsyannikova had gone missing following her stunt, after a human rights lawyer said she had not been heard from for several hours.

However, a photo surfaced on Tuesday afternoon of Ms Ovsyannikova with her lawyer.

Following a court hearing, she was fined 30,000 roubles (GBP213), state media reported.

It is not clear if she will face other, more serious charges over the protest.

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During a live broadcast on Channel One on Monday evening, Ms Ovsyannikova, who is thought to have worked for the company for years, walked on to the set behind the presenter with a placard denouncing the country’s invasion of Ukraine– a move the Kremlin has described as “hooliganism”.

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It was a risky protest in a country where independent media has been blocked, and it has become illegal to contradict the government’s narrative of the war.

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The Channel One employee leaves court building in Moscow after being fined

The UN’s human rights office called on Russian authorities to ensure that she “does not face any reprisals for exercising her right to freedom of expression”.

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o Employee interrupts Russian news programme with anti-war slogan

Mr Chikov, who is head of the Russian human rights group Agora, said Ms Ovsyannikova had been arrested and taken to a police station in Moscow.

There were fears she may face charges under a law designed to clamp down on free speech.

The law, passed on 4 March, makes public actions aimed at discrediting Russia’s army illegal and bans the spread of fake news or the “public dissemination of deliberately false information about the use of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation”. The offence carries a jail term of up to 15 years.

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What did Ms Ovsyannikova do on air?

The placard Ms Ovsyannikova held read in English: “No war. Russians against war.”

In Russian, it said: “NO WAR. Stop the war. Don’t believe propaganda. They are lying to you here.”

While she stood behind the host who continued to read from her autocue, Ms Ovsyannikova could be heard saying: “Stop the war! No war! Stop the war! No war!”

She could still be heard after the broadcast was switched to alternative output.

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0:54

Protester interrupts Russian state TV

Ms Ovsyannikova, who said her father is Ukrainian and her mother Russian, also released a video of herself before her demonstration, in which she blamed President Vladimir Putin for the war.

She said that “unfortunately” she had been working for Channel One in recent years, working for the “Kremlin’s propaganda and I’m very ashamed of it – that I was letting them tell those lies from the TV screen… and allowed the Russian people to be zombified”.

She added: “We kept silent in 2014 when all of this was just in the beginning (annexation of Crimea). We didn’t go to rallies when the Kremlin poisoned Navalny. We just silently watched this inhumane regime. Now the whole world has turned away from us, and even 10 generations of our descendants will not be enough to wash away the shame of this fratricidal war.

“We, the Russian people, thoughtful and smart. It’s up to us to stop this madness. Go to rallies, don’t be afraid of anything, they can’t imprison all of us.”

Channel One, which is broadcast throughout Russia and has more than 250 million viewers worldwide, said it was conducting an internal review into the incident, TASS reported. The channel closely follows the Kremlin line that Moscow was forced to act in Ukraine to demilitarise and “de-Nazify” the country in a “special military operation”.

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Original Article: news.sky.com

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WHO Estimates 15m People Have Died Directly or Indirectly From COVID – More Than Double Official Death Toll

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The World Health Organisation estimates that 15 million people worldwide have now died of coronavirus – or as a result of its impact on health services.

WHO data shows the number of excess COVID mortalities to be somewhere between 13.3 million and 16.6 million people from 1 January 2020 to 31 December 2021. This is more than double the official death toll of around six million.

Excess mortality refers to the number of people who have died of the virus either directly or indirectly by being unable to access health services for other conditions.

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The figures were compiled using country-reported data and statistical modelling, the WHO said.

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There were 14.9 million excess deaths associated with COVID-19 by the end of 2021, the UN body said on Thursday.

Most excess COVID deaths (86%) happened in Asia, Europe and the Americas, according to the figures.

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Middle-income countries accounted for 81% of deaths, with 28% occurring in upper-middle-income countries and 4% in low-income ones.

Some 68% of all excess deaths worldwide happened in just 10 countries.

There was a higher rate for men (57%) than there was for women (43%), with more excess deaths among the elderly than younger generations.

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WHO director-general Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus commented: “These sobering data not only point to the impact of the pandemic but also to the need for all countries to invest in more resilient health systems that can sustain essential health services during crises, including stronger health information systems.

“WHO is committed to working with all countries to strengthen their health information systems to generate better data for better decisions and better outcomes.”

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Original Source: news.sky.com

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Pope Francis Seen Using Wheelchair for the First Time for Mobility Reasons

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The Pope has been pictured using a wheelchair – the first time he’s used one in public due to the knee pain that’s made it hard for him to walk and stand.

Francis, 85, was wheeled on stage and helped into a seat during an audience with a group of nuns and religious superiors from around the world at the Vatican.

He appears to be having a flare-up of sciatica, a nerve condition he suffers with that he’s called his “troublesome guest”.

The Pope has had to cancel or cut short activities several times in the last month because of pain in his right knee.

He was pictured in a wheelchair last July after major intestinal surgery, but this is believed to be the first time he’s used one in public due to his mobility problems.

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Before Thursday’s event, he was able to walk the roughly 10 metres or so from the side entrance of the stage to his seat with some help.

He recently received some injections to try to relieve the pain but has continued to struggle.

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His impaired movement was apparent over Easter when he attended but did not take charge of masses at St Peter’s Basilica, instead delegating a cardinal or archbishop to preside.

During a trip to Malta in April he was also pictured using an elevator platform to get on and off the plane.

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Original Article: news.sky.com

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Woman Pulled Alive From Rubble Six Days After Building Collapsed

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A woman has been found alive in the rubble of a building that partially collapsed almost six days earlier, Chinese state media has said.

At least five people are confirmed to have died and possibly dozens are still missing following the disaster in the city of Changsha, in central China‘s Hunan Province, on 29 April.

The unidentified woman has become the 10th survivor and was rescued shortly after midnight today, about 132 hours after the rear of the six-storey building suddenly caved in, the official Xinhua News Agency has reported.

The woman was conscious and told rescuers how to pull her out without causing further injury, Xinhua added.

Teams had used dogs and hand tools as well as drones and electronic life detectors in the search.

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All the survivors were reportedly in good condition after being treated in a hospital and it is thought intermittent rain showers over the last few days may have helped their chances of survival without food or water.

At least nine people have been arrested in relation to the collapse of what Xinhua has described as a “self-built building”.

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This includes its owner, on suspicion of ignoring building codes or committing other violations.

Three people in charge of design and construction were also held, along with five others who allegedly gave a false safety assessment for a guest house on the building’s fourth to sixth floors.

The building also housed residences, a cafe and shops.

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An aerial photo shows the site of the collapsed residential building in Changsha, central China’s Hunan Province

There has been increase in the number of collapses of self-built buildings in recent years.

Last month, Chinese President Xi Jinping called for additional checks to uncover structural weaknesses.

Following the building collapse at the weekend, he urged for more victims to be found in the rubble “at all costs”.

Poor adherence to safety standards, including the illegal addition of extra floors and failure to use reinforcing iron bars, is often blamed for similar disasters.

China also suffers from decaying infrastructure such as gas pipes that has led to explosions and collapses.

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Source: news.sky.com

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