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Motherland Faces Serious Brain Drain As Liberal Russians Flee Putin’s Persecution




There is an exodus under way from Russia. Almost invisible compared to Ukraine’s, but hugely significant for the future of the country.

An estimated 200,000 Russians have left already to seek refuge abroad, robbing Russia of brains and talent.

Tanya Simakova is the editor of lifestyle website The Village. Just over a week ago it was blocked by authorities and the team knew they had to get out.

“I think that they will take me to the prison for 15 years,” Ms Simakova told Sky News.

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How is the war affecting Russians?

“Just so simple in Russia so I’m really afraid because they are crazy, they are abusive.”


Many Russians find themselves in Istanbul with only what they could pack and take with them. But they are already feeling better compared to life under the Putin regime.

“I think now it’s like Germany with Hitler. They are crazy people and everyone is so terrified by Putin. They’re so afraid of him.”

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Exiles describe an existence of constant anxiety, where everyone is on anti-depressants to cope with the tension of living under Putin.

“Putin has to go to therapy,” said Tanya. “He is not okay.”

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‘I hope Ukraine forgives us’

Turkey is one of the few countries to keep its skies open with Russia.

Thousands are seeking sanctuary here, many of them heading for the seaside resort area of Antalya where they’ve been welcome for years.

We visited one estate agent in Antalya whose signs were in the Russian Cyrillic alphabet.

Inside one apartment was a family from Moscow.

They would not be interviewed on camera but told us they decided to flee Russia just a week ago.

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The father is a fishmonger – not an activist or journalist. But he received many threats from Putinistas since the invasion. Some were from people he had regarded as close friends.

They have told friends and family they are in Turkey on holiday but they will not be going back.

Those already here say in the last two weeks life has become harder, their currency plunging in value and their nation becoming a pariah.

Read more: Russian tactics evolve in face of Ukrainian resistance

Victoria has been in Antalya for over a year

“I feel not so comfortable now because I’m Russian, because I have a Russian passport, because mostly people don’t understand that the way it’s not from Russian people,” Victoria (not her real name) said.

She has been in Antalya for a year.

Her friend Anna agreed: “I can’t smile like before because when I sit here and try to smile sometimes I think that I have no right to do it.”

Read more: Which countries could broker negotiations between Russia and Ukraine?

They are finding it harder and harder to access their money because of western sanctions on their bank and credit cards, and rents are soaring because of the falling rouble.

Sanctions mean Anna is now struggling to access her money

But life will still be better here than in the motherland.

Many more will follow, draining Russia of its most liberal, best and brightest.

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




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.


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




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.


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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Woman Pulled Alive From Rubble Six Days After Building Collapsed




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.


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.

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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