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Kremlin Closely Monitoring Case of Russian Reporter under House Arrest



Kremlin is closely monitoring the case of Meduza correspondent Ivan Golunov, Russian Presidential Spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Monday. Peskov stated that Russian President Vladimir Putin had been informed of the case on June 7.

“The president was informed of this high-profile case. Kremlin has no right to comment on cases. We will also not do it this time,” he noted.

“Taking into account the high visibility of this case, of course, we closely monitor all the details,” the Kremlin spokesman added. “It is our understanding that various issues that have to be clarified remain on the agenda,” he stressed.

Golunov, 36, an investigative correspondent from the Riga-based Meduza online newspaper was detained in downtown Moscow on June 6. According to police, he was carrying several packages containing 4 grams of mephedrone, a synthetic stimulant drug. During the search of his apartment, police found 5 grams of cocaine.

His lawyers insisted that the police had planted the drugs on Golunov, explaining that this could occur at the moment when the journalist was confronted by the police. The journalist has pleaded not guilty to the drug dealing charges.

Meduza’s Director General Galina Timchenko and Chief Editor Ivan Kolpakov believe that Golunov could be prosecuted over his professional activity.

The journalist was hospitalized after the ambulance team diagnosed him with a broken rib, brain concussion and hematomas. However, doctors at a hospital did not confirm this diagnosis.

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Russian Embassy in Contact With Iran About Detained Tanker Crew



The Russian Embassy in Tehran is in contact with the Iranian authorities about the Russian crew of a UK-flagged tanker seized off Iran’s coast, a Russian deputy foreign minister said Tuesday.

“The embassy is at work. Everyone is at work. All services, all channels are active. We are in a close contact with Iranians,” Mikhail Bogdanov told reporters.

The Iranian military captured the Stena Impero oil tanker in the Strait of Hormuz last Friday for allegedly flouting maritime rules. Its crew of 23, including three Russians, remain on board the ship, which is anchored in the Iranian port of Bandar Abbas.

The Swedish owner of the tanker, Stena Bulk, said over the weekend it had submitted a formal request with the port authorities asking to meet with the sailors and is waiting for a response. Iran says they are in good health.

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Daredevil Celebrates 40th Birthday with Handstand off 1,300-Foot Cliff (Video)



A daredevil who calls himself an extreme balance artist celebrated his 40th birthday in style by hiking to a cliff’s edge to perform a handstand at 1,300 feet above ground.

Eskil Rønningsbakken captured the footage of his stunt at Rampestreken viewpoint in Åndalsnes, Norway, on June 24 — just in time for his 40th birthday. 

Rønningsbakken hiked a mile to reach the area where he would perform the death-defying stunt, 1,300 feet above the breathtaking Norwegian scenery.

At the edge of the lookout point, Rønningsbakken constructed a ladder which he would perform his handstand on. He climbed the ladder extending over the cliff and placed his hands on the top handles of the ladder.

Rønningsbakken has performed his death-defying stunts for years on camera, including a 2011 stunt where he balanced “on the edge of a ravine on a bike, a stack of chairs, and a trapeze — all without a safety harness.” He also performed a breathtaking one-armed handstand over a fjord in 2013, 2,000 feet above the ground.

Rønningsbakken, who considers himself more of an artist than a daredevil, says his performances are for “the sake of creating art.”

“There is simply no room for mistakes, but this is what I do and in the sake of creating art,” Rønningsbakken told the Daily Mail. “You don’t see much of the view while balancing, since it’s simply room for surviving, but before and after I do look at the nature and enjoy it a lot.”

“It was a pleasure to be allowed to be part of something beautiful as this,” he said.

Rønningsbakken also has a website dedicated to his performances, which have taken him all over the world from China to Mexico.

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Israeli Pilot Temporarily Grounded After Mistakenly Firing Missile Into Syria, Media Claims



An Israeli Air Force pilot was temporarily suspended after firing an air-to-air missile at what turned out to be a “false target” on the Israeli-Syrian border late last month, Israel’s Channel 12 has reported.

The incident, reportedly taking place on June 28, occurred after the IAF scrambled a jet to respond to a ‘suspicious airborne target’ approaching Israeli airspace over the occupied Golan Heights which turned out to be a phantom.

According to Israeli media, the fired missile flew into Syrian territory and exploded. The jet’s pilot was reportedly suspended over the ‘serious operational error’, but has since been reinstated.

Channel 12 did not provide any other details about the incident, and it’s not clear whether there were any casualties on the Syrian side.

Israel has admitted to carrying out air attacks against Syria “hundreds of times” in recent years, saying the strikes are aimed at preventing Iran from its alleged plans to establish a foothold in Syria from which to carry out aggression against Tel Aviv.

Damascus has vocally condemned Israel’s attacks, calling them a blatant violation of international law, and saying that Iran’s presence in Syria is limited to helping the country in its fight against radical Islamist terrorists such as Daesh (ISIS) and al-Qaeda. The latest Israeli Air Force attack against Syria took place on June 30, with multiple missiles fired into Damascus and Homs province from Lebanese airspace, killing 16 Syrians.

Israel took control of part of Syria’s Golan Heights during the 1967 Six-Day War, and formally annexed the territory in 1981. Shortly after, the United Nations declared Tel Aviv’s action “null and void and without international legal effect.”

In March, US President Donald Trump officially recognised the Golan Heights as Israeli territory, prompting international criticism. In April, the Syrian government warned that it has the legal right to return the Golan Heights ‘by any means possible’, saying that “the only language which Israel understands is the language of force.”

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