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Iraqi law enforcement claimed that a painting worth untold millions of dollars turned up in a narcotics bust

Iraqi police got more than they bargained for in a drug raid over the weekend in Diyala province, recovering what they claim is a stolen painting produced by the legendary Spanish artist Pablo Picasso.

The artwork was seized on Saturday after being found in the possession of three people targeted in a narcotics raid, the state-run Iraqi News Agency reported, citing a statement by the country’s Interior Ministry. Authorities offered no additional details on the painting, except to say that it’s worth “millions of dollars.”

“The drug trade is linked to many crimes, including murder, theft, kidnapping, rape, gang formation, corruption and family disintegration, until it reaches the antiquities trade,” said Colonel Bilal Sobhi, director of the ministry’s anti-narcotics media office.

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What lies beneath: ‘Lost’ Picasso revealed 100 years after artist hid it (PHOTOS)


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The Defense Ministry says the British Air Force lodged a request to allow a reconnaissance plane to fly over Russia

Britain’s Royal Air Force is carrying out a provocative action in Russian airspace, the Defense Ministry in Moscow has warned. The statement came after the UK requested permission for a reconnaissance plane to fly over Russian territory.

On Tuesday, Russian military officials revealed that a “request has been lodged by the UK for the passing of a British reconnaissance plane RC-135 along a route which goes over the territory of the Russian Federation, among other countries.”

The ministry emphasized that it deemed “this action to be a deliberate provocation.”

The statement went on to say that the Russian Air Force had been tasked with preventing any “violation of the Russian Federation’s airspace.”

Moscow also pointed out that “all possible consequences” of the planned reconnaissance flight would “rest solely with the UK.”

The Russian Defense Ministry’s warning come..

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The first lady is currently traveling with the president, who recently caught the coronavirus and relapsed after recovery

US First Lady Jill Biden tested positive for Covid-19 on Tuesday, despite receiving a total of four vaccine doses. President Joe Biden recently left isolation after a lengthy bout with the virus, while Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin is currently sick for the second time.

“After testing negative for Covid-19 on Monday during her regular testing cadence, the First Lady began to develop cold-like symptoms late in the evening. She tested negative again on a rapid antigen test, but a PCR test came back positive,” Biden’s communications director, Elizabeth Alexander, said in a statement.

Biden, who received her second booster shot in April, is experiencing only mild symptoms, Alexander added. She will remain in South Carolina until she receives two consecutive negative tests, and has been prescribed a course of Paxlovid, an antiviral drug manufactured by Pfizer.


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The docking was previously postponed, with India and the US reportedly considering it a spy vessel

A Chinese naval research ship docked in a Beijing-built port in Sri Lanka on Tuesday, a week after its arrival was postponed, allegedly due to concerns raised by the US and India. While China describes the ship as conducting “marine scientific research,” Indian sources have called it a “dual-use spy vessel.”

The Yuan Wang 5 moored in the port of Hambantota and was welcomed by Sri Lankan and Chinese officials, the AP reported. Located on the southern coast of Sri Lanka, the port of Hambantota was built by Chinese contractors and leased to Beijing in 2017 when Sri Lanka could not repay its construction costs.

The arrival of the ship was initially scheduled for last week but was pushed back at Sri Lanka’s request. The country’s foreign ministry cited “certain concerns” in requesting the delay.

Indian Minister of External Affairs Subrahmanyam Jaishankar and US Secretary of State Antony ..

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Salman Rushdie’s brutal stabbing revives debates on religion and freedom of speech, as well as fears of terrorism

Salman Rushdie’s 1988 book, ‘The Satanic Verses’, has not lost its sulphurous potential. A zealot badly stabbed the aging author in New York. He sustained life-changing injuries. Was it divine chastisement or an act of satanic intolerance?

There are no ‘satanic verses’ in the text of the Koran. Surah 53, verses 19-20, reads: “Have you seen Lat and Uzza and Manat, the third?” An allusion to three female idols or goddesses worshipped by the Mecca pagans. It condemns them. The problem begins with a single tradition claiming that Satan impersonated the Angel Jibreel, tempting the Prophet to add another verse: “These are exalted cranes, whose intercession is hoped for.” Mohammed, they say, initially took the words as genuine but quickly spotted the deception and expunged them. Most Muslim exegetes reject the idea that Satan could trick the Prophet. That would undermine the ce..

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Beijing has warned that so-called independence movements in Taiwan won’t lead to “anything good”

Taiwan belongs to China and the issue is a strictly internal one, Beijing’s Defense Minister Wei Fenghe insisted on Tuesday in a video address to the Moscow international security conference.

He noted that separatist movements on the island promoting the so-called “independence of Taiwan” will “end badly” and that any attempts to assist them from abroad will “not lead to anything good.”

Wei reiterated Beijing’s condemnation of US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s recent visit to Taipei, which the defense minister called a “complete farce” and a serious affront to the “political foundation of Sino-American relations.”

China has launched a series of unprecedented drills around Taiwan since Pelosi ignored warnings from Beijing and visited Taipei to meet with the island’s leadership earlier this month.

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China flexes military muscle near Taiwan

The latest exercises were held on Mo..

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Two scheduled tests of the Minuteman III ballistic missile were hindered by tensions with Russia and China

The US Air Force test-launched an unarmed Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) over the South Pacific on Tuesday. Described by the Pentagon as a demonstration of the “lethality and effectiveness” of America’s nuclear weapons, the test had previously been delayed due to ongoing tensions with Russia and China.

The missile, which is capable of carrying a 350-kiloton W-78 nuclear warhead, blasted off from Vandenberg Space Force in California shortly after midnight. After a 4,200-mile (6,700-km) journey across the Pacific Ocean, its re-entry vehicle – which in this case carried conventional explosives rather than an atomic warhead – detonated and hit the water near Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands.

Tuesday’s test took place at a time of heightened geopolitical tensions between the US and rival nuclear powers Russia and China. Washington is engaged in what ..

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Estonian city leader says she won’t run for parliament when MPs target war memorials

The government of Estonia voted on Tuesday to remove several Soviet-era war memorials in Ida-Viru County, including an historic T-34 tank in the provincial capital Narva. In protest the local mayor announced that she would not run in parliamentary elections next year.

Katri Raik blasted the abruptness of the decision, which was taken over the head of her administration.

“At the moment I can’t imagine myself sitting in the same chamber as those people, who took this decision in the way they did,” the city official told national public broadcaster ERR.

The situation may change in the coming months, she added, but at the moment her only thoughts are about serving her city, she said. Estonia is scheduled to elect a new parliament in March 2023.

The T-34 tank memorial has been a flash point between Estonia’s nationalistic government and the Russian community in Narva. For many officials in Tallinn, So..

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Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba says he is often asked by some of his counterparts how much longer Kiev can hold on

Several countries in the West are waiting for Kiev to surrender and think their problems will immediately solve themselves, said Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba in an interview published on Tuesday.

“I often get asked in interviews and while speaking to other foreign ministers: how long will you last? That’s instead of asking what else could be done to help us defeat Putin in the shortest time possible,” Kuleba said, noting that such questions suggest that everyone “is waiting for us to fall and for their problems to disappear on their own.”

The foreign minister went on to suggest that some Western countries are ready to accept Ukraine’s surrender in the ongoing military conflict with Russia and have it concede some of its territories – something Kiev has repeatedly insisted it would never agree to.

Last week, Mikhail Podolyak, an aide to President Zelensky,..

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Seven Taiwanese officials branded “independent diehards” by Beijing

China has expanded its list of sanctioned individuals that it considers “Taiwan independence diehards.” Seven more officials, including Taipei’s de facto ambassador to the US, were added to it.

The latest entries also include the chief of Taiwan’s security council and members of the ruling party. Previously, Beijing sanctioned the head of Taiwan’s cabinet, the speaker of the parliament and its top diplomat.

Targeted individuals and their family members are banned from entering Chinese-controlled territory and profiting from doing business in China. Beijing said the list was not complete and warned that people on it risked serious punishment for their activities under Chinese law.

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Pelosi’s son who joined her on Taiwan trip holds Chinese tech stake – media

“No one should underestimate our strong determination, firm will, and the ability to defend national sovereignty and territorial integrity,” a spoke..

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