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Polls close in Russia’s three-day election



Russians voted on Sunday at the end of a three-day parliamentary election widely expected to favour the pro-Putin United Russia, following a crackdown on Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny’s movement

Polls closed in Russia’s Far East city of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky on Sunday (September 19) – marking the end of a three-day parliamentary election expected to favour the ruling United Russia.

That’s after a sweeping crackdown that crushed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny’s movement and barred opponents from running.

A victory for the pro-Vladimir Putin party will likely be used by the Kremlin as proof of support for the president.

That’s despite malaise over years of faltering living standards.

State pollsters say United Russia faces a ratings slump – but it remains more popular than its closest rivals on this ballot, the Communist Party and nationalist LDPR.

Among those voting on Sunday was fashionista and TV personality Sergei Zverev.

He’s standing for the Russian Ecological Party – but says he does not believe he can be elected.

“I’m telling you – nobody will elect me, they won’t let it happen. They won’t let them elect me. I’m exhausted by courts already. They will elect the others, not me.”

Navalny is serving a jail sentence for parole violations that he denies.

His allies have been barred from running after his movement was banned in June as extremist.

The Kremlin denies a politically-driven crackdown and says individuals are prosecuted for breaking the law.

Navalny’s allies also encouraged tactical voting – amounting to supporting the candidate most likely to defeat the ruling party in any given electoral district.

United Russia holds nearly three-quarters of the outgoing State Duma’s 450 seats.

Last year that dominance helped it pass reforms allowing Putin to run for two more terms as president after 2024



Five former Trump staffers speak with House



January 6 capital riots investigation continues

As the investigation into the January 6 capitol riots continues, new reports allege that at least five former Trump staffers have come forward to speak voluntarily with the House committee.

This comes as the committee’s lawyers continue to reach out to further Trump aides as to whether they would be interested in speaking at the hearing without the threat of SUPENA.

The committee has been tasked with investigating the actions of former President Donald Trump prior to the riots occurring.

This most recent outreach is not likely to signify that the committee believes the staffers had any involvement in sparking the riots… but rather they may have more context as to what was happening inside the White House that day.

It all comes as Trump continues his legal battle against the investigation… suing both the committee and the National Archives in an attempt to withhold documents.

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Queen Elizabeth not attending COP26 climate event



Buckingham Palace says the Queen is accepting doctor’s advice to rest

Following a health scare just last week… Queen Elizabeth will not be attending the upcoming COP-26 climate event in Glasgow.

This comes as doctors advise the royal to rest and comes just hours after she carried out her first official engagements since being admitted to hospital.

On Tuesday, Elizabeth met virtually with the ambassador of Korea and Switzerland.

Last week, Buckingham Palace revealed the monarch spent a night in hospital for “preliminary investigations”… but returned home in “good spirits”.

Meanwhile, the Queen was due to attend an evening reception in Glasgow on Monday but will deliver a video message instead.

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Jeff Bezos unveils plans for commercial space station



Jeff Bezos’ space tourism company, Blue Origin, has announced plans to launch a space station in Earth’s orbit.

The station will be named “Orbital Reef,” and is projected to be built and operational by the end of the decade.

The company says the station will be serve as a “mixed-use business park” in space and will host up to 10 people.

Promotional material released by the company revealed the 32-thousand square foot station will provide customers with an ideal location for “filmmaking in microgravity”, or “conducting cutting-edge research”.

It’s also speculated that the space station will include a “space hotel”.

The company will partner with Sierra Space and Boeing to build the outpost.

The announcement comes amid NASA efforts to find a proposal to replace the International Space Station (ISS), which is now more than 20 years old and in desperate need of repair.

This will include $400m in private contracts to space companies to help the agency replace the ageing outpost.

There is likely to be stiff competition for the funding, and Blue Origin is the latest firm to unveil their space station concept, joining space firms Nanoracks, Voyager Space and Lockheed Martin, who have teamed up to launch a station into low orbit by 2027.

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