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Two Britons captured by Russian forces sentenced to death

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Two Britons and a Moroccan who were captured while fighting for Ukraine were sentenced to death on Thursday by a court in the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR), one of Russia’s proxies in eastern Ukraine, Russian news agencies reported

STORY: Russian state television on Thursday broadcast footage of two Brits and a Moroccan who were captured while fighting for Ukraine being sentenced to death by a court in the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR), one of Russia’s proxies in eastern Ukraine.

Video released by the DPR Supreme Court on Wednesday showed Brits Aiden Aslin and Shaun Pinner, and Moroccan Brahim Saadoun pleading guilty.

Their lawyer said they will appeal the decision.

British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss on Thursday tweeted her condemnation of the sentence.

She wrote, “they are prisoners of war. This is a sham judgement with absolutely no legitimacy.”

Aslin and Pinner were captured in April while fighting on the Ukrainian side.

After they were taken prisoner, Russian TV showed a clip of Aslin appealing to British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to trade the captured Brits for Viktor Medvedchuk, an ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin detained by Ukrainian authorities.

“If Boris Johnson really does care like he says he does about British citizens, then he would help pressure Zelenskiy to do the right thing and return Viktor to his family, and return us to our families.”

“This is the most egregious breach of international law, and these individuals need to be released immediately and returned to their families.”

In an appearance on the BBC, British Conservative Party lawmaker Robert Jenrick called the sentence the result of a “Soviet-era show trial.”

“You cannot treat British citizens in this manner and get away with it.”

The sentence comes after a Ukrainian court last month sentenced two captured Russian soldiers to eleven-and-a-half years in jail after they pleaded guilty to firing artillery at civilian targets. Another Russian soldier was sentenced to life in prison after pleading guilting to shooting dead an unarmed civilian.

Both sides have taken prisoners since Russian troops invaded Ukraine at the end of February in what Moscow calls a “special military operation” and Ukraine and Western nations condemned as an unprovoked war of aggression.

Tech

Porn floods Twitter “China” search

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Twitter users have been finding it hard to search for information on the social media platform due to an explosion of pornographic spam.

While thousands of protests against extended lockdowns, a digital bot army has roared into action on Twitter, with long-dormant Chinese language accounts suddenly tweeting links to escort services and other adult content.

Anyone trying to track the spontaneous protest movement on Twitter complained about the deluge of spam pornographic content making flooding the search for information.

The China protests come at a time when Twitter’s content and moderation teams have been pared back drastically following Elon Musk’s $44 billion takeover of the social media giant.

Twitter, along with other international social media services like Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram, is blocked by Beijing’s internet censors within Mainland China.

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World

Biden silence on China protests

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As citizens across China revolt against the country’s “zero Covid” policy, the White House issued a statement about the growing protests.

“‘We’ve long said everyone has the right to peacefully protest, in the United States and around the world,’ a White House National Security Council spokesperson said in a statement.

‘This includes in the [People’s Republic of China.]’

“‘Zero COVID is not a policy we are pursuing here,’ the spokesperson said.

‘And as we’ve said, we think it’s going to be very difficult for the People’s Republic of China to be able to contain this virus through their zero COVID strategy.’”

Commentators have noted that the statement came from the White House, and not President Biden himself.

Demonstrators are calling on President Joe Biden to take a stance and publicly support their cause.

The protests have continued despite numerous attempts by the Chinese government to quell them.

 

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Business

China protests hit global markets, crypto

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Investor watches markets

The protests in China are having a negative impact on cryptocurrencies and markets around the world.

Bitcoin failed to break its descent and fell more than 3 percent.

The global crypto market cap fell over 2%, sending major cryptos into the red.

Over the last 24 hours, overall crypto market volume grew by 22%.

It comes amid a round of investor nervousness in global markets spurred by protests in China against Covid restrictions.

Protesters outraged by harsh COVID-19 regulations called for China’s strong leader to quit.

China is the world’s second-largest economy and has a significant impact on global financial markets.

Stocks and cryptos aren’t considered safe havens, leading to bearing price action.

Analysts are hoping for a sharp bullish reversal if and when the protests end.

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