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Coronavirus roundup: Trump sez won’t close country if second wave hits

Iran: More than 10,000 health care workers infected with virus
[IsraelTimes] Figure is over 10 times higher than earlier reports , which put the number of infected health care workers at only 800. Iran says more than 100 of those workers have died. Tehran advises against travel during coming Eid al-Fitr festival as virus cases mount. The Eid al-Fitr festival marking the end of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan is expected to begin on Sunday in Iran.

Italy’s virus death toll could be 19,000 higher than recorded — study
[IsraelTimes] Italy’s death toll from the novel coronavirus in March and April could be nearly 19,000 higher than the official figure of 32,000, the national social security agency says.

The Istituto Nazionale della Previdenza Sociale (INPS), the largest social security and welfare institute in Italy, says in a new study that the official death figures were not “reliable.”

Its study shows that 156,42 total deaths were recorded in Italy in March and April, which is 46,909 higher than the average number of fatalities in those months recorded between 2015 and 2019.

But only 27,938 deaths linked to coronavirus were reported during that period by the Civil Protection Agency, whose toll forms the basis of national statistics, the INPS says.

IMF approves $396 million for Jordan to fight coronavirus
[IsraelTimes] The International Monetary Fund approves $396 million for Jordan to fight the coronavirus pandemic, a disbursement equal to about a quarter of its projected need amid the global economic downturn. The funds are the latest from the IMF’s Rapid Financing Instrument, which allows nations to circumvent the lengthy negotiations usually required to secure a full economic assistance program — time most countries do not have as they struggle to cope with the coronavirus crisis.

Close Putin ally is struck down 'by coronavirus': Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov is flown to hospital 'with 50% damage to his lungs'

Stem Cells for CV, is there anything they can't do?
[Daily Mail, where America gets its news] Broadway set designer makes medical history after becoming first American to receive placental cell treatment for coronavirus under FDA's 'compassionate use' rules
  • Edward Pierce, 49, is acclaimed Broadway scenic designer for plays like Wicked

  • Pierce fell ill with COVID-19 and was treated at a hospital in Teaneck, New Jersey

  • Doctors grew concerned as his condition deteriorated due to organ failure

  • There was little hope, so his wife agreed to use an untested method

  • Pierce was administered placental cells in around 15 parts of his body

  • Within 10 days, he was off a ventilator and breathing on his own

  • The placental cell therapy was developed by an Israeli biotechnology firm

  • Pierce was given treatment as part of 'compassionate use'

Trump says he won’t close the country if second wave of coronavirus hits
  • President Donald Trump said “we are not closing our country” if the U.S. is hit by a second wave of coronavirus infections.

  • “People say that’s a very distinct possibility, it’s standard,” Trump said when asked about a second wave during a tour of a Ford factory in Michigan.

  • “We are going to put out the fires. We’re not going to close the country,” Trump said. “We can put out the fires. Whether it is an ember or a flame, we are going to put it out. But we are not closing our country.”

Caucasus/Russia/Central Asia
Chechen blogger escapes apparent assassination bid in Poland
Tumso Abdurakhmanov
....the bearded former manager at a Chechen state telecom who fled west when accused of being a Wahhabi, which in Chechnya means membership in the Al Qaeda-linked Caucasus Emirate...
posted a video showing him disheveled and breathing hard, standing over the bloodied body of another man. “Who sent you? Where have you come from?” Abdurakhmanov asks, before producing a hammer, which he says was used by the man in an attempted murder.

The injured man on the ground, whose voice is muffled, replies that he came “from Moscow”7 and says, “They have my mother.” There was no immediate comment from Polish authorities.

The Sweden-based Chechen rights group Vayfond described the attack as an assassination attempt.

Abdurakhmanov is one of the most prominent and outspoken critics of Ramzan Kadyrov, the head of Russia’s Chechnya province. He left Chechnya in 2015 following threats from a Chechen official linked to Kadyrov.

After being refused asylum in Georgia, Abdurakhmanov moved to Poland, where he lived at an undisclosed location while attempting to apply for asylum. The application was rejected by Poland’s interior ministry in 2018.
Caucasus Emirate: 2019-05-28 German court orders fines for 'Shariah police' vigilantes
Caucasus Emirate: 2018-01-08 Massive car bomb explosion rocks Idlib, over 100 dead
Caucasus Emirate: 2017-10-06 FSB find remains of former most-wanted terrorist in Russia, Count Doku

Caucasus/Russia/Central Asia
Blogger and Putin critic Imran Aliev succombs to French hotel stay
[NYP] An outspoken blogger who routinely attacked Russia and Chechnya has been found dead in a French hotel with his throat slit and 100 stab wounds ‐ and police suspect a "political motivation," according to reports.

Chechen blogger Imran Aliev,
...also spelt Imran Aliyev, though neither appears in the Rantburg archives....
44, was found late last month in a hotel bloodbath in Lille that reflected "extreme savagery," sources told Agence France-Presse. His throat had also been slit, Business Insider said.

Aliev had political refugee status and was living in Belgium under police protection "because of threats out of Russia and Chechnya over his opposition blogging," a senior French police official told the outlet.
What precisely did he oppose? Was he a bearded liberal fighting for liberty and democracy, or a bearded keyboard jihadi furious that Messers Putin and Kadyrov stood in the way of a beloved Caucasian caliphate? It is curious that I can thus far find no mention of the dead gentleman’s politics.
Using the online handle "Mansur Stariy,"
...also not in Rantburg’s archives...
he became known mostly for his strident diatribes critiquing Chechen ruler Ramzan Kadyrov as well as Russian President Vladimir Putin, the report says.

"We had him under police protection for a reason," a Belgian law enforcement official told Business Insider, saying there had been "specific and credible threats on his life from certain political sectors in Chechnya and Russia."

Related article from Breitbart, which suggests the situation is more complicated than originally suggested.

Caucasus/Russia/Central Asia
Chechen leader Kadyrov vows to repatriate all ISIS children
[Rudaw] Chechnya will repatriate all children taken to live under the Islamic State
...formerly ISIS or ISIL, depending on your preference. Before that al-Qaeda in Iraq, as shaped by Abu Musab Zarqawi. They're very devout, committing every atrocity they can find in the Koran and inventing a few more. They fling Allah around with every other sentence, but to hear the pols talk they're not really Moslems....
group (ISIS) in Iraq and Syria, the controversial Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov has confirmed. He did not however mention the fate of Chechen women who joined the group.

"We’ll solve this problem. We work every day and every hour. We won’t stop until we repatriate all those children," Kadyrov told Rudaw in the Chechen capital Grozny.

Chechnya is a federal subject of Russia. Around 400 Chechen women and girls are believed to have joined ISIS, many of them dying in fighting and in coalition Arclight airstrikes.

Many of those who survived are now in prisons in Iraq and Syria.

"Some of the girls who are now in a Baghdad prison were previously incarcerated by the Popular Mobilization Forces (Hashd al-Shaabi)," Malika, whose daughter joined the group, told Rudaw in Grozny.

The Committee of Russian Mothers, an informal network of women searching for their daughters, estimates up to 600 women and 1,200 children from Russia joined ISIS.

To date, just 60 have returned ‐ most of them children.

Caucasus/Russia/Central Asia
27 Russian children repatriated from Iraq
[Rudaw] Twenty-seven Russian children from Iraq are returning to Moscow on Sunday. Their mothers are in jail in Iraq, serving time for membership in ISIS.

"Tonight a plane of the Emergency Situations Ministry will land at the Ramenskoye airport bringing back 27 children aged between four and 13," said a spokesperson for the office of Russia’s children’s rights commissioner Anna Kuznetsova, Russia’s TASS news reported.

The children will be given health checks and then handed over to relatives and guardians.

Nearly 40 Russian children are expected to be repatriated from Iraq in February.

Kuznetsova’s office has documented 699 minor Russians whose parents took them to combat zones in the Middle East.

On December 30, some 30 children of Russians who had joined ISIS were brought back to Russia.
An Nahar adds:
The fathers of the children were killed during three years of fighting between the jihadists and Iraqi troops, the official said.

The Kremlin announced in early January that 115 Russian children aged below ten -- along with eight aged between 11 and 17 -- were still in Iraq.

Iraqi law allows detainees to be held with their offspring until the age of three, but older children have to live with relatives.

In November, Kheda Saratova -- an adviser to Chechnya's authoritarian leader Ramzan Kadyrov -- estimated "around 2,000" widows and children of Russian IS fighters were still in Iraq and neighboring Syria.

Around one hundred women and kiddies -- mostly from Caucasus republics -- have returned to Russia so far.

Nearly 4,500 Russian citizens had gone abroad to fight "on the side of terrorists", Russia's FSB domestic intelligence agency said last year.

More than 300 people, including around 100 foreign women, have been sentenced to death in Iraq for belonging to the Islamic State
...formerly ISIS or ISIL, depending on your preference. Before that al-Qaeda in Iraq, as shaped by Abu Musab Zarqawi. They're very devout, committing every atrocity they can find in the Koran and inventing a few more. They fling Allah around with every other sentence, but to hear the pols talk they're not really Moslems....
, while others have been sentenced to life in prison.

Most of those convicted are Turks or originate from former republics of the Soviet Union.
Al Jazeera was in the arrival lounge:
The children landed at Ramenskoye airport, near Moscow, on Sunday.

Anna Kuznetsova, Russia's envoy for the rights of children, confirmed the comments, according to the TASS state news agency.

She said the 27 children were aged from four to 13 and were from 10 different regions in Russia.

Caucasus/Russia/Central Asia
2 killed, 40 detained in new gay purge in Chechnya
[APNEWS] The Russian republic of Chechnya has launched a new crackdown on gays in which at least two people have died and about 40 people have been detained, LGBT activists in Russia charged Monday.

The new allegations come after reports in 2017 of more than 100 gay men tossed in the calaboose
Into the paddy wagon wit' yez!
and subjected to torture, and some of them killed, in the predominantly Moslem region in southern Russia.

The News Agency that Dare Not be Named and other media outlets have interviewed some of the victims, who spoke about torture at the hands of Chechen law enforcement officers. Chechen authorities have denied those accusations, and federal authorities conducted a probe into the earlier reports but said they found nothing to support the charges.

Alvi Karimov, a front man for Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov, told the Interfax news agency on Monday that the latest reports are "complete lies and don’t have an ounce of truth in them." Karimov insisted that no one has been detained in Chechnya on suspicion of being gay.

Caucasus/Russia/Central Asia
30 children of Russian IS fighters return home from Iraq
[IsraelTimes] Diplomatic sources says kids, whose mothers are enjugged
Into the paddy wagon wit' yez!
over membership in terror group and fathers are presumed dead, have left Baghdad

Thirty Russian children, whose mothers are in Iraqi prison for belonging to the Islamic State
...formerly ISIS or ISIL, depending on your preference. Before that al-Qaeda in Iraq, as shaped by Abu Musab Zarqawi. They're very devout, committing every atrocity they can find in the Koran and inventing a few more. They fling Allah around with every other sentence, but to hear the pols talk they're not really Moslems....
group, left Baghdad on Sunday to return home, a Russian diplomatic source said.

The fathers of the children, young boys and girls between the ages of 3 and 10, are believed to have been killed in combat, during Iraq’s three-year war against the jihadists, the source said.

Chechen strongman Ramzan Kadyrov said earlier this week that he expected the children to arrive in Moscow on Sunday.

He said 24 of them were from Dagestan
...a formerly inoffensive Caucasus republic currently bedevilled by low-level Islamic insurgency, occasional outbreaks of separatism, ethnic tensions and terrorism, primarily due to its proximity to Chechnya. There are several dozen ethnic groups, most of which speak either Caucasian, Turkic, or Iranian languages. Largest among these ethnic groups are the Avar, Dargin, Kumyk, Lezgin, and Laks. While Russers form less than five percent of the population, Russian remains the primary official language and the lingua franca...
, and another three were from Chechnya.

Several thousand Russians traveled to join the jihadists in their once sprawling "caliphate" straddling Syria and Iraq, according to estimates from the Russian security services. Some took their families with them.

Since last year, around 100 women and kiddies ‐ mostly from Russia’s Moslem-majority Caucasus ‐ have returned under a program championed by Kadyrov.

But in mid-November, Chechen activist Kheda Saratova accused Russia’s FSB security service of blocking attempts to bring back the remaining widows and children of Russian IS fighters.

"According to our organization, there are over 2,000 of them left in Syria and Iraq," Saratova, who is on Kadyrov’s human rights
When they're defined by the state or an NGO they don't mean much...
council, said at the time.

...back at the Council of Boskone, Helmuth ordered the entire 614th quadrant searched. The Green Lensman must be found!...
on Sunday, Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdel Mahdi held talks in Baghdad with Anna Kuznetsova, the Russian president’s envoy for the rights of children. During the meeting, Abdel Mahdi said a "distinction should be made between humanitarian issues and terrorist crimes," according to a statement from his office.

"These children are also victims," he added.

More than 300 people, including around 100 foreigners, have been sentenced to death and many others to life imprisonment in Iraq for joining IS, the Sunni myrmidon group which at its peak controlled nearly a third of the country.
Deutsche Welle adds:
Kadyrov added that the effort to retrieve Russian citizens would not be stopped "as long as there is one more child and one more woman in Iraq and Syria."

With "IS" virtually purged from most of its former strongholds, many foreign-born forces of Evil are dead or imprisoned in Iraq and Syria. Governments have been hesitant to repatriate their family members for fear of importing terrorism.

On Friday, Kadyrov announced that the first group of Russian children would arrive to Moscow on Sunday evening. The former guerilla leader said the move was a result of a "titan effort" ordered by Russian President Vladimir Putin
...President-for-Life of Russia. He gets along well with other presidents for life. He is credited with bringing political stability and re-establishing something like the rule of law, which occasionally results in somebody dropping dead from poisoning by polonium or other interesting substance. Under Putin, a new group of business magnates controlling significant swathes of Russia's economy has emerged, all of whom have close personal ties to him. The old bunch, without close personal ties to Putin, are in jail or in exile or dead from poisoning by polonium or other interesting substances...
. Russian authorities have worked on resolving the issue for a whole year, he added.

The Chechen president also said that details had been kept quiet because "every word or unguarded step could harm the effort."

On Sunday, the children boarded a special plane deployed by the Kremlin's emergency ministry. They were accompanied by a team of Russian doctors, psychologists, and rescue workers. Russia's children rights' representative Anna Kuznetsova was also on board.

Caucasus/Russia/Central Asia
‘IS militants’ launch attacks in Chechnya; five killed
[DAWN] Armed assailants injured several coppers in attacks in three locations in the Russian republic of Chechnya on Monday, as the bully boy Islamic State
...formerly ISIS or ISIL, depending on your preference. Before that al-Qaeda in Iraq, as shaped by Abu Musab Zarqawi. They're very devout, committing every atrocity they can find in the Koran and inventing a few more. They fling Allah around with every other sentence, but to hear the pols talk they're not really Moslems....
group grabbed credit.

Russia’s Investigative Committee said it had launched probes into three separate attacks against police, including a failed suicide kaboom.

In the first attack on Monday morning, two men entered the district police department in the town of Shali and maimed a pair of coppers with knives, Sherlocks said in a statement.

The two assailants were rubbed out, Chechnya’s interior ministry said.

In the village of Mesker-Yurt north of Shali, a man with a backpack attempted a suicide kaboom near a police post but "coppers and civilians were not harmed by the blast", the Investigative Committee said.

The third incident occurred on the outskirts of the Chechen capital Grozny, where a man attempted to run over a traffic policeman in his car and subsequently hit two more officers as he was chased.

"The criminals were neutralised," the Investigative Committee said.

IS grabbed credit for the attacks, the SITE monitoring group reported, citing the jihadists’ main propaganda agency Amaq.

"Fighters from the Islamic State attacked Chechen coppers and elements in Grozny and Shali in Mesker-Yurt," Amaq said, according to SITE.

Chechnya’s strongman leader Ramzan Kadyrov, who was visiting Soddy Arabia
...a kingdom taking up the bulk of the Arabian peninsula. Its primary economic activity involves exporting oil and soaking Islamic rubes on the annual hajj pilgrimage. The country supports a large number of princes in whatcha might call princely splendor. When the oil runs out the rest of the world is going to kick sand in the Soddy national face...
on Monday, said Death Eater propaganda that "confuses the young men" was to blame for the assaults.

He said the attacks were staged on Monday to "darken" the festivities ahead of Tuesday, when Moslems begin to celebrate the Eidul Azha holiday.


Chechen police kill four teenage attackers
[BBC] Police have shot dead four teenagers who launched three attacks in and around the Chechen capital Grozny, say officials in the Russian republic.

A fifth teenager detonated a bomb he was carrying in a rucksack, but survived. He had approached a police post in Mesker-Yurt, east of Grozny.

No policemen died. In the past decade Chechnya has seen much jihadist unrest.

The Islamic State group says its militants carried out the attacks. The claim has not been verified.

The Chechen Information Minister, Dzhambulat Umarov, said the youngest attacker was 11 and the oldest 17.

Two were armed with knives and attacked a police station in Shali, 25km (15 miles) southeast of Grozny, Chechen police said. Both were shot dead and two policemen were hurt in that attack.

On the outskirts of Grozny a car rammed a traffic police checkpoint and a car chase ensued. Police shot the two occupants dead during that chase. No civilians were hurt in any of the attacks.

In a post on Telegram the Chechen leader, Ramzan Kadyrov, condemned the teenagers who, he alleged, had tried to disrupt Muslim Chechens' celebrations of Eid al-Adha, which begins on Tuesday.

Caucasus/Russia/Central Asia
Photo of Putin and Saudis


Caucasus/Russia/Central Asia
Islamic Extremists Attack Russian Orthodox Church In Chechneya And Pay With Their Lives
More details about the attack reported yesterday.
[Daily Caller] Police in Chechnya killed four Islamic militants Saturday when the group raided a Russian Orthodox church with guns, axes and Molotov cocktails.

Shots rang out during Saturday’s service and cries of "Allahu Akbar" could be heard as congregants scrambled to close and bolt the doors, Father Sergiy, the priest at Archangel Michael Church in Chechnya’s capital of Grozny, said, according to The Associated Press. The terrorists killed one congregant outside the church building, wounded another inside the church as they attempted to gain entry, and killed two officers when police arrived on the scene, according to The New York Times. Policemen gunned down all four attackers.

Ramzan Kadyrov, Chechneya’s leader, said the gunmen initially took hostages. He issued a statement condemning their attack and threatening anyone daring to carry out similar acts.

"I once again very seriously declare that you can try to commit any actions aimed at undermining the security of the residents of Grozny and other settlements," Kaydrov said, according to NYT. "But anyone who makes the first step along this path will be immediately destroyed."

Caucasus/Russia/Central Asia
7 die in attack on Church in Grozny
GROZNY, May 19. /TASS/. The situation in the Chechen capital Grozny remains relatively calm after a deadly attack on the city’s only Orthodox church on Saturday, Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov wrote in his Telegram channel.

"Once again, I state that the overall situation in Grozny was not affected. The situation in the city is peaceful, all offices, organizations, shops are open, public transport operates according to schedule, all streets are open for traffic," he wrote.

On Saturday afternoon, a group of four people attempted to break into the Archangel Michael’s Church in Grozny, located on a busy street in the heart of the Chechen capital. It is a popular tourist site surrounded by shopping malls and cafes. A service was under way in the church at the moment of the assault.

The attackers, who carried smoothbore guns, knives, axes and plastic bottles with inflammable liquid on them, were unable to get inside the building. However, as a result of the attack, two police officers and one civilian were killed, two more officers were wounded. Four attackers were killed.

"A police officer, who was on duty in the church, was the first to be killed. However, as a result of his courageous actions, [law-enforcers] were immediately alerted about the attack," Kadyrov said. "A rapid response group arrived to the scene almost instantly and killed those bandits. There were four of them."

The Russian president’s envoy to the North Caucasus Federal District, Oleg Belaventsev, said the situation in Grozny is under control.

"The situation in Grozny is under control of the Chechen and federal authorities," he said. "We will continue our fight against terrorism at home and far away.".
Iran PressTV adds:
Head of the Chechen Republic Ramzan Kadyrov, who reportedly lead the operation, said all four of the gunnies were "eliminated".

It is thought they entered the church searching for hostages.Russia's Investigative Committee will examine the incident.

The pro Russian news website, Russkaya Vesna said that ISIS was behind the attack:
The terrorist group IGIL * claimed responsibility for the attack on militants on the church in Grozny, reports Reuters referring to the statement of the group.

On the eve of the four militants penetrated the church of the Archangel Michael in the center of Grozny to capture parishioners. Victims of the attack were two policemen guarding the church, and one parishioner . Two more law enforcers were injured.

The bandits were eliminated during the special operation. Their identities are fixed. As the head of the republic Ramzan Kadyrov said, two of the attackers lived in the village of Geldagan near Grozny, the ringleader of the group was "a native of one of the neighboring regions." According to him, "there is operational information that the militants received the order from one of the Western countries."

Earlier, the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Kirill noted the heroism of the policemen who took part in the liquidation of terrorists, expressed condolences to the relatives of the victims and the victims, and also urged all Orthodox residents of the republic to preserve peace and tranquility.

According to the primate of the Russian Orthodox Church, the "cynical foray" of the militants was aimed at shaking "a valuable interreligious peace and harmony in the region, sow enmity and fear among its inhabitants."

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