Russia bans another Kremlin critic’s website before election

Russian authorities have blocked a news website sponsored by Kremlin critic Mikhail Khodorkovsky, seen here speaking in 2013 after his release from jail. (Facebook of Mitya Aleshkovsky)
Updated 21 February 2018
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Russia bans another Kremlin critic’s website before election

MOSCOW: Russian authorities have blocked a news website sponsored by Kremlin critic Mikhail Khodorkovsky less than a month before a presidential election, according to a block list available on the Russian communications regulator’s website.
Putin freed Khodorkovsky, once Russia’s richest man, in 2013 after he had spent a decade in jail for fraud, a charge Khodorkovsky said had been fabricated to punish him for funding political opposition to Putin. The president has said he regards the businessman as a common thief.
Polls show Putin is on course to be easily re-elected on March 18. Khodorkovsky, now based in London, frequently speaks out in public against Putin.
Roskomnadzor, Russia’s communications regulator, said on its website that the MBK media news site had been added to its block list on Tuesday at the request of the office of the General Prosecutor.
Khodorkovsky’s allies announced on Wednesday that the site had been blocked.
“We don’t know the reasons why we’ve been blocked. We haven’t received any letters from Roskomnadzor,” Veronika Kutsyllo, MBK’s chief editor, said in a statement.
Russia last year banned a pro-democracy movement founded by Khodorkovsky. It also blocked opposition leader Alexei Navalny’s website earlier this month, a move Navalny said was designed to blunt his campaign for a boycott of what he says is a sham vote.


UK warns there will be no Brexit deal unless EU softens on Irish border

Updated 21 September 2018
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UK warns there will be no Brexit deal unless EU softens on Irish border

  • Britain is due to leave the EU on March 29, yet little is clear
  • Some rebels have vowed to vote against a possible Brexit deal

LONDON: Britain will leave the EU without a deal unless the bloc’s leaders soften their position on the Irish border, Transport Secretary Chris Grayling told the BBC.
EU leaders abruptly cautioned May on Thursday that unless she gave ground on trade and the Irish border by November they are ready to cope with Britain crashing out.
“At the moment what the European Union is asking in and around Northern Ireland is simply impossible for any UK government to accept. And actually, if they stick with that position, there will be no deal,” Grayling said.
“There’s tough language and actually a deal is done at the last. And I’m still confident that we will reach agreement,” he added.
Britain is due to leave the EU on March 29, yet little is clear: There is, so far, no divorce deal, rivals to May are circling and some rebels have vowed to vote against a possible Brexit deal.