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Vladimir Putin pictured fishing and hiking on Siberian forest holiday | World News

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The Kremlin has released pictures showing Russian President Vladimir Putin on a fishing and hiking holiday in Siberia.

Mr Putin, 68, was joined by defence minister Sergei Shoigu, his regular holiday companion, for the short break earlier this month.

Mr Putin visited the Primorye and the Amur Region of the Russian Far East earlier this month Pic: AP
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Mr Putin visited the Primorye and the Amur Region of the Russian Far East earlier this month. Pic: AP

The Russian premier stopped off for a few days after a working trip to the Primorye and the Amur Region of Russia‘s Far East.

He appeared relaxed while walking through meadows against a dramatic mountain backdrop, casually dressed in a khaki-coloured hat and jacket.

The Kremlin released the images of Mr Putin on Sunday, 26 September Pic: AP
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Mr Putin appeared relaxed while walking through meadows against a dramatic mountain backdrop. Pic: AP
President Putin leans against a tree in a forest on a short break earlier this month Pic: AP
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President Putin leans against a tree in a forest on a short break earlier this month Pic: AP

He took a moment to lean against a tree while staring into the distance in another shot.

And he couldn’t disguise his delight as he smiled proudly while holding aloft a fish he caught in a nearby lake.

Video footage, released alongside the pictures by the Kremlin on Sunday, also showed Mr Putin driving an amphibious vehicle through a river in the region.

Days after the break, the Russian leader was forced to spend a “few days” in isolation after dozens of people in his inner circle caught COVID-19.

Mr Putin was joined on the fishing trip by Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu Pic: AP
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Mr Putin was joined on the fishing trip by defence minister Sergei Shoigu. Pic: AP

The outbreak prompted Mr Putin to cancel his trip to Tajikistan for a security summit.

He has had two shots of Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine and is feeling healthy, the Kremlin said.

The Russian leader is known for his love of the great outdoors and has often been pictured bare-chested in an apparent bid to cultivate his macho image.

Mr Putin on a fishing trip during a mini break in the Siberian Tyva region in August 2017 Pic: AP
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Mr Putin on a fishing trip during a mini break in the Siberian Tyva region in August 2017. Pic: AP

He was most famously pictured shirtless atop a horse on a mountain holiday in southern Siberia’s Tuva region in 2009 where he paraded his bare chest and his fishing prowess.

Mr Putin later stripped down to the waist before plunging into an icy lake as part of evens to mark Orthodox Epiphany in January 2018.

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TRUTH Social: Donald Trump to launch social network, saying ‘your favourite president has been silenced’ | World News

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Donald Trump is launching a new social media platform to “stand up to the tyranny of big tech”.

The former US president – who was banned from Twitter and Facebook earlier this year – says he plans to share his thoughts with the world on TRUTH Social.

Announcing his plans, Mr Trump added: “We live in a world where the Taliban has a huge presence on Twitter, yet your favorite American President has been silenced.

“This is unacceptable. I am excited to send out my first TRUTH on TRUTH Social very soon.”

Trump's Twitter account permanently suspended
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The former president’s Twitter account was permanently suspended earlier this year

The 75-year-old has also revealed that he is forming a new company called Trump Media & Technology Group.

Mr Trump added: “Everyone asks me why doesn’t someone stand up to Big Tech? Well, we will be soon!”

The company’s launch was confirmed following a merger agreement between Trump Media & Technology Group and Digital World Acquisition.

TMTG is going to be listed on the Nasdaq and has attracted an initial valuation of £632m.

That pales in comparison to the likes of Facebook, which has a market capitalisation of £700bn.

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Guests are going to be invited to start testing TRUTH Social in November, and the site will officially launch in 2022.

Mr Trump was removed from Twitter and Facebook following the 6 January riots in Washington DC.

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Trump’s presidency… in six minutes

His Twitter ban is permanent, while he has been banned from using Facebook for two years.

In May, he launched “From The Desk of Donald J Trump” – but the blog site was taken down after less than one month.

In July, Mr Trump announced he is launching a class-action lawsuit against the chief executives of Facebook, Google and Twitter.

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July: Trump says he’s suing social media giants

Since leaving office, he has criticised the bans as an act of political censorship.

Without evidence, Mr Trump has continued to claim that last year’s presidential election election was rigged against him.

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‘They kill us and we are helping them’: Ethiopia’s increasingly nasty civil conflict | World News

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We could see a seemingly endless line of trucks as we headed down the highway in northern Ethiopia.

As their contents drew closer we knew the battle ground was shifting in this country’s increasingly nasty civil conflict.

There were thousands of troops perched on the back, clutching automatic weapons while fighting to stay upright. They were accompanied by specialist vehicles hauling artillery and tanks, moving at speed towards the region of Afar.

The UN's World Food Programme (WFP) tries to send emergency aid into Tigray but not everyone wants it to get through
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The drivers know that some trucks will be stopped – or attacked

This arid and underpopulated place has been utterly overlooked as Ethiopia’s federal government and leaders of the restive region of Tigray battle for power and control.

But a major offensive, sanctioned by the country’s leader, Abiy Ahmed, has almost certainly stalled and fighters from the Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) were advancing on communities in Afar.

The region has played host to convoys of a very different sort in recent months as the UN’s World Food Programme (WFP) tries to send emergency aid into Tigray.

Estimating that some 400,000 Tigrayans are living in famine-like conditions, the WFP has created a ‘staging post’ in the regional capital of Semera, where humanitarian supplies are loaded onto oversized trucks and we watched as drivers set out on the two-day trip to the Tigrayan border.

But the terrain is difficult and the residents of Afar are decidedly hostile to what is a massive emergency operation.

We saw overturned trucks on the route to the border town of Abala and witnessed residents stealing bags of flour from the vehicles.

The UN's World Food Programme (WFP) tries to send emergency aid into Tigray
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The UN’s World Food Programme is trying to send emergency aid into Tigray

The drivers know that some trucks will be stopped – or attacked – and the road is too narrow to turn around.

Yet this is the only route they can use.

I spoke to one driver – a Tigrayan – as he was about to cross this internal frontier.

I asked him if people in Tigray need humanitarian aid.

“It’s needed, my feeling is I am doing important work,” he replied.

Yet the drivers know are taking a chance in the region of Afar.

“Are you worried about coming back?” I asked.

“Yes, I am but I haven’t had any problems yet. I’ve gone back and forth safely.”

The Afaris are angry, blaming Tigrayans for a series of raids and attacks on their communities and they made their displeasure clear to us.

“They kill us, not we kill them, they kill us and we are helping them, all the trucks are using this way and (we are) not stopping (them), not closing any roads,” said a local resident called Ali Mussa Ahmed.

“This is our border, they are killing us (and) we are supporting them,” said Abdu Ebrahim.

Displaced people in Afar, Ethiopia
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Hundreds of people have had to flee their homes near the Afar town of Shahigubi

Some 60km to the north, near the Afar town of Shahigubi, we found 400 men living under the trees after they had been displaced from their homes by the fighting. Women and children had been sheltered in a nearby school.

I asked one elderly man how long he had been there.

“Three months,” he said.

“How long will you have to stay?”

“Who could ever say?” he replied.

The same simmering resentment exists here at this camp as residents struggle on one meal a day.

During our visit, the men cut up a camel and boiled the meat in a pot but we could see there would not be much to go around.

“These people have destroyed our livelihoods and then we witness all the support that they are getting by land and by air. It bypasses us directly,” said a man called Hamedur Nur.

Displaced people in Afar, Ethiopia
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Men are living under trees while women and children are sheltered in a nearby school

It is a challenging time for the UN’s humanitarian staff as they try to keep the aid flowing into Tigray.

Three weeks ago, seven senior UN officials were expelled by the Ethiopian authorities for “meddling in the internal affairs of the country”.

The move followed pointed remarks by UN aid chief Martin Griffiths who said a nearly three-month-long “de-facto blockade” had restricted aid deliveries to just 10% of what was needed.

In a statement released on Wednesday evening by the Ethiopian Embassy in London, ambassador Teferi Melesse Desta said: “The government of Ethiopia takes its responsibility to safeguard those who have been affected by the ongoing conflict in the northern part of Ethiopia very seriously and has demonstrated its willingness and commitment to work with the international community to respond to the humanitarian crisis in the affected regions.”

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COP26: Russia’s President Vladimir Putin will not attend climate change summit in Glasgow, Kremlin announces | Climate News

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Russia’s President Vladimir Putin will not attend COP26 in Glasgow at the end of the month in what is being seen as another major blow for the climate summit.

A Kremlin spokesman said other representatives of Russia would attend the talks and that Mr Putin would take part remotely.

The decision to not attend by the leader of the world’s fourth-biggest emitter of greenhouse gases is the latest setback for the summit.

There is also continuing doubt over whether Chinese President Xi Jinping and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be involved in the talks in Scotland.

The UK is hosting the summit from 31 October to 12 November and will be looking to agree a deal for a more radical plan to tackle global warming.

The Kremlin had previously announced that Mr Putin would not attend a Group of 20 summit in Rome in person this month due to concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic.

“He will also not fly to Glasgow, unfortunately,” Mr Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.

“We need to work out in what format it will be possible (for Mr Putin) to speak via video conference, at what moment.

“The issues that will be discussed in Glasgow right now form one of the priorities of our foreign policy.”

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This is everything you need to know about COP26

Russia is warming 2.8 times faster than the global average, with the melting of Siberia’s permafrost, which covers 65% of Russian landmass, releasing significant amounts of greenhouse gases.

Mr Putin said last week Russia would strive to be carbon neutral no later than 2060.

He said hydrogen, ammonia and natural gas were likely to play a larger role in the energy mix in coming years and that Russia was ready for dialogue on ways to tackle climate change.

There is still doubt over Chinese President Xi Jinping's involvement in the upcoming COP26 talks
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There is still doubt over Chinese President Xi Jinping’s involvement in the upcoming COP26 talks

Meanwhile, China has not confirmed whether Mr Xi – who has not left his own country since the beginning of the COVID pandemic – will take part in the summit.

Asked by reporters if he would be at the COP26 talks in person or via a video call, China’s special climate envoy, Xie Zhenhua, said: “We still need to wait for the information (from the) Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and only after they make an announcement will we tell you.”

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Mr Modi is also yet to decide whether he will attend, Indian officials have said.

However, a large number of other world leaders, including US President Joe Biden and French President Emmanuel Macron, will be at the talks.

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