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Jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny's wife, Yulia Navalnaya, said on Tuesday she was increasingly concerned for her hunger-striking husband's health after visiting him at his penal colony outside Moscow.
Navalny, who is serving a two-and-a-half year sentence on old embezzlement charges, was jailed in February after returning to Russia from Germany where he was receiving treatment for a poisoning attack he says was orchestrated by the Kremlin.
Russia's most prominent opposition figure announced a hunger strike two weeks ago to demand adequate medical treatment, and his allies said this week that authorities had threatened to force feed him.
In a post on Instagram, Navalnaya said she had visited Navalny on Tuesday and communicated with him by phone and through a glass screen.
"He is just as cheerful and fun. But he speaks with difficulty and from time to time hangs up and lies down on the table to rest," she wrote.
"I know that he is not going to give up... But after the visit with Alexei, I worry about him even more."
She added that prison officials were continuing to prevent a doctor from seeing Navalny and that he now weighed 76 kilograms (168 pounds) -- down nine kilograms (20 pounds) since beginning his hunger strike almost two weeks ago.
Navalny, who is 189 centimetres (six feet two inches) tall, had already lost significant weight in prison before launching the hunger strike.
He weighed 93 kilograms (205 pounds) when he entered the facility in February and was down to 85 kilograms (187 pounds) when he started the hunger strike on March 31.
- Koran lawsuit -
In his own Instagram post earlier Tuesday, the 44-year-old opposition politician said he was suing prison officials for denying him access to the Muslim holy book, the Koran.
Navalny said he was taking legal action against prison authorities because "they won't give me my Koran. And it's infuriating."
"When I was jailed, I made a list of ways I wanted to improve myself that I will try to complete in jail. One of the points was to deeply study and understand the Koran," he wrote.
"Books are our everything, and if you have to sue for the right to read, I will sue."
Navalny came under fire early in his political career for making nationalistic comments and deriding immigrants in Russia from predominantly Muslim countries in Central Asia.
His post came as many Muslims around the world started Ramadan after religious leaders confirmed the month of fasting would begin on Tuesday.
Navalny said he had read the Koran before but had not internalised its core tenets.
"I realised that my development as a Christian also requires studying the Koran," he wrote in the Instagram post.
Navalny's lawyers and allies are demanding that he be transferred to a regular hospital. The Kremlin has said that Navalny is not entitled to any special treatment.
Navalny has been a thorn in the Kremlin's side for a decade by probing corruption among officials and leading large protests throughout Russia.
© 2021 AFP
Several high schoolers in Aledo, Texas are facing punishments after their school discovered they held a virtual "slave auction" where they put prices on Black classmates.
The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports that a group of white ninth graders used Snapchat to set up mock "auctions" for Black classmates where they would bid anywhere from $1 to $100.
While the school has not detailed how the students who set up the auction are being disciplined, Superintendent Dr. Susan Bohn said that she wanted to make clear that racism has no place in her school district.
"There is no room for racism or hatred in the Aledo ISD, period," Bohn said. "Using inappropriate, offensive and racially charged language and conduct is completely unacceptable and is prohibited by district policy."
Tony Crawford, an activist and leader with Parker County Progressives, tells the Star-Telegram that there have been "a long line" of racist incidents at the school.
"Can you imagine what it's like for somebody to put a price on your head?" he said. "I cannot imagine the embarrassment and hurt that people you might be friends with are having that conversation."
‘They didn’t like me’: Trump attacks Pfizer in conspiratorial rant after FDA pauses Johnson & Johnson vaccine
This Tuesday, the Biden administration recommended a "pause" in using the single-dose Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine after reports of extremely rare blood clots in six people out of approximately 6.8 million doses that have been administered.
Former President Donald Trump took the opportunity to jump on the news, releasing a statement saying the Biden administration "did a terrible disservice to people throughout the world" in calling for the pause, adding that doing so would cause the "reputation" of the vaccine to be "permanently damaged."
"The people who have already taken the vaccine will be up in arms, and perhaps all of this was done for politics or perhaps it's the FDA's love for Pfizer," Trump said.
He went on to reiterate his past claim that the announcement of the Pfizer vaccine's authorization was withheld until after the election in order to harm him politically.
"They didn't like me very much because I pushed them extremely hard," Trump said in his Tuesday statement. "But if I didn't, you wouldn't have a vaccine for 3-5 years, or maybe not at all. It takes them years to act! Do your testing, clean up the record, and get the Johnson & Johnson vaccine back online quickly."
Read his full statement below:
Meridith McGraw on Twitter twitter.com
“Statement from former President Trump on the pause of J&J vaccines:"
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