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Dictator-befriending ‘alien abductee’ Kirsan Ilyumzhinov remains head of World Chess Federation

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Chess legend Garry Kasparov failed in his attempt to dethrone the eccentric head of the World Chess Federation, an ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin and self-professed “alien abductee”, in a chaotic and highly politicised vote on Monday.

Seen as one of the sport’s greatest-ever players, former world champion Kasparov could only secure the votes of 61 of 175 delegates when the federation met on the sidelines of the Chess Olympiad in Tromsoe, Norway.

Once again, the presidency was retained by Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, a 52-year-old Russian with an extremely colourful background who has held the post since 1995. He took 110 votes.

A former president of Russia’s only Buddhist region, the Republic of Kalmykia, Ilyumzhinov claims he was once abducted by aliens who communicated telepathically and took him to another planet in a giant spaceship.

He has also been criticised for cultivating close ties to some of the world’s most brutal dictators including Saddam Hussein and Moamer Kadhafi, at precisely the moments when they were facing the strongest international opposition.

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At the height of NATO bombardments of Tripoli in June 2011 he travelled to the Libyan capital to play a highly publicised chess game with Kadhafi, granting him the title of “International Grandmaster”.

“I will work for chess and I want to devote my entire life to the federation,” he said after his re-election.

The campaign proved acrimonious, marked by allegations of corruption and political pressure on both sides.

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Kasparov, a highly vocal critic of Putin who fled his native Russia last year to live in exile in New York, sought to depict Ilyumzhinov as a puppet of the Kremlin.

“When I hear Ilyumzhinov speak about democracy, it reminds me of Vladimir Putin talking about peace,” he told Norway’s TV2 on Monday.

Ilyumzhinov does not shy away from his support for the Kremlin.

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“I am a patriot of Russia,” he recently told the New York Times. “I love my country. Kasparov, who grew up in this country, received an education here, became a champion here, who was receiving money here, from my own hands — he is praised for struggling against Russia and its people. Isnt it crazy?”


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CNN

Trump supporter blames Democrats for being targeted by the president: ‘Why is that racist?’

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CNN interviewed a supporter of President Donald Trump in Eau Claire, Wisconsin who refused to acknowledge the racism in the president's "Go Back" attacks on four women of color in Congress.

The network interviewed Kerri Krumenauer of Wiersgalla Plumbing & Heating Company about Trump's attacks.

"How is it racist?" she asked.

"If you don't like this country, get out," she demanded. "Leave!"

She then showed how misinformed she was about the incident.

"He didn't use any names -- they stood up," she falsely claimed. In fact, Trump did use names and the targets did not stand up as they were not at his North Carolina campaign rally.

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2020 Election

Here’s how Trump hopes to recreate his 2016 presidential win — and how Democrats can send him packing

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Writing for CNN on Saturday, election forecaster Harry Enten explained how President Donald Trump's recent, racist behavior lies in his desire to recreate the same electoral conditions that gave him a victory in 2016 in the presidential election next year.

"The Trump strategy is pretty simple: 1. Drive up the unfavorable ratings of his Democratic rival as he did in 2016 in order to compensate for his own low ratings. 2. Bank on an electoral college/popular vote split as he did in 2016. 3. Use a campaign of racial resentment to drive up turnout even more among groups favorable toward the President," wrote Enten. As he noted, Democrats have excellent odds to flip back Michigan and Pennsylvania, but they will have to work harder to win back any of the other states Trump flipped from the 2012 Obama camp — in particular Wisconsin, which was the closest state after those two.

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American, Italian and Russian blast off for ISS

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US, Italian and Russian astronauts blasted into space Saturday, headed for the International Space Station, in a launch coinciding with the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon landing.

Alexander Skvortsov of the Russian space agency Roscosmos, NASA's Andrew Morgan and Luca Parmitano of the European Space Agency set off on a six-hour journey to the orbiting science lab from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 1628 GMT.

A NASA TV commentator hailed a "textbook launch" minutes after blastoff in "sweltering" weather in Baikonur, where daytime temperatures reached 43 degrees Celsius on Saturday.

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