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Russia’s Bolshoi prima ballerina refused US visa

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A prima ballerina at Russia’s Bolshoi Theatre has been refused a US visa, Russian agencies said Thursday, weeks after a round of tit-for-tat diplomatic expulsions led to a reduction in embassy staff numbers.

Olga Smirnova and another Bolshoi dancer, Jacopi Tissi, were due to perform at the Lincoln Center in New York on Monday, but were refused a work visa by the US Department of Immigration, the Ria Novosti news agency said.

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“We are very disappointed with this decision which is the same type of visa we ask for and receive each time for our artistes,” organiser Eve Hodgkinson said.

The Bolshoi said it believed the refusal could be due to a “technical problem” and that it had not been possible to issue the visa in time.

Smirnova is a rising star at the world renowned ballet company who made her name in Russia with lead roles in ballets such as Swan Lake.

The US embassy in Moscow has been drastically reduced in strength since the diplomatic expulsions, the first of which were announced by Britain in mid-March.

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They followed the poisoning in Britain of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia as well as accusations of Russian interference in last year’s US election

The US consul in Russia, Lawrence Toby, said in the Nezavisimaya Gazeta newspaper on Thursday that the issuing of emergency visas to Russian athletes and pilots could no longer be guaranteed due to lack of staff.

According to the newspaper, the time required to secure a US visa in Moscow is currently 250 days and it is impossible to register for a new appointment before the end of the year.

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The Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement it was “perplexed” by the consul’s comments and accused Washington of having “deliberately fabricated” the visa situation as an “additional lever” to put pressure on Moscow.

Russian officials earlier criticised the failure of the US to issue visas to Russian team members for the Freestyle Wrestling World Cup in Iowa.

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Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

We need your support to keep producing quality journalism and deepen our investigative reporting. Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Invest with us in the future. Make a one-time contribution to Raw Story Investigates, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you.



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‘Megalomaniacal, paranoid, and psychopathic’: Economist sounds the alarm on Trump’s ‘bottomless malevolence’

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Economist Jeffrey Sachs, a professor of Health Policy and Management at Columbia University, has written a frightening warning about President Donald Trump's "paranoid and psychopathic" leadership style, and he says it could have disastrous consequences for the world if he wins a second term.

In an essay published at progressive news website Common Dreams, Sachs argues that it would be a grave mistake to treat Trump like a cynical politician, when in reality he is an impulsive and vindictive narcissist who acts on his angry whims.

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Trump baselessly accuses Democratic lawmaker of ‘violence’?? in insane tweet

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President Donald Trump, in a strangely giddy and unhinged tweet on Tuesday baselessly accused Democratic U.S. Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib of “violence.”

“Sorry, I don’t buy Rep. Tlaib’s tears. I have watched her violence, craziness and, most importantly, WORDS, for far too long,” Trump tweeted. “Now tears? She hates Israel and all Jewish people. She is an anti-Semite. She and her 3 friends are the new face of the Democrat Party. Live with it!”

It’s unclear what the president was referring to when he accused the Michigan Congresswoman of violence, but his other remarks appear to be directed at a press conference she held Monday.

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Trump’s Labor Department wants to ‘weaponize’ right-wing discrimination and bigotry

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Just in case you wanted to believe that the Trump administration isn’t on a campaign to trample rights for Americans, here comes the Labor Department to shove a grapefruit in your face.

Labor officials have made public a new rule—no Congress, needed, thank you—to allow companies contracting with the federal government who are “religion-exercising organizations” to ignore federal laws protecting the rights of gays, transsexuals, and who knows who else in hiring or workplace practices. Religious employers and companies with “closely held” religious ties now will be shielded from claims of bias in court or other law enforcement actions, says the rule.

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