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August 2022

Entertainment

Drake Is Getting Flirty With 90 Day Fiancé Star Chantel Everett!


Is Drake trying to shoot his shot with a star from 90 Day Fiancé?!

A source close to the 35-year-old rapper revealed to Media Take Out this week he ‘has been DMing’ reality star Chantel Everett following her split with husband Pedro Jimeno, saying:

“Drake reached out to see how she was doing and where her head was at, and she responded. They’ve been DMing each other back and forth, and are planning to meet up soon.”

Related: Bradley Cooper & Irina Shayk Look Very Much Back Together In New Vacation Pics!

According to the outlet, the relationship is still in the early stages, but it has been going well. However, the insider shared that it took some time for Chantel to warm up to the idea of dating again, adding:

“Drake has a way of wearing women down. They might not at first expect any romance with Champagne Papi but, before long, it always ends up that way.”

In case you didn’t know, Chantel is in the middle of a messy breakup with Jimeno after six-years of marriage. He filed for divorce and a “mutual restraining order” on May 27, claiming their relationship was “irretrievably broken.” The television personality also filed an emergency motion asking a judge to make Chantel return $257,000 she reportedly moved from their joint business account into her personal account back in April. But TMZ reported in July that the judge denied his request for an emergency hearing on the matter and decided the court would schedule a trial later.

It sounds like their divorce is getting dragged out for a while. And in the meantime, Chantel is seemingly moving on from her ex with Drake! We’ll have to keep an eye out for any developments in this romance. Reactions, Perezcious readers? Let us know.

[Image via WENN, TLC/YouTube]



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Michigan board blocks certification of abortion rights ballot measure, throwing it to the courts



But following Wednesday’s vote, the groups supporting the amendment will have to petition the state’s Supreme Court on whether voters will be able to decide whether abortion remains legal in the swing state.

The board’s GOP members voted against approving the measure for the ballot after the anti-abortion group campaigning against the amendment, Citizens to Support MI Women and Children, argued that spacing and formatting errors in the text circulated to voters for their signatures rendered the effort invalid.

“Nonsense cannot be put into the Michigan constitution,” Eric Doster, the attorney for Citizens to Support MI Women and Children, argued on Wednesday. “Actual words are required.”

Earlier this month, the Bureau of Elections opted not to act on the challenge, saying it concerned an issue outside its purview, which is “whether there are sufficient signatures to warrant certification of the proposal.” But Republicans on the State Board of Canvassers felt otherwise.

“You wouldn’t sign a mortgage that had this kind of mistake in it. You wouldn’t turn in a term paper with this kind of mistake in it,” said the board’s Republican chair, Tony Daunt.

Mary Ellen Gurewitz, the board’s Democratic vice chair, vehemently disagreed.

“While the words are compressed, I think it’s easy to read. And 700,000 people also thought it was easy to read,” she said. “We simply have no authority to reject this petition based on challenges to the content. That is not within our purview.”

The vote throws into limbo whether Michigan will join a growing number of states where voters will determine to what extent abortion remains legal following the fall of Roe v. Wade — with votes scheduled for November in California, Vermont, Kentucky and Montana. Along with a slew of pending court cases and state legislative battles, these ballot initiatives have the potential to remake the country’s abortion access map as the number of states implementing near-total bans has mounted.

If the measure is ultimately placed on the ballot and Michigan voters approve it, it would insert permanent protections into the state’s constitution not only for abortion but also for other reproductive health services, including miscarriage management, birth control, prenatal care and in-vitro fertilization. It also would stop the state’s 1931 abortion ban from going back into effect should state courts uphold it in two pending cases involving lawsuits by Planned Parenthood and Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. The ban, which has no exemptions for rape or incest, remains blocked by a lower county court’s preliminary injunction.

Progressive activists in Michigan had planned a ballot initiative for years as they anticipated the fall of Roe v. Wade.

They officially kicked off at the beginning of 2022 — after oral arguments at the Supreme Court convinced many the fall of Roe v. Wade was only a matter of time. While the signature gathering started off slow, interest skyrocketed and tens of thousands of Michiganders volunteered to knock on doors after POLITICO published the draft court opinion overturning Roe at the beginning of May. When the Supreme Court ruling came down at the end of June, their campaign kicked into an even higher gear.

Now, pending court arguments on whether the measure will appear on the ballot at all, both sides are preparing for an intense and expensive campaign between now and November.

Michigan Right to Life has reserved nearly $16 million dollars worth of TV airtime for ads opposing the amendment. Michigan Reproductive Freedom for All is planning to open field offices across the state as early as this weekend and begin knocking on doors on Sept. 9.



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Royal Family Members Feel They’ve Lost ‘Trust’ In Meghan Markle After Recent Interviews?!


The royal family is not too thrilled with Meghan Markle once again!

As you know, tension has been high in the family after Prince Harry and Duchess of Sussex stepped back from their senior roles in 2020 and their bombshell interview with Oprah Winfrey, where the pair opened up about racism within the palace. And unfortunately, things between the couple and their loved ones across the pond is not getting any better right now, especially after Meghan’s recent comments about her time as a senior working royal with The Cut and on her Archetypes podcast.

Related:South African Lion King Actor Swears He’s Never Met Meghan Amid Nelson Mandela Claims

According to Entertainment Tonight, the royal fam isn’t too happy with Meghan after she dropped some behind-the-scenes tea again. In fact, an insider told the outlet on Wednesday that the “royal family is disappointed by Meghan Markle’s latest comments in The Cut magazine and on her podcast.” Oof, pulling out the disappointment card! The source then slammed the former actress for continuing to publicly discuss personal matters after repeatedly asking for “privacy,” saying:

“They are distressed that after stepping back from the royal family — claiming a need for privacy — she continues to publicize family matters in public.”

The insider also noted there is a total “loss of trust” with Meghan now. Whoa. And we all know trust is hard to get back once it’s broken. Yikes! It’s not looking good for Harry or Meghan…

In case you missed it, the Suits alum opened up to The Cut about her time as a senior working member, revealing she was forced to hand over her Instagram account, lifestyle blog, and passport when she joined the royals. She mentioned that she “never had to sign anything that restricts me from talking” about her experiences within the institution and will open up about it if she chooses to:

“I can talk about my whole experience and make a choice not to.”

When asked why she decided not to talk about the situation more, Meghan simply stated she was “still healing.” The momma of two noted, however, that there is room for “forgiveness” between everyone in the family – and she has already started the process even though she could say a lot more about the royals:

“I think forgiveness is really important. It takes a lot more energy to not forgive. But it takes a lot of effort to forgive. I’ve really made an active effort, especially knowing that I can say anything.”

Elsewhere in the interview, Meghan touched on her strained relationship with her father, Thomas Markle, and blamed the tabloids for tearing her and Harry’s families apart:

“Harry said to me, ‘I lost my dad in this process.’ It doesn’t have to be the same for them as it was for me, but that’s his decision.”

Later on, a rep for Meghan clarified to ET that the comment made by Harry was only about her and Thomas’ relationship – not his difficult one with Prince Charles. Nevertheless, a source told the outlet on Wednesday that the Prince of Wales was still “saddened” over the remark with the magazine especially if the 37-year-old thought their relationship was broken. The insider added:

“The Prince of Wales loves both his sons.”

Those weren’t the only comments Meghan made about the royals! During the second episode of the Archetypes podcast on Tuesday, she talked with Mariah Carey about how her race was continuously brought up once she started her relationship with Harry in 2016, saying:

“If there’s any time in my life that it’s been more focused on my race, it’s only when I started dating my husband. Then I started to understand what it was like to be treated like a Black woman. Because up until then, I had been treated like a mixed woman. And things really shifted.”

Clearly, Meghan won’t stop bringing up topics about what went down at the palace any time soon now that she has her own podcast platform to do it on.  What do you think, Perezcious readers? Do you believe there is any hope for Meghan and Harry’s relationship with the royals? Sound OFF in the comments (below).

[Image via MEGA/WENN]



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Californians brace for grid-straining heat wave as lawmakers debate Newsom’s energy pitch



Energy from Diablo Canyon, the governor said Wednesday, does not produce greenhouse gases and is needed to cover gaps in the grid as the state transitions away from fossil fuels.

“This is critical in the context of making sure we have energy reliability going forward,” he said in a speech addressing the looming heat wave.

Extending the life of the plant, he said, is a critical component of an energy and climate package that he sent to lawmakers in the final weeks of the session. It includes measures that would turn the goal of carbon neutrality by 2045 into a state law; the establishment of buffer zones of 3,200 feet between new oil wells and schools and homes; and new regulations on carbon capture technology.

Diablo Canyon, the governor said, is essential to the state’s ambitions to lead on climate issues. “That energy does not produce greenhouse gases. That energy provides baseload and reliability and affordability that will complement and allow us to store all the of the green energy that we’re bringing online at record rates.”

The bill Newsom requested would authorize a $1.4 billion forgivable loan to the plant’s operator, Pacific Gas & Electric, and extend its operations for five years, to 2030. The plant provides nearly 10 percent of California’s energy.

“What we’re trying to do is avoid the rolling blackouts,” state Sen. Bill Dodd, a Napa Democrat who co-authored the Diablo Canyon extension legislation, said in an interview. “These are things that have plagued us. If we don’t do this, we stand the risk of having significant cost increases.”

Environmentalists, who worked for years to close the plant along the seismically active Central Coast, are fighting the extension, and it is uncertain whether the administration can get the required two-thirds votes in the state Senate and Assembly.

Despite their opposition, Newsom said the state has little choice but to act given the severity of the climate crisis, which he said has been reflected by many recent events — pointedly noting the 2021 power outages in Texas during severe winter storms.

“We are used to record-breaking temperatures, maybe a day or two, more episodic, but this is an extended period,” he said. “As a consequence, it’s going to require us to extend our thinking and our imagination in terms of working together to keep people healthy.”

Temperatures are expected to soar past 100 degrees in the coming days, even in places such as downtown Los Angeles unaccustomed to such extreme heat this time of year. The state capital is bracing for a high of 110 degrees on Monday.

California’s Independent System Operator projected that the grid would see the highest demand of the year on Monday. It has already taken measures to avoid power going down and warned that it would likely ask the public to voluntarily conserve energy throughout the long weekend to avoid stressing the grid further.

Such warnings have become familiar to Californians in the heat of summer, and officials and energy experts say they could become more frequent as the state phases out natural gas-fired power plants in the transition to alternative fuels.



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DOJ Checkmates Donald Trump With A Single DEVASTATING Photo!


The harder Donald Trump whines about the raid on Mar-A-Lago, the worse he makes it for himself in the public eye.

The Department of Justice was clearly happy to do this quietly and with far more deference to the former President than he deserves. But every time he calls the search of his offices at the Palm Beach resort “illegal” or a “witch hunt” or whatever, they’re forced to respond. And each time it gets clearer and clearer just how obvious it is that Donnie is in SERIOUS trouble.

In their latest response to Trump late Tuesday night, the DOJ filed a few dozen pages walking the court — and the general public — through just how the search came to be. It’s clarification that anyone could understand. But just in case, they included a photo! We don’t care who you are, this pic couldn’t be more damning.

Related: Duo Plead Guilty To Stealing Joe Biden’s Daughter’s FREAKIN’ DIARY

OK, so this filing was in response to Trump demanding a “Special Master” — a third party — be appointed to go through the documents and decide which of the docs the government could look at and which the ex-POTUS could claim privilege for. It looks like the judge in the case, a Trump appointee, is going to grant it. However, the feds are coming out swinging!

In the filing, they slam Trump’s claim of privilege altogether, pointing out these are government documents that “do not belong to him”! Also, he isn’t President anymore! He doesn’t have executive privilege, so WTF privilege is he even trying to claim??

The feds also explain how they already had a special independent team with them in the first place assessing the documents — in fact, many of the documents Trump had were so top secret that even that team weren’t allowed to read them! The filing reads:

“In some instances, even the FBI counterintelligence personnel and DOJ attorneys conducting the review required additional clearances before they were permitted to review certain documents.”

And Trump wants yet another person to read through them??

The 36-page filing also serves to show the last-minute request (beyond the last minute, really, as the docs have already been taken and sorted) follows a pattern of Trump and his team trying to delay and evade at every turn — and this “incomplete and inaccurate narrative” is just the latest way to hamper what’s become a serious criminal investigation.

As they explain, they’ve given Trump chance after chance to do the right thing. First they asked for the docs, then they subpoenaed. Trump supposedly personally went through the docs. Feds were told when they were given the first round of 15 boxes back in June that there absolutely was nothing else improper at Mar-A-Lago. But 45’s lawyers “explicitly prohibited government personnel from opening or looking inside any of the boxes that remained in the storage room” to make sure.

Girlfriends out there. Come on. If your man says there’s nothing bad in his phone but refuses to let you look… what does that tell you??

Cleveland Cavaliers Basketball GIF by NBPA - Find & Share on GIPHY

In a letter, Trump’s lawyers told the government they had been assured that after a “diligent search” the ex-Prez had absolutely no more classified material at Mar-A-Lago.

That’s when someone spilled.

As we’ve heard, the DOJ have witnesses who told them there was absolutely still classified material there. It was this new evidence that led them to get a search warrant and come back. Well, that and:

“The government also developed evidence that government records were likely concealed and removed from the Storage Room and that efforts were likely taken to obstruct the government’s investigation.”

“Likely taken to obstruct.” Yeah, that’s definitely a crime. The government finally came in and, hey, whattaya know, they found plenty! They blasted Trump and his team’s sketchy responses, saying:

“That the FBI, in a matter of hours, recovered twice as many documents with classification markings as the ‘diligent search’ that the former President’s counsel and other representatives had weeks to perform calls into serious question the representations made in the June 3 certification and casts doubt on the extent of cooperation in this matter.”

“Three classified documents that were not located in the boxes” were found in “desks” in Trump’s personal office. This wasn’t just storage. The man was using them for something.

Finally the coup de grace — the photo.

See For Yourself!

The DOJ actually included this pic to show everyone just what Trump and his team claimed to have not found despite looking really, really hard:

Trump documents at Mar-A-Lago
(c) Department of Justice

These are just a few of the documents FBI agents seized. Yeah… See how the secret stuff is marked with those big, bold red and yellow warning labels?? It’s so they’re IMPOSSIBLE TO MISS! So no one accidentally reads a top secret document! And every one of those that says SCI real big? That stands for “Sensitive Compartmented Information” — it can only be stored and viewed in a special room called a SCIF! Trump had it in the closet at his golf club!

If this isn’t proof that Trump was lying about thinking there was no classified material there, we don’t know how much better to illustrate it.

Beyond that, the photo shows a little more than the obvious, too. Note how much of what’s in there is censored — it’s top secret stuff after all. But the labels aren’t. And folks who understand these classifications have spotted certain notifications on those labels about what the files inside contain. They include human intel, as we heard before when we learned he was being investigated for espionage, but also national defense information from spy plane and satellite programs. This is national defense stuff!

This could not be more cut-and-dry. It’s right there in the photo. The top secret stuff is there. He lied about it not being there. He couldn’t possibly even have been mistaken.

If Trump isn’t charged for this, for obstruction at the very least if not for espionage charges, it will prove not only is there no WITCH HUNT against him, if anything, everyone is bending over backwards not to charge him with crimes.

And as we’ve seen before, that will only empower him to do more.

[Image via NBC News/YouTube/DOJ.]



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In ‘peaceful’ Canada, government ministers are considering U.S.-style security



“At the same time, we have to recognize that political conversation and debates are becoming more bitter and more aggressive. … And it’s something that should worry us profoundly as a democracy.”

Aside from the prime minister, Canadian politicians — including Cabinet ministers and opposition leaders — are not automatically assigned security details. But amid a spate of harassment and violent threats being reported against politicians and journalists in recent weeks, the government is facing increased pressure to respond.

On Friday, Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland was accosted at the city hall in Grande Prairie, Alberta, as she was entering an elevator. In a video widely circulated on social media, a large man approached her, calling her a “f—ing traitorous f—ing b–h,” and told her to leave the province. Freeland appeared to be accompanied only by female staffers.

At a press conference Wednesday in Calgary, Freeland deflected questions about whether she needs heightened security, saying only that she will “always follow the advice” of police. She said she still feels welcome in Alberta, the province where she was born and raised, and where she still has family.

Freeland has spoken recently about wanting political leaders to remain accessible to voters, in contrast with the United States. When U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen visited Toronto in June, Freeland later recounted, she asked how Freeland’s security detail felt about the deputy prime minister biking to the Royal Ontario Museum to meet her. Freeland said she had to explain to Yellen that she had no such detail.

“A real strength of Canada is that I feel safe being out there on my own,” she said. “I hope that that can continue.”

Other politicians evidently disagree. “It’s time for ministers to have security … worthy of a G-7 country,” Conservative MP Gérard Deltell said Monday on Twitter. Provincial ministers in Quebec, Deltell’s home province, are accompanied by armed drivers who act as bodyguards.

Trudeau acknowledged Wednesday there’s disagreement among members of his Cabinet about whether every minister needs a bodyguard. “I think it’s a very personal decision for many ministers,” he said.

Earlier in the week, Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino told reporters the government is looking at options to improve security for politicians, but didn’t offer specifics. Canadian members of Parliament are now being issued panic buttons they can use to immediately alert local police.

The incident involving Freeland occurred amid a broader discussion of harassment and abuse directed at public figures in Canada, including journalists. In recent weeks, a number of female journalists, including several journalists of color, have reported receiving violent, misogynistic, racist threats online.

Trudeau and other leaders have publicly denounced the pattern of threats. The Canadian Association of Journalists is calling on police forces to improve their processes for responding to complaints of hate speech and harassment.

On Wednesday, Procurement Minister Helena Jaczek told reporters she believes the impact of Covid-19 on social interaction is partly to blame for the increasing toxicity. “It’s not Canadian behavior,” she said. “It’s surprising.” Jaczek said she was subject to “verbal abuse and somewhat intimidating behavior” during Canada’s 2021 federal election.

The Liberal government has promised to tackle the rise in hate with new “online safety” legislation that would aim to make social media companies more accountable for harmful content on their platforms. But the government’s initial proposals, which included forcing tech giants to take down flagged content within 24 hours, met with heavy pushback and concerns about censorship.

There’s no timeline for legislation to be introduced.

The bill is sure to be contentious, however, particularly if Canada’s opposition Conservatives elect frontrunner Pierre Poilievre as their leader next month. Poilievre has accused the Liberals of “attack[ing] free speech at every opportunity,” and has promised to protect Canadians’ “freedom of expression online.”





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Gorbachev’s funeral, burial will reflect his varied legacy



But Gorbachev is to be buried in the cemetery of Novodevichy Convent, the resting place for the ousted Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev, who had criticized Stalin’s “cult of personality,” and for Boris Yeltsin, the Russian president who became the ex-USSR’s dominant leader.

He is to be buried next to his wife Raisa, a demonstration of their public affection, which was such a contrast to the other leaders’ barely visible personal lives.

The Kremlin has not announced whether it will be a state funeral. Gorbachev was a divisive, often-detested figure in Russia, and the state he led — the Soviet Union — no longer exists.

Gorbachev was praised Tuesday by some world leaders, including President Joe Biden, for being open to democratic changes. Others criticized efforts by Soviet authorities to crush dissent in their countries under his leadership.



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Megachurch Puts Married Pastor On Leave After He Was Caught DMing Another Woman


A Texas pastor has been put on leave following the surfacing of inappropriate messages.

Matt Chandler serves as lead pastor for the Village Church in Flower Mound, and is at the center of an investigation regarding Instagram messages between himself and another woman… who is not his wife. The megachurch posted a statement on their website Sunday addressing the situation:

“A few months ago, an individual approached The Village Church’s lead pastor, Matt Chandler, with concerns about the way he was using direct messaging on social media with a woman who was not his wife.”

They added Matt had reportedly “shared those concerns with his wife, Lauren, and two elders, Josh Patterson and Elder Chairman Jasien Swords that same evening, and submitted to their leadership in addressing the situation.”

Related: American Idol’s David Archuleta Opens Up About Faith & Sexuality

It was then decided by said elders that a private law firm would be hired to “conduct a review of Matt’s messaging history across social media platforms, cell phone, and email.” Pretty serious stuff…

The investigation ultimately found that although “the messages were not romantic or sexual in nature, the frequency and familiarity of the messages crossed a line.” The church noted boundaries are important, especially as a key figure within the community and found “Matt violated our internal social media use policies, and more importantly that, while the overarching pattern of his life has been ‘above reproach,’ he failed to meet the 1 Timothy standard for elders of being ‘above reproach’ in this instance.”

While addressing the institution directly Sunday, the pastor explained he didn’t believe he had “done anything wrong,” noting that both his wife and the husband of the woman he was messaging were aware of their communication. He revealed:

“We believe in brother-sister relationships here, and yet there was a frequency that moved past that, and there was a familiarity that played itself out in coarse and foolish joking, some befitting of someone in my position as a lead pastor. And as an elder, I’m held to a higher standard and fell short of that higher standard.”

He then confessed:

“I’m just really embarrassed, feel stupid. I feel like I’m embarrassing my wife and kids.”

While we’re not sure what exactly the messages looked like, there definitely is a line between offering support and guidance and crossing into more intimate territories. The church concluded in their Sunday release:

“Matt’s behavior was a sign of unhealth in his life, and that the best course of action would be for him to take a leave of absence from teaching and preaching at The Village Church. Matt’s leave of absence is both disciplinary and developmental”

Adding:

“The timeline for his return will be dictated by the expectations the elders have laid out for his development.”

According to the Village Church website, Matt has been a pastor there since 2002, known then as the First Baptist Church of Highland Village. He has three children with his wife Lauren, whom he married in 1999. Additionally, the Village Church is part of the larger Southern Baptist Convention, which is currently under investigation by the Justice Department, per NBC News and the Washington Post, for clergy sex abuse.

Related: Pastor Confesses To Affair During Sermon — Mistress Reveals She’s Only 16

The church also recently settled a lawsuit regarding one of its ministers molesting an 11-year-old child, according to WaPo — though they have claimed to have “committed no wrong.” Wow… What are your thoughts on this situation, Perezcious readers? Did the elders make the right move sending Matt on leave? Let us know in the comments (below).

[The Village Church — Flower Mound/YouTube]



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Gorbachev’s death cracks open Europe’s Russian divide – POLITICO


When the death was announced of former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, Europe’s Western elites lined up to pay glowing tributes to the heroic statesman who helped end the Cold War. For many Eastern Europeans, the truth is bitterly different.

“Lithuanians will not glorify Gorbachev,” Lithuania’s Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis said. “We will never forget the simple fact that his army murdered civilians to prolong his regime’s occupation of our country. His soldiers fired on our unarmed protestors and crushed them under his tanks. That is how we will remember him.”

As the European Union grapples with how to counter Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, disagreements over Gorbachev’s legacy once again expose the deep divisions among the bloc’s 27 member states over policy toward Moscow.

It is countries like Lithuania, which are closest to the front line, that are at greatest risk from a newly aggressive Russia and have the greatest reason to fear a complacent reading of history.

Coming less than 24 hours after Gorbachev’s death was announced, the outburst from Landsbergis was remarkable. Only a few hours earlier, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen had praised Gorbachev as a “trusted and respected leader,” who “opened the way for a free Europe.” 

French President Emmanuel Macron also weighed in, saying Gorbachev’s “commitment to peace in Europe changed our common history.” German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said the former Soviet Union leader had made his country’s existence as a unified state possible.

Similar words of praise came from Washington, London and Dublin.

But for Lithuanians like Landsbergis, the events of Gorbachev’s rule remain painful today. In January 1991, the Soviet army stormed parliament and a television and radio center, killing 14 people. Days later, five people were killed when troops broke into a Latvian government ministry and opened fire.

The bloodshed didn’t stop there. In Azerbaijan, 150 people were killed by the Soviet military, while more than 20 people were massacred by Soviet forces, armed with batons and shovels, in Tbilisi, Georgia.

These violent episodes are often overlooked when Western politicians give accounts of those heady, history-making times as the Soviet Union disintegrated.

Gorbachev, who was president during this era, himself denied any knowledge of the atrocities. In his 1995 book, “Memoirs,” Gorbachev addressed the controversy, claiming he was unaware of what was happening in the Baltics, and vaguely hinting at a conspiracy.

“When it comes to memories of Gorbachev, the Baltic experience is different,” said Kadri Liik, senior policy fellow at the European Council of Foreign Relations. “For much of Europe, Gorbachev was the one who ended the Cold War, he allowed Germany to reunify, whereas the memory in the Baltic states is that — yes, he launched perestroika, glasnost — but he was against the independence drive in the Baltic states.”

Mikhail Gorbachev and his wife Raisa Gorbacheva with First Secretary of the Lithuanian Communist Party Algirdas Brazauskas in Siauliai on January 12, 1990 during a three-day visit to the Soviet Republic of Lithuania. Lithuania legally separated from the Soviet Union on March 11, 1990 | Vitaly Armand/AFP via Getty Images

The pain of the violent events of 1991 is still felt, particularly in Lithuania.

Earlier this year, families of those killed in the Soviet crackdown of 1991 filed a civil lawsuit against Gorbachev. The plaintiffs argued that, as commander-in-chief of the Soviet Armed Forces in 1991, Gorbachev had the power to prevent the event but didn’t.

In 2019 several dozen former Russian officials were convicted of war crimes in a Vilnius court for their part in the raids. But their convictions were handed down in absentia because Russia and Belarus refused to extradite them.

As Gorbachev’s death reopens these wounds, it also accentuates the current divides within Europe about Russia.

From the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the trio of Baltic countries — along with former eastern bloc states such as Poland — have embraced a hawkish position on the war, advocating a more robust response from the EU. 

Armed with an historical memory of Soviet control that Western Europe simply does not possess, the Eastern members of the EU have chastised their Western partners for their perceived naivety when it comes to Vladimir Putin. 

The east-west divide about how to respond to Putin has permeated every part of EU policymaking since the war began — from the tortured rounds of negotiations on sanctions, to the need to accelerate energy independence from Russia — with the Baltic and East European countries repeatedly calling for more forceful action.

It is also driving the current standoff about banning Russian visitors from Europe. The Baltics have been urging the EU to implement an all-out ban on Russian visitors, a proposal that has met resistance from a group of Western European states.

As the comments lionizing Gorbachev for his role in ending the Cold War and championing a détente with the West continue to come thick and fast, there has also been a notable silence from the government of Volodymyr Zelenskyy. Gorbachev’s handling of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster in 1986 looms large in the history of Ukraine.

The then-Soviet leader famously chose to play down the disaster, not informing the general population of what had happened until weeks after. Labor Day parades in cities and towns went ahead as planned, even as radiation drifted over Ukraine, Belarus and Russia. Gorbachev’s views on Putin’s war in Ukraine over the last few months are not clear — a day after the invasion he called for a “cessation of hostilities” and for peace talks to begin, though stopped short of blaming Russia. 

Gorbachev also supported Putin’s annexation of Crimea in 2014, a takeover that is deemed illegal by the EU and by most of the international community.

As with many figures in world history, the legacy of Gorbachev is part myth, part fact.  Latvia’s Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkēvičs perhaps came closest to reality in his response to Gorbachev’s death on Tuesday. 

Gorbachev “tried to reform Soviet Union and he failed,” Rinkēvičs tweeted. The collapse of the Soviet Union was “the best moment of the 20th century,” he said, but it wasn’t that simple.

“The end of the Cold war was great but killing of people in Tbilisi, Vilnius, Riga is also part of his legacy. It is up to the History to judge him.”

Camille Gijs and Zoya Sheftalovich contributed reporting





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Kylie Jenner Hits Back At TikToker Saying She’s Trying To Seem Relatable With A Fake Lip Kit Review!


Kylie Jenner is at the center of yet another case of a TikTok user turned detective.

The Kylie Cosmetics founder may have thought she was just posting an innocent review of her latest lip blush drop, but she ended up being analyzed by a TikToker named PlasticChandler, who concluded her video was “very curated to the style of an influencer,” adding “this is something Emma Chamberlain would post.” Ha!

He’s accusing the reality star of trying to be one of the normies without a gazillion dollars, just like you! LOLz! He went on to say:

“You’re a billionaire, girl. Like why are you reviewing lip kits in your car when you live in a multi-million dollar home? Like you did not just go to the store and pick that up, you didn’t get home from somewhere and get it from your mailbox – like, that was very deliberate of you going to your car to do that.”

He even added “the phone drop was kind of cringey” in reference to her phone falling at the beginning of her own video. We’re guessing he figures because she easily could have edited that out, she must have purposely left it in to seem relatable.

Related: Kylie Fires Back At TikTok Backlash Over Her LIPS

TikTok users were quick to agree, writing comments like: 

“They’re really just chameleons at this point. They capitalize on whats big in the moment, i mean why else would they be on Tiktok?”

“The phone drop was so intentional”

“it’s all marketing”

“Even their “authenticity” is v much curated”

“the thought of her getting in her car solely to film that tiktok and then getting out immediately afterwards is so funny”

“they’re cosplaying us”

Seems clear there are plenty of folks who agree this is a marketing strategy after Kylie’s private jet backlash. Like how she suddenly went on a trip to Target and Sonic right after that whole PR debacle.

But one TikToker took to the comments to shut down the speculation: Kylie herself! She wrote:

“it’s really not that deep or calculated. this video took me 5 mins to make. and yes i still drive and do normal things”

See! She’s just a totally normal girl, standing in front of 46.6 million followers, asking them to buy her products.

Do you think Kylie’s review was intentionally curated? Or is she being unfairly judged?? Watch both TikToks and then let us know in the comments (below)!

@kyliejenner

new lip blushes available now ???? @Kylie Cosmetics

♬ original sound – Kylie Jenner

@plasticchandler

#stitch with @Kylie Jenner

♬ original sound – chan

[Images via Kylie Jenner/Instagram & TikTok & plasticchandler/TikTok]



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