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Chief of the Ukrainian Presidential Administration Boris Lozhkin openly supports the Russian tobacco company Megapolis, which monopolized 90 percent of tobacco product sales in Ukraine under former President Viktor Yanukovych, according to the famous American tabloid Examiner.

Megapolis under Yanukovych managed to monopolize cigarette sales on the Ukrainian market. The company signed long-term contracts buying almost all products produced in Ukraine by the so-called “Big Four” – British American Tobacco, Japan Tobacco, Inc., Imperial Tobacco Group and Philip Morris. Then Megapolis sells them to large and small retailers, taking a large part of the profit.

The Ukrainian distributor Megapolis is a daughter company of the Russian distributor Megapolis, which controls 70 percent of the Russian tobacco market. According to Russian Forbes, the principal co-owners of the group are Igor Kesaev and Sergei Katsiev.

In 2013 they sold a 40 percent share to the transnational cigarette companies Japan Tobacco, Inc. and Philip Morris International for 1.5 USD billion. According to Forbes, a portion of the receipts from the deal were invested in weapons production companies.

In particular, Forbes calls them the “principle owners” of the Degtyarev factory, which produces Kalashnikov assault rifles (AK-47 through AK-103).

The interests of Megapolis in Ukraine’s political world are represented by Ukrainian businessman Boris Kaufman, who has on numerous occasions been linked to the Ukraine’s Presidential Administration chief Boris Lozhkin.

“Journalists of Ukraine-based Radio Svoboda made a special coverage of Kaufman who visited the Presidential Administration at nights”, noted the conservative political expert Ken Kaplan in his blog.

Ukrainian media on several occasions earlier reported on ties between Megapolis and Yanukovych family members.

It is worth noting that the Austrian bank account of Boris Lozhkin was frozen last month. Some USD 130 million had been deposited in the account from fugitive Ukrainian oligarch Serhiy Kurchenko. Austrian authorities are investigating the case on suspicion of money laundering.

“Many people in Ukraine connect the fact that even after the victory of the democratic revolution in Ukraine two years ago there continues to exist a monopoly created by Russian traders of weapons with the Ukrainian partner Megapolis represented by businessman Boris Kaufman.

 

 

A one-fingered Japanese climber who was attempting the first summit of Mount Everest since this year's deadly quake said Thursday he had turned back before reaching the summit.

This is the fifth season Nobukazu Kuriki, who lost nine fingers on the mountain in 2012, has tried to scale the world's highest peak and he is the only climber making the dangerous attempt this year.

Climbers have abandoned Everest after an earthquake-triggered avalanche killed 18 people at the mountain's base camp, and regular aftershocks since have increased the chance of avalanches.

"Did my best, but figured will not be able to return alive if I go further due to strong wind and heavy snow," the 33-year-old wrote on his Twitter account.

Kuriki said continuing his attempt to scale the 8,848-metre (29,029-foot) colossus in those conditions would leave him dangerously exposed, with not enough time to return safely to camp.

 

 

His overnight ascent had taken him well into the "death zone" -- the height above 8,000 metres notorious for its difficult terrain and thin air.

"Decided to climb down at around 8,150 metres... I truly appreciate everyone's support," he added.

Scaling Everest has been all but abandoned this season following April's earthquake, which killed nearly 8,900 people and devastated large parts of Nepal, including the capital Kathmandu.

 

 

 

 

Norwegian designer Peter Dundas spearheaded a youthful revolution in Milan on Saturday, laying out his new vision for Roberto Cavalli as other top brands also embraced rejuvenation.

The Cavalli collection was one of the most eagerly awaited of the week, being the first to take place without the company's eponymous founder who has ceded control to a private equity group.

They brought Dundas in from Emilio Pucci and the Norwegian did not waste any time in signalling a dramatic break with the past.

 

 

The rock and roll edge to the brand and its sensual, sexy core remained intact but there was some carping in the Italian media that something of its essence had disappeared.

"The new start signals the end of glamour," reported La Repubblica, although its review was broadly favourable and noted that it was too early to say if Dundas was going to give Cavalli the kind of fillip enjoyed by Gucci since Alessandro Michele took the reins there at the start of the year.

The biggest change came with the virtual axing of red carpet-style night gowns from the collection in favour of lighter and more easy-to-wear nightwear such as one ultra-short dress featuring a long train.

Alongside that there was a range of accessible denim items featuring frills, tie dye and chain fringes.

 

- Maintaining Cavalli's soul -

 

 

"My first task since arriving here has been to think of something different that still maintains the soul of Roberto Cavalli," Dundas said.

"Today's women are freer and looking for easier, perhaps more sporty clothes."

Relaxed, comfortable clothes were also in vogue at Bottega Veneta, which put together a very sporty collection featuring high-tech jogging pants, hooded sweatshirts and fitted gilets.

Creative director Tomas Maier took inspiration from sailing for evening dresses made from a single piece of fabric modelled on a length of sail and held together by what looked like nautical rope.

 

 

 

 

A popular campground at Yosemite National Park in California will be temporarily closed after several dead squirrels were found to be carrying the plague, officials said.

The move comes about a week after a girl who visited the park tested positive for the plague. She was treated and has recovered.

"As an extremely precautionary public health measure, flea treatment will be applied to rodent burrows in Tuolumne Meadows Campground because several dead animals were tested and found to be carrying plague," park officials said in a statement.

The campground will be closed from August 17-21. The park itself will remain open, including all the other campgrounds.

Plague is carried by squirrels, chipmunks and other wild rodents and their fleas.

"By eliminating the fleas, we reduce the risk of human exposure and break the cycle of plague in rodents at the sites," said Karen Smith, the director and state health officer for the California Department of Public Health.

 

 

 

People who eat lots of fried food and sugary drinks have a 56 percent higher risk of heart disease compared to those who eat healthier, according to US researchers.

The findings in Circulation, a journal of the American Heart Association, were based on a six-year study of more than 17,000 people in the United States.

Researchers found that people who regularly ate what was described as a Southern style diet -- fried foods, eggs, processed meats like bacon and ham, and sugary drinks -- faced the highest risk of a heart attack or heart-related death during the next six years.

"Regardless of your gender, race, or where you live, if you frequently eat a Southern-style diet you should be aware of your risk of heart disease and try to make some gradual changes to your diet," said lead researcher James Shikany, a nutritional epidemiologist at the University of Alabama at Birmingham's Division of Preventive Medicine.

"Try cutting down the number of times you eat fried foods or processed meats from every day to three days a week as a start, and try substituting baked or grilled chicken or vegetable-based foods."

 

 

In the nervous aftermath of the Hiroshima bombing 70 years ago, citizens spent decades on alert for a nuclear war that would wipe out billions in a radioactive firestorm and render Earth uninhabitable.

Yet the apocalypse never came.

Instead an unprecedented period of peace took hold between nuclear-armed global powers aware that a wrong move could wipe out the human race.

Nukes could never stop smaller wars and proxy conflicts -- and look increasingly impotent against modern non-state threats such as jihadist groups or cyber-attacks -- but "they are still a necessary tool", said Mark Fitzpatrick, a nuclear security expert at the London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies.

"It is pretty clear that mutually assured destruction has contributed to the absence of global war for the last 70 years," he said.

Nonetheless, as the atomic generation gives way to one that did not grow up building fallout shelters, some experts say nuclear weapons are no longer the ultimate guarantor of global peace.

Growing instability around the world -- the renewed rift between Russia and the West, simmering tensions between nuclear-armed India and Pakistan, a drive by China to modernise its nuclear forces and an ever-more bellicose North Korea -- have undermined efforts to reduce the global stockpile of nuclear weapons and keep doomsday at bay.

 

- Nuclear winter -

 

With ties between Moscow and the West at Cold War lows, Russia has fallen back on its nuclear threat, boosting its arsenal and increasing flights by strategic bombers, in what NATO has described as "dangerous nuclear sabre-rattling".

 

 

 

US Secretary of State John Kerry has got a helping hand from the Kennedy family since breaking his leg in a low-speed bike accident in May.

The 71-year-old, who is attending a regional security summit in Kuala Lumpur, has been getting around with the help of a polished black walking stick used by two generations of the Kennedy dynasty.

"This cane has a history," Kerry told delegates at a meeting held on the sidelines of an annual security forum hosted by the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

The walking stick, he explained, was originally owned by Joseph P. Kennedy when he was Washington's ambassador to the United Kingdom during the early stages of the Second World War.

His son John F. Kennedy later used the cane before he became president, as did JFK's youngest brother Teddy who spent much of his life suffering from chronic back pain after he was pulled from the wreckage of a fatal air crash in 1964.

"So when Vicki Kennedy, (Teddy's) widow, heard that I had broken my leg, she knew I was going to need the cane," Kerry told delegates in the Malaysian capital.

Washington's top envoy, who looked to Teddy Kennedy as his political mentor, broke his right femur while riding a bike in the French Alps on May 31 during crunch negotiations over Iran's nuclear programme.

After flying back to Boston for surgery, performed by a physician who had previously replaced both of his hips, secure phone lines were set up in his hospital room so that he could keep working on the Iran deal, he later told the Boston Globe.

 

 

Sitting on a cold concrete slab, Sunita Devi reapplies her red lipstick as she prepares for customers at a dingy brothel along the Indian capital's infamous GB road.

"We don't go to men, they come to us. We want to earn a living with dignity just as in any other profession," Devi, dressed in a traditional cream and green salwar-kameez, told AFP, in the bustling red light district.

Like millions of other sex workers, Devi, 35, is anxiously waiting for the country's highest court to hand down a ruling which they hope will finally clarify the age-old profession's legal status.

Soliciting is illegal in India along with running a brothel and pimping, but the law, an archaic throw back to British colonial times, is vague on prostitution itself.

Sex workers are hoping the Supreme Court's ruling will force the government to decriminalise the industry. They say they are tired of being randomly targeted by police and sent to correction homes where they say conditions are worse than jails.

Some 2,800 women and 4,800 men were arrested in 2013, the latest government figures show but with a conviction rate less than 35 percent, cases continue to languish in courts for years.

"Don't look at us as if we are criminals and please don't arrest our clients," said Devi, who was sold by the boyfriend she eloped with for 50,000 rupees (around $800) to a man who in turn struck a deal with a brothel pimp.

 

Devi opted to stay on at the brothel, where clients buy a token and select a woman of their choice, once she realised she could earn "a good 500 rupees ($8) a day or more" without having to "work too hard".

On average, she sees two men a night, up to five in busier times, in windowless cubicles with single beds.

 

- Forced underground -

 

India has nearly three million sex workers, according to Havocscope, which focuses on black market industries worldwide.

Activists argue many are selling sex by choice, neither having been trafficked nor held against their will, and should have the same rights as other workers.

"The law is very ambiguous. Who is exploiting whom? The woman who gets paid or the one seeking pleasure?" asked Tripti Tandon of the Lawyers Collective advocacy group.

"The law assumes that all sex workers are victims and fails to recognise their right to a livelihood. The sex workers don't consider themselves as victims so why impose it (the law) on them?"

 

 

 

Public health workers want decriminalisation, saying women and clients are forced underground for fear of arrest, making it difficult to limit the spread of HIV and other diseases.

But anti-trafficking campaigners argue any kind of legitimacy would fuel the industry, leading to a jump in smuggling of mainly poor and uneducated women from rural areas as well as children into brothels, a major problem in India.

Just over 14 million adults and children are trapped in modern slavery in India, the most in any country in the world, according to the Walk Free Foundation's 2014 Global Slavery Index.

Acting on a public interest petition four years ago, the Supreme Court formed a panel to investigate the industry and look at amendments to the law.

It also asked the state governments to conduct an ongoing survey to determine how many sex workers, given a choice, wanted to be rehabilitated and retrained in other professions and how many wanted to stay put.

 

 

 

Liraglutide, an injectable diabetes drug that US regulators approved last year for weight loss, helped obese people lose an average of 18 pounds (eight kilograms), a yearlong study said.

Most patients were able to keep the weight off for the duration of the 56-week study on the drug marketed as Saxenda by Novo Nordisk, according to the findings published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

The randomized, controlled trial was conducted at 191 sites in 27 countries in Europe, North America, South America, Asia, Africa and Australia.

Patients in the study were 18 and older and each had a body mass index of 30 or higher.

BMI is calculated by weight in kilograms divided by the square of the height in meters. The healthy range for most people is 19-25 BMI.

Of the 3,731 people in the study, about two thirds were given the drug plus training to improve their lifestyle habits, and the rest followed the same lifestyle intervention but were given a placebo.

The trial was double-blind, meaning that neither patients or doctors knew if they were dealing with the real drug or the placebo.

Those who received the drug were given a higher dose (three milligrams) than is prescribed for diabetes patients (1.8 milligrams), and were injected with the drug under the skin daily.

People in the placebo group lost an average of six pounds. Those who were given the drug averaged about three times more weight loss.

A total of 63 percent of those in the liraglutide group lost at least five percent of their body weight, compared to 27 percent in the placebo group.

Kevin Williams, chief of endocrinology, diabetes and metabolism at Temple University Health, described the weight loss in the liraglutide group as "significant."

Williams was not involved in the study.

 

 

 

A giant gorilla with brooding good looks and rippling muscles is causing a stir at a Japanese zoo, with women flocking to check out the hunky pin-up.

Shabani, an 18-year-old silverback who tips the scales at around 180 kilograms (400 pounds), has become the star attraction at Higashiyama Zoo and Botanical Gardens in Nagoya, striking smouldering poses the movie model in "Zoolander" would be proud of.

"He often rests his chin on his hands and looks intently at you," zoo spokesman Takayuki Ishikawa told AFP on Friday.

"He is more buff than most gorillas and he's at his peak physically. We've seen a rise in the number of female visitors -- women say he's very good-looking."

Shabani, who has been at the zoo since 2007, shot to fame after being made the campaign model for the zoo's spring festival earlier this year, Ishikawa said, adding that the ape's paternal skills are also a big hit with women.