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Russia's interests 'non******
Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday that Moscow was ready to look for "diplomatic solutions" amid raging tensions with the West over Ukraine but stressed that the country's interests were non-negotiable.
"Our country is always open for direct and honest dialogue, for the search for diplomatic solutions to the most complex problems," Putin said in a video address to mark the Defender of the Fatherland Day, a public holiday in Russia.
But he added: "The interests of Russia, the security of our citizens, are non-negotiable for us."
Putin spoke after parliament's upper house, the Federation Council, on Tuesday gave him unanimous approval to deploy "peacekeepers" to two breakaway Ukrainian regions now recognized by Moscow as independent.
In the video address, Putin congratulated the country's men and said he was certain of the "professionalism" of the Russian military and that they will stand up for the country's national interests.
He praised the battle-readiness of the Russian army and said the country would continue to develop state-of-the-art weapons.
"We will continue to develop advanced weapon systems, including hypersonic and those based on new physical principles, and expand the use of advanced digital technologies and elements of artificial intelligence," Putin added. "Such complexes are truly the weapons of the future, which significantly increase the combat potential of our armed forces."
Feature: Tough times for Koeman at Barca in crisis, but good work with youngsters not enough******
MADRID, Oct. 28 (Xinhua) -- FC Barcelona's decision to sack Ronald Koeman in the early hours of Thursday morning, in the end, surprised nobody, with the only real surprise that the former Barca central defender lasted as long as the season and a quarter that he managed in the job.
Koeman's job quite simply became untenable after successive defeats to Real Madrid and Rayo Vallecano, with the loss to a recently promoted side with one of the lowest budgets in LaLiga the final nail in the coffin for a man whose time at the Camp Nou could be described as the "chronicle of a sacking foretold".
The former Dutch coach was hailed as a returning hero when he was appointed the successor to Quique Setien, who was quickly shown the door in the wake of Barca's failure to win the 2019-20 LaLiga title and their 8-2 humiliation to Bayern Munich in the Champions League.
That 8-2 defeat made clear the difficulty of the task that lay ahead of Koeman and a look at his curriculum, with standout failures at Everton and Valencia, meant that many questioned whether he was up to the task.
Koeman's landing at the Camp Nou was less than smooth as he was presented with a summer of drama which saw Leo Messi present a bureaufax declaring his intention to leave the club, while the club's dire financial situation meant that Luis Suarez would be shown the door.
The decision to allow Suarez to join Atletico Madrid, where he would help them win the title, probably wasn't down to Koeman, but the Uruguayan clearly resented the fact that the coach told him he was leaving in a brief phone call, rather than in a face-to-face chat.
Messi eventually stayed to see out the final year of his contract - at the time because he had no option, but it was hardly a good beginning and things got worse when 17-year-old sensation Ansu Fati injured his knee at the start of the season and an expected four-month layoff extended into four operations and 10 months on the sidelines.
Barca ended last season third in LaLiga with some decent performances in the New Year keeping them in the title race until a disastrous home defeat to Granada and a 3-3 draw away to Levante when they had been 3-0 up, ended their title hopes.
Joan Laporta's return as club President after Josep Maria Bartomeu (who had appointed Koeman) always looked as if it would leave Koeman on shaky ground and despite Laporta's public support, relations between the two were never good.
Barca's 5-2 aggregate defeat to Paris Saint Germain again highlighted that Barca were falling behind Europe's most powerful clubs, but the run of form that saw Barca beat Athletic Club 4-0 to win the Copa del Rey, along with Koeman's willingness to give time to youngsters such as Pedri and Ronald Araujo saw him cling on to his post - partly because nobody else seemed to want to join a club with debts of 1.3 billion euros.
This summer saw more departures, with Barca unable to afford Leo Messi, while Antoine Griezmann also returned to Atletico. Miralem Pjanic and Francisco Trinaco (neither used much by Koeman) also left along with Junior Firpo and although Memphis Depay, Eric Garcia and Kun Aguero arrived on free transfers, the feeling was very much of cost-cutting and getting by on a low budget.
The arrival of Luuk de Jong - arguably the least Barcelona-style player Barca have ever signed - on the last day of the transfer window, did little to alter this perception.
Koeman never hid the limitations placed on him in his press conferences, which although true, certainly wasn't diplomatic, and responded by promoting more youngsters, with 17-year-old Gavi in particular impressing, while Nico Gonzalez has also looked good.
Once again injuries (this time to Pedri and Araujo, as well as Aguero) have hampered Koeman, but although his side at times looked confident on the ball, they have also looked very fragile. Atletico Madrid picked them off on the break, as did Real Madrid and Rayo and Koeman failed to correct the problems, seeming to make the same mistakes time after time (all be it with limited resources).
Successful Barca teams seem to play by memory, by clockwork---as if they were almost playing with their eyes closed as each player knew where his companions were. This automatic football hasn't been there with Koeman, while gaps between midfield and defense imply a lack of work coordinating the team on the training ground.
Koeman will point to all of the departures and injuries and missed chances, such as Memphis's penalty on Wednesday night, but although the club will be grateful for his work with the youngsters, he tactically fell short.
The big question is: Can the next man in the hot seat do any better? Enditem
Britain goes on to high alert after bomb blast******
British authorities raised the threat level to its second-highest rung on Monday, after police said a blast in a taxi outside a Liverpool hospital was caused by a homemade bomb.。
Investigators said they were treating Sunday's explosion – which killed the suspected bombmaker and injured the cab driver – as a terrorist incident, but that the motive was unclear.。
Counterterrorism police named the dead man as 32-year-old Emad Al Swealmeen. They did not give further details. But Britain's Press Association news agency and other media reported that he had not been on the radar of the security services.。
The Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre raised the UK threat level from substantial – meaning an attack is likely – to severe, meaning it is highly likely, following the UK's second fatal incident in a month.。
Conservative lawmaker David Amess was stabbed to death in October in what police said was an act of terrorism.。
Prime Minister Boris Johnson condemned the "sickening attack" at Liverpool Women's Hospital and told reporters that the British people "will never be cowed by terrorism."
'We will never give in'
"We will never give in to those who seek to divide us with senseless acts of violence," he said.。
The male passenger in a taxi was killed and the driver injured when a blast ripped through the vehicle as it pulled up outside the hospital on Sunday morning.。
Russ Jackson, the head of Counterterrorism Policing in northwest England, said the explosion was caused by "the ignition of an explosive device" that was brought into the vehicle by the passenger.。
Three men in their 20s were arrested elsewhere in the city on Sunday under the Terrorism Act and a fourth was detained on Monday. All are believed to be "associates" of the dead passenger, police said.。
Suspicions about a motive for the explosion have been aroused by the timing – just before 11 am on Remembrance Sunday, the moment when people across Britain hold services in memory of those killed in wars.。
Jackson said investigators had not found a link to remembrance events "but it is a line of inquiry we are pursuing."
"Although the motivation for this incident is yet to be understood, given all the circumstances, it has been declared a terrorist incident," he said at a press briefing.。
Chinese short track speed skater Ren shines at Nagoya leg of ISU World Cup series******
Ren Ziwei (front) of China competes during the men's 1000m final A at the ISU Short Track World Cup 2021/22 in Nagoya, Japan, Oct. 31, 2021. (Xinhua/Du Xiaoyi)。
NAGOYA, Japan, Oct. 31 (Xinhua) -- Ren Ziwei won the men's 1,000m gold first and led China to two silver medals at the men's 5,000m and mixed 2,000m relays at the Japan stop of the ISU World Cup Short Track Speed Skating series on Sunday.。
The 24-year-old, who also finished second in the 1,500m final, wrapped up the competition with one gold and three silver medals in total, while the Chinese team, which won two gold and one bronze last week in Beijing, collected one gold, three silver and two bronze.。
Ren led all the way in the 1,000m race for the victory with one minute 26.297 seconds. Dutchman Itzhak de Laat was second in 1:26.533 and Canada's Pascal Dion third in 1:26.554.。
The men's 5,000 meters final was a thrilling affair. China looked sure to take the title before Canada's Steven Dubois caught up with their anchor Li Wenlong at the final corner to win the gold medal in 6:52.272. China was second with 0.013 seconds behind. Hungary placed third in 6:52.386.。
In their silver winning campaign in the 5,000m relay at the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics, Ren missed the final despite helping China win their group competition in the semifinals but with the Beijing Winter Olympics less than 100 days away, he has proved that he will be the man for the big occasion.。
The mixed 2,000m title went to Russia in 2:43.202. China, the winner in Beijing last week, finished second with 2:43.460 and Hungary took third with 2:43.568.。
America's Kristen Santos won the women's 1,000m race in 1:30.013, followed by two Dutchwomen Suzanne Schulting in 1:30.077 and Xandra Velzeboer in 1:30.089.。
The contest in Japan is the second of four stages of the qualifying competition for the Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games. The next two stages will be in Hungary and the Netherlands. Enditem。
Ren Ziwei (L) of China is seen during the awarding ceremony for the men's 1000m final A at the ISU Short Track World Cup 2021/22 in Nagoya, Japan, Oct. 31, 2021. (Xinhua/Du Xiaoyi)。