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Facing hurdles, Russia gears up for World Cup draw

MOSCOW: The World Cup draw in the Kremlin on Friday launches Russia's bid to turn a page on its history of football hooliganism and racism while warding off a terror threat linked to Moscow's intervention in Syria. The success of the tournament is also a matter of personal pride for Vladimir Putin after the Russian strongman helped wrest the June 14-July 15 competition from England in an ugly 2010 battle before relations with the West dramatically collapsed over Ukraine. It is an $11.5-billion (9.7-billion-euro) gamble…

‘Matilda’ premiere draws extra security in Moscow after threats

MOSCOW: A Russian cinema chain said Tuesday extra security measures have been put in place ahead of the Moscow premiere of a controversial biopic of the last tsar, that has drawn threats from religious extremists. Alexei Uchitel's "Matilda" has outraged hardline Orthodox believers, who view tsar Nicholas II as a saint and object to the depiction of his affair with a ballerina. The film's trailer triggered a wave of attacks in the country, including Molotov cocktails thrown at the filmmakers' Saint Petersburg offices.…

Korean peninsula draws range of military drills in show of force against North Korea

BEIJING/SEOUL: The US military staged bombing drills with South Korea over the Korean peninsula and Russia and China began naval exercises ahead of a UN General Assembly meeting on Tuesday where North Korea’s nuclear threat is likely to loom large. The flurry of military drills came after Pyongyang fired another mid-range ballistic missile over Japan on Friday and the reclusive North conducted its sixth and most powerful nuclear test on Sept. 3 in defiance of United Nations sanctions and other international pressure. A…

Ochoa hero, Akinfeev villain in World Cup draws

BRASILIA: Mexico goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa produced a heroic performance in a 0-0 draw with Brazil and his Russian counterpart Igor Akinfeev was the villain in a 1-1 draw with South Korea as the World Cup produced more drama on Tuesday. While Ochoa kept Brazil at bay, the hapless Akinfeev was left to bury his head in his hands after he allowed Lee Keun-ho's straightforward shot from 25 metres to slip through his grasp. Algeria ended their 28-year wait for a World Cup goal when they took a shock lead against Belgium…