A recent discussion of the Russian demographic crisis on Russia’s top talk show.
– People don’t understand that the Church offers them actual salvation because, in 30 years, you’ll be cleaning Chinese boots, and work as taxi drivers just like our nobility did in Paris during a certain historical period. Our dukes and counts spoke several languages but couldn’t find a better job. I could imagine the job those who’ll be lucky to survive will have.
– You’re an optimist. You have a pretty optimistic worldview.
– Well, I’m an informed optimist. Our population is falling. We’re approaching another demographic crisis. Our replacement rate will soon be 1.2-1.3 again. We’ll be losing a million people per year, despite all calls to resurrect the Russian family. It should be seven or eight children on an average. On average! Mendeleev (the famous scientist), for example, was the 17th child. That’s how it should be. Yes, some families may not have kids but we need a high average, otherwise, we won’t survive. We won’t even preserve our 140-million population by 2100. You see?
– That’s quite sad, Father Dmitry.
– I’m sorry, but that’s the truth. Sometimes, the truth is bitter. And it’s not just the task of the President. Every Russian should do his part if he wants his grandkids inherit Russia and not some other state with some other people. As soon as we grow weak the country will plunge into demonic chaos.
– So one shouldn’t underestimate the role of the Church?
– The Church plays a key role. I was reading lectures in the General Staff Academy when a General approached me. He said: “Now I see that nobody cares about us except for the Church. True patriotism is found only inside the church.” Because the Church is the guardian of Russian history.
Dmitry Smirnov is one of the best known priests in Russia and has a very large following. He is ubiquitous on television, radio, and YouTube, where his videos frequently get 100s of 1000s of views on his channel. (Russian only).
He is a brilliant public speaker and excellent at debate, known for his sharp wit and quick comebacks. He is especially loved for his sermons, which are all on his YouTube channel, and is by far the most popular preacher in Russia.
He is a leading Russian anti-abortion activist, very outspoken in his criticism of LGBT, and an advocate of home-schooling. He heads the Russian Church’s Committee for Family, Motherhood, and Children, and loudly insists that Russians start having large families of four or more children, or else they will be overrun by Moslems.
You can see all of the article we have published about him here. His website has links to his audio podcasts and all his media appearances.
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A group of 12 super clubs have officially confirmed their plans to form a breakaway Super League, despite the threat of stern action by UEFA.
The governing body of European football was due to approve Champions League reform plans at Monday’s meeting of the executive committee.
But a shock move from some of the world’s biggest clubs threw the plans into chaos.
The so-called ‘Big Six’ of the English Premier League have signed on to a plan to form a breakaway league.
A closed shop league has long been the dream of Real Madrid president Florentino Perez, and both his club and Barcelona are backing the plan.
Manchester United, Liverpool, Manchester City, Arsenal, Chelsea and Tottenham are also on board, as are Atletico Madrid, Inter and Milan.
Andrea Agnelli, head of the European Club Association, was one of the main driving forces behind the Champions League reforms which will be voted on at the executive committee meeting.
He has always insisted that he does not want a closed shop, but Agnelli’s club Juventus are also backing the plan.
Announcing the move the 12 clubs said: “Twelve prestigious European clubs today jointly announce an agreement to form a new midweek football competition, the Super League, governed by the founding clubs.
“AC Milan, Arsenal FC, Atletico de Madrid, Chelsea FC, FC Barcelona, FC Internazionale Milano, Juventus FC, Liverpool FC, Manchester City, Manchester United, Real Madrid CF and Tottenham Hotspur have all joined as founding clubs.
“Three more clubs are expected to join as founding clubs before the inaugural season, which is expected to start as soon as possible.
“In the future, the founding clubs look forward to consulting with UEFA and FIFA in order to work together and cooperate to acheive the best possible outcome for the new league and for football as a whole.
“The formation of the Super League comes at a time when the global pandemic has accelerated the instability in the existing European football economic model. Further, for a number of years, the Founding Clubs have had the objective of improving the quality and intensity of existing European competitions throughout each season, and of creating a format for top clubs and players to compete on a regular basis.
“The pandemic has shown that a strategic vision and a sustainable commercial approach are required to enhance value and support for the benefit of the entire European football pyramid. In recent months extensive dialogue has taken place with football stakeholders regarding the future format of European competitions. The Founding Clubs believe the solutions proposed following these talks do not solve fundamental issues, including the need to provide higher-quality matches and additional financial resources for the overall football pyramid.”
The plan is backed by US bank JP Morgan Chase, which is willing to invest around £5bn set against future television revenues.
There would be 20 participating clubs with 15 founding clubs and a qualifying mechanism for a further five teams to qualify annually based on achievements in the prior season.
Perez, who has been elected chairman of the new league, said: “We will help football at every level and take it to its rightful place in the world. Football is the only global sport in the world with more than four billion fans and our responsibility as big clubs is to respond to their desires.”
Manchester United co-chairman Joel Glazer added: “By bringing together the world’s greatest clubs and players to play each other throughout the season, the Super League will open a new chapter for European football, ensuring world-class competition and facilities, and increased financial support for the wider football pyramid.”
Broadcaster DAZN is believed to be ready to pay £3bn for the rights, with the competition to begin in 2022, but the 12 face a fight with UEFA and their own domestic leagues.
A statement signed by the European governing body, the English, Spanish and Italian FAs, as well as the Premier League, La Liga and Serie A, warned: “We will consider all measures available to us, at all levels, both judicial and sporting in order to prevent this happening. Football is based on open competitions and sporting merit; it cannot be any other way.
“As previously announced by FIFA and the six Confederations, the clubs concerned will be banned from playing in any other competition at domestic, European or world level, and their players could be denied the opportunity to represent their national teams.
“We thank those clubs in other countries, especially the French and German clubs, who have refused to sign up to this. We call on all lovers of football, supporters and politicians, to join us in fighting against such a project if it were to be announced. This persistent self-interest of a few has been going on for too long. Enough is enough.”
And leading figures both inside football and out have spoken out against the plans.
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “Plans for a European Super League would be very damaging for football and we support football authorities in taking action.
“They would strike at the heart of the domestic game, and will concern fans across the country.
“The clubs involved must answer to their fans and the wider footballing community before taking any further steps.”
And Manchester United’s legendary manager Sir Alex Ferguson also slammed the plans.
He told Reuters: “Talk of a Super League is a move away from 70 years of European club football. Both as a player for a provincial team Dunfermline in the 60s and as a manager at Aberdeen winning the European Cup Winners’ Cup, for a small provincial club in Scotland it was like climbing Mount Everest.
“Everton are spending £500 million to build a new stadium with the ambition to play in Champions League. Fans all over love the competition as it is
“In my time at United, we played in four Champions League finals and they were always the most special of nights.”
No French side has signed up, and the French FA also came out against the plans.
A statement said: “The FFF and the FLP oppose the whole project relating to the European Super League. Alongside UEFA, the FFF and FLP are positioned firmly against a project that threatens the entire pyramid of European football.
“The hegemonic dreams of an oligarchy will result in the disappearance of a European system that has allowed football to develop in an unprecedented way in Europe.
“By breaking this balance, the Super League project will put an end to a system based on sporting merit and which has been able to put in place mechanisms of solidarity with all the European federations.”
And even the ECA, of which Agnelli was head, made clear it “supports a commitment to work with UEFA on a renewed structure for European club football”.
Perhaps unsurprisingly the Juve chief resigned his position shortly after the statement as his club left the organisation.
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People across the UK have observed a minute’s silence for the Duke of Edinburgh in unison with mourners at his funeral.
As members of the royal family fell silent at 3pm at St George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle, members of the public across the country – and Prime Minister Boris Johnson – did the same.
The King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery fired a gunshot to signal the start of the silence at Windsor, with the pallbearers carrying Philip’s coffin and members of the royal family following it pausing in their positions, while those already inside the chapel also fell silent.
Gun salutes took place at the same time performed by royal regiments at sites including Hillsborough Castle in Northern Ireland, Cardiff Castle and Edinburgh Castle, as well as on Royal Navy warships deployed in Portsmouth, Devonport and overseas.
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This weekend’s Beaurepaires Tasmania SuperSprint is the first Supercars event at Symmons Plains since 2019 — and it didn’t take long for the drama to start to unfold.
During practice 1 on Saturday, Tim Slade was forced to park up as his right rear wheel became dislodged, causing a red flag.
Later in qualifying, Shane van Gisbergen stunned the field with a track record 50.492 second lap to claim pole position.
“That could be the most emphatic statement he’s made all year, and he’s won five races in a row,” Mark Skaife said in commentary on Fox Sports.
“Three tenths of a second. That’s unbelievable. I’ve never seen that.”
His time was a whopping 0.3325 seconds clear of second-placed Cameron Waters, who was only one-tenth quicker than Mark Winterbottom down in eighth.
Follow all the action in our live blog below!
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RACE CENTRE: Tasmania SuperSprint
Cameron Waters was again the fast man in second practice, with the top 10 covered by just 0.2s.
Like he did earlier in the morning, Waters fired to the top at the death, with the #6 Monster Energy Mustang again the class of the field.
As it was in Practice 1, Waters was shadowed by a Shell V-Power Racing Team Mustang, with Anton De Pasquale just 0.0208s adrift.
Championship leader Shane van Gisbergen was 0.0561s behind in third in his #97 Red Bull Ampol Racing entry, with Tickford Racing’s Jack Le Brocq again impressing to fourth.
Positions one through nine were covered by just 0.17s, with early pace-setter Chaz Mostert fifth ahead of Mark Winterbottom and Scott Pye.
Cars will be back on track for Race 6 starts this afternoon at 4.25pm.
SATURDAY SCHEDULE (all times AEST)
Practice 2: 11.25am — 11.55am
Qualifying: 1.25pm — 2.10pm
Race 6: 4.25pm — 5.25pm
CLICK HERE IF YOU CANNOT SEE THE BLOG ABOVE
At the front of the grid, one driver has been doing all the winning, but that doesn’t mean the margins behind are too large to overcome.
A return to Tasmania for the first time in two years, and the first race meeting in four weeks, means there’s every chance teams have tweaked their cars, and drivers have sharpened.
Ahead of this weekend’s event, which will feature three 44-lap races, Supercars.com has listed nine key storylines which will play out across the weekend.
SVG’S SHOT AT HISTORY
Championship leader Shane van Gisbergen could make history as the only driver in Supercars history to win the first seven races of a season.
Van Gisbergen has won five in a row to start 2021, and should he win the first two races of the weekend, he would surpass two major names.
Allan Moffat and Mark Skaife both won the opening six races of the season in 1977 and 1994 respectively; no one has ever won the opening seven.
Van Gisbergen’s current win streak of six, which dates back to the 2020 Bathurst 1000, matches similar feats by Moffat, Dick Johnson, Jim Richards, Skaife, Craig Lowndes, Jamie Whincup and Scott McLaughlin.
Only Whincup and Lowndes have been able to win more than six consecutive races; Whincup (seven in 2008) and Lowndes (eight in 1996).
Mercedes top times, Ricciardo 18th
CAN ANYONE STOP TRIPLE EIGHT IN TASSIE?
Jamie Whincup is the most successful driver in history at Symmons Plains with 12 race wins to his name, the most recent of which came in 2018.
Red Bull Ampol Racing has been the dominant force at Symmons Plains for much of the past decade; the team has won 11 of the 14 races held at the circuit since 2014.
Van Gisbergen won the most recent race at the circuit on the Sunday in 2019.
FORD’S WIN DROUGHT
Ford drivers have not won a race since Cameron Waters won the penultimate race of the 2020 season at The Bend on September 27.
Saturday’s opening race in Tasmania will mark 202 days, or six months and 21 days, since a Ford driver last won a race.
WHINCUP MOVES UP IN THE RECORD BOOKS
This weekend also marks Whincup’s 243rd round start, bringing him level for sixth on the all-time list with Todd Kelly.
Whincup’s enduro co-driver Lowndes holds the record for most round starts at 298.
McLaughlin on upcoming IndyCars Series
NEW QUALIFYING FORMAT
This weekend will also see the debut of the new split, three-part qualifying system. The format will first be used on Saturday.
The first part of qualifying will see the field split in two groups on alternating garage order. That means one car per two-car team will take part in each five-minute session.
The top eight from each session will continue, while the bottom four from each session will be locked in positions 17 through 24.
The remaining 16 cars will roll out for the 10-minute Q2 segment, with the quickest 10 fighting for pole in the 10-minute Q3 segment.
On Sunday, there will be a split, single-segment format for both races; the same groupings will be used for two eight-minute sessions to set the grid.
— This originally appeared in Supercars.com and was republished with consent
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Police will forensically analyse two shovels that have been found in their search for two campers who went missing in the Victorian High Country.
Russell Hill and Carol Clay went missing from their campsite in the remote Wonnangatta Valley last March.
Police have long suspected that the pair met with foul play, but have been unable to find any trace of them.
“I think the most likely scenario … is that there are other parties involved in this,” Detective Acting Inspector Tony Combridge said.
Detectives have shifted their search for the pair to Mount Hotham, a few hours north-east of the campsite, after receiving new information in their investigation.
Inspector Combridge said the search was now focussing on a “small radius” near the Great Alpine Road.
“It’s not a large area, not like we’ve been searching previously,” he said.
He said the search was likely to continue into Thursday.
Members of the Missing Person Squad and Search and Rescue officers have been scouring rugged terrain and dense bushland in the new location.
A number of items have been found, including two shovels, but their relevance to the investigation was still being determined, he said.
Earlier this month, Search and Rescue officers and NSW cadaver dogs searched the Wonnangatta Valley for the pair.
Last month, police received what they called an “item of interest”, but would not reveal what that was.
Inspector Combridge told ABC Radio Melbourne that police were optimistic about solving the case.
“Every day we open this case and start to work on it we hope for answers,” he said.
“It’s a high-value search area. As people may be aware, that part of the world is spectacular scenery, but from a search point of view it’s uniquely challenging.”
Mr Hill and Ms Clay were last heard from on the night of March 20, when Mr Hill made contact with friends who were part of an amateur radio club.
At 2:00pm the next day, other campers found Mr Hill and Ms Clay’s camp site burnt out, with their car still there.
Mr Hill and Ms Clay were missing from the camp site, along with Mr Hill’s drone and mobile phone.
Last month, police put out a public appeal for help identifying a white dual cab ute that was in the Wonnangatta Valley at the time Mr Hill and Ms Clay were camping there.
The ute was seen near a nearby suspension bridge and long-drop toilet on March 19, and was the only car in the area at the time police have not been able to identify.
Inspector Combridge said that appeal had led to an enormous amount of information and police had to enlist more staff to go through it all.
The area being searched is incredibly remote, he said.
“There are parts of that bush that have probably never have actually been walked on by humans,” he said.
Inspector Combridge played down any suggestion that the disappearance of Mr Hill and Ms Clay was connected to other disappearances in the area.
“If you’re looking for the common link, it’s quite likely the remoteness and the nature of the terrain of the area itself,” he said.
“This investigation sits separate to the other investigations.
“We review all missing persons investigations, obviously, but this investigation is the one that we are focused on.”
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Two-time series champion Marcos Ambrose will join the broadcast team as a special guest at this weekend’s Beaurepaires Tasmania SuperSprint.
Ambrose won consecutive drivers’ championships for Stone Brothers Racing in 2003 and 2004.
Stream Every Practice, Qualifier & Race of the 2021 Repco Supercars Championship Live & On-Demand on Kayo. New to Kayo? Try 14-Days Free Now >
SVG claims Bathurst 6 hour
The Ford icon won 28 races in his decorated career, and sits 13th overall on the all-time winners’ list.
Ambrose was excited to join the broadcast team for his home event, where he won a race in 2004.
“I’m really looking forward to it; Symmons Plains is my home track,” he told Supercars.com.
“I grew up in Launceston, and watched legends like Dick Johnson and Peter Brock rip around the track.
“I also had my own success winning races in the early 2000s; I know the track well and what it takes to win at the short, fast and technical Symmons Plains circuit.”
“Now I get to watch the current generation of stars from the commentary box, so it’s going to be great. I can’t wait.”
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“Holy s***” – Aussie prodigy stars in F2
Ambrose said Red Bull Ampol Racing driver Shane van Gisbergen, who leads the standings, will again be the one to beat.
However, he believes the event will provide van Gisbergen and his rivals an opportunity to lay down their markers for the 2021 title after two contrasting events at Mount Panorama and Sandown.
“I’m keen to put in some of my own knowledge of the place and watch how the current drivers do it,” he said.
“To see the current generation cars and stars behind the wheel, it’s going to be great to be part of the show.
“Van Gisbergen’s in hot form, and he’ll be there, no doubt about it.
SVG’s insane moves win Sandown R3
“The pattern of the championship hasn’t been formed yet, and I believe Symmons Plains will be an integral inflection point of where the champion will come from.
“My good friends at Dick Johnson Racing, I’m hoping they’ll be up there too to turn it around for the Fords.
The Repco Supercars Championship field will return to Symmons Plains for the Beaurepaires Tasmania SuperSprint across April 17-18.
The event will be broadcast live on Foxtel and will be streamed on Kayo.
This story originally appeared on Supercars.com and is reproduced with permission
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“(Thorn) just said this is just a minor setback,” Vunivalu said.
“The only way you can get better is what you can do afterwards. And that’s what I’m trying to do, just keep my head down and try to show on field that I’m better than that.
“It’s really easy coming from him because he’s a player himself. At that time I really wanted support and him talking to me was really good.”
Vunivalu was forced to apologise to his teammates, too.
“It was hard standing in front of them, addressing them,” he said.
“It’s not a good look for me, just being there four weeks and that incident happened.”
Vunivalu is grateful for the opportunity to win back respect on the field and is hoping to return for Queensland in their next clash against the Force on April 23, after a bye.
But the Reds haven’t missed Vunivalu, and proved themselves as the new benchmark of Australian Super Rugby after another comeback win against the Brumbies at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday night.
Vunivalu paid Thorn a big compliment by likening him to Bellamy, his legendary coach at the Storm.
“Thorny is pretty much like Craig, pretty old school. Winning culture and stuff like that,” he said.
“Just hard work to get into the team.”
Vunivali’s on-field form in the weeks prior to suffering a hamstring injury justified Thorn’s decision to stick by the former Storm star.
Marika Koroibete will be one of the first players picked in Rennie’s team that faces France in July, with Vunivalu in competition for the other wing spot with in-form Brumbies flyers Tom Wright and Andy Muirhead.
Vunivalu hopes to continue his pursuit of a starting jersey when the Reds play their final match of the season against the Force in Perth.
“I’m getting better every week. The more games I play, the better I learn,” he said.
“If I can come back and have one more game before the big dance, that would be good.”
Sam is a sports reporter for The Sydney Morning Herald.
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Major works are about to stay with a ‘big dig’ at one of Melbourne’s busiest level crossings and there will be delays and street closures in the area.
Around 19,000 vehicles pass through Glenroy Road level crossing in Glenroy each day and the boom gates are down for 43 per cent of the morning peak.
From Tuesday night, a nine-day ‘big dig’ will start with buses replacing trains on part of the Craigieburn line. Excavating works and track upgrades will be carried out across 24 hour periods, meaning motorists could be affected at any time.
The disruption will run until April 16 .
Pascoe Vale Road southbound between Langton Street and Anselm Grove has been closed as well as parts of Electric Street.
On Tuesday, Minister for Transport Infrastructure, Jacinta Allan, said the excavation will involve four Olympic-sized swimming pools worth of dirt removed.
She warned residents there would be noise associated with the works.
Last week, business owners in Glenroy said their post-COVID lockdown recovery had stalled because of the level crossing removal.
“It’s fairly dead now. Less people and we are really in hardship,” business owner Raja Walia said.
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There will be a full day of netball games at the Pat Gallagher Netball Centre as the 8andunder and the 10andunder teams begin their season.
Ten teams nominated for the 10s and eight for the eights.
These two grades begin at 9am after six weeks of the Net Set Go introduction to netball program before Easter.
These grades continue the development as they are played under the rules of netball, the goals scored are not recorded.
The 11-and-under games will follow at 10am with the 13s at 11am and the 15s at noon.
All the other grades will play through the afternoon with the final games starting at 4.30pm.
Friday’s KFC A-Grade game is the second clash for the season between Rovers Complete Construction and Wests from 4.30pm.
Wests coach Tahlia O’Cass is looking for a better performance than the 62 to 19 result from round one.
The return of Kimberly Ellis to the Wests A-Grade squad will be a bonus going forward with O’Cass to decide if she rushes the talented attack player straight into the As or lets Ellis find her feet in Reserves.
Wests is looking for Margaret Smith to return at the end of the month to field its best side.
“Hopefully we will be more competitive,” O’Cass said.
“The effort is there. We just need a few things go our way.
“We have to put four quarters together.”
Rovers coach Leanne Southam is hoping to have the best side for the first time this season.
Recruit Wendy Stafford will take to the court in the attack circle with Suzi Barter returning to the Reserves.
While Southam is confident of a win, she does not expect a repeat of the first round 62-19 result.
“It is long season and we take each week as it comes,” she said.
“We go out to do our best in every game but it is those at the end of the season that really matter.
“It will be good to have everyone on court together.”
Barter’s return to the Reserves will be positive for the team as it plays Federal Club Eastside from 3pm.
Rovers has called on A-Grade members of its squad for numbers in the early rounds but Southam is unlikely to risk injury to players with this game immediately before the A-Grade fixture.
With Federal fielding its full side, including three players with national league experience – Tahlia Lee, Katelyn Paterson and Dana Schembri – it will be too strong.
There is no gate charge to enter the Pat Gallagher Netball Centre.
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Closure dates for Queensland Target stores have been confirmed – and the end is nigh for some.
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