From Borough Park to Upper West Side: How Jews voted, and fared, in NY elections | Russia blocks website that exposed Putin's cleaner-turned-millionaire 'mistress' | 18+ В пыточной ОТБ-1 насиловали русских, чеченцев, дагестанцев, грузин, азербайджанцев. 6 эпизодов. - YouTube | Polish PM blames Vladimir Putin for Belarus border crisis | Poland | Russia-linked REvil hackers hit with arrests by US, allies | News

Members of ultra-Orthodox community gather to listen to an interview conducted by a journalist on a street corner, in the Borough Park neighborhood of New York 


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From Borough Park to Upper West Side: How Jews voted, and fared, in NY elections | Russia blocks website that exposed Putin's cleaner-turned-millionaire 'mistress' | 18+ В пыточной ОТБ-1 насиловали русских, чеченцев, дагестанцев, грузин, азербайджанцев. 6 эпизодов. - YouTube | Polish PM blames Vladimir Putin for Belarus border crisis | Poland | Russia-linked REvil hackers hit with arrests by US, allies | News 


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From Borough Park to Upper West Side: How Jews voted, and fared, in NY elections

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The Jewish Week via JTA — It’s official: Eric Adams will become the 110th mayor of New York City and the city’s second Black mayor — even as one major bloc of Jewish voters spurned him.

Adams, a Democrat who ran on the strength of his public safety record, easily defeated his Republican rival. At his victory party, he broadcast an inclusive vision at a precarious moment for the city.

“It doesn’t matter if you are in Borough Park in the Hasidic community, if you’re in Flatbush in the Korean community, if you’re in Sunset Park in the Chinese community, if you’re in Rockaway, if you’re out in Queens, in the Dominican community, Washington Heights — all of you have the power to fuel us,” Adams said in his victory speech at the Marriott Hotel in Brooklyn Bridge Park.

But while Adams had been endorsed by the Satmar Hasidic group in June, which may have helped him come out ahead in the summer’s crowded mayoral primary, he was not the favorite in Borough Park on election night. In the 48th Assembly District, a district represented by an Orthodox assemblyman and which encompasses much of Borough Park, 54.9% of voters chose Republican Curtis Sliwa, with only 39.2% voting for Adams.

Jewish voters in the district also delivered a win to a Republican City Council candidate, Inna Vernikov. Vernikov, a Jewish attorney and Ukrainian immigrant outspoken in her support for former president Donald Trump, will fill the seat vacated when Democrat Chaim Deutsch was expelled from the council in April. She defeated Steven Saperstein, another Jewish candidate and a former special education teacher.

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Members of ultra-Orthodox community gather to listen to an interview conducted by a journalist on a street corner, in the Borough Park neighborhood of New York as Gov. Andrew Cuomo moved to reinstate restrictions on houses of worship in and near areas where coronavirus cases are spiking, October 7, 2020. (John Minchillo/AP)

Both Vernikov and Saperstein campaigned on promises related to public safety, supporting Israel and reducing crime at a time when antisemitic incidents are on the rise in New York City. District 48 contains the city’s largest population of Russian speakers as well as a significant Orthodox Jewish population and was one of a few districts that went for Trump in the 2020 presidential election, with 65% of voters backing the former president.

District 48 is an anomaly in a city where there are seven times as many registered Democrats as Republicans. The dynamic means that Democratic primaries typically decide who wins citywide office in New York City, so Adams had virtually been guaranteed a victory after winning the Democratic primary in June.

Adams will take office during one of the city’s most vulnerable periods in recent history, still reeling from thousands of deaths and economic loss due to the pandemic. Adams, 61, has served as the Brooklyn borough president since 2013.

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As was expected, Brad Lander, a progressive Jewish candidate with ties to Jews for Racial and Economic Justice, will become the city’s next comptroller, and Jumaane Williams will continue to serve as New York City’s public advocate.

In other race results, Mark Levine will become Manhattan’s borough president, replacing Gale Brewer, who returns to her former City Council position representing the Upper West Side. Julie Menin will represent the Upper East Side’s District 6 on the City Council.

Illustrative: New Yorkers line up outside a polling station at Louis Brandeis High School in Manhattan’s Upper West Side (Jacob Magid)

Eric Dinowitz was reelected to the City Council representing the Northwest corner of the Bronx in District 11, which includes the heavily Jewish area of Riverdale. Dinowitz, the son of state assembly member and a one-time member of the Jewish a capella group Six13, was first elected in a special election in March after fellow Democrat Andrew Cohen was elected to the New York Supreme Court.

Progressive Lincoln Restler will represent the Brooklyn shoreline and South Williamsburg in District 33, which encompasses a large Hasidic community, after an uncontested race.

District 32 in Queens, the only New York City Council district represented by a Republican outside of Staten Island, will remain that way. Republican Joann Ariola will be the next Council member after beating Democrat Felicia Singh, a progressive candidate who captured endorsements from Jewish groups. District 32 includes a number of beachfront communities, including Howard Beach and Rockaway Park.

Voters in District 29 elected Democrat Lynn Schulman, who had been endorsed by Jewish groups in Queens. The district includes large Jewish communities in Forest Hills and Kew Gardens.

One race remains too close to call: Ari Kagan, a Jewish immigrant from Belarus who lost to Deutsch in District 48 in 2013, had been favored to replace Mark Treyger in Brooklyn’s District 47. But the Republican candidate, Mark Szuszkiewicz, has outperformed expectations in the district, which spans Bensonhurst, Coney Island, Gravesend and Sea Gate.

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Russia blocks website that exposed Putin's cleaner-turned-millionaire 'mistress'

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Russia has blocked the website that exposed President Vladimir Putin's cleaner-turned-millionaire 'mistress' and her  '£74m business empire'.

Proekt, which also published a series of exposes of the country's super-wealthy elite, was blocked after it claimed, among other things, that Svetlana Krivonogikh, 46, was in a relationship with the then-married Kremlin leader before and after he first became president in 1999.

It also published allegations her daughter - Elizaveta, or Luiza, now 18 - was fathered by Putin, and is his third daughter after Maria and Katerina from his marriage. 

The news outlet, known in English as Project, was earlier designated by the Kremlin a 'foreign agent' and an 'undesirable organisation' - the same labels given to opposition leader Alexei Navalny's Anti-Corruption Foundation. 

Proekt founder Roman Badanin, who has halted his work in Russia where he faces jail on ostensibly unrelated charges, was also labelled a 'foreign agent' over the sites's alleged US backing. 

Russia's state media watchdog has blocked an investigative news website after it revealed details of Vladimir Putin's alleged former mistress and love child
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Russia's state media watchdog has blocked an investigative news website after it revealed details of Vladimir Putin's alleged former mistress and love child

Proekt published claims Svetlana Krivonogikh, 46, (pictured) was in a relationship with the then-married Kremlin leader before and after he first became president in 1999
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Proekt published claims Svetlana Krivonogikh, 46, (pictured) was in a relationship with the then-married Kremlin leader before and after he first became president in 1999

Proekt also published allegations her daughter - Elizaveta, or Luiza, now 18 (pictured) - was fathered by President Putin, and is his third daughter
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Proekt also published allegations her daughter - Elizaveta, or Luiza, now 18 (pictured) - was fathered by President Putin, and is his third daughter

Proekt was blocked in Russia after it published an investigative article (pictured) including details of President Putin's alleged mistress and love child
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Proekt was blocked in Russia after it published an investigative article (pictured) including details of President Putin's alleged mistress and love child 

The move by Roskomnadzor to ban the site reportedly came at the behest of the country's prosecutor-general. 

The Ministry of Justice has claimed the company behind Proekt posed 'a threat to the foundations of the constitutional order and security of the Russian Federation'.   

The outlet's investigative journalists had claimed Krivonogikh owned a business empire worth in excess of £74 million, including a yacht that has been seen under naval escort in St Petersburg.

The recent Pandora Papers leak also linked her to a £3.1 million luxury fourth-floor home, located in the Monte Carlo Star apartment block just below the famous casino, in Monaco. 

The papers also revealed her total worth to be around $100million. 

A series of photos posted to Instagram - one showing a firework display, one of a rainbow overlooking the ocean, and a third showing yachts in the harbour - also linked Krivonogikh and her daughter to the apartment. 

On the yacht photo, which was posted in 2014, daughter Elizaveta replied with comment which said: 'Beautiful! I know this place!' 

Her other assets, many of which are also controlled by offshore firms, include a yacht as well as shares of some of Russia's most-valuable state-owned firms. 

Neither Krivonogikh nor her daughter has commented on the disclosures which unmask the hidden financial dealings of world leaders and their associates. 

Svetlana Krivonogikh, 46 and believed to be Putin's mistress, owns a $4million apartment in Monte Carlo through a secretive offshore firm, the Pandora Papers have revealed
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Svetlana Krivonogikh, 46 and believed to be Putin's mistress, owns a $4million apartment in Monte Carlo through a secretive offshore firm, the Pandora Papers have revealed

Photos posted to Krivonogikh's social media further link her with Monaco, including this one of a firework display over the ultra-rich enclave
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Photos posted to Krivonogikh's social media further link her with Monaco, including this one of a firework display over the ultra-rich enclave

Krivonogikh also posted this image of Monaco's harbour from Monte Carlo, which her daughter and alleged Putin lovechild commented on - saying: 'I know this place!'
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Krivonogikh also posted this image of Monaco's harbour from Monte Carlo, which her daughter and alleged Putin lovechild commented on - saying: 'I know this place!'

Kremlin brushes off Pandora Papers leak and investigation

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Since being 'outed' by the opposition media last year, student Luiza has become a social media star with more than 80,000 followers, her own fashion line, and has been in demand as a DJ.

In recent months, she had spent time in Paris despite the Covid-19 restrictions.

Neither she nor her mother has commented on the Proekt claims but Luiza told Russian GQ that she 'probably' looks 'similar' to a young Putin.     

Putin's spokesman said when the story originally broke that the love child allegations were 'not very convincing' and 'de facto unfounded', but this has not prevented widespread speculation.

Another image from Krivonogikh's social media showed a rainbow over an ocean view, which she also tagged as being taken in Monaco
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Another image from Krivonogikh's social media showed a rainbow over an ocean view, which she also tagged as being taken in Monaco

Elizaveta
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Elizaveta
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Elizaveta is Krivonogikh's daughter and is believed to be Putin's lovechild. Her mother suddenly came into wealth after her birth in 2003

Proekt's closure coincides with a Washington Post article by Badanin - now a John S. Knight Senior International Journalism Fellow at Stanford University - headlined: 'Why we should care about Putin's love life'.

In it he argued: 'Where Krivonogikh got her wealth is relevant not only to Putin's personal life, it is also a matter of life and death for the people of my country.'

The Covid-19 crisis in Russia has reached new peaks yet 'our kleptocrats, enabled and encouraged by the Kremlin, continue to enrich themselves even as regular people continue dying in underfunded state hospitals'.

While deaths soar, hospitals like the Botkin State Clinic in St Petersburg, are crumbling due to lack of renovation, he said.

'Even as public facilities such as Botkin were falling apart, Putin's friends and relatives - including his ex-mistress Krivonogikh - our reporting showed, have been busily building multimillion-dollar residential buildings for themselves,' he wrote.

Funding for such properties has come from Bank Rossiya, of which she is an owner, he said.

Proekt's closure coincides with a Washington Post article by Roman Badanin (pictured) - now a John S. Knight Senior International Journalism Fellow at Stanford University - headlined: 'Why we should care about Putin's love life'
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Proekt's closure coincides with a Washington Post article by Roman Badanin (pictured) - now a John S. Knight Senior International Journalism Fellow at Stanford University - headlined: 'Why we should care about Putin's love life'

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18+ В пыточной ОТБ-1 насиловали русских, чеченцев, дагестанцев, грузин, азербайджанцев. 6 эпизодов. - YouTube

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Polish PM blames Vladimir Putin for Belarus border crisis | Poland

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Poland’s prime minister has accused Vladimir Putin of “masterminding” the migrant crisis on Belarus’s border with the EU, while Minsk’s key ally in the Kremlin pointed the blame at Europe.

The escalating rhetoric, including claims from the Belarusian leader, Alexander Lukashenko, that Russia could join a potential conflict at the border, has underlined the role that regional alliances are playing in the standoff and ensuing humanitarian crisis.

Poland and Lithuania have declared a state of emergency on their borders with Belarus, where Lukashenko has been accused of ferrying asylum-seekers from the Middle East to the EU’s borders as revenge for the bloc’s criticism of his crackdown on opposition.

The arrival of more than 1,000 migrants and refugees, many from Iraqi Kurdistan, at the Polish border on Monday brought the crisis to a head. Polish border guards said on Wednesday that two groups of several dozen people had breached the borders overnight. They were arrested and expelled, they said. Lithuanian border guards said they had prevented 281 attempts to cross the border illegally on Tuesday.

At an extraordinary session of parliament on Tuesday evening, the Polish prime minister, Mateusz Morawiecki, squarely pointed the blame for the crisis at Moscow and Putin, calling the Russian leader an “enabler” of Lukashenko.

“This attack which Lukashenko is conducting has its mastermind in Moscow, the mastermind is President Putin,” Morawiecki said in the Sejm, Poland’s lower house of parliament, which is dominated by the rightwing Law and Justice party.

Morawiecki said Putin was determined to “rebuild the Russian empire” and called the crisis at the border “a new kind of war, in which people are used as living shields”.

The remarks are the most direct accusations against Russia yet in a crisis where the Kremlin has not played an overt role. Belarusian travel agencies have issued visas and brought hundreds of people from Iraq, Syria and other countries to Minsk, from where they then travel west to try to cross the border and from Poland pass on to Germany. Many of the airlines carrying the migrants and refugees are Belarusian or based in the Middle East.

Moscow has been an increasingly crucial ally for Belarus in the past year, backing Lukashenko after his brutal crackdown on protests and after his grounding of a Ryanair flight in May that set off a fresh round of sanctions and pushed Minsk further into isolation.

EU countries have threatened new sanctions and accused Lukashenko of “human trafficking” and “gangster-style” tactics.

On Tuesday, Russia’s foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, said western countries including EU member states, and Nato, were the “root” of the migrant crisis.

“They were pushing for a western-style better life and democracy the way it is interpreted by the west,” he said, referring to US-led interventions and alleged western backing for the Arab spring.

Lukashenko and Putin held a phone call to discuss the border crisis on Tuesday. On Wednesday, the Collective Security Treaty Organisation, a military alliance of ex-Soviet states, said it was following the crisis “very closely and with concern”.

“The migrant crisis may evolve into a great disaster for thousands of civilians, including numerous women and children,” the CSTO secretariat said in a statement. Dominated by Moscow, the group is seen as the Kremlin’s answer to Nato.

Earlier, western media reported remarks from a Nato spokesperson that the military alliance “stands ready” to provide help to end the crisis.

Reuters reported on Wednesday that the EU was close to imposing more sanctions on Belarus, targeting 30 individuals and entities including the foreign minister and the Belarusian airline Belavia, with approval likely as early as next week.

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Russia-linked REvil hackers hit with arrests by US, allies | News

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WASHINGTON — After vowing for months to crack down on ransomware, the Biden administration and allied countries unleashed a string of actions Monday against one of the most prolific hacking groups and also issued sanctions against cryptocurrency entities that allegedly enable such attacks.

European authorities announced that police in Romania and South Korea had arrested five people allegedly associated with the Russia-linked ransomware group commonly known as REvil or Sodinokibi. In the U.S., a Ukrainian national, Yaroslav Vasinkyi, and a Russian national, Yevgeniy Polyanin, were indicted for alleged involvement in REvil ransomware attacks, according to Justice Department court documents unsealed Monday in Dallas.

“Together with our partners, the Justice Department is sparing no resource to identify and bring to justice anyone, anywhere, who targets the United States with a ransomware attack,” Attorney General Merrick Garland said at a news conference in Washington. “The U.S. government will continue to aggressively pursue the entire ransomware ecosystem and increase our nation’s resilience to cyberthreats.”

While the arrests and associated actions demonstrate a significant capability of governments to disrupt hackers, it remained unclear how much of an impact they’ll have on preventing future ransomware attacks. Cybersecurity experts warn that hackers operate in loosely affiliated groups, often in countries like Russia where they can evade law enforcement.

Jon DiMaggio, chief security strategist at Analyst1, said the indictments can be important in slowing down groups like REvil. “But at the end of the day, there is no shortage of hackers for hire that want to make money by getting in with these guys,” he said.

“Maybe they’ll think for a second longer before they join, if there’s law enforcement action against a specific group. Time will tell,” he said. “But criminals are criminals. They’re generally not afraid of law enforcement.”

In Washington, the Treasury Department announced actions intended to disrupt ransomware attacks and the virtual currency exchanges that launder the illicit proceeds. The State Department offered a reward of as much as $10 million for information leading to the identification or location of REvil’s leaders and as much as $5 million for information leading to the arrest or conviction of individuals who participated in attacks involving REvil’s malware.

“REvil,” short for “Ransomware-Evil,” is known as one of the world’s most infamous ransomware gangs. The group is accused of staging several attacks this year against major companies and organizations, including Brazilian meat supplier JBS SA and Miami-based technology company Kaseya. JBS paid an $11 million ransom, while Kaseya said it declined to pay the hackers.

In ransomware attacks, hackers encrypt a victim’s files and then demand payment to unlock them. Reported ransomware payments in the U.S. reached $590 million in the first half of 2021, compared with a total of $416 million in a 2020, according to the Treasury Department.

Following a string of high-profile attacks, President Joe Biden vowed to make curbing ransomware a priority for his administration. At a June summit, he warned his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, that Russian hackers should steer clear of 16 critical sectors of the US. economy. Last month, his administration enlisted more than 30 countries in an effort to curb ransomware.

On Monday, Biden said he was following through on his promise to Putin.

“We are bringing the full strength of the federal government to disrupt malicious cyber activity and actors, bolster resilience at home, address the abuse of virtual currency to launder ransom payments, and leverage international cooperation to disrupt the ransomware ecosystem and address safe harbors for ransomware criminals,” Biden said in a statement.

The arrests by European and South Korean law enforcement involved so-called REvil affiliates. Ransomware groups often provide their malware to others, called affiliates, who then target victims and pay the group a cut of the illicit proceeds. Europol said that law enforcement agencies had identified the alleged affiliates of REvil after seizing infrastructure used by the group and carrying out investigative methods such as wiretapping.

Romanian authorities arrested two alleged affiliates of the group on Thursday, according to a statement released Monday by European law enforcement agency Europol. A further three arrests of REvil suspects were made earlier this year, Europol said.

The arrests stemmed from an international investigation named GoldDust, which involved law enforcement agencies from 17 countries, including the U.S., the U.K., France and Germany. The alleged hackers are suspected of involvement in about 5,000 ransomware infections and received about half a million Euros ($579,000) in ransom payments.

In the Texas indictments, Vasinskyi and Polyanin were charged with conspiracy to commit fraud and money laundering, as well as other computer crimes, in connection with REvil ransomware attacks against several U.S. businesses. Prosecutors allege the two “knowingly and willfully” conspired to intentionally damage computer systems among at least nine firms in seven states.

The Justice Department said Monday it seized $6.1 million in ransom payments tied to Polyanin, and the FBI added a “wanted” poster for him to its website.

Polyanin is charged with deploying the first operational version of the Sodinokibi ransomware. He allegedly deployed ransomware on the computer networks of one company and 11 government entities — tied to multiple municipalities in Texas — in August 2019, according to court filings. Polyanin allegedly hacked into the network of an unnamed company and then deployed ransomware on its customer’s networks.

Vasinskyi was arrested after traveling to Poland. In December 2019, he allegedly sent a message on a criminal forum to “Unknown,” who is believed to be a representative of the REvil ransomware gang. “Hello, this is rabotnik,” Vasinskyi wrote, according to the court filings. “I want to return to work.” Vasinskyi’s alleged targets included Kaseya, the Florida based software developer. Prosecutors said the victims in Vasinskyi’s attacks have paid more than $2 million in combined ransom.

The government alleges that Vasinskyi and other conspirators authored and deployed the malicious software on computer systems since April 2019. Prosecutors say the attackers infected computers using a swath of tricks, including sending out phishing emails, using compromised remote desktop passwords and exploiting vulnerabilities in software code.

Monday’s actions include the designation of Chatex, a virtual currency exchange, and its associated support network, for facilitating financial transactions for ransomware actors. Chatex, which claims to have a presence in multiple countries, has facilitated transactions for multiple ransomware variants, according to the Treasury Department. Analysis of Chatex’s known transactions indicate that over half are directly traced to illicit or high-risk activities such as dark net markets, high-risk exchanges, and ransomware.

Law enforcement authorities used the new conference to encourage other companies to quickly report attacks to law enforcement, as Kaseya did, and to praise other countries that aided in the effort. FBI Director Christopher Wray said that the arrests show “what’s possible when federal law enforcement and international law enforcement work together with private sector companies.”

When asked by a reporter, Garland declined to say whether the Russian government condoned or was aware of the actions taken against the hackers.

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