Cyclist fired for giving Trump the finger to get over $70k from GoFundMe campaign

Juli Briskman was out cycling in Sterling, Virginia, when she made the gesture towards the US president as his vehicle left Trump National Golf Course. The image went viral and Briskman was later fired after bringing the incident to the attention of her employer, Akima LLC, an engineering company.

READ MORE: Cyclist flips Trump the bird as motorcade leaves Virginia golf course (PHOTO)

Now a GoFundMe campaign has been set up in Briskman’s honor, describing her as an “inspiration.” So far more than $73,000 has been raised in $5, $20, and $100 donations. All proceeds of the $100,000 goal fund are expected to go to Briskman in an effort to alleviate any financial woes she may have.

Responding to the news of the collection, Briskman said she never imagined a “one-finger salute” would result in her contract being terminated. Highlighting her concerns at covering bills, Briskman thanked people for their support.

She said: “I was shocked and worried about many things: How would I pay for healthcare? How much money do I have in my savings to cover our mortgage and general living expenses in Northern Virginia and how long will it last?”

“Through your very generous donations, many of those heavy burdens have been lifted. I am not sure what the future holds, but I am buoyed by your support.”

The US president was making his 96th visit to one of his properties when Briskman saw red and flipped him the finger.

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Cradle to grape: 8,000yo vintage points to Georgia as birthplace of wine

Georgia, famous for its endless rounds of heartfelt toasts that can run into the wee hours of the morning, just unseated Iran as the home of the first wine produced from the Eurasian grape, popular with millions of wine-lovers around the globe.

The study by a multinational team of scientists led by Patrick McGovern, a molecular archaeologist from the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, says the earliest evidence for grape wine and viniculture from the Near East appeared around 6,000–5,800 BC during the early Neolithic Period at a place called Gadachrili Gora, roughly 50km south of the capital, Tbilisi.

Although this may sound like the chance of a lifetime to sample an 8,000-year-old vintage bottle, the ‘wine’ only exists as dried samples that must be painstakingly collected from the surface of pottery jars that had been buried in the villages as part of the aging and fermentation process.

Although the academic paper makes for rather dry reading, there are some fascinating tidbits of information that many oenophiles will easily relate to.

“Wine is central to civilization as we know it in the West,” reads the introduction to the study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. “As a medicine, social lubricant, mind-altering substance, and highly valued commodity, wine became the focus of religious cults, pharmacopoeias, cuisines, economies, and society in the ancient Near East.”

Even the pottery jars – ‘qvevri’ – that held the wine holds a certain fascination. Unbeknownst to the craftsmen at the time, the natural composition of these vessels were perfect for carrying out scientific studies on them thousands of years in the future.

“[P]ottery has the advantage of being porous and an ionic (zeolite-like) material that absorbs liquids in particular and preserves them from environmental contamination for millennia until they are chemically extracted,” the study mentioned. “The plasticity of the clay is ideal for producing vessel shapes suited to specific purposes, and once fired, the material is virtually indestructible.”

The discoveries in Georgia knock Iran off its pedestal as the birthplace of the booze-up, with its wine dating back to 5,400-5,000 BC. As far as the first fermented beverage goes, China holds that record with a drink that McGovern traced back to 7,000 BC. That drink was most likely a “cocktail” made from rice, honey and wild grapes, whereas the finding in Georgia derived from “pure grape wine.”

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‘I ban my haters’ – Russian powerlifting champ Nataliya Kuznetsova (PHOTOS)

Kuznetsova, 26, who is a female powerlifting champion and record holder at Russian, European and World levels, recently announced her intention to come back to professional competition. To learn more about the comeback of the muscular Russian as well as her personality, we spoke to Nataliya.

RT: You recently announced that you’re returning to professional competition. Why did you take a break?

Nataliya Kuznetsova: I took a break because of the situation in bodybuilding competitions. I was preparing for a competition in the USA, but at the very last moment my visa was declined. But I guess it was for the best, as I didn’t really agree with the result of the contest. And then again, you don’t really earn much from going to competitions, you rather spend money. Now I’m in good shape, it brings me recognition and good business offers. I’d even say that I have more business offers than I used to have going to competitions. You can be a champion, but have no fans. The most important thing is to be in good shape, that way people will always be interested in you.

RT: What about your powerlifting achievements?

NK: At the moment, my personal record in bench press is 175kg (385lbs), 240kg in deadlift and 280kg in squat.

RT: What are your current muscle measurements?

NK: It’s hard to say as they are constantly changing. Most recently I had 48cm (19in) biceps, 74cm hip, 70cm waist, 127cm breast, and I stand 170cm. My weight at the maximum was a little more than 100kg (220lbs).

RT: Does your size cause you any problems, for example on public transportation or in movie theaters?

NK: Not really. There are enough people who are actually bigger than me. Both men and women. People can be big without muscles as well. I’d say that a muscular body gives you an advantage rather than problems.

RT: You have a lot of followers on Instagram. Do you know if they are men or women mostly?

NK: Each week my Instagram gets about 3-4 million views. Mostly by men. About 80 percent are between 25 and 35 years old. If we talk about the countries, most of them come from the USA. Then there’s Brazil, India, Germany and England. The lowest number of views I get are from Russia. It’s pretty obvious when I look at the comments.

RT: Do you get any negative comments on social media regarding your appearance?

NK: When you have big, good feedback, hundreds of positive comments, of course there will be some negative comments. I don’t really understand what they are mad about – I’m not saying that others should live like I do. If you don’t like it, just ignore it and live your life. I just ban my haters. Most of them have fake accounts with no pictures or real names. Instead of hating they’d be better off taking care of their lives.

RT: What about in public? Do you get any negative comments from people?

NK: Most of the negative comments bodybuilders get in real life are from teenagers who recently began practicing bodybuilding. These kids wear tank shirts in the summer and walk around like they are carrying two watermelons. Actual bodybuilders don’t walk like that. I like dressing nicely, and I rarely wear sports clothes. Lots of people recognize me and ask for pictures. I never really heard any negative comments in real life.

RT: We know that you’re married. Is your husband also a bodybuilder?

NK: We’ve known each other for a long time. He’s also an athlete. He helps me a lot. He used to be a freestyle wrestler, and even achieved the rank of master of sport. Now has a business in the food industry.

RT: Do you provide personal training sessions?

NK: There are too many people who want me to help them with training. But I don’t have enough time for it. So I rarely do that.

RT: The people who are looking to hire you as a personal coach, are they mostly men or women?

NK: Most of them are women. Most of the men for some reason think that they don’t need a coach, and only ask for help when they realize they aren’t achieving any results. Girls act much smarter in that regard. They seem to value their time more.

RT: What advice do you have for women who want to do bodybuilding and perhaps achieve such a great result as you?

NK: You should take care of your health first of all. And don’t train until you get approved by a doctor. And don’t train without a coach – it will save your time and health. Don’t be afraid of having ambitions, but rate your ability responsibly.

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Turkish president visits Kuwait for ‘cooperation’ talks

Turkey’s president held talks with Kuwait’s emir on Tuesday, AFP reported, as a crisis that has split Qatar from its Gulf neighbors enters its sixth month. Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Kuwaiti ruler Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah discussed “regional and international developments,” the state news agency KUNA said. Kuwait has led mediation efforts, and Ankara has stepped in to support Qatar with food imports in the face of a blockade by Arab states. On Tuesday, Turkish and Kuwaiti leaders also discussed “means to improve cooperation on all fronts” between the two nations and also inked a direct investment agreement.

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US federal prosecutors to ‘evaluate’ Clinton’s alleged corruption role in Russian uranium deal

In a letter to House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), Assistant Attorney General Stephen Boyd wrote that Sessions “has directed senior federal prosecutors to evaluate certain issues raised in your letters.”

The letters referenced – written by Goodlatte – were dated July 27 and September 26, and included requests by him and other committee members that a special counsel be appointed to investigate certain matters, some of which involved Clinton, according to Fox News.

Among the issues raised was the 2010 Uranium One deal, approved by Clinton when she served as secretary of state in President Barack Obama’s administration. That deal involved selling part of a Canadian-based mining company to Rosatom, resulting in the company acquiring control over 20 percent of America’s uranium supply.

Some Republicans, including President Donald Trump, have claimed – without providing evidence – that Russian interests sought to donate to the Clinton Foundation in a bid to persuade Clinton to support the deal.

Trump has claimed that Clinton was “paid a fortune” to facilitate the sale, and has slammed the “fake media” for ignoring “one of the big stories of the decade.”

Those claims have been denied by Clinton, who called them “baloney” and said there has been “no credible evidence [presented] by anyone.”

Prosecutors will be assigned to the matters as requested, according to the letter, and will report to Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. In particular, they will “make recommendations as to whether any matters not currently under investigation should be opened,” or whether a special counsel will be needed, states the letter, which was delivered ahead of a committee oversight hearing at which Sessions will appear on Tuesday.

The document adds that some issues requested by Goodlatte and other committee members are already being investigated by the Inspector General’s Office. Once the IG’s review is complete, the Department will assess what, if any, additional steps are necessary to address any issues identified by that review. However, the Justice Department does not typically confirm or deny specific investigations, and Boyd stressed that the letter “should not be construed to do so.”

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