General election 2019: Brexit Party expels activists over racist remarks

Close up of a Brexit Party rosetteImage copyright

The Brexit Party has expelled a local councillor and dismissed a part-time official after they were filmed making racist comments.

The two activists were filmed by undercover reporters for Channel 4 News during campaigning in Hartlepool ahead of this Thursday’s election.

Brexit Party chairman Richard Tice said his party condemned the “hideous” remarks.

He added that “immediate action” had been taken.

In the film, Councillor David Mincher was shown complaining that Muslims were “outbreeding us” and “live like animals”.

He boasted that he once tried to bury a pig’s head under a mosque that was being built in the town – but later told the programme he made up the story “as a stupid act of showing off to your reporter”.

He was also shown making derogatory remarks about Pakistanis, Somalis and Turks.

  • A simple guide to the Brexit Party
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Gordon Parkin, described as the party’s assistant manager for the North East region, was also shown saying Muslims were “outbreeding us”.

He is shown adding that countries that “will not accept Muslims” don’t “need a quarter of the prisons we need”.

Mr Tice, who is standing as Brexit Party candidate in Hartlepool, said the party took action “within hours” when they became aware of the comments.

“I would take the gravest exception to any attempt by Channel 4 to suggest that I or the Brexit Party in any way share, condone or was aware of these views and matters,” he added.

He also criticised the undercover filming by the reporters, and accused the channel of being prepared to go to the “most extreme lengths” to discredit Brexit and those who back it.

A Channel 4 News spokeswoman said: “We stand by our journalism”.

Here is a full list of all the candidates standing in Hartlepool.

It comes as Reece Wilkes, the Brexit Party candidate for Lincoln, has announced he’s no longer asking for voters’ support on Thursday and is, instead, urging people to vote Conservative in the marginal constituency.

Here is a full list of candidates in Lincoln.

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Russia banned from Olympics again over doping cover-up

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has banned Russia from participating in all major international sporting events, including the 2020 Olympics and the 2022 soccer World Cup, over its failure to end the cover-up of doping by its athletes.

WADA’s executive committee voted unanimously at a session in the Swiss city Lausanne on Monday to accept a recommendation to ban Russia from fielding athletes under its flag and team names at any major international competitions for the next four years, meaning Russia will miss a second Olympics in a row over doping.

The vote endorsed a recommendation that WADA’s compliance board made in late November after finding that Russia was still not cooperating with it and had continued to try to conceal possible doping violations.

As a result, Russia will be officially absent at the Summer Olympics in Tokyo next year and at the soccer World Cup when it is held in Qatar in 2022, as well as potentially a host of other top events.

WADA has said, however, that Russian athletes able to prove they are clean and unconnected to the doping cover-up will still be allowed to compete as “neutrals.”

That is the same decision as during the most recent Winter Olympics in South Korea last year, where Russian teams took part wearing a special “neutral” uniform and the Russian flag and anthem were banned from medal ceremonies. Russia’s official medal score at that Olympics was also zero.

Russia will also be banned from hosting any international sporting events for four years and those events that are already due to take place there must be moved. Russian officials will also be forbidden from attending the events while the ban is in place.

The ban, though severe, still stops short of a blanket ban demanded by some other countries. 168 Russian athletes took part in the 2018 games in Pyeongchang as neutrals, with some still winning medals, and WADA will likely still face criticism for still allowing some Russia athletes to compete. The body had to strike a difficult balance between punishing Russia, while protecting clean Russian athletes who have spent their lives training to compete. The chairman of WADA’s compliance committee, Jonathan Taylor said that WADA had identified at least 145 Russian athletes whose results had been tampered with and who would therefore be banned from the Olympics.

The decision is a still a stunning blow to Russian sports, which have been upended by the doping scandal since it began in 2015. Russia has also already missed two Paralympics, and virtually its entire track and field team was excluded from the Summer Olympics in Brazil in 2016 — punishments which had been unprecedented for doping.

It is up to the International Olympic Committee how the new ban will be handled, but it has already said it will be bound by WADA’s recommendations. Russian officials on Monday questioned whether the ban would also apply to the World Cup, but WADA’s Taylor said it would, saying if Russia’s team qualified, they would have to play as neutrals. The ultimate decision depends on world soccer’s governing body FIFA.

WADA made the recommendation to ban Russia after its investigators said it had found evidence Russian anti-doping authorities were still concealing possible doping by its athletes.

The anti-doping body’s president, Sir Craig Reedie, in a statement, said the decision showed “determination to act resolutely in the face of the Russian doping crisis.”

“For too long, Russian doping has detracted from clean sport. The blatant breach by the Russian authorities of RUSADA’s reinstatement conditions demanded a robust response,” he said, referring to the reinstatement of Russia’s national anti-doping agency.

“Russia was afforded every opportunity to get its house in order and re-join the global anti-doping community for the good of its athletes and of the integrity of sport, but it chose instead to continue in its stance of deception and denial,” Reedie said.

Russia now has 21 days to appeal the decision. If it chooses so, it will be considered by the Court of Arbitration for Sport, sports top appeals court.

The doping scandal first broke out in 2015, when athletes came forward with evidence of sprawling state-sponsored cover-up of doping that was later shown to take in dozens of Russian athletes over almost a decade, including at the 2014 Winter Olympics that Russia hosted in 2014.

Russia has always refused to admit that the cover-up was state-sponsored, instead arguing a handful of officials and coaches conducted it. It also claimed the allegations are politically motivated.

Substantial evidence, however, has emerged over the years showing the state directed the scheme. In 2016, the former head of Russia’s anti-doping laboratory in Moscow, Grigory Rodchenkov turned whistleblower and showed how he and the lab, as well as Russia’s FSB security service had worked to hide hundreds of positive doping tests.

The cover-up, as described by Rodchenkov, was confirmed by a commission appointed by WADA, led by Richard McLaren in 2016. Another IOC-commissioned investigation also confirmed the broad outlines of the cover-up.

Since then, Russia has taken some steps to overhaul its anti-doping system, but in November, WADA said it had found signs, once again, Russia was still hiding violations and trying to discredit the WADA investigations even as late as last winter.

A WADA compliance report in late November 26 said it had found that hundreds of likely positive doping tests had been deleted from a database of results held by Russia’s anti-doping lab given to WADA in 2019.

Russia has since refused to hand over a full copy without the deletions, the WADA report said. In addition, the investigators found that in late 2018 “fabricated evidence” had been planted in the databased provided to WADA an effort to discredit the claims made by Rodchenkov and other whistleblowers. Evidence had also been deleted in an effort to exonerate another doping official, who has been playing a prominent role in Russia’s defense and painting Rodchenkov as a liar, the report said.

In Russia, where the ban hit like a national crisis, officials and Russian state media once again denounced it as politically motivated and biased.

Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev attacked WADA’s decision an example of “anti-Russian hysteria” and said Russia ought to appeal. But he also acknowledged that Russian sport still has “many problems” with doping.

Russia’s sports minister, Pavel Kolobkov, was relatively conciliatory, declining during a televised press conference to directly call WADA’s decision “political”. However, he appeared to reject WADA’s accusations over the test result database, disputing that the data sets WADA had received from whistleblowers was genuine and arguing the body had ignored Russia’s responses about the Moscow lab’s database.

Kolobkov said he believed RUSADA had good grounds for appealing the decision or some aspects of it at CAS, but said that would happen only once RUSADA informed WADA it did not agree with it within the 21-day appeal deadline.

But there were also unusual statements from some saying that the blame lay mostly with Russian sporting officials who had failed to get a grip on the crisis.

The head of Russia’s national anti-doping agency, RUSADA, Yuri Ganus, called for a new approach and seemed to appeal to President Vladimir Putin to intervene to change it.

“Our country has a tragedy. We have a national leader, to whom officials look to. And we are waiting for decisive actions from him. ” Yuri Ganus said at a press conference in Moscow. He said Russian officials must now handover the database of sample results being demanded by WADA, saying that “obstacles” had been created.

“We need to conduct a detailed investigation to find this database. Nothing is finished yet. We need to hold an investigation, to find the databases and hand them over to WADA,” Ganus said.

Many other Russian sporting officials were unrestrained in their anger, attacking it as unjust, with the president of the Russia’s Olympic Committee, Stanislav Pozdnyakov calling the punishments “indecent, illogical and excessive.”

“I don’t have any words,” said Aslanbek Khushtov, a former Olympic greco-roman wrestling champion told TASS. “How can you mock athletes who spent their entire lives working to this? Unfortunately, this is politics, I don’t smell any sport here,” he said.

But another RUSADA official said it was necessary to recognise that not enough had been done. “I hear the federation presidents and experts, who are proudly declaiming their activity, that they have answered everything, around us are only enemies who want to attack our sportspeople. That all speaks to how our anti-doping culture hasn’t changed,” Margarita Pakhnotskaya, RUSADA’s deputy director told Interfax.

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Russia plans to set up Arctic air defence ‘dome’ with S-400 missiles

MOSCOW, Dec 9 (Reuters) – Russia plans to establish an air defence “dome” across its polar region by arming all of its Northern Fleet’s Arctic divisions with S-400 missile batteries, a Russian naval commander said on Monday.

Russia has been stepping up its military presence in the Arctic, building new infrastructure and overhauling its ports as it vies for dominance in a region with huge untapped mineral wealth amid warmer climate cycles.

Other countries have also scrambled to boost their Arctic presence, stoking fears of intensifying geopolitical rivalry. In May, Washington accused Russia of aggressive behaviour in the polar region and said China’s actions must be watched closely.

Russia in September deployed its S-400 air defence systems to the Novaya Zemlya archipelago in the far north, and the commander of Russia’s Northern Fleet said on Monday that similar deployments would be made across the region.

“The plan is for all our Arctic divisions to be supplied with such complexes in the coming years and there will effectively be an air defence dome created over the Russian part of the Arctic,” Vice-Admiral Alexei Moiseyev said.

“This means that the Arctic will be protected from any kind of enemy aerial attack, whether from planes, cruise or ballistic missiles,” Moiseyev said in an interview with the Russian Defence Ministry’s Zvezda TV channel. (Reporting by Tom Balmforth; editing by Ed Osmond)

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Pressure mounts on FBI for answers on Florida naval base shooting

PENSACOLA, Fla. (Reuters) – U.S. investigators face mounting pressure on Monday to deliver answers on the motive that led a Saudi Air Force lieutenant to shoot and kill three people and wounded eight others at a U.S. Navy base in Pensacola, Florida.

FILE PHOTO: Royal Saudi Air Force 2nd Lieutenant Mohammed Saeed Alshamrani, airman accused of killing three people at a U.S. Navy base in Pensacola, Florida, is seen in an undated military identification card photo released by the Federal Bureau of Investigation December 7, 2019. FBI/Handout via REUTERS.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, speaking at a Sunday evening press conference, said he was sure the gunman carried out an act of terrorism. He questioned whether it could have been prevented by better vetting of foreign military officers who train in the United States.

“There is a lot of frustration in our state over this,” DeSantis said. “You have foreign military personnel coming to our base. They should not be doing that if they hate our country.”

The FBI said it thinks that the shooter, Second Lieutenant Mohammed Saeed Alshamrani, 21, acted alone when he opened fire inside a classroom at the base early on Friday morning.

The bureau said it was not ruling out labeling the violence as an act of terrorism, but that it still had many people to interview on Monday and was still collecting evidence at what it called an active crime scene.

The New York Times reported late Sunday that it had reviewed an official complaint Alshamrani lodged in April against an instructor at the base who had made derogatory comments about his appearance, but that there was no apparent connection between that incident and the shooting.

The FBI confirmed on Sunday that Alshamrani had legally purchased somewhere in Florida the Glock 9mm pistol he used in the shooting. DeSantis said he was able to buy the firearm because of a “federal loophole” in gun laws that allow nonimmigrant foreign nationals to purchase weapons for an array of reasons, including if they simply have a hunting license.

“I’m big supporter of the Second Amendment, but it’s so Americans can keep and bear arms, not Saudi Arabians,” the governor told reporters.

Alshamrani was on the base as part of a U.S. Navy training program designed to foster links with foreign allies. He had started training in the United States in 2017 and had been in the Pensacola area for the past 18 months, authorities said.

His fellow Saudi students were speaking directly with American investigators and were restricted to the base on order of the Saudi military, Rojas said.

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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‘Snowflake’ Devin Nunes Mocked For Panicking After Reporter’s Question

Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) is being mocked on Twitter after claiming that he’s the victim of someone who “stalked” him. 

However, the image he shared on Twitter was of reporter Lee Fang of The Intercept ― and footage doesn’t show stalking but rather ordinary reporting. 

Video from the scene shows Fang identifying himself, then calmly attempting to question Nunes outside a $15,000-a-plate GOP fundraiser on Saturday. 

Specifically, Fang asked Nunes about his contacts with Lev Parnas, an associate of Rudy Giuliani ― attorney to President Donald Trump ― who has been indicted on federal campaign finance charges. 

The House Intelligence Committee’s impeachment report released last week includes phone records from AT&T showing multiple calls between Nunes and Parnas.

“What was the content of those calls?” he asked. “Were you part of this effort to pressure the Ukrainian government to investigate Hunter Biden?” 

Nunes does not speak in the footage but instead shakily photographs both Fang and the camera operator filming the encounter.

The congressman later tweeted: 

The Intercept said Nunes spoke to a Capitol Police officer, who ordered the reporters out of the hotel where the fundraiser was held. 

But given the routine nature of the encounter ― a reporter who identifies himself questioning a congressman about a matter he’s allegedly involved in ― critics were quick to call out Nunes for some “snowflake” behavior: 

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OHL Roundup: Sunday, December 8, 2019

ERIE, Pa. – Ryan Roth scored twice, including the winner, as the Sarnia Sting doubled the Erie Otters 6-3 on Sunday in Ontario Hockey League play.

Nolan Burke, Eric Hjorth, Jamieson Rees and Justin Nolet also scored for the Sting (13-16-0).

Benjamin Gaudreau kicked out 44 shots for Sarnia.

Drew Hunter, Noah Sedore and Brendan Hoffmann supplied the offence for the Otters (11-10-8).

Daniel Murphy turned aside 19 shots for Erie.

The Sting were 1 for 2 with the man advantage and the Otters went 0 for 3 with the man advantage.


MISSISSAUGA, Ont. — Rory Kerins struck twice, including the first-period winner, as Sault Ste. Marie topped the Steelheads.

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Alex Johnston, Jaromir Pytlik, Joe Carroll and Tye Kartye rounded out the attack for the Greyhounds (13-15-2).

Keean Washkurak, Aidan Prueter and Thomas Harley scored for Mississauga (9-18-2).


NORTH BAY, Ont. — Ty Dellandrea had a pair of goals as Flint flew past the Battalion.

Zacharie Giroux, Ethan Keppen and Jake Durham also scored for the Firebirds (18-11-0).

Brandon Coe scored twice for North Bay (5-23-0) and Luke Moncada added a single.


GUELPH, Ont. — Cole Tymkin’s goal at the 10:42 mark of the first period was the winner as the Knights downed the Storm.

Luke Evangelista and Alec Regula also scored for London (18-7-2).

Pavel Gogolev replied for Guelph (17-6-4).


SUDBURY, Ont. — David Levin scored twice, including the winner, as the Wolves dispatched Barrie.

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Isaak Phillips, Shane Bulitka and Quinton Byfield had the other goals for Sudbury (18-11-1).

Tyler Tucker had a pair of goals for the Colts (13-11-2) and Matej Pekar also scored.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 8, 2019.

© 2019 The Canadian Press

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Conservatives urge Morneau to deliver ‘urgent’ fall economic update

The Conservatives are calling on Finance Minister Bill Morneau to deliver an “urgent” fall economic update, including a plan to get back to balance.

Conservative MP Pierre Poilievre, the finance critic, says he wants to see the Liberal government provide a fiscal update before the holidays that would include tax cuts for entrepreneurs, efforts to get rid of regulatory red tape and a plan to phase out the deficit over the next few years.

The Ottawa-area MP notes the country lost about 71,000 jobs last month, according to Statistics Canada, which was the biggest monthly drop since the financial crisis of a decade ago.

Meanwhile, the American unemployment rate is the lowest it has been in half a century.

The re-elected Liberals promised during the fall election campaign to reduce the deficit to $21 billion by the fourth year of their mandate, while the Conservatives had promised to deliver a $667-million surplus in 2024-25.

Poilievre says the Liberals have had plenty of time since the October election to prepare a fiscal update.

“The storm clouds of our economy have been gathering overhead for a long time, so if they are this ill-prepared for the trouble that is unfolding, it says something about their ability to govern,” Poilievre told a news conference in Ottawa on Sunday.

Morneau says the first thing the Liberals plan to do is bring in their promised tax cut for the middle class. The economy is resilient, he said in a statement.

“While we will always remain vigilant to any potential risks to our economy, Canada has a stable and resilient financial sector that supports a strong and growing economy — an economy that continues to grow as we work with partners right across the country to address immediate and long-term challenges, including in the resource sector,” Morneau said Sunday.

The New Democrats also want Morneau to adjust his plans by making sure the proposed tax cut is implemented in a way that all benefits go to those earning less than $90,000 per year.

The NDP says this would reduce the cost of the tax cut by $1.6 billion, which the party says it could divert to dental care.

“We believe that this is a constructive proposal that would make a meaningful difference in the lives of millions of Canadians — particularly the people who are in greatest need,” said a letter the NDP plans to send to Morneau Monday.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 8, 2019.

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Manchester City vs Manchester United: Arrest over racist incident

A video circulating on social media appeared to show a fan making abusive gestures towards United players during their team’s 2-1 victory in the English Premier League match at City’s Etihad Stadium.

A statement released by City after the match said it was aware of a video and that the club would be working with Greater Manchester Police to identify any individuals responsible.

The reigning Premier League champion said it was also investigating objects thrown onto the pitch, notably at United’s Brazilian midfielder Fred.

READ: FIFA and UEFA ‘may as well have stood in stands with racists,’ says ex-England star

” A 41-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of a racially aggravated public order and remains in custody for questioning,” said a statement released by Greater Manchester Police Sunday.

Superintendent Chris Hill of the City of Manchester Division said: “We will continue to work with Manchester City and Manchester United Football clubs on this incident and will investigate any other lines of enquiries.”

The English Football Association also confirmed Sunday that it would be investigating the incident, which has drawn widespread condemnation.


United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer told BBC’s Match of the Day program: “I’ve seen it on the video, it was Jesse [Lingard] and Fred and the chap must be ashamed of himself,” he said.

“It’s unacceptable and I hope he will not be watching any football any more.”

Fred reacts after being struck with an object.
Lingard also retweeted a social post containing the video, writing: “Not even this idiot can ruin tonight’s feeling. Shameful behavior, it may be the derby but there is never ever a reason to be racist.”
READ: How the scourge of racism continues to tarnish English football
READ: Italian football vows to combat its ‘serious problem’ with racism

‘Big negative’

Football around the world has experienced an increasing number of racist incidents in recent years.

United forward Marcus Rashford, who scored his team’s opener from the penalty spot after he was bundled over by City’s Bernardo Silva, was part of the England squad when its black players were subjected to monkey chants and Nazi salutes during a Euro 2020 qualifier in Bulgaria in October.

“The fact it is still happening is not good enough,” he was quoted as saying by the BBC.

“We seem to be speaking about it an awful lot over last six to eight months. Even speaking about it now is not nice.

“The necessary departments need to do the right things to stop it in the game. It is a big negative in the sport and the country.”

Anti-racism body Kick It Out said: “We hope swift action is taken to identify the offenders.”

In Italy this season, Inter Milan’s Romelu Lukaku was the subject of monkey chants from Cagliari fans and Brescia striker Mario Balotelli said he had experienced racial abuse by opposition Verona fans.

READ: Italian newspaper sparks race row with ‘Black Friday’ front page
READ: Georginio Wijnaldum is ready to walk off pitch if subjected to racist abuse

Both incidents were met with meager penalties — Verona was handed a one-match partial stadium closure and Cagliari escaped any serious punishment.

In the Manchester derby, Anthony Martial added to Rashford’s opener with a smartly taken shot inside 30 minutes before Nicolas Otamendi pulled back a late consolation with a header from Riyad Mahrez’s corner.

City, which has won the last two Premier League titles, is third in the table, 14 points adrift of leader Liverpool. United is eight points further back in fifth.

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Trump warns Kim Jong-un over denuclearisation after North Korea touts ‘important test’ at rocket launch site

Donald Trump meets with Kim Jong-un at the North Korean side of the border in Demilitarized Zone: AP
Donald Trump meets with Kim Jong-un at the North Korean side of the border in Demilitarized Zone: AP

North Korea has claimed it carried out a “very important test” this weekend at a long-range rocket launch site that was partially dismantled at the start of denuclearisation talks last year.

As hopes of new negotiations between North Korea and the US have dimmed, Pyongyang has threatened to seek “a new way” forward if it cannot make progress with talks.

In response to the news, Donald Trump sent a warning to North Korea that it “must denuclearise”.

“Kim Jong-un is too smart and has far too much to lose, everything actually, if he acts in a hostile way,” Mr Trump wrote in a tweet.

A spokesperson for North Korea’s Academy of National Defence Science said the test on Saturday at the Sohae Satellite Launching Ground will have “an important effect on changing the strategic position of [the country] once again in the near future”.

Although the statement did not say what was tested, Kim Dong-yub, an analyst at Seoul’s Institute for Far Eastern Studies, has said it is likely the country was testing a solid-fuel engine for an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM).

On Friday, CNN reported that a new satellite image indicated North Korea may be preparing to resume testing engines used to power satellite launchers and ICBMs at the site.

Seoul’s Defence Ministry has said it is closely monitoring the North’s activities with the US.

The North Korean test “is meant to improve military capabilities and to shore up domestic pride and legitimacy”, according to Leif-Eric Easley, a professor at Ewha University in Seoul.

“With the activity at Sohae, Pyongyang is also trying to raise international concerns that it may intensify provocations and walk away from denuclearisation talks next year,” he said.

The Sohae launching centre in Tongchang-ri, in western North Korea, is where banned satellite launches have been carried out in recent years, provoking worldwide condemnation and UN sanctions.

North Korea has claimed its satellite launches are part of a peaceful space development programme.

However, outside experts say ballistic missiles and rockets used in satellite launches share similar bodies, engines and other technology.

US-North Korea diplomacy has largely remained deadlocked since the second summit between Mr Trump and Mr Kim in Vietnam in February.

The deadlock has stemmed from disputes over how much sanctions relief the North must get in return for dismantling its key nuclear complex, with the US being warned it must abandon hostile policies by the end of this year.

In recent months, North Korea has carried out tests of short-range missiles and other weapons, and hinted at resuming tests for nuclear and long-range missiles.

Kim Song, North Korea’s UN ambassador, told the UN on Saturday that denuclearisation had “already gone out of the negotiation table”.

Mr Song accused the Trump administration of pursuing a “hostile policy” towards North Korea and described major European countries as playing “the role of pet dog of the United States in recent months”.

“We regard their behaviour as nothing more than a despicable act of intentionally flattering the United States,” the ambassador said.

Additional reporting by AP

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Bolivia lithium: Industry business hit by political crisis | Bolivia News

Bolivia is home to one of the largest reserves of lithium.

The mineral is used in smartphones and electric car batteries. But extracting it can be challenging.

And now the future of the industry seems uncertain, as the country descends into a political crisis.

Al Jazeera’s John Holman reports from the Uyuni salt flats.

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