The JungleJuly 17, 20183min0

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Treasury said on Monday that it will no longer require certain tax-exempt organizations including politically active nonprofit groups, such as the National Rifle Association and Planned Parenthood, to identify their financial donors to U.S. tax authorities.

U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin testifies to the House Financial Services hearing on state of the international financial system on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., July 12, 2018. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts/File Photo

The policy change, heralded by conservatives as an advance for free speech, maintains donor disclosure requirements for traditional charity groups organized to receive tax-exempt donations under a section of the Internal Revenue code known as 501(c)(3), the Treasury said.

But the move frees labor unions, issue advocacy organizations, veterans groups and other nonprofits that do not receive tax-exempt money from meeting confidential disclosure requirements set in place decades ago.

“Americans shouldn’t be required to send the IRS information that it doesn’t need to effectively enforce our tax laws, and the IRS simply does not need tax returns with donor names and addresses to do its job in this area,” U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement.

The change protects the privacy of wealthy donors of “dark money” donations to politically active groups. Conservatives have complained that the disclosures to the IRS, though not public, were susceptible to media leaks.

The issue of the IRS’s handling of nonprofit political groups exploded into headlines several years ago when the federal tax agency was found to have targeted tax-exempt political groups aligned with the conservative Tea Party movement for greater scrutiny.

“It is important to emphasize that this change will in no way limit transparency,” Mnuchin said. “The same information about tax-exempt organizations that was previously available to the public will continue to be available, while private taxpayer information will be better protected.”

Reporting by David Morgan; Editing by Leslie Adler

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The JungleJuly 17, 20184min0

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Media captionKilauea volcano: Molten lava meets the sea

Flying lava has struck a tour boat in Hawaii, injuring 23 people, officials in the US state say.

An explosion sent rocks and debris hurtling through the air and through the roof of the tourist vessel.

One passenger broke a leg while others suffered burns. The authorities are investigating.

The lava is from Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano, which erupted in May and has been spewing out gas and molten rock ever since.

The explosion left a gaping hole in the roof of the tour boat, which had been taking visitors out to view lava plunging into the sea.

Those injured are being treated in hospital.

Some passengers told Hawaii’s Department of Land and Natural Resources that the boat was outside a safety zone established by the coastguard.

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The explosion ripped a hole in the top of the boat

Officials have warned of the dangers of toxic fumes, created when molten rock hits the sea and forms hazardous clouds containing hydrochloric acid and glass particles.

Kilauea is one of the world’s most active volcanoes, and its eruption has destroyed hundreds of homes and forced thousands to evacuate.

But until now there had only been one serious injury, a man whose leg was hit by a projectile of molten rock as he sat on a balcony.

Last week, scientists at the US Geological Survey said the flow of lava had created a new small island.

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The flow of lava into the sea made a new small island

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The JungleJuly 17, 20186min0

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – American boxer Floyd Mayweather was named the world’s highest-paid entertainer on Monday on a list that saw actor George Clooney take the No. 2 spot with the highest annual pay of his career.

FILE PHOTO: Boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr. of the U.S. poses in the scale during his official weigh-in at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S. on August 25, 2017. REUTERS/Steve Marcus/File Photo

Reality star Kylie Jenner, 20, came in third on the annual Forbes Celebrity 100 list, largely thanks to her booming cosmetics line that Forbes said put her on track to become the youngest self-made billionaire in the United States.

Forbes compiled its 2018 list estimating pre-tax earnings from June 2017-June 2018, before deducting fees for managers, based on data from Nielsen, touring trade publication Pollstar, movie database IMDB, and interviews with industry experts and celebrities themselves.

FILE PHOTO: Actor George Clooney arrives at the Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute Gala (Met Gala) to celebrate the opening of Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination in the Manhattan borough of New York, U.S., May 7, 2018. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri/File Photo

Mayweather pulled in some $285 million in the period, largely thanks to his August 2017 comeback fight win over mixed martial arts champion Conor McGregor.

Oscar-winning star Clooney earned an estimated $239 million after selling the Casamigos tequila company he co-founded to British spirits company Diageo in June 2017. Forbes said the sale gave Clooney the best annual earnings of his 35-year career in film and television.

Forbes said entertainers on its 2018 Celebrity 100 list earned a combined $6.3 billion before tax, up 22 percent from last year’s list. Many of the highest earners came from celebrities leveraging their brands through side ventures and through their social media presence.

“There’s never been a more lucrative time to be famous than now, with 11 superstars earning $100 million or more over the past year,” Zack O’Malley Greenburg, senior entertainment editor at Forbes, said in a statement.

FILE PHOTO: Television personality Kylie Jenner arrives at the Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute Gala (Met Gala) to celebrate the opening of “Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology” in the Manhattan borough of New York, U.S., May 2, 2016. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz/File Photo

“Entertainers have found all sorts of new ways to monetize their audiences, especially with the help of social media,” he added.

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson almost doubled his earnings from the previous year to land in 5th place with estimated earnings of $124 million. Forbes said the earnings of the “Jumanji” and “Fast & Furious” star were the largest acting-related earnings it had recorded in 20 years.

The top earner on last year’s list, musician Sean Diddy Combs, dropped to No. 32 on the current list. His earnings on the 2017 list were inflated by a tour and the sale of part of his Sean John clothing line, Forbes said.

Musicians and athletes fared well, with Irish band U2, British band Coldplay and British singer Ed Sheeran appearing in the top 10. Soccer players Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo also earned more than $100 million, Forbes said.

The full list can be seen here here.

Reporting by Jill Serjeant; Editing by Frances Kerry

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The JungleJuly 17, 20187min0

HONOLULU (Reuters) – A blob of hot volcanic lava struck an ocean tour boat just off the Big Island of Hawaii on Monday, injuring nearly two dozen people in the worst casualty incident to date from the ongoing eruption of the Kilauea Volcano.

A hole, punched through the roof of a tourist boat, is seen, after lava from the Mount Kilauea volcano exploded in the sea off Kapoho, Hawaii, U.S. July 16, 2018. Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources/Handout via REUTERS

A huge steam-driven explosion, caused by molten rock mixing with seawater as it poured from the shoreline, sent a “lava bomb” crashing through the roof of the boat and into the vessel’s seating area, authorities said.

The boat returned to port in Hilo on its own power less than an hour later, and three of the injured, including a woman in her 20s whose leg was broken, were taken to a local hospital by ambulance, Hawaii County Fire Department Battalion chief Darwin Okinaka said.

Nine or 10 others with less severe injuries were driven to the hospital by private vehicle, and 10 more people were treated by paramedics at the port, he told Reuters by telephone.

A civil defense spokeswoman, Kelly Wooten, put the total number of injuries at 23.

The Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) said the boat was operated by Lava Ocean Tours, one of at least three companies offering daily excursions to passengers who pay around $220 per person to watch from a vessel lava flowing into the sea.

The stricken 49-passenger-seat vessel, dubbed Hot Spot, was later videotaped maneuvering to its dock after passengers were unloaded. A still photograph furnished by DLNR showed a gaping hole in its canopy.


The boat was also showered with smaller bits of volcanic debris and cinder from the explosion. Eyewitness video footage from a nearby vessel showed a towering cloud of steam and ash billowing into the sky, punctuated by the glow of red-hot embers and flashes of lightning.

Officials for the company were not immediately available for comment.

State and local police and the DLNR were investigating the incident, which occurred shortly after dawn near the eastern-most edge of the Big Island, where lava from the 10-week-old Kilauea eruption has been flowing into the Pacific since early June.

The boat’s distance from shore and from the site of the lava explosion was not immediately known, authorities said.

Vessels are generally barred from venturing any closer than 300 meters (yards) to lava ocean entries under U.S. Coast Guard safety rules, though experienced boat operators had received special permission to get as close as 50 meters (yards), according to agency spokeswoman Amanda Levasseur.

Lava Ocean Tours, whose website promised excursions allowing passengers to “see, hear and feel the heat” from lava flows entering the ocean, is the oldest of several tour boat companies operating in the region.

Levasseur said that after Monday’s incident, the Coast Guard would strictly enforce its 300-meter buffer zone exclusively.

The reaction of molten lava and cold seawater, especially at shallow depths, is always a volatile combination capable of producing large steam-driven explosions that can launch chunks of volcanic fragments hundreds of feet (meters) in the air, U.S. Geological Survey geologist Janet Babb told reporters on a conference call.

Boaters and seaside residents also have been warned to avoid noxious clouds of laze — a term derived from the words “lava” and “haze” — formed when lava reacts with saltwater to form a mix of acid fumes and steam laced with tiny glass-like particles.

Two entire housing developments consisting of hundreds of dwellings were destroyed several weeks ago as lava spewing from a fissure on the slope of the volcano inundated the seaside Kapoho area in the vicinity of Monday’s boat accident. Hundreds more homes have been swallowed closer to the eruption site.

The property losses marked the most destructive eruption of Kilauea in modern times, but no fatalities have been reported.

The most serious previous injury was of a man whose leg was shattered in May when he was hit by molten lava ejected by a volcanic fissure while he was standing on the third-floor balcony of his home about 200 yards (meters) from a flow in the Pahoa area.

Reporting by Jolyn Rosa in Honolulu and Andrew Hay in Taos, New Mexico; Additional reporting and writing by Steve Gorman in Los Angeles; Editing by Sandra Maler

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The JungleJuly 17, 20188min0

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Media captionThe ways Trump and Putin see eye to eye

There has been a barrage of criticism in the US after President Donald Trump defended Russia over claims of interference in the 2016 elections.

At a summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Finland, Mr Trump contradicted US intelligence agencies, saying Russia had no reason to meddle.

The top Republican in Congress, House Speaker Paul Ryan, said Mr Trump must see that “Russia is not our ally”.

Republican Senator John McCain said it was a “disgraceful performance”.

Mr Putin denied the interference claim.

The US and Russian presidents held nearly two hours of closed-door talks in the Finnish capital Helsinki on Monday.

What did President Trump say?

At a news conference after the summit, he was asked if he believed his own intelligence agencies or the Russian president when it came to allegations of meddling in the election.

“President Putin says it’s not Russia. I don’t see any reason why it would be,” he replied.

Mr Trump also blamed poor relations with Russia on past US administrations rather than Russian actions.

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Media captionTrump: “There was nobody to collude with”

US intelligence agencies concluded in 2016 that Russia was behind an effort to tip the scale of the US election against Hillary Clinton, with a state-authorised campaign of cyber attacks and fake news stories planted on social media.

Mr Trump later backtracked, tweeting that he had “great confidence in my intelligence people”.

What has US reaction been?

In a strongly-worded statement, Mr Ryan said: “There is no moral equivalence between the United States and Russia, which remains hostile to our most basic values and ideals.

He added that there was “no question” Moscow had interfered in the 2016 election.

Sen McCain, a key member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said it was a “disgraceful performance” by a US president.

“No prior president has ever abased himself more abjectly before a tyrant,” Mr McCain said in a statement.

Another senior Republican, Sen Lindsey Graham, also a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, tweeted that it was a “missed opportunity… to firmly hold Russia accountable for 2016 meddling”.

In a series of tweets, Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer said Mr Trump’s actions had “strengthened our adversaries while weakening our defences and those of our allies”.

The US Director of National Intelligence, Dan Coats, also issued a statement saying that the intelligence community had been clear about Russia’s “ongoing, pervasive attempts” to undermine US democracy.

Former CIA director John Brennan said Mr Trump’s news conference “was nothing short of treasonous”.

“Not only were Trump’s comments imbecilic, he is wholly in the pocket of Putin. Republican Patriots: Where are you???” he tweeted.

Meanwhile, Vice-President Mike Pence, in a speech at the US Department of Commerce, defended the summit and praised President Trump.

Some US politicians had called for the summit to be cancelled after 12 Russian military intelligence agents were indicted last week, accused of hacking Hillary Clinton’s election campaign.

What did President Putin say?

Speaking at the joint news conference, President Putin offered to allow US investigators to visit Russia to question the officers.

He made it clear that, in return, Russia would want similar access to people in the US it suspects of criminal activity.

In a later interview with Fox News, Mr Putin said it was “utterly ridiculous” that some people thought Russia could have influenced the US elections.

He said US-Russian relations should not be “held hostage” to an internal political struggle in America.

After Helsinki, the fallout at home

Analysis by BBC North America reporter Anthony Zurcher

With no tangible results from the summit, the two leaders are framing this as the first of many meetings to come

Given the American reaction from across the political spectrum, however, future meetings may be difficult to pull off.

After a week abroad, Mr Trump on Monday delivered the coup de grace for what has been a highly disruptive week in US foreign affairs.

European allies are uneasy. US-Russia relations are uncertain. And the US political world – and even the White House’s own communications team – is unsettled.

Mr Putin described the Helsinki meeting as “candid and useful” while Mr Trump said there had been “deeply productive dialogue”.

Mr Trump said US-Russia relations had “never been worse” than before they met, but that had now changed.

Relations between Russia and the West were severely strained by Moscow’s annexation of Crimea from Ukraine in 2014 and Russia’s support for separatists in eastern Ukraine.

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The JungleJuly 17, 20184min0

For the second year in a row, Chris Sale of Boston and Max Scherzer of Washington will be the starting pitchers in the All-Star Game, the managers announced Monday.

Jul 12, 2018; New York City, NY, USA; Washington Nationals starting pitcher Max Scherzer (31) pitches against the New York Mets in the first inning at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

American League manager AJ Hinch of the Houston Astros selected Sale to start Tuesday’s game. This will be the third consecutive start for left-hander, who joins Lefty Gomez (American League, 1933-35) and Robin Roberts (National League, 1953-55) as the only pitchers to start three All-Star games in a row.

Sale is 10-4 on the season with a 2.23 ERA. The 29-year-old has started 20 games and struck out a league-high 188 batters in 129 innings.

Jul 11, 2018; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Red Sox starting pitcher Chris Sale (41) delivers against the Texas Rangers during the first inning at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

“Obviously, I appreciate it. It’s a big honor,” Sale told the media of earning another start. “I know this hasn’t happened very often in a long time. I appreciate it. I’m going to try and have some fun with it. That’s why we’re all here, too. Grip and rip, and try to get a win.”

Scherzer, 33, will start for the National League squad, managed by the Dodgers’ Dave Roberts, in his home ballpark. The Nationals’ right-hander is 12-5 in 20 starts on the year. His 182 strikeouts and 134 2/3 innings lead the NL.

He becomes the 12th pitcher to start an All-Star Game on his home field. The last one time that occurred was 2013, when former New York Mets pitcher Matt Harvey started the game at Citi Field.

Game time is at 8 p.m. ET Tuesday.

—Field Level Media

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The JungleJuly 17, 20185min0

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – A Republican congressman filmed for Sacha Baron Cohen’s satirical television series who appeared to back a fictitious scheme to train toddlers to use guns said on Monday that he was the victim of “a sick fraud.”

U.S. Representative Dana Rohrabacher speaks with fellow attendees before President Donald Trump’s remarks at a meeting of the National Space Council at the White House in Washington, U.S. June 18, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

California congressman Dana Rohrabacher was one of two Republican politicians filmed for an episode of “Who is America?”, a series for cable’s Showtime in which the British prankster assumes personas to satirize U.S. political and cultural life in the era of President Donald Trump.

In the first episode, aired on Sunday, Baron Cohen posed as an Israeli anti-terror expert who asked two U.S. congressmen to support his fictional Israeli program “Kinderguardians” to teach kindergartners how to use guns.

Asked on Monday to comment, Rohrabacher said in a statement, “Cohen’s people apparently used footage from an interview I submitted to earlier this year for a bogus Israeli television company supposedly celebrating the country’s 70th anniversary. In that interview, which was not with Cohen, I spoke broadly of training young people at a responsible age in self-defense.

Presenter Sacha Baron Cohen arrives at the 88th Academy Awards in Hollywood, California February 28, 2016. REUTERS/Adrees Latif

“At no time did I endorse training toddlers in handling guns. Nor was the idea even presented to me directly. If it had been, I would have rejected it,” he said.

“I love good satire, but good satire must reveal some basis in truth. This was fraud, a sick fraud at that, and its intention was to deceive the American people for political purposes.”

Rohrabacher did not respond to a request for comment on whether he would take further action.

Rep. Joe Wilson of South Carolina and former Senator Trent Lott, who is now a lobbyist at a Washington law firm, were also filmed appearing to lend support to the scheme. Neither Wilson nor Lott replied to requests for comment.

Showtime and Baron Cohen, who has made a comedy career out of pulling pranks on public figures, declined to comment on Rohrabacher’s statement.

The seven-episode show marked Baron Cohen’s first television project in a decade after he launched his comedy career as a white English rapper Ali G., whose interviewees included Donald Trump and Newt Gingrich. His 2006 faux documentary film “Borat” ridiculed Kazakhstan and Middle Americans.

Reporting by Jill Serjeant

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The JungleJuly 17, 20185min0

Knife crimeImage copyright
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The lessons want to reduce the risk of teenagers getting involved in knife crime during the summer holidays

Teenagers in England are being given lessons in school to tackle the risk of knife crime over the summer holidays.

End-of-term activities might be expected to be sports days, school trips and concerts, but the Home Office is providing anti-knife lessons.

They are telling young people not to believe the “myth” that it is safer for them to carry a knife.

Crime Minister Victoria Atkins said young people need to be kept safe from the “rise in serious violence”.

With the end of term approaching, secondary schools are giving safety lessons to reduce the risk of stabbings during the long hot summer holidays.

‘Rising violence’

The lessons, for 11 to 16-year-olds, warn young people not to believe everything they see on social media, and that it is false to believe most other youngsters have knives or that carrying a knife is a form of self-defence.

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There have been many high-profile incidents involving young people and knife crime

Teenagers are being told about how a culture of gangs, knives and violence could ruin their future, and how to resist peer pressure.

The anti-knife lessons are being taught through personal, health and social education classes, with the Home Office providing information to 50,000 subject specialists.

Knife crime increased by 22% last year in England and Wales, according to the Office for National Statistics, with almost 40,000 offences involving a knife or sharp instrument – and there has been a series of high-profile fatal stabbings involving young people, particularly in London.

‘Devastating consequences’

The House of Commons library published figures from hospitals last month showing more than 4,400 injuries from sharp objects last year needing to be treated by consultants – up by almost 22% compared with two years before.

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The lessons are meant to prevent the harm caused by knife violence

The knife crime lessons are part of a wider Home Office strategy to deter young people from carrying knives, and to reduce acts of serious violence.

“The summer holidays can pose additional dangers to young people, which is why we are determined to do everything we can to keep them safe and give them the tools and resilience they need to enjoy the summer break,” said Ms Atkins.

Children’s Minister Nadhim Zahawi backed the lessons, saying “knife crime has devastating consequences” and that children and families need to be protected from its threat.

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The JungleJuly 16, 20184min0

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Slowly but surely, depositors are starting to shift money from basic U.S. bank accounts to products that pay more than a sliver of a percent in interest.

Four thousand U.S. dollars are counted out by a banker counting currency at a bank in Westminster, Colorado November 3, 2009. REUTERS/Rick Wilking

While reporting second-quarter results in recent days, executives at the largest U.S. banks noted an acceleration in deposit outflows from wealthy individuals and companies, which are more sensitive to interest rate hikes. But there are signs that Main Street depositors are getting restless too, after the Federal Reserve lifted its interest rate target for the seventh time in less than three years.

“Lazy money is moving,” Bill Demchak, chief executive officer of PNC Financial Services Group Inc, said on a call with analysts on Friday.

Wealthy customers reduced deposits by between 4 and 12 percent at the wealth management units of three of the biggest banks by assets, JPMorgan Chase & Co, Bank of America Corp and Wells Fargo & Co, compared with a year earlier, the banks said.

Citigroup Inc, the third-largest bank by assets, said that more affluent clients were behind a 3 percent decline in deposits in its retail bank in North America.

The banks said that while the shift in deposit costs on smaller accounts is less noticeable, they are factoring higher deposit costs into their models for future earnings.

Deposits are the raw inventory of bank profits and provide some of the cheapest and most reliable funds. While deposit costs have started rising, the gap between what banks pay for deposits and what they generate from making loans remains wide.

JPMorgan, for instance, was paying more than twice as much on interest-bearing deposits in the second quarter as it did a year earlier, at 0.51 percent compared with 0.25 percent. Its loans generated 4.99 percent in the second quarter.

Overall, since the Fed began boosting rates in December 2015, banks have been able to avoid passing along even one-third of the total 1.75 percentage-point increase to depositors, according to analysts at Bernstein.

Some bankers are not too worried about retail deposits fleeing or costing substantially more. Bank of America’s checking and savings customers are not pushing for higher rates, with the average balance rising to $7,500 from $7,000 a year earlier, executives said.

But others are bracing for further pricing pressure as the Fed is expected to boost rates again in September.

“You are going to start to see the U.S. retail customer, not just for Citi, but for the industry, begin to clamor for higher rates,” said Citigroup Chief Financial Officer John Gerspach.

Reporting by David Henry and Imani Moise in New York; additional reporting by Elizabeth Dilts; editing by Lauren Tara LaCapra and James Dalgleish

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The JungleJuly 16, 20185min0

MOSCOW (Reuters) – A Moscow court on Monday handed down 15-day jail sentences on four members of the Pussy Riot protest group who interrupted Sunday’s World Cup final between France and Croatia when they ran onto the pitch wearing fake police uniforms.

Veronika Nikulshina, one of four intruders affiliated to anti-Kremlin punk band Pussy Riot who ran onto the pitch during the World Cup final between France and Croatia, attends a court hearing in Moscow, Russia July 16, 2018. REUTERS/Sergei Karpukhin

The pitch invasion by members of the punk band early in the second half of the final was a brazen act in Moscow’s Luzhniki stadium in front of Russian President Vladimir Putin and other high-ranking officials from around the world.

The judge also banned the four from attending sports events for three years.

Veronika Nikulshina, one of four intruders affiliated to anti-Kremlin punk band Pussy Riot who ran onto the pitch during the World Cup final between France and Croatia, attends a court hearing in Moscow, Russia July 16, 2018. REUTERS/Sergei Karpukhin

The four were Veronika Nikulshina, Olga Pakhtusova, Olga Kurachyova and Pyotr Verzilov, the only male.

Kurachyova said their stunt, which held up the game only briefly, was meant to promote freedom of speech and condemn policies of FIFA, soccer’s global governing body.

“It is a pity that we disrupted the sportsmen,” Kurachyova told reporters on Monday.

“FIFA is involved in unfair games unfortunately. FIFA is a friend of heads of states who carry out repression, who violate human rights.”

Veronika Nikulshina, one of four intruders affiliated to anti-Kremlin punk band Pussy Riot who ran onto the pitch during the World Cup final between France and Croatia, attends a court hearing in Moscow, Russia July 16, 2018. REUTERS/Sergei Karpukhin

Verzilov said the performance was also meant to show how “the state, in the form of the police, intrudes into people’s lives”.

Three of Pussy Riot’s original members were jailed in 2012 for staging a protest against Putin in a church and the group has since become a symbol of anti-Kremlin direct action.

Croatian defender Dejan Lovren, who pushed the male intruder aside on the pitch, told reporters the incident had interrupted the game at an important moment for his team.

The match, which France won 4-2, was watched from the stands by Putin and the French and Croatian presidents.

Reporting by Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber; Writing by Christian Lowe and Vladimir Soldatkin; editing by Richard Balmforth

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