Vladimir Putin did not call Elton John and suggested they meet to discuss LGBT rights in Russia, but a lot of people believed that he did. On Monday, John wrote a post on Instagram saying that he had received the phone call. On Tuesday, the post went viral, penetrating even the Russian pro-government print media. By close of business, Putin’s spokesman denied that the call had ever taken place. On Wednesday, an experienced Russian prankster, nicknamed Vovan, released a recording of the conversation in which he impersonated Putin and his partner, nicknamed Lexus, impersonated the Russian president’s press secretary.
The Great Debate
ISTANBUL, Turkey — Obaida, a 22-year-old refugee from an area of Syria controlled by Islamic State, said he tried hard to get a passport the legal way. In May, he paid his way to Istanbul from the border town in Turkey where he now lives. He spent five days waiting in line at the Syrian consulate. He was told to return in a year.
What better time to gauge the emotional profile of Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), an avowed Socialist, than during his Labor Day speech to the AFL-CIO in New Hampshire? After all, the independent junior senator from Vermont, who’s running for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination, has a website home page that focuses on economics and the working class. Creating jobs, raising wages, “taking on the enormous economic and political power of the billionaire class” is what Sanders says his campaign is all about.