The Great Debate
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.
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.