The one lesson I’ve learned from life: Strictly’s Pasha Kovalev says stand up for your beliefs

The one lesson I’ve learned from life: Strictly’s Pasha Kovalev says stand up for your beliefs

  • Ballroom dancer, Pasha Kovalev, 41, spent eight years on Strictly Come Dancing 
  • He won the BBC programme in 2014 with the late TV presenter Caroline Flack 
  • He is married to Countdown star Rachel Riley, 35, whom he met on the show

Professional ballroom dancer, Pasha Kovalev, 41, spent eight years on Strictly Come Dancing, which he won in 2014 with the late TV presenter Caroline Flack. He is married to Countdown star Rachel Riley, 35, whom he met on the show. They have a daughter Maven, 16 months, and a baby on the way.

Stand up for beliefs 

When I was a boy, I was told that I could barely move my hips. But I loved dancing and knew that they were wrong.

I worked very hard and it paid off. I grew up in Russia, and aged 14 I moved 1,000 miles away from my mother’s house to a new dance studio, where I had to get a job to pay for my training.

Then, in 2001, I went to America with my dance partner Anya Garnis. I knew no one and didn’t speak the language.

Professional ballroom dancer, Pasha Kovalev (pictured), 41, spent eight years on Strictly Come Dancing, which he won in 2014 with the late British TV presenter Caroline Flack

When Anya wanted us to audition for the U.S. TV show So You Think You Can Dance, I wasn’t sure. But the show led to a career on Broadway, before I was invited to join Strictly in 2011. Then I met Rachel, who is amazing. I definitely wasn’t ready to have kids up until three or four years ago.

But my emotional state changed. Maybe because I had found a perfect partner. When we first held Maven in our arms, we looked at each other and said: ‘OK, we need one more of these!’

It was scary deciding to leave Strictly in 2019. I loved the family feel of the show and it opened a lot of doors. But I knew I had to move on, and I don’t regret it for a second.

Maven was three months old when we went into lockdown. My dance tour (Here Come The Boys) was postponed. It was terrible — no work, no income. But because I wasn’t off travelling, I’m very grateful I got to see my daughter in that first period of her life.

Rachel has been very brave campaigning against anti-Semitism. She has an acute sense of justice. She chose to speak up, not because of any political agenda but to stand up for people who have been abused. And then she got so much abuse online, from people who can hide their identity.

Rachel’s handling it very well, but there were times it was overwhelming and she needed a lot of support. And yes I had to be there for her. But in life you must trust your instincts — and stand up for what you believe in.

Rise Up With Arts with Pasha Kovalev & Anya Garnis in support of the theatre industry can be seen from May 14-16 at riseupwitharts.com 

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The CIA’s woke recruitment video gets panned

The CIA’s woke recruitment video gets panned: Recruit describes herself as ‘intersectional cisgender millennial’ diagnosed with ‘generalized anxiety disorder’ in clip ridiculed online

  • The CIA officer, known only as Mija, 36, tells viewers she is ‘unapologetically me’
  • The clip has sparked a fierce reaction online with users labelling it ‘woke’ 
  •  Donald Trump Jr. tweeted: ‘China and Russia will love this’

A new CIA recruitment video has been widely ridiculed online after the recruit described herself as an ‘intersectional cisgender millennial’. 

The CIA officer, known only as Mija, 36, tells viewers she is ‘unapologetically me’, adding that she to suffer from ‘imposter syndrome’ but now refuses to ‘internalize misguided patriarchal ideas of what a woman can or should be.’

But the clip has sparked a fierce reaction online with users labelling it ‘woke’. Another said: ‘The world is laughing at us.’

 Donald Trump Jr. tweeted: ‘China and Russia will love this.’

The clip was shared to Twitter on April 28 in a post which read: ‘I am unapologetically me. I want you to be unapologetically you, whoever you are. 

‘Whether you work at #CIA, or anywhere else in the world.  Command your space. Mija, you are worth it.’  

The CIA officer, known only as Mija, 36, tells viewers she is ‘unapologetically me’, adding that she to suffer from ‘imposter syndrome’ but now refuses to ‘internalize misguided patriarchal ideas of what a woman can or should be’

The clip was shared to Twitter on April 28 in a post which read: 'I am unapologetically me. I want you to be unapologetically you, whoever you are'

The clip was shared to Twitter on April 28 in a post which read: ‘I am unapologetically me. I want you to be unapologetically you, whoever you are’

But the clip has sparked a fierce reaction online with users labelling it 'woke'. Another said: 'The world is laughing at us.' Donald Trump Jr. tweeted: 'China and Russia will love this'

But the clip has sparked a fierce reaction online with users labelling it ‘woke’. Another said: ‘The world is laughing at us.’ Donald Trump Jr. tweeted: ‘China and Russia will love this’

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Nine US generals send memo begging spy chiefs to declassify intel on Russia and China

Nine four-star generals have sent a memo to the heads of the U.S. intelligence community, asking them to declassify evidence revealing the ‘pernicious conduct’ of China and Russia.

The unclassified memo, first sent last year, has been circulating among America’s top spies, pleading with them to reveal more evidence that could help sway public opinion against adversaries, Politico reported on Monday.

Nicknamed the ’36-star memo’ for the cumulative stars held by the signatories, the letter was organized by Admiral Phil Davidson, the outgoing head of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command.

Eight other regional military commanders signed on, including General Jay Raymond, then commander of U.S. Space Command and now head of the Space Force.

General Jay Raymond

Admiral Phil Davidson, the outgoing head of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, and General Jay Raymond, now head of the Space Force, were among the letter’s signatories

The memo was addressed to then-acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire (above) last January

The memo was addressed to then-acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire (above) last January

The letter argued that only by ‘waging the truth in the public domain against America’s 21st century challengers’ can the U.S. shore up support from allies.

However, it said that these efforts to combat misinformation and propaganda are hamstrung by overly strict secrecy rules. 

‘We request this help to better enable the US, and by extension its allies and partners, to win without fighting, to fight now in so-called gray zones, and to supply ammunition in the ongoing war of narratives,’ the letter read, according to Politico.

‘Unfortunately, we continue to miss opportunities to clarify truth, counter distortions, puncture false narratives, and influence events in time to make a difference,’ it added. 

The memo was addressed to then-acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire last January.

The letter did not spell out exactly what evidence the generals wanted to make public, but both Russia and China have been implicated in major hacking campaigns directed against the U.S.

Russian armored military vehicles roll into a Russian Navy large landing ship on Friday after the military drills of the Russian Armed Forces at the Opuk range in Crimea

Russian armored military vehicles roll into a Russian Navy large landing ship on Friday after the military drills of the Russian Armed Forces at the Opuk range in Crimea

Russian Navy ships are seen during exercises off Crimea on Thursday. Russia has been conducting an aggressive buildup of troops and hardware near its separatist allies in Ukraine

Russian Navy ships are seen during exercises off Crimea on Thursday. Russia has been conducting an aggressive buildup of troops and hardware near its separatist allies in Ukraine

Russian troops drill amphibious landings in Crimea on Thursday. Russia has been conducting an aggressive buildup of troops and hardware in the region

Russian troops drill amphibious landings in Crimea on Thursday. Russia has been conducting an aggressive buildup of troops and hardware in the region

As well, Russia has been conducting an aggressive buildup of troops and hardware near its allies fighting a civil war in Ukraine, and drew condemnation for sealing off areas of the Black Sea to foreign warships.

Pro-Russian separatists are seeking to carve out an enclave in eastern Ukraine, which Russia could potentially use as a land bridge to its seized territory in Crimea. 

Russian President Vladimir Putin recently claimed that Russia will begin to pull back excess troops — but revealed he has created an inflatable army outside Moscow which could be deployed to fool enemy drones and satellites.

The Black Sea restrictions came into effect on Saturday evening and were to remain in place through October 31, Russian news agencies reported, citing the country’s Defense Ministry. 

According to Russian media reports, the restrictions apply to an area along the Crimean coastline between Sevastopol and Gurzuf, an area near the Kerch Peninsula, and an area near the western tip of Crimea.

The international community refuses to recognize the annexation of the Black Sea peninsula of Crimea, which Russia seized from Ukraine in March 2014.

For its part, China has continued to pursue a military buildup in the South China Sea, a vast and resource-rich body of water that Beijing claims as its own.

Chinese President Xi Jinping presides over a ceremony on Friday, unveiling three new warships set to patrol the South China Sea

Chinese President Xi Jinping presides over a ceremony on Friday, unveiling three new warships set to patrol the South China Sea

Xi flexed his military muscles in the South China Sea by unveiling three new warships in a ceremony on Friday

Xi flexed his military muscles in the South China Sea by unveiling three new warships in a ceremony on Friday 

Chinese President Xi Jinping on Friday flexed his military muscles in the South China Sea by unveiling three new warships.

China’s newest assets include an amphibious helicopter carrier, a nuclear sub and a guided-missile cruiser. 

The military ceremony was a show of strength amid increasing tensions with Taiwan. China claims Taiwan as its own territory to be won over peacefully or by force. 

It does not recognize Taiwan’s democratically elected government, and leader Xi Jinping has said ‘unification’ between the sides cannot be put off indefinitely.

China warned the U.S. earlier this month to ‘not to play with fire on the Taiwan issue’ as Washington continued to strengthen its relationship with Taiwan. 

‘There is zero room for compromise and not an inch to give,’ Chinese spokesperson Zhao Lijian said.

‘We urge the US side to grasp the situation, earnestly abide by the one-China principle and the three China-US joint communiqués, refrain from playing with fire, immediately stop official contact with Taiwan in any form.’

Boy rescues lamb trapped in a drainage ditch only for it to leap straight back in

Baa-fling! Boy rescues lamb trapped in a drainage ditch only for it to leap straight back in

  • Mother Azieva Radima, from Grozny, Russia, watches son free the trapped lamb
  • Young boy pulls the lamb out of the narrow ditch and watches it flee the scene
  • Just seconds later, the animal accidentally leaps straight back into the hole  

This is the comical moment a trapped lamb is rescued from a draining ditch before jumping straight back in just seconds later. 

Footage captured by mother Azieva Radima, from Grozny in Chechnya, Russia, shows her son try to free the helpless lamb as it lies trapped in the narrow ditch near their home.

However just seconds later the freed lamb accidentally leaps straight back into the hole as it tries to flee the scene.

Mother Azieva Radima, from Grozny in Chechnya, Russia, watches her son try to free the lamb trapped in the narrow draining ditch

The young boy pulls the animal's hind leg in an attempt to free the helpless creature

The young boy pulls the animal’s hind leg in an attempt to free the helpless creature

During the clip, which was filmed on April 15, Ms Radima’s son approaches the narrow ditch and begins to pull the lamb’s hind leg.

After a brief struggle, the animal is released and hops away from the scene.

Just seconds later, the lamb attempts to leap over the ditch only to find itself plunging back into the very same hole it has just been released from.

Ms Radima told Viral Hog: ‘My son was returning home from school and noticed a lamb in a trench. He made several attempts to help but he did not succeed. 

‘He came home and asked me to help. 

‘We filmed the video for home viewing but then decided to upload it in order to encourage others not to leave animals in trouble.’

Ms Radima later took to Instagram to reveal the trapped lamb had been saved.

The freed lamb begins to hop away

The lamb leaps straight back into the ditch

The lamb begins to run away after it is freed but it soon finds itself jumping straight back into the ditch

The lamb finds itself trapped one again in the narrow ditch just seconds later

The lamb finds itself trapped one again in the narrow ditch just seconds later

Social media users took to Facebook to share their thoughts on the comical footage

Social media users took to Facebook to share their thoughts on the comical footage

The comical clip has since been met with an array of comments from amused viewers on social media.

One user wrote: ‘It just hopped from one crack to another.’

While another commented: ‘Yeah spot on sums up my life in four seconds.’

Another person added: ‘Should have gone to Specsavers.’

And one person said: ‘Oh no, not again.’

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Jessica Gadirova, 16, wins Great Britain’s first gold at the European Championships

Jessica Gadirova, 16, wins Great Britain’s first gold at European Gymnastic Championships after taking silver and bronze in remarkable debut appearance

  • Jessica Gadirova won Great Britain’s first gold at the European Championships 
  • The 16-year-old took the top prize in the floor exercise in Basel on Sunday
  • The youngster had already taken silver in the vault and bronze in the all around 

Sixteen-year-old Jessica Gadirova claimed Great Britain’s first gold at the European Championships in Basel, winning the floor exercise for her third medal of a remarkable debut appearance.

The Aylesbury gymnast, making her bow in a major championship, had already taken bronze in the all around and silver in the vault and on Sunday she completed a clean sweep.

Gadirova was last to perform her routine and picked up an outstanding score of 13.966 to finish clear of Russia’s Angelina Melnikova and Italy’s Vanessa Ferrari in second and third.

Jessica Gadirova, 16, claimed Great Britain’s first gold at the European Championships

She said: ‘I’m jumping for joy. Just to even get selected for the European Championships, I was so happy and I was so proud to be here. Then to win the medals, I can’t believe it. 

‘I’d been on the podium twice and was getting higher and higher on the steps, then to be on the top was just overwhelming.’

Giarnni Regini-Moran added a bronze in the men’s vault to the British medal haul. The 22-year-old from Great Yarmouth placed third behind Ukraine’s Igor Radivilov.

The youngster won the floor exercise for her third medal of a remarkable debut appearance

The youngster won the floor exercise for her third medal of a remarkable debut appearance

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