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AL JAZEERA (Qatar), RADIO SVOBODANOVAYA GAZETA (Russia), SUNDAY TIMES (UK)

MOSCOW - Vladimir Putin, comfortably back in the Russian presidency, presents himself as a humble, down-to-earth man of average means.

But rumors about his wealth, and the secrecy surrounding it, have been circulating for years, as far back as his time as deputy mayor of St. Petersburg in the early 1990s, when he signed a deal to export raw materials in exchange for food for the nearly starving city - food that never materialized, as this Radio Svoboda article alleges.

Last November, the Sunday Times published an investigation that put the combined net worth of Putin and his close friends at $130 billion - more than twice as much as the wealth of Mexico's Carlos Slim, the richest man on earth according to Forbes.

This video from Al Jazeera looks at all the rumors and accusations together, using much of the same information as a blog post from Novaya Gazeta, to build a story around hints of extreme wealth behind Russia’s most powerful man.

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Society

An End To The Hijab Law? Iranian Protesters Want To End The Whole Regime

Reported declarations by some Iranian officials on revising the notorious morality police patrols and obligatory dress codes for women are suspect both in their authenticity, and ultimately not even close to addressing the demands of Iranian protesters.

photo of women in Iran dressed in black hijabs

The regime has required women cover their heads for the past 41 years

Iranian Supreme Leader'S Office/ZUMA
Kayhan-London

-Analysis-

The news spread quickly around Iran, and the world: the Iranian regime's very conservative prosecutor-general, Muhammadja'far Montazeri, was reported to have proposed loosening the mandatory headscarf rules Iran places on women in public.

Let's remember that within months of taking power in 1979, the Islamic Republic had forced women to wear headscarves in public, and shawls and other dressings to cover their clothes. But ongoing protests, which began in September over the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini while in police custody over her headscarf, seem to instead be angling for an overthrow of the entire 40-year regime.

Che ba hejab, che bi hejab, mirim be suyeh enqelab, protesters have chanted. "With or Without the Hijab, We're heading for a Revolution."

Montazeri recently announced that Iran's parliament and Higher Council of the Cultural Revolution, an advisory state body, would discuss the issue of obligatory headscarves over the following two weeks. "The judiciary does not intend to shut down the social security police but after these recent events, security and cultural agencies want to better manage the matter," Montazeri said, adding that this may require new proposals on "hijab and modesty" rules.

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