Homo luzonensis

Wednesday,  April 17th, 2019

Singapore’s non-oil exports slumped in March, according to numbers released by Enterprise Singapore. This was the biggest year-on-year monthly drop since October 2016. The slump in the export of electronics was especially marked. (The Strait Times)

Voters in Indonesia go to the polls to elect members of the parliament, the President and Vice President. (The Guardian)

Trump vetoes resolution to end U.S. involvement in Yemen war President Trump on Tuesday vetoed a bipartisan resolution that would end U.S. military support for the Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen. In his veto message, Trump wrote that the measure is an “unnecessary, dangerous attempt to weaken my constitutional authorities, endangering the lives of American citizens and brave service members, both today and in the future.” The coalition is fighting Iranian-backed Houthi rebels, who want to take control of the Yemeni government. The Trump administration has said it must support Saudi Arabia in order to keep Iranian influence from spreading. The war has caused a humanitarian crisis, with thousands of civilians dying from illness and starvation. This is the second veto of Trump’s presidency. Source: Politico,  (Reuters)

Apple and Qualcomm settle royalty dispute Apple and Qualcomm said Tuesday that they had agreed to dismiss their dueling lawsuits around the world. As a trial had started in a San Diego federal courtroom in an Apple complaint against Qualcomm, the companies said they had reached a six-year agreement under which Apple will pay unspecified royalties on Qualcomm patents. Apple, maker of the iPhone, and Qualcomm, the biggest provider of mobile chips, had been battling over how Qualcomm charges royalties on its patents on mobile chips. Qualcomm in the 1990s pioneered technology now critical in mobile devices, allowing it to charge royalties on smartphones even if they don’t have Qualcomm chips. The settlement suggests Apple will drop its objection to the arrangement, assuming Qualcomm’s royalties aren’t set too high. Qualcomm shares jumped by more than 20 percent after the news. Source: The New York Times


Gustave Doré

The last known female Yangtze giant softshell turtle, the world’s largest species of freshwater turtle and one of the most endangered species on the planet, dies at Suzhou Zoo in China. (Sohu.com)

Israel’s Beresheet lunar lander crashes at Mare Serenitatis on the surface of the Moon. The crash resulted from a failure in the lander’s main engine, resulting in the total loss of the spacecraft. (The New York Times)

SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy launches successfully from Kennedy Space Center carrying Arabsat-6A to orbit. All three boosters landed successfully, marking the first time that all three boosters of a Falcon Heavy landed without failure. (CNN)

Tiger Woods wins the Masters Tournament in Augusta, Georgia, his first major golf win in 11 years and his first win at the Masters since 2005. (The New York Times)


Tuesday,  April 16th, 2019

Bernie Sanders and Beto O’Rourke release 10 years of tax returns Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) released 10 years worth of tax returns on Monday evening, showing that after the release of his book Our Revolution: A Future to Believe In, his income rose to more than $1 million in 2016 and 2017. Before that, most of his income came from the salary he receives as a senator. In 2018, Sanders’ adjusted gross income was $561,293. The returns show “that our family has been fortunate,” Sanders said in a statement. These were the first full tax returns he has released. Later Monday, fellow 2020 Democratic presidential hopeful Beto O’Rourke released 10 years of his tax returns, showing that he and wife Amy earned more than $360,000 in 2017 and slightly smaller amounts in previous years. Source: BuzzFeed News

Former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld confirms bid to challenge Trump Former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld (R) announced on Monday that he is officially running for president, seeking to challenge President Trump for the GOP nomination in 2020. Weld formed an exploratory committee in February, but on Monday confirmed he would “seek to preserve what truly makes America great.” Weld will campaign through Massachusetts over the next several days. “In these times of great political strife,” Weld said in a statement, “when both major parties are entrenched in their ‘win at all cost’ battles, the voices of the American people are being ignored and our nation is suffering.” Source: CNN


Monday,  April 15th, 2019

Marathon Monday

A fire breaks out at the Notre-Dame de Paris cathedral in Paris, resulting in the collapse of its roof and spire and considerable damage to the building’s interior.  (BBC)

AT&T Inc. sells its 10% stake in Hulu to Hulu LLC for $1.43 billion. (Variety)

Four people are killed in a string of Canadian shootings in Penticton, British Columbia in what police are calling targeted killings. A man later turned himself in and was taken into custody. (CBC News)

South Korean President Moon Jae-in says he is ready for a fourth summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. The 2019 inter-Korean summit will be held in the capital of South Korea, Seoul. (Time)

The United States Department of State adds the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps to its list of Foreign Terrorist Organizations. Condemning the move, Iran promises reciprocal actions. (BBC)



Sunday, April 14th, 2019

Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar of the LNA visits Cairo for a meeting with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, who has supported the LNA in its military operation against the rival GNA in Tripoli. (The Guardian)

Social Democratic Party takes a narrow victory with 40 seats, while Finns Party comes close second with 39 seats. (Yle)

Pete Buttigieg, Mayor of South Bend, Indiana, announces he is running for the Democratic Party’s nomination to be President of the United States in the 2020 presidential election. (NBC News)


Saturday,  April 13th, 2019

Scaled Composites Stratolaunch, an aircraft with the largest wingspan ever to fly, makes its maiden flight over California, United States. (BBC)

Aguila Saleh, the chairman of the Tobruk-based Libyan parliament that rivals the Government of National Accord, stated that the parliament’s Libyan National Army will continue advancing on Tripoli in spite of international calls for them to stop the offensive. (Reuters)

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Continue reading “Homo luzonensis”


Four Nobel Truths

I’m no Buddhist. I don’t much care for meditation. I have tried it, more than once, but have never really been able to establish a practice. It just seems like one more bit of silliness to me, another unnecessary, unwarranted, ad-on. Kind of like praying to a god who does not exist, which I am guilty of . This guy or that girl says we should do this, meditate, we should go along and see what happens, for ourselves. The common response to various objections is something like: “yes, you must see for yourself. If it works for you it works, if not, then no. But you must do what I tell you to do, for years, in order to find out.” Something like that. Big no thanks.

At best, meditation seems like a practice in disassociation. A way to practice ignoring the world, and your responses to it. A dampening down of what comes naturally, craving. I guess some think that craving is something real, something that needs to be addressed, instead of something that can be acknowledged, and then acted on, or not.

While having no claim to Buddhism, I have, however, gotten a lot of mileage out of the old zen saying, “chop wood, carry water”. In other words, act or not, pay attention to what is in front of you. Let the world, everything that is not within your immediate grasp, take care of itself. This understanding, of course, is not for everyone. One’s personality, as a thermodynamic entity, a dissipative structure, is key. It’s much easier to adopt such a attitude if one is already, naturally, a low energy being. (Being low energy is no pejorative in my mind. In my opinion, the world would be a much better place if many more would learn to “chop wood and carry water”. But that’s not the way things work. It is largely, overwhelming, considered admirable to to do as much as possible, as quickly as possible. This is all in accordance with various thermodynamic laws and principles. Most, won’t or don’t or can’t or refuse to understand basic thermodynamics, so I won’t go into this further.)

With that being said, I do think the the Buddha was on the right track. His truths:

1. Life is suffering.

Yes. Dukkah. “The word dukkha has been variously translated as ‘suffering’, ‘anguish’, ‘pain’, or ‘unsatisfactoriness’. The Buddha’s insight was that our lives are a struggle, and we do not find ultimate happiness or satisfaction in anything we experience. This is the problem of existence.”
(from: https://thebuddhistcentre.com/text/four-noble-truths)

I’m not sure if there’s ever been a truer statement. Life is suffering. While you’re alive you will suffer. Everything from the hunger of an empty belly, to the most neurotic of personal beliefs is to suffer, and suffer you will. Suffering, our attempts to mitigate our suffering, drives us through life. It is both necessary and inescapable.

2. Suffering is caused by craving.

Here I kind of diverge from the Buddha. To me, cravings are caused by suffering, not the other way around.

“The natural human tendency is to blame our difficulties on things outside ourselves. But the Buddha says that their actual root is to be found in the mind itself. In particular our tendency to grasp at things (or alternatively to push them away) places us fundamentally at odds with the way life really is.” (ibid)

We wish to escape our suffering, which is impossible. Life is suffering. Maybe a Buddha or a sage of some sort can learn to ignore all life, all suffering, make craving go away. Maybe one in a million. Not me. I am not one of those.

The Buddha seems to think that we are something apart from the rest of the world. This is a common error.
3. The cessssation of dukkha comes with the cessation of craving (ibid)

Again, kind of backwards. Like the first truth states, Life is suffering. There is no escape (except death). Accept this truth and move on. You will suffer, you will try to end your suffering. There seems to be no problem here, to me anyway. He seems to create a problem where there is none.

4. There is a path that leads from duhhka.  Although the Buddha throws responsibility back on to the individual he also taught methods through which we can change ourselves, for example the Noble Eightfold Path. (ibid)

To place blame on the individual seems misplaced. The only real problem is life, existence in and of itself.


Media Pot Reporting: Just Don’t Call Us Uncool!
by Ann Coulter


Monday,  April 8th, 2019

Forces loyal to the Government of National Accord retake Tripoli International Airport from the Libyan National Army. (Anadolu Agency)

Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen resigns President Trump announced on Twitter Sunday evening that Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen has resigned. About an hour later, Nielsen confirmed the news in a tweet of her own, saying she submitted her resignation to Trump on Sunday afternoon and felt it was the “honor of a lifetime to serve with the brave men and women” of the department. In a separate tweet, Trump said Kevin McAleenan, the current commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection, will serve as acting DHS secretary. Nielsen stepped into the role in December 2017, and has become the public face of the Trump administration’s immigration policies, including that of detaining undocumented migrant children. Source: Reuters

Beto O’Rourke calls Benjamin Netanyahu a ‘racist’ before Israeli election Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke slammed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday, calling him a “racist” and saying his promise Saturday to annex Israeli settlements in the West Bank if he wins re-election Tuesday “will make peace in the long term impossible.” O’Rourke told a town hall at the University of Iowa that he supports a two-state solution, and he criticized Netanyahu for joining forces with “far-right parties who are inherently racist in their speech and the way that they want to treat their fellow human beings in that part of the world.” Later, O’Rourke told reporters Netanyahu is a “racist” and said Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has also “not been faithful in pursuing peace.” Source: The Washington Post


Sunday, April 7th, 2019

The Government of National Accord in Tripoli formally announces the start of a counteroffensive to reclaim all parts of the capital held by the Libyan National Army. (Al Jazeera)

Russia blocks a United Nations Security Council statement calling on Libyan Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar to immediately halt the Libyan National Army’s offensive on Tripoli, because it wants the UN statement to also apply to pro-GNA forces, including Islamist militias from Misrata. (South China Morning Post)

The United States Africa Command evacuates a contingent of U.S. troops from Libya due to the unrest. India also withdraws a contingent of peacekeepers from Tripoli. (The Guardian)

Libyan Air Force jets loyal to Khalifa Haftar strike GNA positions in Tripoli for first time since the offensive began, including four airstrikes near the Bab al-Azizia military barracks. (Reuters)

A major power outage occurs in Sudan, leaving almost the entire country without electricity amid ongoing anti-government protests. (Africanews)

U.S. President Donald Trump announces that Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen is leaving the administration. Customs and Border Protectioncommissioner Kevin McAleenan will serve in her stead until a new secretary is confirmed by Congress. (The Washington Post)

Saturday,  April 6th, 2019

Militias loyal to the internationally-recognised Government of National Accord launch a counterattack on Libyan National Army troops in the southern outskirts of Tripoli. (The Washington Post)

Libyan National Army Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar declares a no-fly zone for military aircraft over western Libya, after LNA forces were targeted by airstrikes from GNA warplanes that took off from Misrata Airport. (Al Arabiya)

South Korea’s Hyundai Motor reaches an agreement with Tencent to partner on research and development of self-driving cars. Hyundai plans to roll such cars out commercially by 2030. (Reuters)

Greek riot police clash with hundreds of migrants near the Diavata refugee camp, attempting to enter North Macedonia, after rumours were circulated on social media that the border would be open. (Reuters)


Friday,  April 5th, 2019

Libyan National Army troops reach the outskirts of the Libyan capital Tripoli, securing a key military checkpoint known as “Bridge 27”. (AFP)

The LNA captures several more towns in the Tripoli District, including Qasr bin Ghashir, Wadi Rabie and Suq al-Khamis, as well as the town of ‘Aziziya in the Jafara District, to the west of Tripoli. (Reuters)

LNA forces say they have seized control of Tripoli International Airport. (Reuters)

The United States, United Kingdom, France, and Italy issue a joint statement calling on Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar to end the offensive. (Euronews)

The CEO for Boeing, Dennis Muilenburg, apologizes for the loss of lives in the two 737 MAX accidents, recognizing the role that the MCAS system played in the disasters. (Washington Post)

The U.S Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports the source of E. coli O103, that has infected 72 people in five states, has not been identified. Bill Marler, a food safety lawyer in Seattle, notes this O103 outbreak is by far the largest in recent memory. (The Washington Post via MSN.com)

A high-level source within the government of Ecuador tells WikiLeaks that Julian Assange will be expelled within “hours to days” and that Ecuador’s government already has an agreement with the UK for his arrest. On April 2, 2019, Ecuadorian President Lenín Moreno accused WikiLeaks of leaking the INA Papers. The INA Papers are a set of documents published in February 2019 which uncover the operations of INA Investment Corp, an offshore tax haven created by the brother of President Moreno. The trove of emails, phone communications and expense receipts are said to link the president and his family to a series of corrupt and criminal dealings, including money laundering and offshore accounts. The leak has sparked a parliamentary investigation into President Moreno for corruption. (Al-Jazeera)

A small 5-200 kilometer planetesimal, with a similar mineral composition to Earth, is found orbiting in the debris disk of a white dwarf star. This discovery is among the first of its kind and expected to provide insight into the future of our own planetary system. (Astronomy.com)

JAXA space probe Hayabusa2 successfully fires a bullet at Apollo asteroid 162173 Ryugu, forming a crater which will be used to collect underground samples. (AP)

The End




Is there anything better? I don’t think so.

it’s hard for me to overstate the importance of sleep. If I was to somehow rate the three most important activities in life, they would probably come out in this order: sleep, eat, sex. At one time, not too long ago, the order would have been: sex, eat, sleep. Getting old…

The beauty of sleep is that it provides a ready made respite from the world. The world is, as you know, the shit show (god’s own shit show) that we are all forced to take part in. it’s fabulous and fortuitous that a built in facet of our physiology provides a convenient break from the exigencies (weird and obnoxious social roles; the constant need to kill and consume other creatures; the anxieties surrounding old age and death; all the miscellaneous suffering of sickness; the constant unnamed free floating feeling of lack, of missing something; etc…) of the world. This is beauty, oblivion.

While being engulfed in sweet unconscious oblivion of deep slumber is the ultimate joy in life, the process of falling asleep is also pleasant. This is when god comes to visit, and the only time that he comes in a comforting form. He comes without all the pushing and shoving and demands of waking life.

I happen to live in an 1870’s farm house. It’s cold and drafty in the winter. There’s no heat in the upstairs rooms, where I sleep. But this is when and where god comes to me and shows his benevolent side. During the worst of any storm, snow sleet rain wind pounding on the house,  i’m warm and secure in my bed. My belly is full. God has given me an electric blanket in order to feel, personally, his warmth and love. I wrap myself in his warm embrace. His love becomes manifest in form of an all encompassing warmth from the holy electric blanket that he’s provided for me. I know his love is true, as I drift into the place I long for the most, oblivion.

Eight, ten, maybe 12 hours later, it’s time to wake up, rejoin the land of the god’s frantic puppets, and begin once again to do his will. One must remember god’s true aspect is that of an unrelenting task master. His puppets, which we all are, must obey his will, which is to be part of the universe which is busily eating itself. God only gives you a break, so you can get back to work.

but right now? I say fuck god. It’s time for a nap.


so, what to do with this life? You’ve been forced into it. You’re here. You’re stuck. What to do?

First, of course, I sure don’t know. But, sleep, sex, food and drink are where to start. These are old and meaningless answers. Of course you need to sleep and eat and such. But they take up some time and always provide satisfaction, albeit fleeting.

So let’s say that you have that kind of stuff covered. What to do from there? That’s what I don’t know. I’ve done many things. Careers. Business enterprises. Family life. Debauched hedonism. Etc. All standard fare. None of them, nothing i’ve ever done, has been satisfying, at least not for any length of time. However, some of the regret involved has stuck to me for a lifetime. (i’ll be 63 in a week or so.)

So, I have to conclude that, at least for me, life is, always was, and always will be an exercise in dissatisfaction. There’s nothing there. It’s a lie. A cheat. It promises much, but delivers nothing. The rub is, the dissatisfaction leads to action, which just leads to more dissatisfaction. So you’re (i’m) stuck in some sort of recursive loop.

The real problem (the rub of the rub) seems to be that you’re (i’m) here. You’re (I’m) alive. Being alive, from the moment one is born, until the moment of death, I have to do something, even if it’s just to sit there and breath. One has to pass the time, one way or another, no getting around it. But one breath leads to another, so, might as well get up and do something, whatever that might be. Whatever you feel like doing, having the means to so, is as good as anything else. I’d say.

I’m on my way to cut and clear and stack some brush from around my property. Tonight, I will get slightly drunk and high, probably pass out while watching a movie. Any better ideas out there?


Belarusian authorities begin demolishing crosses with bulldozers at the Byelorussian Soviet Socialist Republic-era mass grave site Kurapaty on the outskirts of Minsk, where at least 30,000 people were executed by the NKVD’s secret police in the 1930s and 1940s. The bulldozing is widely condemned in Belarus. (BBC)

Lying About Hitler
by Richard J. Evans



Joe Biden promises to be ‘more mindful and respectful of people’s personal space’ In a Wednesday statement, former Vice President Joe Biden responded to recollections from four women who said he made them feel uncomfortable with inappropriate touching. Biden said he has “always tried to make a human connection” with people throughout his career, which is “the way I’ve tried to show I care about them and that I’m listening.” But “social norms have begun to change,” he said, and “the boundaries of protecting personal space have been reset.” Biden, who is expected to announce a 2020 presidential campaign in the coming weeks, promised to be “more mindful and respectful of people’s personal space” going forward. He has previously said that “not once” in his career did he feel he acted inappropriately. Source: Joe Biden

Friday,  April 5th, 2019

Libyan National Army troops reach the outskirts of the Libyan capital Tripoli, securing a key military checkpoint known as “Bridge 27”. (AFP)

The United States, United Kingdom, France and Italy issue a joint statement calling on General Khalifa Haftar to end the offensive. (Euronews)

A high level source within the government of Ecuador tells WikiLeaks that Julian Assange will be expelled within “hours to days” and that Ecuador’s government already has an agreement with the UK for his arrest. On April 2, 2019, Ecuadorian President Lenín Moreno accused Wikileaks of leaking the INA Papers. The INA Papers are a set of documents published in February 2019, which uncover the operations of INA Investment Corp, an offshore tax haven created by the brother of President Moreno. The trove of emails, phone communications and expense receipts are said to link the president and his family to a series of corrupt and criminal dealings, including money laundering and offshore accounts. The leak has sparked a parliamentary investigation into President Moreno for corruption. (Wikileaks) (Al-Jazeera)

DOJ defends Barr’s handling of Mueller report The Department of Justice defended Attorney General William Barr’s handling of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report on Thursday, saying he couldn’t release more information on findings related to collusion with Russia or obstruction of justice because “every page” of the report could contain confidential grand jury information. Investigators who worked with Mueller have reportedly expressed concern that Barr didn’t accurately summarize the findings, as what they reported was more damaging to President Trump than Barr indicated. Barr sent Congress a four-page memo summarizing his takeaways, barely citing the special counsel’s office. Multiple summaries of the report had already been written, and investigators said Barr should have put more of their conclusions in the memo. They reportedly feel the findings were “more troubling” than Barr suggested. Source: The New York Times, The Week


Michael Cohen finds hard drive with files he thinks Congress should see Michael Cohen’s attorneys sent lawmakers a letter on Thursday, letting them know that President Trump’s former personal lawyer and fixer has more information to offer. In the letter, Lanny Davis and Michael Monico revealed that Cohen recently found a hard drive with “substantial” files on it, which might be helpful to investigators, CNN reports. In February, Cohen testified in front of lawmakers, accusing Trump of financial fraud. This came two months after he was sentenced to three years in prison for financial crimes, campaign finance violations, and lying to Congress. Cohen is scheduled to report to prison on May 6, but Davis and Monico requested that lawmakers intervene and ask the Southern District of New York to postpone his arrival, so he can have time to review the hard drive’s files. Source: CNN


Boeing accepts responsibility for faulty 737 MAX software: ‘We own it’ Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg on Thursday apologized for the “erroneous activation” of the company’s maneuvering software in two 737 MAX 8 passenger jets that crashed last month and last year. “We extend our sympathies to the loved ones of the passengers and crew on board,” he said, explaining the faulty system that may have caused a sudden nosedive. “It’s our responsibility to eliminate this risk. We own it and we know how to do it.” Ethiopian officials said Thursday that a preliminary report on the crash of an Ethiopian Airline flight last month showed that the pilots repeatedly followed all the procedures recommended by Boeing before crashing minutes after takeoff. The crash killed 157 people. All 737 MAX aircraft were grounded worldwide last month while Boeing completed a software update to the flight-stabilization system. Source: MarketWatch, Quartz


Trump reportedly plans to nominate Hermain Cain to Fed President Trump has reportedly decided to nominate Herman Cain for a seat on the Federal Reserve Board. Previous reports suggested Cain was under consideration, but sources told Bloomberg on Thursday that the president now intends to move forward with the nomination. Cain, the former CEO of the Godfather’s Pizza chain, ran for president in 2012 and last year co-founded a pro-Trump super-PAC. He previously directed the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, and has supported higher interest rates, which Trump has criticized as damaging to the economy. Cain’s most famous policy idea was a “9-9-9” tax plan, which sought to implement a flat 9 percent tax rate. Trump has announced plans to additionally nominate former campaign adviser Stephen Moore to the Fed board. Source: Bloomberg


Jobs report shows U.S. economy added a solid 196,000 jobs in March U.S. employers added 196,000 jobs in March, the Labor Department reported Friday. The number exceeded expectations of a 172,000-job gain forecast by economists surveyed by MarketWatch. The number marked a rebound from a 17-month low in February, when U.S. non-farm payrolls grew by a disappointing 20,000 new jobs, although that figure was adjusted up to 33,000 in Friday’s report. The strong jobs report could help ease fears of a sharp economic slowdown. “A number that is close to consensus and with an upward revision to February will give you some degree of comfort that while the economy is slowing, it isn’t declining rapidly,” said Dan North, chief economist at Euler Hermes North America in Baltimore, shortly before the report came out. The unemployment rate remained unchanged at 3.8 percent. Source: MarketWatch, CNBC


Thursday, April 4th, 2019

Libyan National Army forces continue to advance on the Libyan capital Tripoli, capturing the city of Gharyan, with only light resistance reported. General Khalifa Haftar has ordered the LNA to seize control of Tripoli, prompting the Tripoli-based Presidential Council to declare a general mobilization. (The Guardian)

The Ethiopian government releases a preliminary report on the investigation into the crash of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302. (CNN)

The Australian Parliament passes a law which makes it illegal for Internet platforms and service providers to host videos of “abhorrent violent conduct” without “expeditiously” removing them. (The Guardian)

Governor Lou Leon Guerrero signs a bill into law, legalizing the recreational use of cannabis. (The Hill)

The U.S. House of Representatives approves a resolution to end U.S. support for the Saudi Arabia-led coalition in the war in Yemen. (Politico)



 Wednesday,  April 3rd, 2019

The Libyan National Army (LNA) launches a surprise offensive in western Libya, moving units towards the Government of National Accord-held capital Tripoli, with reports of clashes in the city of Gharyan. The LNA say their operation, ordered by General Khalifa Haftar, is aimed at “cleansing the western zone from terrorist groups”. (Reuters)

Volodymyr Zelenskywins the first round of Ukraine’s presidential election with 30 percent of the vote, with President Petro Poroshenko coming in second with 15 percent of the vote. Since no candidate reached the required number of votes to achieve the office of the presidency, a runoff election between the two candidates will be held on April 21. Voter turnout was 63 percent. (Ukrinform) (The Jerusalem Post)

The S. House Committee on Ways and Means formally requests six years of President Donald Trump’s personal and business tax returns from the Internal Revenue Service. (ABC News)

 The End




Wednesday,  April 3rd, 2019

Populist comedian Volodymyr Zelensky wins the first round of presidential election with 30% of the vote while current President Petro Poroshenko comes in second with 15% of the vote. Since no candidate reached the required 50%+1 threshold, a runoff between these two candidates will be held on on 21 April, 2019. (National News Agency of Ukraine)

Bitcoin price mysteriously soars by 15 percent Bitcoin’s price shot up by 15 percent on Tuesday, briefly surpassing $5,000 for the first time since November. Founder and CEO of the deVere group Nigel Green said “there is a growing sense that Bitcoin is back,” per CNN. But bitcoin is known for being volatile in the market, making it difficult to pinpoint the cause for the spike, CEO Hunter Horsley told CNBC. The surge may have been caused in part by a $100 million order of bitcoin from an unknown private buyer, but experts say even that order is inexplicable. Source:  CNBC

Lori Lightfoot elected Chicago’s first black female mayor Lori Lightfoot, a former federal prosector, won Chicago’s mayoral election on Tuesday, becoming the city’s first black female mayor. She defeated Toni Preckwinkle, Cook County Board president and chair of the Cook County Democratic Party. Lightfoot, 56, is the second woman to be elected mayor of Chicago, after Jane Byrne, who served one term from 1979 to 1983. This was her first run for office, and with her win, Chicago is now the largest city in the U.S. to ever elect an openly gay mayor. In September, Mayor Rahm Emanuel said he would not seek a third term, and Lightfoot and Preckwinkle beat out 12 other candidates in February’s first-round election. Source: Chicago Tribune



Tuesday,  April 2nd, 2019

Russia opens a helicopter training facility in Venezuela. Under the plans, Russian state-owned Rostec will train Venezuelan pilots to operate Mi-35Mgunships and transport helicopters. The move comes after the White House warned Moscow against sending troops or military equipment to the country. (Reuters)

According to a criminal complaint filed in a U.S. District Court, a Chinese woman named Yujing Zhang was arrested and charged with making a false statement to the United States Secret Service after illegally entering U.S. President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida on 30 March 2019 while carrying multiple passports, four mobile phones and a thumb drive containing malware. (BBC)

President Abdelaziz Bouteflika resigns amid pressure from the public and the military, having ruled the country since 1999. (BBC)

The chairman for the Republican Party in North Carolina, Robin Hayes, is charged with bribery and other corruption charges, along with Republican donor Greg Lindberg. (Yahoo)

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau expels former cabinet ministers Jody Wilson-Raybould and Jane Philpott from the Liberal party caucus. (BBC)

The Nicolás Maduro-aligned Constituent National Assembly formally strips opposition leader and National Assembly President Juan Guaidó of his immunity from prosecution, potentially paving the way for his arrest. (Brisbane Times)

Protesters strip naked in the public galleries of the House of Commons, pressing their rear ends against the window facing Ministers. (The Guardian)

Measles cases on track for highest annual total since disease was ‘eliminated’ There have been more reported measles cases so far this year than in all of 2018, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced late Monday. The 387 cases reported in 2019 have already surpassed 2018’s total of 372, and has put 2019 on track to break the record set in 2014: 667 cases. The CDC declared measles eliminated thanks to the widespread adoption of vaccines back in 2000. Six outbreaks are currently ongoing throughout the U.S. Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention


Monday,  April 1st, 2019

China announces that it will add fentanyl to a list of regulated narcotic drugs on May 1, 2019 in an effort to curtail its manufacturing. (BBC)

Reiwa (令和) is revealed as the new Japanese Era name set to start on May 1 upon Crown Prince Naruhito’s accession to the Crysanthemum Throne as the 126th Emperor of Japan. (The Japan Times)

Thirty firefighters die in southwestern China after a forest fire trapped them due to a sudden shift in winds. (BBC)

Two children die and twenty are injured after a dust devil in China lifts an inflatable castle off the ground. (South China Morning Post)

In an election marred by electoral fraud, Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party wins with 44% of the vote while Republican People’s Party comes in second with 30% of the vote. Overall, People’s Alliance gets 51% of the vote while Nation Alliance receives 37% of the vote. Voter turnout was 84%. (Anadolu Agency)

Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika announces that he will resign by April 28, following intense pressure from the Algerian People’s National Armed Forces and ruling party to step down amid anti-government protests, bringing an end to his 20-year rule. (Reuters)

The End

The Moon Landing Was Faked

The Moon Landings: A Giant Hoax for Mankind?
An introduction to the mother of all conspiracy theories


The Walking Dead

The homeless camps around Los Angeles have turned up cases of other medieval-type diseases typical of human settlements before public sanitation became a standard feature of civilized life: Many are spread through feces (as well as drug use): Hepatitis A, Typhus, shigellosis (or trench fever, spread through body lice), and tuberculosis. Gawd knows what is coming across the border into America’s proudly leading “sanctuary state.” Wait for it. Just sayin’.


Andrew Yang and the Post-Nationalist Future

by Robert Stark


Monday,  April 1st, 2019

American rapper Nipsey Hussle is shot and killed outside a Los Angeles clothing store. Two other people with him were also shot and wounded. (Global News)

Reiwa (令和) is revealed as the new Japanese Era name set to start on May 1 upon Crown Prince Naruhito’s accession to the Crysanthemum Throne as the 126th Emperor of Japan. (Japan Today)

Japan announces name of new era: ‘Reiwa’ Like his predecessor, Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga announced the name of the new Imperial era by holding up a framed calligraphy parchment revealing the moniker: “Reiwa.” The two characters mean “order” and “harmony,” and replace the current era, “Heisei,” which means “achieving peace.” The new era will begin on May 1, when Crown Prince Naruhito ascends to the throne, succeeding his father, Emperor Akihito. Akihito was the first abdication in 200 years. Prior to the announcement, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told reporters the goal was to “choose a name that would lead to a new era brimming with hope.” Source: The Japan Times

In an election marred by electoral fraud, Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party wins with 44% of the vote while Republican People’s Party comes in second with 30% of the vote. Overall, People’s Alliance gets 51% of the vote while Nation Alliance receives 37% of the vote. Voter turnout was 84%. (Anadolu Agency)



Sunday, March 31st, 2019

 A plant explosion in the Jiangsu province of China kills seven and injures five others. The explosion is the second deadliest in the month after the 2019 Xiangshui chemical plant explosion. (Reuters)

Severe thunderstorms in Nepal leave at least 25 people dead while more than 400 others are injured. (The Guardian)

Taiwan condemns China after two PLAAF fighter jets pass the maritime line on the Taiwan Strait. Though there was no immediate response from China, the move comes after a week when the United States Navy and United States Coast Guard sent ships through the Strait. (Reuters)

During the 30th Arab League summit held in Tunisia, leaders condemn the United States recognition of the Golan Heights belonging to Israel, and stated the establishment of a Palestinian state is essential for stability. (Reuters)

Three teenage migrants who partook in the hijacking of Elhiblu 1 are charged in Malta. (The New York Times)

Voters in Ukraine go to the polls today in the first round of the presidential election. President Petro Poroshenko is seeking re-election, with comedian Volodymyr Zelensky and former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko the primary challengers. All three have expressed largely pro-European views. Former Vice Prime Minister Yuriy Boyko is the front-runner among the pro-Russian candidates. A total of 39 candidates are on the ballot, increasing the probability no candidate will win more than 50 percent of the votes. If so, the top two will meet in a second round on 21 April. (BBC)

Anti-corruption candidate Zuzana Čaputová of the Progressive Slovakia party wins the second round of Slovakia’s presidential election, defeating the governing party candidate Maroš Šefčovič, 58 percent versus 42%. She will be the country’s first female head of state. (BBC)

Elvis Luciano of the Toronto Blue Jays becomes the first person born in the 2000s to play in a Major League Baseball game. (MLB.com)



Saturday,  March 30th, 2018

First Vice President of Afghanistan Abdul Rashid Dostum survives an assassination attempt on his convoy while traveling to the Jowzjan Province in Afghanistan. The attack killed one bodyguard and injured two others. (Reuters)

Brunei defends its decision, despite global criticism, to implement laws that can punish homosexuality, adultery and rape with the death penalty, including by stoning, and theft with amputation, as of Wednesday, April 3, 2019. (Reuters)

Pope Francis and Moroccan King Mohammed VI call for the protection of Jerusalem’s multi-religious character, saying the city’s sacred sites must be accessible to worshipers of all faiths. (Reuters)

Pope Francis says the plight of migrants was “a wound that cries out to heaven”. He added, “The issue of migration will never be resolved by raising barriers, fomenting fear of others or denying assistance to those who legitimately aspire to a better life for themselves and their families”. (Reuters)

This month, at least 400,000 hectares (1 million acres) of U.S. farmland were flooded from the bomb cyclone storm that left wide swaths of nine major grain-producing states under water, according to Israel Cleantech Ventures’ Gro Intelligence. (Reuters)

A 5.3 magnitude earthquake strikes northwest of Athens, Greece, near the seaside town of Itea at 1046 GMT. (The Washington Post)

A 6.4 magnitude earthquake hits Papua New Guinea’s New Britain island, east of Kandrian at 1120 GMT. (Reuters)

President Donald Trump directs the United States Department of State to cease aid for El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala. This apparently reverses the regional compact agreement Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen signed on Wednesday with these countries and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s congressional testimony of the same day. (ABC News)

Tunisian authorities acknowledge they are detaining Tunisian national Moncef Kartas, a UN Libyan arms embargo monitor who has diplomatic immunity. Tunisia says Mr. Kartas had traveled in a private capacity on his Tunisian passport. The United Nations has called for his release and for Tunisia to clarify the reason for his arrest. (Reuters)

Thirty men are sentenced in Egypt for planning an attack on a church in Alexandria, with eighteen men receiving life sentences and twelve men receiving between ten to fifteen years in prison. (The New York Times)

Federal Judge Sharon L. Gleason for the District of Alaska rules that President Donald Trump’s 2017 executive order allowing oil and gas drilling in the Arctic Ocean and parts of the North Atlantic coast exceeds presidential power because it requires congressional action. (BBC)

Slovak citizens vote for a new president, with front runner Zuzana Čaputová facing Maroš Šefčovič. (BBC)

On the one year anniversary of the Gaza border protests, tens of thousands of Palestinians gather on the border to commemorate the weekly gatherings. Four Palestinian protesters have been killed and more than 300 wounded according to Palestinian health officials. (BBC)

Algerian Army Chief of Staff Ahmed Gaid Salah renews his call for President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, who has rarely been seen in public since suffering a stroke in 2013, be declared unfit for office. He also told opponents not to seek to undermine the military. (Reuters)


Friday,  March 29th, 2018

UK Prime Minister Theresa May suffers another defeat of 286–344 on her Withdrawal Agreement. European Council President Donald Tusk schedules an emergency summit on April 10, two days before Brexit is scheduled to happen. (CNN)

Algerians protest in the capital of Algiers against President Abdelaziz Bouteflika in an effort to make him resign. It is estimated that tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands attended. (BBC)


Thursday, March 28th, 2018

The Maltese Navy seizes control of commercial tanker Elhiblu 1, which was hijacked by migrants off the coast of Libya yesterday. The tanker is now docked in the Maltese capital, Valletta. (BBC)

WOW air, an Icelandic low-cost airline, ceases operations. (CBC)

Venezuelan state comptroller Elvis Amoroso announces that opposition leader Juan Guaidó is barred from holding public office for 15 years because of irregularities in his financial records. Guaidó, the National Assembly leader, says he will continue his campaign to oust President Nicolás Maduro. (CBS News)

The End Monday







Wednesday,  March 27th, 2019

Patriots owner Kraft pleads not guilty to solicitation Robert Kraft, owner of the New England Patriots, pleaded not guilty to charges on two misdemeanor counts of first-degree solicitation on Tuesday. Prosecutors alleged last month that Kraft solicited a prostitute in Jupiter, Florida, saying they obtained video evidence but would drop the charges if he paid a fine and agreed to admit his guilt and do community service. Kraft apologized last week but is now asking for a jury trial. He could be assigned 100 hours of community service and a $5,000 fine if found guilty, as well as an unlikely sentence of up to a year in prison. Source: ESPN


 Tuesday,  March 26th, 2019

All charges against American actor Jussie Smollett for allegedly filing a false police report are dropped. (CNN)

Purdue Pharma reaches a $270 million settlement in a lawsuit filed by the state of Oklahoma which claimed the pharmaceutical company’s opioids contributed to the deaths of thousands of people. (The Washington Post)

Health officials in Rockland County, New York, declare a state of emergency due to an ongoing measles outbreak. The county is prohibiting unvaccinated children under the age of 18 from public areas for 30 days. (Ars Technica)

The United States Senate blocks the Green New Deal, a progressive climate change resolution aiming to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions in the United States. It has faced criticism from conservatives, as well as some Democrats, who have found the language in the resolution too broad and unspecific. (The Hill)

U.S.-owned company Uber buys Dubai based ride-sharing company Careem for $3.1 billion in order to further solidify its Middle Eastern presence. (CNBC)

The European Parliament approves two revisions to the controversial Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market. One resolution includes new requirements aimed at making companies pay licensing fees to publications such as newspapers whose work gets aggregated by online services. The second revision makes online platforms such as Google, Facebook and YouTube liable for the content posted on their services, meaning that all content providers must get permission from rights holders before uploading copyrighted material of any kind. (The Guardian)

According to Israel Today, a senior Hamas official, speaking on condition of anonymity, claimed that Iran’s rulers ordered the rocket attack on Mishmeret in central Israel on March 25, 2019 which injured seven Israelis. The rocket attack was carried out by Islamic Jihad Movement in Palestine which is heavily financed by Iran. The Hamas official said that Hamas’s goal was to hurt Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s chances of getting reelected in the April 9 elections. (The Jerusalem Post)

An airstrike carried out in north-west Yemen kills seven and injures eight others at a hospital. The airstrike occurred early when patients and staff members were arriving. (BBC)

Algeria’s Chief of Staff of the People’s National Army Ahmed Gaid Salah, the highest ranked military official in the country, gives a televised address, calling on President Abdelaziz Bouteflika to resign or be declared “unfit to serve” by the People’s National Assembly. (BBC)

Mixed martial artist Conor McGregor announces his retirement from the sport on Twitter. The New York Times reports that McGregor was arrested in January for allegedly sexually assaulting a woman in Ireland. According to the New York Times, he was released and is under investigation by authorities. (New York Post)

The Spanish Audiencia Nacional reveals that an attack on the North Korean embassy in Madrid, Spain, which happened on February 22, was led by a Mexican citizen residing in the United States who later offered the FBI data stolen during the incident.  (New York Times)

The End 




Enron 2019 and Meager Demand

Update on The Trump Witch-Hunt
by James Howard Kunstler

That’s what played on CNN, NBC, and The New York Times yesterday as they struggled to digest the parting meal Robert Mueller served to the RussiaGate lynch mob: a nothingburger with a side of crow-flavored fries. Mr. Mueller was careful, though, to leave a nice red poison cherry on top with his statement that “…while this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.”

Mr. Mueller, who ought to know better, could not be more in error on that too-fine-a-point. The official finding that no crime was committed is, ipso facto, an exoneration, and to impute otherwise is a serious breach of his role in this legal melodrama. Prosecutors are expressly forbidden to traffic in defamation, aspersion, and innuendo in the absence of formal charges. So, it will be interesting to hear what Mr. Mueller has to say when Jerrold Nadler reels him into the House Judiciary Committee, as inevitably he will, to do to some ‘splainin.’


The cruise ship Viking Sky as it drifts after sending a Mayday signal because of engine failure in windy conditions near Hustadvika, off the west coast of Norway, Saturday March 23, 2019. The Viking Sky is forced to evacuate its estimated 1,300 passengers.


Tuesday,  March 26th, 2019

Flash flooding in the southern provinces of Iran kills at least 19 people and injures more than 100. The majority of the deaths occurred in the city of Shiraz. (BBC)

EU parliament approves the latest revision of the controversed Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market. (The Guardian)

Justice Department asks court to strike down all of ObamaCare In a court filing Monday, the Justice Department shifted its legal position on the Affordable Care Act, asking the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals to strike down the entire 2010 law, commonly known as ObamaCare. In December, U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor in Texas ruled that ObamaCare became effectively unconstitutional when Republicans zeroed-out the individual mandate in their 2017 tax overhaul. “The Department of Justice has determined that the district court’s comprehensive opinion came to the correct conclusion and will support it on appeal,” DOJ spokeswoman Kerri Kupec said. Previously, President Trump’s Justice Department had argued for scrapping only ObamaCare’s protections for pre-existing conditions. Many legal scholars, including conservatives, doubt O’Connor’s ruling will stand. Source: Bloomberg News, The Washington Post

British lawmakers seize control of Brexit process from May British lawmakers voted Monday night to take control of the parliamentary timetable on Wednesday, giving them the opportunity to vote on several alternatives to Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit deal. The amendment, put forward by a member of May’s Conservative Party, passed 329 to 302. Alternatives to May’s plan include leaving the European Union without a deal, extending the country’s departure, and revoking Article 50 to remain in the EU. Last week, the EU agreed to postpone Brexit, originally set for March 29, until May 22 if British lawmakers agree to May’s twice-rejected withdrawal deal. Otherwise, the EU will extend the delay only to April 12. Earlier Monday, May said she did not have enough support to hold a third vote. Source: Reuters


Monday,  March 25th, 2019

The Wall Street Journal reports that former Enron CEO Jeffrey Skilling, released from prison in February after serving 12 years for fraud and insider trading following Enron’s 2001 collapse, is planning a return to the energy business, helming a “digital platform connecting investors to oil and gas projects”. (The Wall Street Journal).

‘meager demand’ and Model 3 ‘delivery issues’ (TSLA)

Attorney Michael Avenatti is arrested and charged with extortion, embezzlement and bank fraud. (CNBC)

Seven people are moderately injured after a rocket attack destroys a home in Mishmeret, Israel. The Israel Defense Forces claim that Hamas is responsible for any attack from Gaza. (BBC)

As a result, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu cuts his four-day trip to the United States short after meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump. (Reuters)

In retaliation Israeli Air Force jets strike multiple targets in the Gaza Strip, including the office of senior Hamas official Ismail Haniyeh, and Hamas’ military intelligence headquarters in Gaza City.  (Al Jazeera)

U.S. President Donald Trump signs a proclamation formally recognising the disputed Golan Heights as sovereign Israeli territory. (Al Jazeera)

Syria’s Foreign Affairs Ministry condemns Trump’s move as a “flagrant violation of the sovereignty of Syria”. (Xinhuanet)

In Washington, D.C., the leaders of Romania and Honduras announce they will recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, following the lead of the United States. (Fox News)

A judge rules that former Guantanamo Bay prisoner Omar Khadr has completed his prison sentence. (CBC) (Vancouver Courier)

Bayer and Johnson & Johnson announce that they have reached a $775 million agreement to settle approximately 25,000 outstanding litigation cases, which claim that their drug Xarelto caused severe and sometimes fatal bleeding episodes. Bayer and Johnson & Johnson had successfully defended the safety of the drug in all six prior cases that went to trial. (The New York Times)


Barr says Mueller report reveals no collusion by Trump Special Counsel Robert Mueller and his team did not find evidence that President Trump or his associates conspired or coordinated with Russia on Moscow’s 2016 election meddling, “despite multiple offers from Russia-affiliated individuals to assist the Trump campaign,” Attorney General William Barr said in a summary of Mueller’s report made public on Sunday. Barr said that Mueller did not draw conclusions on whether Trump tried to obstruct justice by hindering the investigation. Barr added that he and the deputy attorney general, Rod Rosenstein, determined that Mueller’s team did not uncover sufficient evidence to justify charging Trump with obstruction. “The Special Counsel states that ‘while this report does not conclude that the president committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him,'” Barr wrote. Source: The New York Times, The Washington Post

Democrats say Barr’s letter ‘raises as many questions as it answers’ House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said in a joint statement on Sunday that the letter Attorney General William Barr sent to Congress giving his summary of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report “raises as many questions as it answers.” Because Mueller does not exonerate President Trump “on a charge as serious as obstruction of justice” and Barr is “not a neutral observer and is not in a position to make objective determinations about the report,” Pelosi and Schumer argue, “Congress requires the full report and the underlying documents so that the committees can proceed with their independent work.” House Judiciary Chair Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) pledged to call Barr to testify before Congress “in the near future.” Source: Rep. Jerry Nadler, The Week

Us has largest box office debut for original horror film Jordan Peele’s sophomore film, the horror flick Us, had a stunning opening weekend, bringing in an estimated $70.3 million in North American ticket sales. The movie, which cost $20 million to make, soared above debut weekend forecasts of $38 to $45 million. Us had not only the largest debut for an original horror movie, but also one of the biggest openings for a live-action original film since Avatar came out in 2009. Peele’s directorial debut, 2017’s Get Out, brought in $33.4 million in its domestic opening weekend. Captain Marvel, having spent the last two weeks at the top of the box office, fell to second place, with $35 million in ticket sales. Source: The Associated Press

Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski announces retirement New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski announced his retirement from the NFL Sunday on Instagram, saying he’s “so grateful” for the time he spent on the team. Gronkowski, 29, played nine seasons with the Patriots, and thanked his teammates, fans, Patriots owner Robert Kraft, and Coach Bill Belichick for their support. Quarterback Tom Brady praised Gronkowski on Instagram, saying it was an “honor and privilege” to play with him. Gronkowski played 115 regular season games, with 521 receptions for 17,861 yards, a record for a tight end. Source: ESPN



Sunday, March 24th, 2019

 A United States airstrike in Afghanistan early Saturday kills 10 children and 3 adults. The family was displaced because of the conflict according to early findings by the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan. (Reuters)

The 2019 Global Teacher Prize and its $1 million (£760,000) purse is awarded to Brother Peter Tabichi, a Franciscan science teacher from rural Kenya. Tabichi gives away 80 percent of his salary to support poorer pupils at the Keriko Mixed Day Secondary School in Pwani Village, Nakuru. (BBC)

More than 60 school, county, city, child services and law enforcement officials, as well as mental health specialists, teachers and parents, hold an emergency meeting after the suicide of a second Stoneman Douglas survivor. Florida’s emergency chief is requesting the state Legislature provide more mental health resources for the community. Coral Springs, Florida police reported that, Saturday night, a current sophomore killed himself. Last week, Sydney Aiello, a 19-year-old graduate who had recently been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, took her own life. (The Guardian)

Two Russian military planes, an Ilyushin Il-62 and an Antonov An-124 land at Simón Bolívar International Airport near Caracas, Venezuela, carrying a senior Defence Ministry official, a large amount of equipment and about 100 troops. Russia, which three months earlier held joint military exercises on Venezuelan soil, condemned foreign powers for backing Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó versus embattled President Nicolás Maduro. (Reuters) (BBC)

Voters in Thailand head to the polls to elect all 500 members of the House of Representatives. This is the first parliamentary election held in the country since the invalidation of the 2014 Thai general election and the ensuing 2014 Thai coup d’état. (Reuters)

Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report on Russian interference in the 2016 United States elections does not find that any US officials or Trump campaign members knowingly conspired with the government of Russia. Mueller drew no conclusions about whether Trump illegally obstructed justice. (Reuters)

Attorney General William Barr releases the “principal conclusions” of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation in a four-page public letter to the Congress’s Judiciary Committee leadership. (Fox News)  (William Barr letter to congress via The Washington Post)



Saturday,  March 23rd, 2018

The Syrian Democratic Forces announce the capture of the last territory held by ISIL in Syria. (DW)

At least 134 Fulani herdsmen are killed in an attack on the villages of Ogossagou and Welingara by gunmen in Mali. (Reuters)

In Mogadishu, Somalia, at least five militants set off a car bomb and raid a government building, killing at least five people. Al-Shabaab claim responsibility for the attack. (The New York Times)

Rescuers scramble to rescue about 1,300 passengers and crew from the cruise ship Viking Sky adrift off the coast of Norway. (CNN)

Italy signs $2.8 billion in deals with the Belt and Road Initiative(Reuters)

Approximately one million Britons assemble for the People’s Vote March in London, United Kingdom advocating for an additional referendum on Brexit. (BBC)



Friday,  March 22nd, 2018

Officials report the death toll is now 62 from Thursday’s chemical plant explosion in Chenjiagang Industrial Park in northeastern Jiangsu Province, with 94 others seriously injured and 28 people still missing. (BBC)

U.S. President Donald Trump removes sanctions targeting North Korea that were imposed Thursday by the Treasury Department on two Chinese companies. (Fox News)

The Inter-American Development Bank, Latin America’s largest development lender, cancels its scheduled annual 48-country meeting next week following China’s refusal to allow a representative of Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó to attend what would have been the first IADB meeting held in China. (Reuters)

More than 24 hours after the Bolivarian Intelligence Service (SEBIN) detain attorney Roberto Marrero—Juan Guaidó’s chief of staff—there has been no contact with him and lawmakers are denied access to him at El Helicoide. (Tal Cual Digital)

Just hours after Marrero’s detention, the United States Department of the Treasury responds by placing sanctions on BANDES, the Venezuelan Economic and Social Development Bank and four of its subsidiaries. (France 24)

Hundreds of thousands of Algerians again rally, this week in heavy rain and cold weather, against President Abdelaziz Bouteflika demanding his immediate resignation. Bouteflika is fighting for his political survival in the face of unrelenting protests and the desertion of long-time allies. (Reuters)

The End