dr. consulta

The Turkish Lira Collapse… And Why Divine Intervention Will Not Be Forthcoming Aug. 14, 2018

After years of rampant dollar borrowing, running large current account deficits (due to the lack of domestic oil production), as well as an autocratic President who thinks that high interest rates produce inflation and meddles in the economy in ways that are guaranteed to backfire (as they are doing at the moment), the lira is now in freefall…

…It looks like Erdogan is digging in his heels as to the Trump administration confrontation while not being proactive as to the Turkish lira crisis. This means the whole mess is spilling into the other emerging markets – and that’s even before the major confrontation with China kicks in around September 5, after most Chinese tariff packages begin to go into effect.

I really need to know. How the FUCK does USAToday and MSN figure this qualifies as news. Seriously?

Alien abduction: 45 years after alleged UFO encounter, Mississippi man breaks his silence

Then the situation became more surreal. Parker said three legless creatures floated from the craft. One had no neck with gray wrinkled skin. Another had a neck and appeared more feminine. Parker described their hands as being shaped like mittens or crab claws.

When one of the creatures put one of its claws around his arm, Parker said he was terrified, but then another feeling came over his body.

“I think they injected us with something to calm us down,” Parker said. “I was kind of numb and went along with the program.”

 

Tuesday,  Aug 14, 2018

Trump calls Omarosa ‘crazed, crying lowlife’ and a ‘dog’ in morning tweet On Tuesday morning, President Trump tweeted about his former White House aide Omarosa Manigault Newman: “When you give a crazed, crying lowlife a break, and give her a job at the White House, I guess it just didn’t work out. Good work by General Kelly for quickly firing that dog!” It’s unclear what prompted the outburst, but 12 minutes before he tweeted, CBS This Morning posted a new recording from Manigault Newman that purports to lend credence to her claim that the president was recorded saying the N-word. “CBS has not been able to verify the authenticity of the tape, but it does appear to confirm Omarosa’s claims that Trump campaign officials were aware of this tape,” CBS said, “and they talked about how to handle it.” Source: CBS News, Twitter

Trump signs defense bill named for John McCain, doesn’t mention McCain On Monday, President Trump signed a $716 billion defense policy bill named in honor of Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), but didn’t once mention McCain during his remarks. McCain is battling an aggressive form of brain cancer, and has been resting at his home in Arizona. The bill’s formal title is the John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act, but during his speech at Fort Drum in New York, Trump only called it the National Defense Authorization Act. The bill authorizes funding for military construction and advanced technology. Trump and McCain do not have a good relationship, with Trump having scoffed at McCain’s military service and taking it personally when McCain voted against a repeal of the Affordable Care Act last year. Source: The Week

The Ponte Morandi viaduct collapses on the A10 motorway in Genoa, Italy. 22 people have been reported dead, including a child, and dozens of others are seriously injured. (TGCom)

 

US investors are pouring hundreds of millions into a healthcare company that doesn’t take insurance and lists its prices like a ‘McDonald’s menu’
(article is behind paywall)

Using tech and $100M, Dr Consulta transforms healthcare for the poorest
Jun 19, 2018

 

Monday,  Aug 13, 2018

Asian stock prices sink as Turkey’s financial turmoil fuels fears contagion might spread to other emerging markets. (Market Watch)

More than 100 Afghan soldiers and police, 13 civilians and hundreds of Taliban are killed during the ongoing offensive in Ghazni. (BBC)

The Taliban captures Camp Chenaya, an Afghan Army base in Ghormach District, Faryab Province. (Voice of America)

At least 40 people are killed by paramilitary forces in eastern Ethiopia, in the latest spate of violence driven by ethnic divisions. (Voa News)

North Korea and South Korea officials begin high-level negotiations, with reports suggesting that Kim Jong-un and Moon Jae-in could be planning for a summit in Pyongyang later this month. (Reuters)

The lawyer of Peter Strzok, a former agent of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) who was removed from Robert Mueller’s Special Counsel investigation, announces that his client has been fired by the FBI. (The Washington Post via MSN)

Sunday, Aug 12, 2018

A report by the SOHR says that the explosion of an arms depot in Sarmada, Idlib Governorate, Syria, kills at least 69 people, including 17 children. The cause of the blast is “not yet clear”. Most of the victims were reportedly family members of Hayat Tahrir al-Sham militants. (Reuters)

After more than 20 years of negotiations, the five countries bordering the Caspian Sea sign an agreement in Aktau, Kazakhstan, on its shared use and the distribution of its resources. The convention legally defines the body of water as a sea rather than a lake, but with special provisions. (Deutsche Welle)

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa meets with President Joseph Kabila of DR Congo in Kinshasa, praising him for his “respect for the constitution” by agreeing to step down and not take part in the upcoming December 2018 Congolese general election. (The South African)

Around twenty white nationalists hold a protest march in Washington, D.C. on the first anniversary of the Unite the Right rally, with thousands of counter-protesters. (AP via CBC News)

NASA launches the Parker Solar Probe, an unpiloted spacecraft designed to study the sun. (BBC)

Saturday,  Aug 11, 2018

Fighting continues around the city of Ghazni. (Reuters)

A delegation of the Taliban political office in Doha, Qatar, has visited Uzbekistan from 7 to 10 August and met with officials at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Both parties “exchanged views of prospects of the peace process in Afghanistan”. (The Hindu) (Uzbekistan Ministry of Foreign Affairs)

According to the Russian LGBT Network campaign group, a 16-year-old person becomes the first minor to be prosecuted under the Russian gay propaganda law. (The Independent)

 

Friday,  Aug 10, 2018

U.S. President Donald Trump authorizes the doubling of Section 232 tariffs on imports of aluminium and steel from Turkey, to 20% and 50% respectively. The Turkish lira further falls to a new record low against the U.S. dollar and Turkish stocks tumble. (CNBC)

Turkish lira plummets as Trump doubles tariffs The Turkish lira plunged more than 16 percent on Friday, while tensions simultaneously escalated between Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and President Trump, The Wall Street Journal reported. Investors were already worried about Turkey’s fragile economy and its future financial health, with the lira down 23 percent against the U.S. dollar in the past week. Erdogan seemingly added fuel to the fire when he made a defiant speech on Friday, saying “Turkey won’t surrender to economic hitmen” and blaming an “interest rate plot” that amounted to “a military coup attempt.” Trump did not take warmly to Erdogan’s declaration of “economic war,” announcing on Twitter that he would double tariffs on steel and aluminum. “Our relations with Turkey are not good at this time,” Trump wrote. Source: The Wall Street Journal, CNN Money

A large-scale military offensive is launched by the Taliban in a bid to overrun the southeastern city of Ghazni, a provincial capital on the Kabul–Kandahar Highway. They manage to take control of a part of the city. (The New York Times)

Colombia announces its withdrawal from the Union of South American Nations after having suspended its membership in the organization since April 2018. (CNN)

California awards $289 million to a man who claims that his terminal cancer was caused by Monsanto’s glyphosate-containing weed killer. (BBC)

An airport mechanic steals a Horizon Air Bombardier Q400 from Seattle–Tacoma International Airport in the United States, eventually crashing the plane. (CBS News)

452 people are injured in clashes between protesters and police during an anti-government meeting in Bucharest, Romania. (Știrile Pro TV)

https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/crime/broadcom-co-founder-henry-nicholas-arrested-in-las-vegas-on-suspicion-of-drug-trafficking/ar-BBLIYlw?li=BBnb7Kz&ocid=mailsignout

https://newrepublic.com/article/150355/moviepass-played-silicon-valleys-insane-rules?utm_source=TNR+Newsletters&utm_campaign=f86c7cbdc5-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2018_08_02_02_51&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_50cc843886-f86c7cbdc5-63877145

Vice President Mike Pence unveils White House plan for a ‘Space Force’ Vice President Mike Pence on Thursday explained the Trump administration’s plan to create a sixth branch of the military dedicated to establishing dominance in space. In June, President Trump ordered the Pentagon to establish a “Space Force,” calling it “so important” and explaining that it would take over space-related duties from the Air Force. Pence offered details about the new agency Thursday, describing the Space Force as a way to “meet the emerging threats on this new battlefield” with dedicated space technology experts and defense systems. The White House wants to get the new department off the ground by 2020, The Washington Post reports, but it will likely face opposition from Congress. Source: The Washington Post

North Korea and South Korea plan to hold high-level talks on Monday to prepare for a third summit between Moon Jae-in and Kim Jong-un. Pyongyang also calls for the United States to reciprocate its “goodwill measures” by easing sanctions and stopping demands that the North denuclearize first. (Washington Post)

 

 Thursday, Aug 09,  2018

Over 180 rockets and mortars are launched toward Israel by Hamas militants. In retaliation, IDF launches an air assault on 150 targets in Gaza.(CNN)

Germany lifts a blanket ban on Nazi symbolism in video games, including the swastika. (Deutsche Welle)

Puerto Rico raises its official death toll from Hurricane Maria from 64 to 1,427. (The Kansas City Star)

Ecuador declares a state of emergency over increases in migrant entry from Venezuela. (Al Jazeera)

The Venezuelan Constituent National Assembly revokes the immunity of opposition politicians Julio Borges and Juan Requesens after claiming that they were involved in an assassination plot on President Nicolás Maduro. (Al Jazeera)

At least 43 people, mostly children, are killed in an airstrike on a bus at a market in Dahyan, Sa’da, by the Saudi-led coalition, while more than 60 are injured. The coalition calls the strike a “legitimate military action” against the Houthis, accusing them of using children as human shields. (The Guardian)

At least 40 bodies of Afghan National Army soldiers are found in a military base in Urozgan that Taliban forces stormed last week. (Reuters via Euronews)

Italian police seize 20 tonnes of hashish in a Panama-flagged, Montenegrin-crewed “research and survey” vessel’s fuel tanks. (Deutsche Welle)

Indonesian President Joko Widodo chooses the Islamic cleric Ma’ruf Amin as his running mate in the upcoming presidential election. (Reuters)

The End

 

08.09.2018

Thursday, Aug 09,  2018

Saudi Arabia reports the execution and crucifixion, in Mecca, of a man from Myanmar. The man was sentenced for breaking into the home of a woman and stabbing her, which led to her death, as well as for other crimes. (Bloomberg)

The Mendocino Complex Fire grows into the largest active wildfire in California history. (BBC)

New York City caps number of Lyft, Uber cars On Wednesday, the New York City Council passed a package of bills that caps the number of Uber, Lyft, and other ride-hail vehicles on the road for one year and sets a minimum wage for their drivers. The Taxi and Limousine Commission will spend the next 12 months studying the effects of ride-hail services in New York. People who want to rein in Uber and Lyft say their drivers are taking over the streets, making traffic even worse. Supporters of the companies say they help neighborhoods outside of Manhattan, where it’s harder to find a taxi. Mayor Bill de Blasio said the city is “directly confronting a crisis that is driving working New Yorkers into poverty and our streets into gridlock.” Source: NBC News

Tribune withdraws plans for $3.9 billion merger with Sinclair Tribune Media said Thursday that it would scrap its $3.9 billion merger with Sinclair Broadcast Group and sue Sinclair for “breach of contract.” Tribune says Sinclair promised to make a reasonable attempt to get prompt regulatory approval, but conducted unnecessarily aggressive and slow negotiations with the Justice Department and the Federal Communications Commission. The deal began to unravel last month when the FCC raised “serious concerns” about the merger, which would have created a company reaching up to 70 million households. Sinclair had said the merger would be “transformational.” Tribune CEO Peter Kern said in a statement that the FCC referred “the issue of Sinclair’s conduct” for a special hearing, creating unacceptable “uncertainty and delay.” Source: Fox Business, The Washington Post

Scores of people, mostly children, die in an airstrike by the US-backed, Saudi-led coalition on a bus at a market in Dahyan, Sa’da. A Saudi statement calls the strike a “legitimate military action”. (The Guardian)

 

Wednesday,  Aug 08,  2018

Saudi Press Agency reports that all Saudi patients are being transferred from Canadian hospitals to other medical facilities outside Canada. (Al Jazeera)

The United States pledges US$9 million in aid to Colombia to help support Venezuelan migrants in the country. (McClatchy DC Bureau)

China announces 25% tariffs on an additional US$16 billion worth of imports from the United States, effective August 23, matching yesterday’s decision by the United States. (Bloomberg)

The United States imposes new sanctions on Russia after the use of a Novichok nerve agent in the United Kingdom. Yesterday, the UK said that they would seek extradition of suspects from Russia. (BBC)(Sky News)

U.S. Representative Chris Collins (R–NY) is arrested on charges of securities and wire fraud, conspiracy and lying to investigators. He is accused of passing nonpublic information about Innate Immunotherapeutics, a biotech company, to his son, who traded on the information and passed it along to others. Collins was a director of the company and also a major investor. (NPR)

Five center-left political parties nominate Marjan Šarec to become Prime Minister of Slovenia. (Euronews)

 

Tuesday,  Aug 07, 2018

The Office of the United States Trade Representative publishes its finalized list of 279 Chinese goods, worth $16 billion, to be subject to a 25% tariff from August 23. (Reuters)

A German couple is jailed for twelve years each for selling the woman’s son to a Spanish pedophile on the dark web, who repeatedly abused him. The couple themselves previously abused the boy and a three-year-old girl, whom they are ordered to pay €42,500 in compensation. The Spaniard is sentenced to ten years. (BBC)

The Australian Bureau of Statistics says the total population of Australia has hit 25 million. (BBC)

Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro says that he has “hard evidence” that the Colombian government planned and executed an attempted assassination attack on him on Saturday, and that he will release it later in the day. (Al Jazeera)

Iván Duque Márquez is sworn in as new President of Colombia. (BBC News)

Newly inaugurated Colombian President Iván Duque Márquez announces that he will not have an ambassador in neighboring Venezuela. (Diarios Las Américas)

Brazil re-opens its northern border with Venezuela which was briefly closed in response to refugees from Venezuela. (BBC)

 

Monday,  Aug 06, 2018

Facebook removes several InfoWars-related pages from its platform, for what it describes as glorification of violence and dehumanizing language. YouTube deletes Alex Jones’ main account for repeated Terms of Service violations. Apple and Spotify pull Jones’ podcasts. Editor Paul Joseph Watson calls Facebook’s move “political censorship” on Twitter. (NBC News)

Brazil closes its international border with Venezuela, following a similar move enacted but then rescinded by Colombia earlier in 2018, as a response to an increase in Venezuelans fleeing their country to neighbouring states. (The Guardian)

Commercial flights have resumed between the Tajikistan capital, Dushanbe, and the Uzbekistan city of Bukhara amid improving ties. (rferl)

A heat wave in Spain kills nine people. (Público)

A heat wave in Genoa, Italy, kills seven people. (Genova24)

The United States reimposes sanctions on Iran after the US pulled out of the international agreement three months prior. (Reuters)

The European Union announces that its blocking statute against the US sanctions will take effect tomorrow, protecting European companies from US sanctions and encouraging them to keep trading with Iran. (The Telegraph)

The End

08.06.2018

Hundred-Dollar Bills Make Me Nervous
by Joe Bob Briggs
August 02, 2018

Yes, he’s reading Bright Lights, Big City. (Actually, he’s listening to the audiotape while

riding to work in the back of a Town Car.) No, he doesn’t understand that he’s a cliché and, more important for the rest of us, he doesn’t understand that he’s an economic indicator that won’t show up on any of today’s analyst reports.

If we had an app that tracked the movements of these guys, all our smartphones would be flashing “DOUCHE ALERT, DOUCHE ALERT” and we would be preparing to take all our money out of Facebook and put it in German treasury bills.

The last time these guys were spotted: 2007. What does that tell you?

 

Monday,  Aug 6, 2018

Trump reimposes Iran sanctions, slams ‘horrible’ nuclear deal

In a Monday executive order, President Trump followed through with plans to reinstate sanctions on Iran that had been lifted under the nuclear deal. The 2015 agreement, made between the U.S., Iran, and other world superpowers, limited Iran’s ability to create nuclear weapons in exchange for relief from harsh economic sanctions. Trump withdrew the U.S. from the deal in May. His Monday order slammed the “horrible” deal as “defective at its core,” and it announced that his administration would reimpose sanctions on precious metals and Iran’s automotive sector, among other targets. The EU, France, Germany, and the U.K. jointly derided Trump’s decision in a Monday statement, saying Europe will intensify its efforts to preserve the deal. Source: The Associated Press, ABC News

The United States is set to reimpose sanctions on Iran after pulling out of a nuclear deal three months ago. (Reuters)

 

Sunday, Aug 5, 2018

Syrian media reports that ISIL has executed one of a number of Druze hostages taken from Syria’s government-held city of As-Suwayda in an attack last week. (Haaretz)

A 7.0 magnitude earthquake strikes Lombok, Indonesia. A tsunami warning is issued. At least 98 people are killed and more than 200 are injured. (BBC)

Police in Switzerland say that all 20 occupants of a World War II-era Junkers Ju 52 plane that crashed yesterday on the flanks of the Piz Segnas mountain are dead. (Whig)

Police in New Mexico rescue 11 malnourished children being kept in squalid conditions in a remote desert compound. (BBC)

Saudi Arabia withdraws its Ambassador from Canada, and orders the Canadian counterpart to leave the country in 24 hours, after Canada calls for the release of activists who are in detention in the Middle East nation. (CBC News)

A Taliban suicide bomber kills three Czech soldiers on a routine patrol in Charikar, Afghanistan. A U.S. soldier and two Afghan troops are also injured in the bombing. (BBC)

 

 Saturday,  Aug 4, 2018

England’s Local Government Association reports that approximately two-thirds of plastic objects which reach recycling facilities cannot be recycled, due to the mix of polymers used by producers. (BBC)

Venezuelan authorities detain six people involved in the assassination attempt of Venezuela President Nicolás Maduro. (The Hill)

Venezuela President Nicolás Maduro survives what he calls an assassination attempt involving explosive drones while speaking at a military event in Caracas. Eight people are injured. (BBC)

Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro blames an assassination attempt on Colombia and Venezuelan exiles in the U.S. state of Florida. (The Guardian)

A report commissioned by the United Nations Security Council concludes that North Korea has not stopped its nuclear program and that it attempted to sell military supplies to Libya, Sudan and Yemen. (BBC)

Ri Yong-ho, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of North Korea, says that his country will not start denuclearizing unless the United States takes reciprocal actions. (The New York Times)

Los Angeles Raiders cornerback Daryl Worley is sentenced to three days in jail and two years of probation in June after pleading guilty to firearms and resisting arrest charges stemming from an incident in April. (NFL) (ABC News)

 

Friday,  Aug 3, 2018

The Space Needle in Seattle unveils the world’s first revolving glass floor. (CNN)

Chile becomes the first Latin American country to ban the commercial use of single-use plastic bags. (Sky News)

A suicide bomb attack at a Shi’ite mosque in Gardez, Afghanistan, kills at least 29 people and wounds at least 40 others. There is no immediate claim for the attack. (Reuters) (The Express Tribune)

Researchers at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston report the first successful transplant of a bio-engineered lung. The lung, taken from a donor pig, was reduced to a protein scaffold, and replaced with the subject pig’s own cells over the course of a month. (BBC)

North Korea warns that the heat wave affecting the Korean peninsula could damage important food crops and lead to shortages. (BBC)

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo states in an interview that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un will ultimately set the timeline for denuclearization. (CBS News)

The United States imposes sanctions on a Russian bank that facilitated a transaction for a North Korean on an American blacklist. (Reuters)

The wife of a former US Marine and Iraq War veteran whose family publicly pleaded for President Donald Trump to intervene is deported to Mexico. (NBC News)

Greek Civil Protection Minister Nikos Toskas resigns after a wildfire that killed 88 people and led to wide criticism of the government for its handling of the disaster. (Reuters)

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory releases a report officially disclosing a meteor explosion of roughly 2.1 kilotons of force near Thule Air Base in northwest Greenland on July 25. The United States Air Force confirms the explosion, adding that it did not impact operations at Thule Air Base. (The Independent)

The End

 

08.03.2018

Friday,  Aug 3, 2018

Giuliani: Trump will decide within 10 days whether to sit for Mueller interview Rudy Giuliani said Thursday that President Trump and his legal team will decide within a “week to 10 days” if Trump will grant an interview to Special Counsel Robert Mueller. Giuliani, Trump’s head lawyer, told Politico that Trump and his attorneys will spend the weekend mulling over Mueller’s latest proposal, which would limit the questions related to obstruction of justice and allow Trump to provide some written answers, and then make a decision. Giuliani said Trump wants to meet with Mueller, but the legal team is contemplating saying no to an interview. If they do agree, Giuliani added, the team will insist Mueller limit questions to alleged collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign. “We don’t want questioning on obstruction,” he said. “They would have to concede that. It depends on how much they want his testimony on the other [topic.]” Source: Politico

Top security officials break with Trump on election interference America’s top national security officials came forward Thursday to discuss election interference. Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, National Security Director John Bolton, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, and FBI Director Chris Wray all appeared at Thursday’s press briefing, and all four acknowledged ongoing efforts to interfere in American elections. Coats, Bolton, and Wray all cited Russia specifically as perpetrating such efforts, while Nielsen only said that she “fully [shares] the intelligence community’s assessments.” President Trump, meanwhile, has consistently attempted to muddle the conclusion, backing Russian President Vladimir Putin’s denials over U.S. intelligence, then stating suddenly last week that he was “very concerned” about Russian interference — because, he claimed without evidence, “they will be pushing very hard for the Democrats.” Source: Talking Points Memo, The Week

Labor Department reports another month of solid job gains U.S. employers added 157,000 jobs in July, the Labor Department announced Friday, fewer than the 194,000 economists polled by MarketWatch expected but enough to nudge the unemployment rate down to 3.9 percent from 4 percent, near an 18-year low. The July figure was considered solid but it was down from 248,000 added jobs in June, a figure adjusted up from an initial report of 213,000. Strong spending by consumers and businesses is boosting growth and increasing demand for workers across the economy, and the tightening job market has been slowly pushing wages higher, too. Average wages rose by 7 cents or 0.3 percent to $27.05 per hour, and yearly pay rate increases remained unchanged at 2.7 percent. U.S. stock futures pared early gains after the report. Source: MarketWatch, The Associated Press

Report: Suspected Russian spy worked at U.S. embassy in Moscow A Russian national suspected of being a spy for the Kremlin worked at the U.S. embassy in Moscow for more than 10 years, The Guardian reports. The woman was hired by the Secret Service, and in 2016, two investigators from the Department of State’s Regional Security Office performed a routine security check and determined she was having regular unauthorized meetings with members of FSB, the Russian security agency. The woman had access to the Secret Service’s intranet and email systems, The Guardian reports, which would have let her see the schedules of current and former presidents, vice presidents, and their spouses, like Hillary Clinton. The Regional Security Office notified the Secret Service about the woman in January 2017, but an inquiry was never launched. She was dismissed last summer, a person with knowledge of the matter told The Guardian, after her security clearance was revoked by the State Department. Source: The Guardian

Osama bin Laden’s mother Hamida al-Attas is interviewed for the first time. (Newser)

Thursday, Aug 2,  2018

Tests on the 5,000-year-old burned human bones of 25 people found at Stonehenge suggest 10 came from more than 100 miles (160 km) away in West Wales. (The Guardian)

Archeologists report the discovery of the foundations of a Roman library building in Cologne, Germany. Dating from the 2nd century CE, it is the oldest library yet discovered in Germany. (BBC)

Apple Inc. becomes the first public company to be worth US$1 trillion. (BBC)

Tokyo Medical University is reported to have altered entrance examination scores in order to decrease the number of women attending the college. (BBC)

A study is published suggesting that loose plastic objects in the ocean release more methane than previously thought. (BBC)

Kepler-452b emerges as an exoplanet that might support alien life. (Sky News)

Saudi-led coalition airstrikes kill at least 20 in Al Hudaydah, Yemen. (BBC)

 

Wednesday,  Aug 1,  2018

Researchers from Australia report the success of a plan to use mosquitoes infected with Wolbachia bacteria to prevent the spread of dengue fever in an Australian town, stating that they intend to bring the program to other locales. (BBC)

An intense heat wave hits South Korea started at the end of July is forecast to reach its highest temperature in the coming days. The heat wave killed 27 people, while more than 2,200 were taken to the hospital. (The Straits Time)

The White House imposes sanctions on two Turkish officials over the detention of Andrew Brunson, an American pastor who is being tried on espionage and terror-related charges. (Al Jazeera)

The Eiffel Tower in Paris shuts down after workers go on a strike over ticketing changes. (Upi)

Trump calls on Jeff Sessions to end the Mueller investigation President Trump on Wednesday tweeted that Attorney General Jeff Sessions should step in and end Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into whether the Trump campaign was involved with Russia’s interference in the 2016 election. Sessions “should stop this Rigged Witch Hunt right now,” Trump wrote, “before it continues to stain our country any further.” Trump has previously expressed frustration that Sessions recused himself from overseeing the investigation, but he has never before directly and publicly asked that Sessions shut down the probe or fire Mueller. In a statement, Rudy Giuliani, the president’s lawyer, said: “We have been saying for months that it is time to bring this inquiry to an end. The president has expressed the same opinion.”  CNN, Fox News

Mueller reportedly hands off cases involving 3 powerful D.C. lobbyists Special Counsel Robert Mueller has referred three investigations involving Washington insiders to federal prosecutors in Manhattan, apparently after determining the foreign lobbying cases fell outside of his mandate, CNN and The New York Times report. The three powerful lobbyists now being scrutinized by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York — Tony Podesta of the Podesta Group, former Rep. Vin Weber (R-Minn.) at Mercury Public Affairs, and former Obama White House Counsel Gregory Craig at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom — allegedly failed to register as foreign agents of Ukraine for work contracted through Paul Manafort, President Trump’s former campaign chairman. None of the three have been charged with any crimes, and its not clear the investigations will lead anywhere.  (CNN) (The New York Times)

Judge stops release of blueprints for 3D-printed guns U.S. District Judge Robert Lasnik in Seattle issued a temporary restraining order on Tuesday afternoon to block the release of blueprints to make 3D-printed plastic guns. In June, the government reached a settlement with Texas-based Defense Distributed, allowing the company to start posting blueprints for the guns online Wednesday. On Monday, eight Democratic attorneys general filed a lawsuit to halt the settlement, saying that being able to print guns is a public safety risk. (The Associated Press)

The Afghan government says it will hold presidential elections on April 20, 2019, for the fourth time since the Taliban were toppled from power in 2001. (AL Jazeera)

 

Tuesday,  Jul 31, 2018

Worker pay rate in the US hits its highest level since 2008 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The Employment Cost Index, which tracks worker compensation, has seen a steady increase over the past year and a half since the election of Donald Trump. (CNBC) (Bloomberg) (Bureau of Labor Statistics)

Three russian journalists are killed in Central African Respublic during investigation of “Wagner” private military company’s activity in this country.

Three Russian journalists are killed in an ambush near Sibut, Central African Republic, while filming a documentary about alleged mercenaries in the Wagner Group. (TASS) (Reuters) (CBS News)

The European Union imposes sanctions on six Russian companies involved in the construction of the bridge connecting mainland Russia to the annexedCrimea peninsula. (The Moscow Times)

The former campaign chairman of U.S. President Donald Trump, Paul Manafort, appears in court for the opening day of his criminal trial on 18 bank and fraud charges brought by special counsel Robert Mueller. (The Hill)

ISIL claims responsibility for an attack in Tajikistan that leaves four cycle tourists dead over the weekend. (CBS News)

Facebook announces that it has suspended 32 accounts it believes intended to influence the 2018 mid-term elections in the United States. The company says while it is uncertain who operated these accounts, at least one is linked to the Russian-based Internet Research Agency. (BBC)

An Aeroméxico Embraer 190 crashes shortly after taking off from Durango International Airport in Durango, Mexico, injuring around 85 people, two critically. (BBC)

 

Monday,  Jul 30, 2018

Intelligence officials in the United States share evidence that North Korea has continued to develop nuclear weapons, despite promises made at the 2018 North Korea–United States summit. (Washington Post)

The Syrian Army seizes control of Al-Shajara, described as ISIL’s “main bastion” in the Daraa Governorate. (The New Arab)

A man died and 12 others were hospitalized when the West Nile virus spread across Italy. (Fidelity News)

U.S. President Donald Trump hosts Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte at the White House. (USA Today)

The End

07.30.2018

Monday,  Jul 30, 2018

With Manafort trial starting, Trump calls Mueller probe an ‘illegal scam’ The trial of President Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort starts Tuesday in Alexandria, Virginia, with jury selection. The jurors will hear a lot about the $30 million from Ukrainian political consulting that prosecutors say Manafort laundered illegally to avoid paying U.S. taxes. They won’t hear anything about Russia or collusion with Moscow, even though the case is being prosecuted by Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team. On Sunday, Trump attacked Mueller’s investigation on Twitter, insisting there was “No Collusion!” and calling Mueller’s investigation a “Rigged Witch Hunt” and “an illegal Scam!” led by alleged “Angry Dems.” Trump also alleged that Mueller has “conflicts of interest” because he quit Trump’s golf club once and was a candidate Trump considered for FBI director. Source: The Associated Press

The Syrian Army seizes control of Al-Shajara, described as ISIL’s “main bastion” in the Daraa Governorate. (The New Arab)

The Iranian rial hits another record low against the US dollar ahead of August 7, when the first round of fresh United States sanctions against Iran begin. (Al Jazeera)

Following a campaign led-by Georgian politician Zurab Japaridze, the Constitutional Court of Georgia legalizes cannabis for recreational use. Georgia is the first former Soviet Republic to decriminalize the drug. (Georgia Today) (RFE/RL)

 

Sunday, Jul 29, 2018

The death toll from the fires in Greece rises to 91 while 25 other people are still missing. (AP)

Palestinian teenager Ahed Tamimi is released from an Israeli prison. (NBC News)

Four cyclists, two Americans, one Dutch national and one Swiss national, are killed in the Khatlon Region, Tajikistan by a hit and run driver while three others were injured. 21 year old male suspect was arrested. (RFE/RL)(NU.nl)

Geraint Thomas of the United Kingdom wins the Tour de France. (BBC)

 

Saturday,  Jul 28, 2018

Groundbreaking on the Barack Obama Presidential Center in Jackson Park, Illinois, is pushed back again until all federal approvals are completed, which will not be until 2019. (Chicago Sun Times)

Former Armenian President Robert Kocharyan is arrested and taken into police custody on charges of being involved in the crackdown on protests in 2008 that resulted in ten deaths following a disputed presidential election. (RFE/RL)

A court in Egypt sentences 75 supporters of former president Mohammed Morsi to death, as part of a trial of more than 700. (BBC)

 

Friday,  Jul 27, 2018

21st Century Fox share holders approve a $71.3 billion merger with The Walt Disney Company. (Variety)

The Carr wildfire threatening Redding, California, U.S., kills two firefighters, as many residents flee their homes. (New York Times)

North Korea returns what it says are the remains of 55 U.S. servicemen killed during the Korean War on the 65th anniversary of the signing of the Korean Armistice Agreement. The repatriation was agreed at the June summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in a bid to improve relations. (Sky News) (Vox)

The longest total lunar eclipse of the 21st century colours the moon reddish orange in parts of Africa, Asia and Europe for about one hour and 42 minutes. (ABC News)

 

Thursday, Jul 26,  2018

Facebook stocks drop 20% (US$118 billion), setting a record as the biggest single stock market loss in one day, and marking the first time that a stock lost over $100 billion in one day. (CNBC)

Disney announces plans to eliminate all plastic straws and plastic stirrers from their parks by mid-2019. (NOLA)

Hundreds of Sub-Saharan African migrants storm a border fence in Spain’s North African enclave of Ceuta, using home-made flamethrowers and other improvised weapons. The Spanish Civil Guard reports that 602 people succeeded in reaching Ceuta, of whom 586 were taken to a temporary reception centre, while 16 others are being treated in a hospital. Fifteen border guards were also hurt. (The Guardian)

The six remaining cult members of Aum Shinrikyo who perpetrated the 1995 Tokyo subway sarin attack and were on death row are executed by hanging. (Japan Today)

A bomb explodes outside the U.S. Embassy in China, wounding the lone assailant. (Reuters)

A team of Russian scientists in collaboration with Princeton University announce in a new report that they have brought two female nematodes frozen in permafrost from around 42,000 years ago back to life. The two nematodes are now the oldest confirmed living animals on the planet. (The Siberian Times)

Astronomers say they have observed Albert Einstein’s theory of gravitational redshift for the first time while observing a star known as S2 interact with a supermassive black hole using the Very Large Telescope (VLT). (BBC)

The End

Kill Yourself in July

 

This is what first-class looks like on a double-decker Airbus A380

 

Moon-Strzok No More, Lisa Page Spills the Beans

 

Probiotics: Here, Drink Some Gut Slime
by Joe Bob Briggs

 

The Disco Triplets
by Steve Sailer

 

 

Thursday, Jul 26,  2018

GOP lawmakers introduce articles of impeachment against Rosenstein On Wednesday, conservative Republican lawmakers, led by Reps. Mark Meadows of North Carolina and Jim Jordan of Ohio, introduced a resolution calling for the impeachment of Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. On Twitter, Meadows accused the Department of Justice of hiding information from Congress and “defying multiple congressional subpoenas. We have had enough.” Congressional allies of President Trump have claimed Rosenstein is keeping documents from lawmakers and not being transparent about his handling of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation. There will not be a vote on this before the House leaves for a five-week recess on Thursday. Source: The Washington Post

Facebook shares plummet after warning about costly privacy fixes Facebook stock plunged by as much as 24 percent in after-hours trading on Wednesday, due to alarm over the social media giant’s quarterly report. The company has faced stiff criticism over the Cambridge Analytica data scandal, and executives warned that its revenue growth would slow and its expenses would rise. The company had said it would face higher costs as it addressed concerns over the handling of user data. Total expenses jumped to $7.4 billion, a 50 percent increase over a year earlier. The diving share price reduced Facebook’s market capitalization by about $150 billion in less than two hours. Source: Reuters

A bomb explodes outside the US Embassy in China, wounding the lone assailant.(Reuters)

The six remaining Aum Shinrikyo cult members who were perpetrators of the Tokyo subway sarin attack and on death row are executed. (JapanToday)

 

Wednesday,  Jul 25,  2018

Coordinated suicide bombings and shootings carried out by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant in As-Suwayda, Syria, kill 215 people and injure more than 200 others. (Reuters)

More Below The Fold

Continue reading “Kill Yourself in July”

Demented

Monday,  Jul 23, 2018

On Twitter, Trump warns Iran to ‘NEVER, EVER’ threaten the U.S. again President Trump on Sunday night sent a tweet warning Iranian President Hassan Rouhani to “NEVER, EVER THREATEN THE UNITED STATES AGAIN.” Iranian state media dismissed the tweet Monday as a “passive reaction” to Rouhani’s declaration that “peace with Iran is the mother of all peace, and war with Iran is the mother of all wars.” Rouhani told a local newspaper that Trump had better not “play with the lion’s tail,” but political analysts said the war of words doesn’t signal a real desire to escalate conflict. Trump, writing that Iran would suffer untold consequences if it continued to threaten the U.S., said “WE ARE NO LONGER A COUNTRY THAT WILL STAND FOR YOUR DEMENTED WORDS OF VIOLENCE & DEATH. BE CAUTIOUS!” Source: Twitter, Talking Points Memo

Sunday, Jul 22, 2018

At least 14 killed in Kabul suicide bombing A suicide bombing near Kabul’s international airport left at least 14 dead and 40 injured on Sunday. Police said the blast happened near an airport entrance where supporters of exiled Afghan Vice President Rashid Dostum were waiting to see him drive by in his motorcade. Dostum was back in Afghanistan after more than a year in Turkey, and was in an armored vehicle when the bombing took place; he was not hurt. The Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the bombing. Dostum has been accused of human rights abuses stretching back to 2001, and last year, his guards allegedly seized political rival Ahmed Eshchi and tortured him; Dostum denies the allegations. Source: Al Jazeera, (The Wall Street Journal)

A suspected U.S. drone strike kills four alleged al-Qaeda militants in Ma’rib. (AP)

Arsenal and German professional footballer Mesut Ozil announces his retirement from international football, citing racism and disrespect.(“The Guardian”)

 

Saturday,  Jul 21, 2018

PJAK militants blow up an ammunition dump and kill eleven Iranian border guards stationed at an Iran–Iraq border post in Marivan County. Several militants are killed in return. (Reuters)

Israel Defense Forces extract 98 White Helmets and 324 others from recently recaptured southwestern Syrian territory into Jordan, at the request of Canadaand the United States. Canada, the United Kingdom and Germany offer to rehome some of them. Two other groups intended for rescue, comprising about 800 people, do not escape. (CBC)

A gunman is arrested for one count of murder after killing a woman then taking dozens of people hostage at a Trader Joe’s in Silver Lake, Los Angeles, California. (CBS News)

Pablo Casado is elected leader of Spain’s centre-right People’s Party after defeating former Deputy Prime Minister of Spain Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría in a run-off. (BBC)

 

 Friday,  Jul 20, 2018

The Israel Defense Forces engage in a gunfight with Hamas’ military wing after an Israeli soldier is killed by a Palestinian sniper; four Hamas members are killed. Israel responds to the incident with strikes on Hamas targets across Gaza. (BBC)

Three rockets are fired at Israeli communities from Gaza. Two of them are intercepted by the Iron Dome. (CNN)

James Gunn is fired as the director of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 after the emergence of old tweets where he joked about subjects like pedophilia and rape. (Time)

Former South Korean President Park Geun-hye is sentenced to an additional eight years for abusing state funds and violating election laws. (CBC)

Hackers steal the personal data of 1.5 million Singaporeans through the national public health care system. Officials say Prime Minister Hsien Loong Lee’s data is the target of the breach. (Channel NewsAsia)

Microsoft reports that at least three United States congressional candidates have been targeted by hackers in the lead-up to the 2018 midterm elections. (BBC)

Outside President Hassan Rouhani’s office in Tehran, a group of Iranian girls severely burned in a 2012 school fire protest unequal diyah by the government toward their medical bills, which some say is an inalienable right. Their lawyer says Iran’s policy of paying half diyah to women is “unfair and discriminatory”. (PayvAnd)

The End

Global Warming

Friday,  Jul 20, 2018

Iran will sign a cooperation treaty with Southeast Asia at an upcoming meeting that will also be attended by U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and North Korean officials. (Bloomberg)

Former South Korean President Park Geun-hye is sentenced to an additional eight years for abusing state funds and violating election laws. (CBC CA)

Thursday, Jul 19,  2018

Iran states that it intends to manufacture and upgrade up to 800 tanks. (Business Insider)

The Israeli Parliament passes a Basic Law declaring that the Land of Israel is the historical homeland of the Jewish people and that the right to exercise national self-determination in the State of Israel is unique to the Jewish people. (NPR)

Protests that began last week in Iraq continue amid widespread anger over poor public services, high unemployment, and pollution. (CNBC)

14 civilians are killed in an air strike near Kunduz. (Reuters)

A 5.7 magnitude earthquake is felt in Mexico City as buildings shake mildly and some residents evacuate homes and office buildings. (NASDAQ)

At least 11 people are killed and an unknown number of others missing after a duck boat carrying 31 people capsizes and sinks on Table Rock Lake in Branson, Missouri, USA. (News 5 Cleveland)

 

Archeologists in Jordan find baked flatbread dating to 12,500 BC, making it the oldest surviving bread ever discovered, surpassing a Turkish loaf which was estimated to be 9,100 years old. The bread was found in a stone oven which was apparently built during the formative years of the Natufian culture. The bread is also notable for predating the Neolithic Revolution by 4,000 years. (Reuters)

Report: Trump saw evidence in January 2017 of Putin ordering election hack During a meeting in Trump Tower on Jan. 6, 2017, Donald Trump, just weeks from being inaugurated as president of the United States, was shown highly classified intelligence that indicated Russian President Vladimir Putin personally ordered cyberattacks to influence the 2016 U.S. election, The New York Timesreports. Trump was briefed by former CIA Director John Brennan; former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper; and Adm. Michael Rogers, former director of the National Security Agency, with the evidence including texts and emails from Russian military officers and information from a source close to Putin who covertly told the CIA how Russia executed its disinformation and hacking campaign. Several people at the briefing told the Times Trump sounded “grudgingly convinced” of the plot. Source: The New York Times

Interior watchdog investigating Zinke’s role in land deal The Interior Department’s deputy inspector general notified House Democrats on Wednesday that its internal watchdog has launched an investigation into a real estate deal involving a foundation started by Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke in Montana and several developers, including Halliburton Chairman David Lesar. The probe will look into whether Zinke violated conflict of interest laws. The real estate deal involved his wife, Lola Zinke, signing an agreement allowing developers, including Lesar, to build a parking lot for a redevelopment project that could raise the value of land Zinke owned nearby, Politico reports. Critics say Zinke and his family shouldn’t be involved in any business deals with anyone connected to oil and gas, as Zinke is one of the chief regulators overseeing those industries. Source: Politico

 

Prime Day fuels record sales for Amazon and rivals Amazon’s Prime Day broke another sales record for the e-commerce giant this week, but it also helped lift sales for other massive retailers by 54 percent, according to an Adobe Analytics report. Target held a one-day sale on Tuesday to rival Prime Day, and said the day was its biggest online shopping day of 2018, in terms of both traffic and sales. Walmart attracted shoppers by offering free two-day shipping and cutting prices on Google Home devices, to compete with Amazon’s Prime Day discounts on its Echo devices. Smaller retailers with sales under $5 million didn’t fare so well, seeing an 18 percent decrease in online sales on Prime Day, Adobe said. Source: TechCrunch

 

Wednesday,  Jul 18,  2018

Iran starts work at a factory that can produce rotors for up to 60 centrifuges a day. (Reuters)

The evacuations of Shia towns Al-Fu’ah and Kafriya in the northern Idlib Governorate begin, as part of a deal between rebel forces and the Syrian government. (Al Jazeera)

A joint-team of South Korean, British, and Canadian explorers announce the discovery of the wreck of Russian cruiser Dmitrii Donskoi, off the coast of UlleungdoI sland. Dmitrii Donskoi was scuttled in 1905 during the Russo-Japanese War. (BBC)

The European Commission fines Google €4.34 billion for breaching EU antitrust regulations, claiming that Google abused the dominant position of Android to promote their search product.  (NPR)

International air travel resumes between Eritrea and Ethiopia for the first time since 1998. (France24)

Naa’imur Zakariyah Rahman, 20, is convicted of terror offences after attempting to kill guards, attack Theresa May, and blow himself up on Downing Street using fake explosives provided to him in a sting operation. (The Independent)

The leader of the banned British far-right designated terrorist group National Action, Christopher Lythgoe, is jailed for eight years for being a member. (Sky News)

The Supreme Court of California blocks Tim Draper’s proposition to break California into three states, stating that “significant questions have been raised regarding the proposition’s validity”. (NBC News)

Astronomers discover a giant gaseous planet orbiting a pair of brown dwarfs. (Sci News)

Environmental Protection Agency Acting Administrator Andrew R. Wheeler announces coal-burning power plants may dispose of fly ash in unlined ponds for another 18 months beyond a previously-set April 2019 deadline. Testing standards for hazardous elements in adjacent waters are also weakened, saving an estimated $28-31 million annually in regulatory costs. (NBC News)

 

 Tuesday,  Jul 17, 2018

The Israel Defense Forces are instructed to prepare for a large-scale military offensive in Gaza if demands for Hamas to halt the launches of flaming kites, incendiary devices and rocket attacks are not met by Friday. (The Times of Israel)

An ISIL suicide bomber killed 20 people in northern Afghanistan on Tuesday, including a Taliban commander. In southern Kandahar province, the Taliban attacked a police checkpoint in Arghistan district late on Monday night, killing nine policemen and wounding seven. 25 Taliban fighters were killed and 15 were wounded in the ensuing battle. (AP)

Iran files a lawsuit against the United States in the International Court of Justice alleging its decision in May to impose sanctions after pulling out of a nuclear deal violates the 1955 Treaty of Amity, Economic Relations and Consular Rights between the two countries. (Reuters)

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzō Abe and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker hold a summit in Tokyo and sign a deal creating an open trade zone between their states. (NPR)

Russia and Tajikistan begin joint military exercises near the Afghan–Tajik border to deter potential Taliban attacks. (Yahoo)

About 250 protesters gather at the main entrance to Iraq’s giant Zubair oilfield. (Reuters)

Ten new moons are discovered around Jupiter, raising the count to 79 confirmed moons. One of these new moons, S/2016 J 2, nicknamed Valetudo, is notable for orbiting backwards compared to the other moons in its vicinity, and may collide with one of them in the future. (Science Magazine)

 

Monday,  Jul 16, 2018

United States President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin meet in Helsinki. (Huffington Post)

Trump reiterates his belief that Russia did not interfere in the 2016 US presidential election. (BBC)

The US government charges Maria Butina, a 29-year-old Russian woman with conspiracy to act as a Russian government agent while infiltrating political groups. (The Guardian)

Demonstrations across Iraq leave dozens of people dead and cause mass unrest.  (The Wall Street Journal)

23 passengers on a tour boat in Hawaii are injured after a lava bomb from the Kīlauea volcano punctures the roof of the vessel. (KABC-TV)

An intense heatwave kills at least 14 people in Japan. (Reuters)

Two vessels deliver 25 survivors and one Peruvian corpse from Spanish ship MV Dorneda to ports in Argentina and Patagonia. One crewman remains missing after the fishing trawler sank off Argentina. (The Journal du Cemron)

An explosion in a coal mine in Tkibuli, Georgia, kills four people and injures six others. (A.A.)

King Khoebaha Calvin Cornelius III declares independence from South Africa to form the “Sovereign State of Good Hope”, encompassing the states of Northern Cape, Western Cape, and the western parts of Eastern Cape. The state raised their own flag after taking down the South African flag. (The Citizen)

Iranian police arrest 46 people in fresh crackdowns on models and associated colleagues posting “immoral images” on Instagram. (Washington Post)

Finbar Charles, a 62-year-old citizen of Saint Lucia, pleads guilty to bribing US Army officers for military contracts during the Iraq War. (AL)

The End

Helsinki Summit

 

Mariia Butina, Who Sought ‘Back Channel’ Meeting for Trump and Putin, Is Charged as Russian Agent

 

US Arrests Russia’s Foremost 2nd Amendment Activist
ANATOLY KARLIN • JULY 16, 2018 • 2,700 WORDS

 

Twelve Ham Sandwiches with Russian Dressing

So, former FBI lawyer Lisa Page declined to testify before a congressional committee because she didn’t feel like it. Apparently we’re now a rule-of-law-optional nation. Until recently, we were merely reality-optional. That was fun, but when officers of the country’s leading law enforcement agency go optional on standard legal procedure, like answering subpoenas, then we’re truly in the land where anything goes (and nothing matters).

 

Former congressman Joe Walsh says Sacha Baron Cohen ‘duped’ him into supporting arming toddlers with guns

“The intensive three-week Kinderguardian course introduces specially selected children from 12 to 4 years old to pistols, rifles, semiautomatics, and a rudimentary knowledge of mortars,” Walsh says in the clip. “In less than a month — less than a month — a first-grader can become a first-grenade-er. Happy shooting, kids.”

A facility giving marijuana to people with addiction has had a major shakeup after it felt ‘like walking into a cloud of smoke’

High Sobriety is the name of the place. What could go wrong?

This is really inspiring, though:

Astronauts explain why nobody has visited the moon in more than 45 years — and the reasons are depressing

Monday,  Jul 16, 2018

Trump and Putin meet in Helsinki for summit On Monday, President Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin both arrived in Helsinki for a 90-minute one-on-one meeting. In comments to the press before the meeting, Trump said the two leaders would discuss “everything from trade to military to missiles to nuclear to China.” They will be joined only by their interpreters. Democratic and Republican lawmakers have spoken out against the meeting, coming just days after the Justice Department announced it was indicting 12 Russians accused of hacking Democratic National Committee and Clinton campaign emails in 2016. Trump told CBS News on Sunday that he is going into the meeting with “low expectations,” and while no major breakthroughs are expected, experts say just getting to talk with Trump is a win for Putin. Source: Reuters

Before summit, Trump blames America for worsening U.S.-Russia relations In an early-morning tweet before his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, President Trump faulted the U.S. for its poor relationship with Russia. U.S.-Russia ties have “NEVER been worse thanks to many years of U.S. foolishness,” Trump tweeted, and the recent “Rigged Witch Hunt” has made things even worse. Trump’s “witch hunt” comment refers to Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election, which on Friday turned out 12 indictments against Russian agents for email hacking. Source: Twitter, ABC

Report: White House tells top diplomats to seek direct talks with Taliban Wanting to pave the way for negotiations to end the war in Afghanistan, the White House has directed top U.S. diplomats to seek direct talks with the Taliban, several American and Afghan officials told The New York Times. The Taliban, which controls or has influence over 59 of Afghanistan’s 407 districts, has long said it wants to first discuss peace with the United States, not the Afghan government, but the U.S. has always pushed back. There are about 15,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan, and the Taliban continues to regularly launch deadly attacks. Source: The New York Times

Mexico’s president-elect will take 60 percent pay cut Throughout his campaign, Mexico’s president-elect, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, vowed to fight corruption and cut down on perks for government officials, and on Sunday, he announced his plan to slash his own salary in half. López Obrador said that he will earn 108,000 pesos, or about $5,707, a month, less than half what President Enrique Peña Nieto makes now. He also said no public official will earn more than he does during his six-year term. “What we want is for the budget to reach everybody,” López Obrador told reporters. He will take office in December. Source: The Associated Press

The UK Space Agency announces that the country’s first spaceport will be located in Sutherland, northern Scotland, with the first launches potentially taking place in the early 2020s. (BBC) (The Guardian)

The British diver from the Thai cave rescue whom Elon Musk called a ‘pedo’ is considering suing the billionaire

 

Sunday, Jul 15, 2018

In football, France defeats Croatia 4–2 to claim its second World Cup championship. (BBC Sport)

Demonstrations in Muthanna Province, Iraq, leave 16 protesters killed or injured and 33 others arrested. (Iraqi News)

New details from Iranian nuclear documents stolen by Israeli spies show that Tehran obtained weapons-design information from a foreign source and was on the cusp of mastering key bomb-making technologies when the research was ordered halted 15 years ago. (The Washington Post)

Haitian Prime Minister Jack Guy Lafontant resigns after deadly protests against fuel price rises. (BBC)

A tiny island of lava forms north of the Kapoho ocean entry on Hawaii island. (Star Advertiser)

In boxing, Manny Pacquiao knocks out Lucas Matthysse in the seventh round to win the WBA welterweight championship. (Reuters)

In men’s professional tennis, Novak Djokovic defeats Kevin Anderson in three sets to win his fourth Wimbledon championship. (BBC Sport)

 

 Saturday,  Jul 14, 2018

Widespread unrest erupts in southern Iraq as protesters, frustrated by shortages of electricity, water and jobs vent their anger, setting fire to political offices, attacking government infrastructure and deepening uncertainty about the country’s shaky political future. (Washington Post)

Iran’s Revolutionary Guards kill three would-be saboteurs and wound another in Kermanshah, near the Iraq border, before seizing their equipment. A volunteer on Iran’s side is also killed. (Reuters via Yahoo! News)

 

Friday,  Jul 13, 2018

Twelve Russian intelligence officers are indicted for hacks in connection with hacking of the Democratic National Committee, the Hillary Clinton campaign, and state election systems during the 2016 presidential election. (NPR) (NBC News)

Pakistan, Iran, China, and Russia agree on joint efforts against the Islamic State group in Afghanistan, in an effort to ensure peace and eliminate terrorism from the region. (The Nation)

A suicide bomb attack near Mastung, Pakistan, kills 129 people, including political party candidate Siraj Raisani, during a political campaign. This is the third consecutive attack on a political rally. (RTÉ.ie)

The Arctic is melting — and it shows no sign of returning to being reliably frozen

 

The End

Stormy Daniels Arrested

Stormy Daniels arrested at Ohio strip club Ohio police arrested adult film actress Stormy Daniels at a strip club early Thursday on charges of illegally touching a patron. Her attorney, Michael Avenatti, tweeted Thursday that Daniels was performing in Columbus when she was arrested for “allegedly allowing a customer to touch her while on stage in a nonsexual manner! Are you kidding me?” Daniels has made headlines for claiming that she had a 2006 affair with Donald Trump, before he entered politics. Trump’s former attorney, Michael Cohen, has acknowledged paying her $130,000 shortly before the 2016 election to be silent about the matter, but Daniels is suing to be released from the agreement. Avenatti tweeted that Daniels’ arrest “was a setup & politically motivated. It reeks of desperation.” Source: CNN

Argentina asks Russia to arrest former Iranian foreign minister and Ali Khamenei’s advisor Ali Akbar Velayati, who is currently in Moscow for a meeting with Vladimir Putin, over his role in the 1994 Jewish center bombing. (The Times of Israel)

Justice Department to appeal Time Warner-AT&T merger The Department of Justice said Thursday that it would move to appeal the approval of a massive merger between Time Warner and AT&T. The $85.4 billion deal was approved by a federal judge in June, despite the DOJ’s protest at the time that the merger would render the TV industry “less competitive and less innovative.” The DOJ’s decision to appeal the approval was revealed in a court filing Thursday. In approving the deal last month, U.S. District Court Judge Richard Leon determined that the government had not sufficiently showed that the joining would reduce competition in the TV market, but acknowledged that an appeal would be “fair game.” Source: CNBC

Game of Thrones, Netflix dominate Emmy nominations Game of Thrones led the 2018 Emmy Award nominations on Thursday with 22 separate nods, including for best drama series, followed by Saturday Night Live and Westworld with 21 each. For the first time in 18 years, HBO failed to lead the total nominees, with just 108 nominations to Netflix’s impressive 112. In addition to Game of Thrones, the best drama series category includes The Handmaid’s TaleStranger ThingsThe AmericansThis Is Us, and Westworld; in comedy, AtlantaBarryBlack-ishCurb Your EnthusiasmGLOWThe Marvelous Mrs. MaiselSilicon Valley, and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt will go head-to-head. Killing Eve‘s Sandra Oh also notably became the first Asian woman to ever be nominated for an Emmy for lead actress in a drama. The 70th annual Emmys will air on NBC on Sept. 16. Source: The Hollywood Reporter, Los Angeles Times

Serena Williams advances to Wimbledon final Serena Williams powered her way into the Wimbledon final Thursday, defeating No. 13 Julia Goerges of Germany to earn her spot in the championship round. Williams, who was seeded 25th after taking nearly a year away from competition following the birth of her daughter, defeated Goerges 6-2, 6-4 in the semifinal. Williams conceded that she was a bit surprised by her own dominance at Wimbledon this year, given the health issues she dealt with after giving birth in September. “This is not inevitable for me,” she said. “I remember I couldn’t even walk to my mailbox, so it’s definitely not normal for me to be in a Wimbledon final.” Williams will face No. 11 Angelique Kerber for the title Saturday. Source: ESPN

 

Thursday, Jul 12,  2018

The death toll from heavy rains in Japan rises to 200. (Reuters)

An explosion at a chemical plant in an industrial park in Jiang’an County, Sichuan, China kills 19 people and injures 12.(China Daily) (BBC)

U.S. President Donald Trump arrives in the UK for his presidential trip to the country amid widespread protests. (BBC)

Trump says NATO allies agreed to spend more on defense President Trump told NATO leaders in person and on Twitter that he wants member nations to spend 2 percent of their GDP on defense spending more quickly than the 2024 deadline agreed to in 2014, and maybe raise it to 4 percent, prompting an emergency session of NATO leaders Thursday morning. Trump also reportedly threatened to break with NATO and go it alone if other members don’t raise defense spending quickly. In a news conference afterward, Trump said he believes he can withdraw the U.S. from NATO without Congress but sees no need to after the other countries, he said, made “a real commitment” to raise spending to 2 percent of GDP in a “relatively short period of years.” German Chancellor Angela Merkel said the summit has been “intense.” Source: Politico

Papa John’s founder and ex-CEO resigns as chairman over N-word report Papa John’s said Wednesday night that its board of directors has accepted the resignation of chairman John Schnatter, the founder of the pizza chain and its public face. Earlier Wednesday, Forbes reported that, during a conference call with a media company he’d hired to burnish his image, Schnatter used the N-word and brought up lynching. “News reports attributing the use of inappropriate and hurtful language to me during a media training session regarding race are true,” Schnatter said in a statement. “Regardless of the context, I apologize. Simply stated, racism has no place in our society.” Schnatter, 54, resigned as chief executive last year after saying the controversy over NFL players had hurt Papa John’s shareholders, of which he remains the largest. Source:  Forbes

 

Wednesday,  Jul 11,  2018

In Germany, the accused members and supporters of the Neo-Nazi terrorist group National Socialist Underground are found guilty for the murders of nine immigrants and one policewoman, assistance in said murders, bomb attacks, attempted murders, and robbery. The main defendant and last surviving member of the terrorist group, Beate Zschäpe, was sentenced to life imprisonment. (Deutsche Welle)

Three homes in the Leilani Estates are destroyed by lava. (Star Advertiser)

NATO formally invites Macedonia to begin membership talks to join the organization. (RFE/RL)

A second suspect is arrested in connection with the murder of rapper XXXTentacion. (NBC News)

Croatia defeats England 2–1 after extra time, advancing to their first-ever World Cup final, which will be against France on July 15. (CNN)

 

Tuesday,  Jul 10, 2018

A film on IRIB TV1 showing social media users being scolded and tearfully apologizing for promoting dance online angers reformists. (AFP via Yahoo! News)

The Office of the United States Trade Representative releases a list of approximately $200 billion worth of Chinese goods to be affected in its next round of tariffs. (Reuters)

The End