07.15.2019

JAXA’s Hayabusa2 space probe makes its second successful and final landing on Apollo asteroid 162173 Ryugu. (The Guardian)

American R&B singer R. Kelly is arrested in Chicago on federal sex crime charges. (NBC News)

Monday,  July 15th, 2019

China’s economic growth slows to lowest level in decades Amid rising trade tensions with the United States, China’s economy continued to slow down in the second quarter, with growth dropping to its lowest level in 27 years, Chinese officials announced Monday. The economy grew 6.2 percent between April and June compared to a year earlier, matching estimates. In June, retail sales went up 9.8. percent and factory output rose 6.3 percent, while investment gained 5.8 percent during the first half of the year. Following President Trump’s decision to impose more tariffs on Chinese goods, exports to the U.S. fell 7.8 percent in June compared to a year ago. Representatives from the U.S. and China are still trying to craft a trade deal between the two countries. Source: Bloomberg News

 

Sunday, July 14th, 2019

The European Union’s Galileo satellite navigation system suffers a major outage due to a “technical incident related to its ground infrastructure”, taking all active Galileo satellites offline. (BBC)

In the men’s singles final match, Serbian Novak Djokovic beats Swiss Roger Federer in five sets for his 16th Grand Slam title win in a match that lasted four hours and 56 minutes. It was the longest Wimbledon final of all time, and also the first men’s singles final in any of the four Grand Slam events that went to a fifth-set tiebreaker.  (ESPN)

 

Saturday,  June 13th, 2019

A blackout in New York City affects 42,000 people near Times Square. (CNN)

Taliban gunmen storm a hotel in Badghis Province, killing four soldiers and two civilians. Three of the five gunmen are killed and two are arrested. (RFE/RadioLiberty)

A U.S. soldier is also killed in a separate bombing in Wardak Province. (Al Jazeera)

Simona Halep defeats Serena Williams (6–2, 6–2) to win the 2019 Wimbledon women’s singles championship, her first Wimbledon victory and her second Grand Slam singles title. Williams was attempting to equal Margaret Court’s all-time record of 24 Grand Slam singles titles. (The Guardian)

 

 Friday,  June 12th, 2019

 

Turkey receives its first shipment of the S-400 missile system from Russia, defying U.S. and NATO calls to cancel the deal. (BBC)

U.S. Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta announces his resignation from office amid growing public criticism over his past role in securing a 2008 plea deal for former financier Jeffrey Epstein, after Epstein was arrested and charged with sex trafficking of minors. He is to be replaced by Acting Secretary Patrick Pizzella effective July 19. (NBC News)

A suicide bomber kills nine people and injures 40 others at a wedding in the Nangarhar Province in Afghanistan. The bomber is believed to be a minor. (BBC)

 

Thursday, July  11th, 2019

Four people are killed and over 30 injured in a car bomb attack at a funeral for a senior Libyan National Army commander in Benghazi. (Reuters)

A car bomb detonates in a Turkey-backed rebel city, Afrin, near the entrance, killing 11 and injuring over 30 badly. (Reuters)

Another car bomb detonates in the city of Qamishli near a church, injuring 11. The Islamic State claimed responsibility. (Rudaw)

Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards declares a state of emergency as Tropical Storm Barry makes unprecedented levels of rainfall on Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and the western Florida Panhandle. (CNN)

British right-wing activist Tommy Robinson is sentenced to nine months in prison for contempt of court — minus time served equals about another 10 weeks in prison. Supporters attacked police and journalists following the court proceedings. Police say no new arrests were made. (BBC)

The End Monday

 

07.11.2019

Thursday, June 11th, 2019

Researchers announce, through the Nature journal, that a human skull (Apidima 1) discovered inside a cave in Greece, has been dated to 210,000 years ago, making it the oldest known Homo sapiens individual found outside of Africa. (BBC) (Nature)

Trump to hold social media summit with controversial right-wing figures President Trump on Thursday touted a “very important” social media summit at the White House, which will feature numerous controversial right-wing personalities. Representatives for Facebook and Twitter were not invited to attend the summit, but the list of invitees reportedly includes Bill Mitchell, a conservative radio host and QAnon conspiracy promoter, as well as Ali Alexander, an activist who claimed that Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) is “not an American black.” Trump, who has repeatedly accused social media companies like Twitter of alleged suppression of conservative speech, said on Thursday that the summit will focus on “tremendous dishonesty, bias, discrimination and suppression,” adding that “we will not let them get away with it much longer.” Source: Politico, CNN

Officials: Iranian boats tried to seize British oil tanker Five Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps boats attempted to seize a British oil tanker on Wednesday as it sailed out of the Persian Gulf and was crossing into the Strait of Hormuz, two U.S officials with knowledge of the incident told CNN. The officials said the Iranians ordered the British Heritage tanker to reverse course and move into Iranian territorial waters, but a U.K. Royal Navy frigate that was escorting the tanker trained its deck guns on the Iranian boats and ordered them to back off. At the request of the U.S. last week, British Royal Marines in Gibraltar intercepted an Iranian boat that was believed to have been carrying oil to Syria; on Wednesday, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani warned the United Kingdom “will see the consequences.” Source: CNN

Five of Iran’s IRGC Navy gunboats unsuccessfully attempt to seize control of British oil tanker British Heritage in the Persian Gulf, according to two anonymous U.S. sources. The Royal Navy’s HMS Montrose warns the boats to back away from the BP Shipping-owned tanker, which they do. The incident is allegedly captured on a U.S. aircraft’s camera. (CNN)

 

Wednesday,  June 10th, 2019

Three large shipbuilders in the People’s Republic of China announced that they are in talks to merge. This is part of an ongoing shake-up and consolidation of that industry in the face of high operational costs and sluggish new orders. (Caixin Eng.)

Assailants raid a village in Papua New Guinea’s Hela province, killing and dismembering 16 women and children, and burning buildings. (The Guardian)

An unexpected violent storm hits the Greek region of Halkidiki with heavy rain, hail, and strong winds, killing six foreign tourists. (BBC)

Sir Kim Darroch, the United Kingdom’s ambassador to the United States, resigns his appointment amid public disagreements with U.S. President Donald Trump initiated by a series of leaked diplomatic cables in which the ambassador criticized the president. (BBC)

Serbian Defense Minister Aleksandar Vulin is banned from Kosovo. (ABC News)

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit dismisses a lawsuit by the state of Maryland and the District of Columbia against President Donald Trump, citing lack of legal standing in challenging payments to President Trump’s private properties by foreign customers.  (Politico)

 

 Tuesday,  July 9th, 2019

Argentine President Mauricio Macri issues a decree declaring Hezbollah a “terrorist organization”. (La Nación)

American billionaire Tom Steyer announces his run for nomination by the United States Democratic Party in the 2020 United States presidential election. (CNN)

 

Monday,  July 8th, 2019

The United Arab Emirates announces a partial withdrawal of its forces from Yemen as part of a “strategic redeployment”. (CNN)

Deutsche Bank announces lay-offs – roughly 18,000 job cuts – around the globe as part of a “reinvention”, scrapping its global equities and cutting its fixed income operations.  (The New York Times)

Flash flooding in Washington, D.C. delivers a month’s worth of rain on the local area in the span of an hour. The torrential rain leaves commuters stranded on car rooftops, floods several metro stations and causes flooding in the White House. (cnet)

African leaders agree on a continent-wide free trade zone, which encompasses all African nations except for Eritrea and Somaliland. The various European territories located in Africa are also excluded. It will be the largest free trade zone since the creation of the World Trade Organization. (DW)

The International Criminal Court declares Bosco Ntaganda guilty of having committed war crimes during the Ituri conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. (DW)

Winner of the general election Kyriakos Mitsotakis is sworn in as the new Prime Minister of Greece, succeeding Alexis Tsipras. (Reuters)

The End

07.08.2019

Monday,  July 8th, 2019

Winner of the election Kyriakos Mitsotakis is sworn in as the new Prime Minister of Greece, succeeding Alexis Tsipras. (Reuters)

Greece elects conservative government Greek opposition leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis was sworn in as prime minister Monday after his conservative New Democracy party won Sunday’s snap election, soundly beating Prime Minister Alexis Tsiprisas’ leftist Syriza party. With more than 90 percent of votes counted, New Democracy had nearly 40 percent of the vote to Syriza’s 31.5 percent, putting Mitsotakis on track for a parliamentary majority. Mitsotakis pledged to lower taxes and increase investment. Tsiprisas won office in 2015 at the height of Greece’s financial meltdown, and although his government steered Greece back to financial stability, he agreed to a third European Union bailout with unpopular austerity measures. Far-right Golden Dawn, the third-largest party during Greece’s financial crisis, failed to win any seats on Sunday. Source: Reuters, The Associated Press

Deutsche Bank announces lay-offs – roughly 18,000 job cuts – around the globe as part of a “reinvention”, scrapping its global equities and cutting its fixed income operations. (Deutsche Bank)

Congressman Eric Swalwell becomes the second Democrat to drop out of the Presidential primaries (after Richard Ojeda), while billionaire Tom Steyer becomes the newest candidate to enter the race. (The Los Angeles Times)

The International Criminal Court declares Bosco Ntaganda guilty of having committed war crimes during the Ituri conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. (DW)

Financier Jeffrey Epstein charged with sex trafficking Sex trafficking charges against billionaire financier Jeffrey Epstein were unsealed by prosecutors on Monday following his arrest over the weekend. Federal agents arrested Epstein, a convicted sex offender, at a New Jersey airport on Saturday evening, and raided his Manhattan home an hour later. Epstein has been charged with sex trafficking and sex trafficking conspiracy as prosecutors allege he sexually exploited dozens of underage girls in his Upper East Side and Palm Beach homes. Epstein, 66, served 13 months in a Florida jail under a heavily criticized 2008 plea deal signed by Labor Secretary Alex Acosta, then U.S. attorney in Miami. Source: The Miami Herald, The Washington Post

ICE has been mining state driver’s license databases using facial recognition Immigrations and Customs Enforcement has been scanning through millions of Americans’ driver’s license photos without their knowledge or consent, using controversial and error-prone facial recognition technology, The Washington Post reports, citing new documents unearthed by Georgetown Law researchers using public-records requests. Civil libertarians and a bipartisan group of federal lawmakers decried the use of facial recognition as an unsanctioned privacy violation of law-abiding Americans. The FBI has also conducted more than 390,000 searches through DMV and visa application photos over the past decade, a recent Government Accountability Office report found, but this is the first-known evidence that ICE used facial recognition technology on state driver’s license photos.

Source: The Washington Post, The New York Times

Iran raises uranium enrichment level as threatened  Iran has followed through on its vow to raise its uranium enrichment level above the cap set in the 2015 nuclear deal between Tehran and world powers, an official from Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization said Monday. Tehran had announced it was making the move Sunday because it said European signatories had not delivered on the sanctions relief Iran was supposed to get in exchange for curbing its nuclear program. President Trump, who withdrew the U.S. from the nuclear deal last year and reimposed sanctions, warned Sunday that “Iran better be careful.” Under the nuclear accord, Iran is barred from enriching uranium beyond the 3.67 percent level, which is suitable for nuclear energy fuel but far below what is needed for making nuclear weapons.

Source: The Washington Post, NPR

Iran announces plans to begin enriching uranium beyond the limit set in its 2015 nuclear deal, with world powers pressing Europe to salvage the accord after the United States withdrew from it last year. (Al Jazeera)

 

Sunday, July 7th, 2019

Leader of the Opposition Kyriakos Mitsotakis, from New Democracy, wins an absolute majority and is expected to be sworn in Prime Minister as incumbent Alexis Tsipras falls to second place. Far-right and neo-Nazi Golden Dawn loses all the seats they had in the Parliament. (The New York Times)

In the final match of the 2019 Women’s World Cup, the United States wins 2–0 over the Netherlands. Golden Boot winner Megan Rapinoe scored on a penalty kick, followed by Rose Lavelle‘s strike in the 69th minute. (The New York Times)

 

 

Saturday,  July 6th, 2019

American billionaire Jeffrey Epstein is arrested and faces new charges related to alleged sex crimes involving minors. (ABC News)

 

 

Friday,  June 5th, 2019

A car bomb explodes in the Turkish city of Reyhanlı. The blast kills three Syrian citizens who were inside the car. (Daily Sabah)

Fourteen civilians are killed and 45 injured in mortar attacks in Faryab Province. Taliban insurgents claim responsibility for the attack. (TOLOnews)

Tunisian Prime Minister Youssef Chahed announces that the niqab will be banned in public institutions effective immediately, citing security concerns following a pair of suicide bombings on June 27. (Al-Jazeera)

Seven Americans, including coal billionaire Chris Cline, are found dead in a helicopter crash in the Bahamas. (Los Angeles Times)

 

 Thursday, July 4th, 2019

Royal Marines seize control of an oil tanker off the coast of Gibraltar that was en route to Baniyas in Syria, suspected of breaching EU sanctions against Syria, carrying Iranian crude oil. The United Kingdom’s Ambassador to Iran, Robert Macaire, is summoned in Tehran over the incident, which Iran describes as an “illegal seizure”. (BBC)

A major holiday celebration and military parade is held in Washington, D.C., United States, by President Donald Trump to commemorate the Fourth of July/Independence Day. (CNN) (NBC)

Lightsource BP, a solar energy developer headquartered in London, has announced that it will acquire utility-scale solar projects in Brazil, 1.9 gigawatts of projects, for an undisclosed sum. This is a major expansion for Lightsource, which is 43% owned by the energy giant BP. (Reuters)

An earthquake with a magnitude of 6.4 with scores of foreshocks and aftershocks hits Southern California, 150 miles (240 km) north of Los Angeles near the city of Ridgecrest. No injuries are reported. The earthquake is the largest in Southern California since October 1999. (CNN) (USGS) (USGS)

A 20-year-old man is charged with stabbing three in a machete attack in a plasma center in Petersburg, Virginia. (Yahoo News)

 

Wednesday,  July 3rd, 2019

mass grave containing over 200 bodies is discovered in Raqqa, Syria. The victims, who were shackled and shot in the head, are believed to have been killed by ISIL militants. (Al Jazeera)

The parents of Otto Warmbier, an American student who died in North Korean custody after allegedly being tortured, file a claim for a seized North Korean cargo ship in an attempt to collect on a $501 million judgment they received after suing the country. (Associated Press)

The End Monday

07.03.2019

https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2019/07/07/business/economy/iran-strait-of-hormuz-tankers.html?action=click&module=Top%20Stories&pgtype=Homepage

Wednesday,  July 3rd, 2019

At least 40 dead in Libya after airstrike hits migrant detention center An airstrike hit a detention center for migrants early Wednesday in Tripoli, killing at least 40 people and wounding dozens more, Libya’s United Nations-backed government said. The government blamed rebel general Khalifa Hifter, whose Libyan National Army has been trying to take Tripoli since April but suffered the loss of a strategically important town last week. Local media reported that Hifter’s forces had launched airstrikes against a government-aligned militia near the detention center in Tripoli’s Tajoura neighborhood. Two migrants told The Associated Press that the hanger hit by the strike held about 150 migrants, mostly from Sudan and Morocco, and that only about 25 survived the blast. Source:  CNN

 Tuesday,  July 2nd, 2019

A Libyan National Army airstrike on a suburb of Tripoli hits a detention centre for illegal migrants, killing at least 40 people and injuring 80 people. (Reuters)

A fire on the Russian Navy’s Losharik submarine kills 14 crew members while the vessel conducts tests in Russian territorial waters. (Sky News)

Saudi Arabia’s minister of state for foreign affairs Adel al-Jubeir says his country will work with Japan and other nations to come up with a plan to ensure that ships can safely transit the Persian Gulf region. Jubeir also calls for “action” on Iran. (NHK)

Argentina’s Education Minister Alejandro Finocchiaro, who strongly condemned a school in Chaco Province for displaying a Cuban flag and displaying pictures of Che Guevara, says the school “has no supervision” and that they are “indoctrinating children with communism and totalitarian and populist governments”. He also added in an interview to State TV that the school will be reviewed. (La Nación)

The Fidesz supermajority of Hungary’s National Assembly passes a bill, which takes the entire research network away from the Hungarian Academy of Sciences and hands them to a new government-backed organisation. (Index)

The U.S. House Committee on Ways and Means sues U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin and Commissioner of Internal Revenue Charles Rettigto obtain six years of U.S. President Donald Trump’s tax returns. (NPR)

The U.S. Departments of Justice and Commerce announce that the Trump administration will not implement a proposed citizenship question in the 2020 Census, and will perform the census without the question. This follows the U.S. Supreme Court rejecting the administration’s rationale for the question in the case (Washington Post)

Following the fatal shooting of a young Ethiopian-Israeli man on June 30, countrywide riots in Israel wound more than 80 people. (The Jerusalem Post)

A total solar eclipse is visible from parts of Chile and Argentina, and a large remote stretch of the southern Pacific.

NASA carries out a successful in-flight test of the launch abort system of its new Orion spacecraft, a milestone in the development of the Artemis program to resume human exploration beyond low Earth orbit. (Space.com)

Monday,  July 1st, 2019

 40 people are killed and over 100 injured by a car bombing and shooting in Kabul, Afghanistan. The Taliban claims responsibility and loses five gunmen. (New York Times)

Taliban militants overran the Qush Tepa district of Jowzjan Province, resulting in the deaths of over 50 Afghan soldiers. Many others were captured. (ATNNews)

Israel strikes multiple Iranian and Syrian military targets outside Damascus and Homs, killing 16 people and wounding 21. (Haaretz)

Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi signs a decree ordering all Iranian-backed Shia militias to integrate into the Iraqi Armed Forces by the end of July. The decree will change the names of the militias such as the Popular Mobilization Forces to new divisions and brigades within the military. (Reuters)

9 people were injured in a Houthi drone attack on Saudi Abha International Airport. (Haaretz)

Japan resumes commercial whaling after 30 years following the country’s withdrawal from the International Whaling Commission. At least 227 whales are expected to be killed through to December. (The Guardian)

A ban on single-use plastic shopping bags comes into force in New Zealand. Businesses that break the ban will face fines of up to $100,000NZD. (Gulf Today)

In Mexico, a storm drops over a metre of hail over parts of Guadalajara, damaging hundreds of houses. (CBC)

Iran announces that it has enriched more than 300 kilograms (660 lb) of uranium to 3.67%, contrary to previous agreement. This is still highly insufficient to produce one nuclear weapon. (Deutsche Welle)

France’s interior minister, Christophe Castaner, has asked the Paris police chief to provide explanations about a video that went viral on social media, where law enforcement officers are seen spraying with pepper spray and dragging protesters from the Extinction Rebellion anti-climate change movement. Although the police needed to evict the protesters, who obstructed a transit route, the mechanisms that they used generated negative reactions. (The Guardian)

Hong Kong anti-extradition bill protesters briefly break into the Legislative Council Complex, which houses the local parliament. (The Guardian)

Harvard University announces that former Michigan Governor Rick Snyder will be a senior research fellow. (The Hill)

Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi signs a decree ordering all Iranian-backed Shia militias to integrate into the Iraqi Armed Forces by the end of July. The decree will change the names of the militias such as the Popular Mobilization Forces to new divisions and brigades within the military. (Reuters)

The End Wednesday

 

100% casualties

Scientists announce, through the Science journal, that they discover the source of a fast radio burst for the first time. FRB 180924, a non-repeating FRB which was detected in September 2018 using the Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder, originates from a large galaxy known as DES J214425.25−405400.81. located 3.6 billion light-years from Earth. (Newsweek) (9news)

NASA awards $1 billion to the Dragonfly mission, which will use a dual-quadcopter drone to explore Titan for signs of life. (Nature) (Science) (The New York Times) (The Atlantic)

 

Monday,  July 1st, 2019

Hong Kong anti-extradition bill protesters briefly break into the Legislative Council Complex, which houses the local parliament. (The Guardian)

40 people are killed and over 100 injured by a car bombing and shooting in Kabul, Afghanistan. The Taliban claims responsibility and loses five gunmen. (New York Times)

Israel strikes multiple Iranian and Syrian targets outside Damascus and Homs, killing 16 people and wounding 21. (Haaretz)

A stray Syrian S-200 missile fired in response to the Israeli strikes crashes and explodes on a mountain in Cyprus, near its largest city, Nicosia, injuring nobody and starting a fire. (Reuters)

Japan resumes commercial whaling after 30 years following the country’s withdrawal from the International Whaling Commission. At least 227 whales are expected to be killed through to December. (The Guardian)

Iran announces that it has enriched more than 300 kilograms (660 lb) of uranium to 3.67%, contrary to previous agreement. This is still highly insufficient to produce one nuclear bomb. (Deutsche Welle)

After speaking by phone with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Japanese Foreign Minister Tarō Kōno says “he hopes the meeting adds momentum to efforts toward the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula”. Kōno also says that Japanese Prime Minister Shinzō Abe “wants to meet Kim Jong-un to solve the issue of North Korean abductions of Japanese citizens”. (Japan Today)

Iran acknowledges breach of nuclear stockpile limit Iran on Monday said it had surpassed the stockpile limit of low-enriched uranium allowed by the 2015 nuclear deal. The U.S. pulled out of the agreement last year, and Iran has continued to increase its stockpile, threatening to approach weapons-grade levels. European powers on Friday attempted to persuade Iran to refrain from breaching its side of the nuclear pact by surpassing its limits on low-enriched uranium possession, but were unsuccessful. The United Nations’ nuclear watchdog did not confirm whether Iran had breached the limit. The acknowledgement marks Iran’s first major departure from the nuclear deal’s parameters. If confirmed, the European Union will likely join the U.S. in imposing sanctions on Tehran. Source: The Associated Press

Pete Buttigieg raises $24.8 million in 2nd quarter South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg raised a massive $24.8 million in the second quarter of 2019, his presidential campaign announced on Monday. This total more than triples the $7.1 million Buttigieg raised during the first quarter. That $7.1 million was already considered impressive for a candidate who entered the race with little name recognition. Buttigieg is the first Democratic candidate to announce his fundraising total for the second quarter of the year, although former Vice President Joe Biden indicated last month he had raised around $20 million leading up to the first Democratic debate. Buttigieg’s campaign said it currently has $22.6 million on hand and 230,000 new donors in the second quarter. The total didn’t just blow past pundits’ expectations, but also the campaign’s reported internal goal of $15 million. Source: The New York Times

Economic growth enters record 121st month The U.S. economic expansion enters a record-setting 121st month on Monday. The growth has been fueled by a decade of low interest rates and other massive stimulus efforts by the Federal Reserve. The expansion could still have plenty of room to continue. U.S. gross domestic product only caught up last year with where Congressional Budget Office analysts estimate it could have been if the housing bubble had not burst in 2007 and the world hadn’t entered a deep recession. “We’re only now making up ground” after a decade of growth since June 2009, which the National Bureau of Economic Research has marked as the last recession’s “trough,” said Vincent Reinhart, chief economist at Mellon. Source: Reuters

 

Sunday, June 30, 2019

Four humvees packed with explosives controlled by suicide bombers kill 23, including eight election workers, in the province of Kandahar. The Taliban claimed 57 were killed. (Reuters)

Gunmen open fire killing two guards and wounding another for Lebanese minister, Saleh al-Gharib. This attack happened in a mountain village near Beirut, Lebanon. (Al Jazeera)

U.S. President Donald Trump, together with South Korean President Moon Jae-in, meets North Korean leader Kim Jong-un at the Joint Security Area, becoming the first sitting U.S. president to step foot in North Korea. Trump also invites Kim to the White House to resume talks about denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula. (NBC News) (Business Insider) (CNN)

In the second similar case within a week, police in Toyonaka, Japan, arrest Ryotaro Taniguchi for keeping the body of his deceased mother a year after her death. He is quoted as saying he didn’t want to pay for the funeral. Police are investigating whether or not Taniguchi continued to receive his mother’s pension. (Japan Today) (The Japan Times)

 

Saturday,  June 29th, 2019

U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping meet at the G20 summit and reach a deal that will allow American companies to sell non-sensitive technology to Huawei while China will buy food and agricultural products from the United States. (The Washington Post)

In Osaka, Argentina, Brazil, Chile and Canada jointly issue a statement condemning the Venezuelan government. The statement’s author, Argentine President Mauricio Macri, indicated that it was meant to “show that beyond good faith and dialogue, Maduro takes advantage of that to create more poverty, famine and corruption in Venezuela”. (Clarín)

German Chancellor Angela Merkel says she’s “fine” following two bouts of shaking in public that have sparked concerns about her health. (BBC)

 

Friday,  June 28th, 2019

Nearly 100 people are killed in clashes between the Syrian Army, rebels and jihadists in northwestern Syria. 51 government troops and allied militiamen, and 45 rebel fighters and jihadists are among the dead. (France 24)

Demolition experts implode the Ponte Morandi viaduct in Genoa, Italy, ten months after a partial collapse that killed 43 people. (BBC)

More than 200 demonstrators break into the courtyard of Bahrain’s embassy in Baghdad and take down the kingdom’s flag to protest a U.S.-led meeting in Bahrain on the Israeli–Palestinian peace process. (Reuters)

James A. Fields Jr. is sentenced to life in prison after pleading guilty to 29 hate crimes for driving his car into a crowd of protestors, killing one and injuring 28, at the 2017 Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. (CNN) (NBC News) (The Washington Post)

A Nigerian man dies in a Japanese immigration detention center this week, an official says. It ends a hunger strike that an activist group said was intended to protest against him being held for more than three years. (Reuters)

The House of Representatives of the Netherlands passes the final bill of the climate agreement. The goal of the accord is to have the level of greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere in 2030 the same as the level of greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere in 1990. (ABC News)

According to the first report presented by the Nicaraguan Foundation for Economic and Social Development, Nicaragua has become one of the world’s least democratic countries, qualifying it as an “authoritarian regime”. Among the reasons that this center of thought mentions to explain this situation are “the retrocess of civil liberties by the repression against the anti-government protests in progress since 2018” and “the loss of independence of the State institutions in favor of the Executive Power”. (La Prensa)

Amid a continental heat wave, France records its highest ever temperature of 45.9 °C (114.6 °F) in Gallargues-le-Montueux. (Sky News)

In Spain, authorities report two deaths connected to the extreme heat. The worst wildfire in 20 years burns more than 5,000 hectares at the south of Province of Tarragona, in Catalonia. (Express) (CNN)

 

Thursday, June 27th, 2019

Arab Coalition spokesman Turki al-Maliki says that his forces intercept and down a drone in Yemeni airspace after its launch toward Saudi Arabia by Houthisnorth of Sanaʽa. (Al Arabiya)

Argentina Education Minister Alejandro Finocchiaro strongly condemns a school in Chaco Province for displaying a Cuban flag on Argentina’s Flag Day, asking, “What differences are there between the Cuban regime and the Nazis?” He also describes Che Guevara as a “criminal and genocider”. (Clarín)

The second of two Democratic Party debates for the nomination of the party’s nominee in the 2020 United States presidential election is held in Miami, Florida. (The New York Times)

 

Wednesday,  June 26th, 2019

Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan announces that Canada will continue to command a NATO mission in Iraq for a second year until November 2020. (Al Arabiya)

Two U.S. Troops are killed in an ambush by the Taliban in Wardak Province, Afghanistan. (USA Today)

Four men with ties to ISIL are arrested in Nicaragua. (BBC)

U.S. President Donald Trump states that Germany is “delinquent” on NATO defense, saying, “So they are giving Russia billions of dollars yet we are supposed to protect Germany and Germany is delinquent! Okay?” (Al Arabiya)

An unnamed Brazilian Air Force sergeant is arrested in Seville for smuggling 39 kilograms of cocaine inside an Embraer E190 airliner. The aircraft, now grounded, was being used as a backup plane during President Bolsonaro’s official visit to Japan, connecting in the Spanish city. (The Olive Press)

In a unanimous decision, the Supreme Court of Japan rejects retrial for a 92-year-old woman, Ayako Haraguchi, who had already served 10 years in prison for the 1979 murder of her former brother-in-law. (The Japan Times)

Canada’s government adds Neo-Nazi groups Blood & Honour and Combat 18 to its list of designated terrorist organizations. It is the first time that extreme far-right groups have been designated as terrorist in Canada. Three Shia militant groups, including the Iranian-backed Al-Ashtar Brigades are also banned. (Global News)

The first of two Democratic Party debates for the nomination of the party’s nominee in the 2020 United States presidential election is held in Miami, Florida. (Reuters)

Germany, Poland and the Czech Republic record their highest ever recorded temperatures for June amid a heat wave in Western and Central Europe. (BBC) (Weather Underground)

House passes $4.5 billion border aid package amid migrant furor The House passed a $4.5 billion bill to aid migrants on Tuesday night, 230-195. Last week, lawyers revealed deplorable and unsanitary conditions at a Border Patrol facility housing migrant kids in Texas, and before the vote, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) likened the situation to “child abuse,” adding that supporting the bill is “a vote against the cruel attitude toward children of this administration.” Democrats came into the vote divided, and the Senate is expected to vote on its own bill this week. As Democrats were debating, a photo of two Salvadoran migrants — a father and 23-month-old daughter — who drowned crossing the Rio Grand to seek U.S. asylum grabbed national attention. “Trump is responsible for these deaths,” tweeted 2020 Democrat Beto O’Rourke. Source: Politico

San Francisco votes to ban e-cigarettes San Francisco on Tuesday voted to ban sales of e-cigarettes, including products from locally-headquartered Juul. The city’s Mayor London Breed has 10 days to review the legislation and potentially sign it into law. If she does, it will go into effect in seven months, after which it will be illegal to sell nicotine vaporizer products in stores or for online retailers to ship the goods to San Francisco. It will be the first ban of its kind in the country. City Attorney Dennis Herrera, who co-sponsored the bill, said that the increase in e-cigarettes have led to increased rates of nicotine addiction among young people. Cigarettes and other tobacco products, as well as recreational marijuana, remain legal in the city. Source: Bloomberg

The End

 

a little news, not much

AbbVie, the Illinois based pharmaceutical concern best known for Humira, announces its plan to purchase Allergan, the maker of Botox, for about $63 billion. (Reuters)

https://www.businessinsider.com/spacex-falcon-heavy-rocket-most-difficult-launch-ever-2019-6

https://www.jpost.com/Israel-News/Israeli-startup-Eviation-wheels-out-new-electric-airplane-Alice-in-Paris-593316

Here’s how the US’s involvement in the Korean War started 69 years ago

 

Tuesday,  June 25, 2019

United States President Donald Trump signs an executive order sanctioning Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.  (United States Department of the Treasury)

Iranian president calls Trump’s new sanctions ‘outrageous and idiotic’ Iranian President Hassan Rouhani in a televised address on Tuesday criticized President Trump’s newly-imposed sanctions as “outrageous and idiotic.” Trump on Monday signed an executive order imposing what he called “hard-hitting” sanctions on Iran following Iran’s shooting down of a U.S. drone, with the president saying the sanctions would deny Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and others “access to key financial resources and support.” On Tuesday, Rouhani said the White House is “afflicted by mental retardation,” and that the sanctions represent the Trump administration’s “certain failure.” Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman additionally said that the sanctions indicate “the permanent closure of the doors of diplomacy.” Source: The Washington Post

The British newspaper Independent in Arabic quotes an intelligence source as saying that in 2018 Iran had delivered half a ton of TATP explosives in diplomatic packages to a civilian plane that was supposed to be transferred to Paris to carry out an attack in the city. (The Jerusalem Post)

After commemorating the 25th anniversary of the attack (18 July), Argentine Foreign Minister Jorge Faurie addressed the United Nations and demanded the Islamic Republic of Iran to extradite those accused for the attack to be judged by Argentine justice. He added the attack was “not against the Jewish community but against the whole Argentine people”. (Jerusalem Post)

Ibaraki Prefecture says it will start issuing partnership certificates for lesbian, gay and transgender couples starting July 1. It would be the first such prefectural policy in the history of Japan. (Japan Today)

Democrats divided on approach to immigration policy Several Democrats in the House are struggling with the idea of backing a $4.5 billion emergency aid package, as they want to help detained migrants but worry the money will be used to carry out President Trump’s promised deportation raids. The House is planning a vote on Tuesday. Several lawmakers want to ensure the money goes to improving facilities where migrant children are being held. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) said she “will not fund another dime to allow ICE to continue its manipulative tactics,” while Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) said she doesn’t trust Trump to follow restrictions in the bill. Republicans are opposing the package because the money won’t be used to enforce immigration law. The White House said Trump would likely veto the legislation because it “does not provide adequate funding to meet the current crisis.” Source: The New York Times

NASA’s Curiosity rover detects methane spike on Mars NASA’s Curiosity rover has detected methane on Mars several times since landing in 2012, but last week, it measured the highest level yet: 21 parts per billion. This is an “unusually high” level of the odorless, colorless gas, NASA says, but the agency cautioned that while methane is produced by living organisms, this is not absolute proof of life on Mars. “While increased methane levels measured by @MarsCuriosity are exciting, as possible indicators for life, it’s important to remember this is an early science result,” NASA’s Thomas Zurbuchen tweeted. On Earth, major sources of methane include cattle and the production of fossil fuels. Scientists will analyze the information and plan on conducting more observations. Source: NBC News

Boeing is crowding its employee parking lot with undelivered 737 Max jets

Monday,  June 24, 2019

Erdogan Dealt Stunning Blow as Istanbul Elects Rival Candidate

Iran Goes for “Maximum Counter-Pressure”
PEPE ESCOBAR • JUNE 20, 2019

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said he had discussed heightened tensions in the region with Saudi Arabia’s King Salman during a meeting in Jeddah. (Reuters)

Turkey’s ruling party loses control of Istanbul Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) took a hit on Sunday, losing the re-run of Istanbul’s mayoral election. Ekrem Imamoglu of the secularist Republican People’s Party, Turkey’s main opposition party, won 54 percent of the vote. Imamoglu also won the first election in March, but the results were thrown out after AKP claimed there were irregularities. Many view Erdogan, who served as Istanbul’s mayor in the 1990s, as becoming more and more authoritarian, with little tolerance for opposing views. He once said “whoever wins Istanbul, wins Turkey,” and experts say AKP’s loss could lead to an early national election and some top leaders leaving the party. Istanbul is Turkey’s largest city and its commercial hub. Source: BBC News

Two German Eurofighters collide in mid-air and crash near Lake Müritz in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania. While both pilots were able to eject before the crash, one of them did not survive the accident. (DW)

American serial killer, Michael Madison’s mother was stabbed to death in her home where the 2013 serial murders took place. Three others were injured and her grandson was arrested in the attack. (CNN)

NASA announces that its Curiosity rover has detected the largest ever measurement of methane on Mars. (BBC)

United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet says the tens of thousands of Islamic State fighters and family members being held in Iraq and Syria must be tried or released, and calls on countries to take responsibility for their citizens and take them back if not charged. (BBC)

The 2026 Winter Olympics are selected to be held in Milan and Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy. (BBC)

Sunday, June 23, 2019

The re-run Istanbul mayoral election concludes with a landslide victory for opposition leader Ekrem İmamoğlu and defeat for the ruling AK Party. (BBC)

Houthis launch a deadly drone strike that kills a Syrian and wounds 21 more. The attack takes place at the Abha International Airport, which was attacked two weeks ago with a ballistic missile. (Reuters)

Houthis warn of worse attacks if Saudi Arabia continues its escalation and aggression in Yemen. (Xinhua)

A ceremony is held at the former site of Germany’s Buchenwald concentration camp to remember people imprisoned there because they were thought to be gay. (Japan Times)

Chilean President Sebastián Piñera says he agrees with Argentine President Mauricio Macri that the “corrupt dictatorship of Maduro has its days numbered”. (ABC ES)

Chile is extending its offer of “democratic responsibility” visas, allowing Venezuelans to live in the country for up to two years, so that they may be applied for from any Chilean embassy or consulate in the world instead of just in Venezuela. However, Chile border control now also demands visas upon entry for Venezuelans, a tightening of the previous 90-day free period. The move should aid Venezuelans trying to travel through other Latin American nations that have changing restrictions. (Reuters)

Hundreds of thousands take to the streets of Prague to demand the resignation of Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš in the country’s biggest protest since the Velvet Revolution in 1989. (BBC)

 

Saturday,  June 22nd, 2019

Saudi Arabia’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Adel Al-Jubeir says if Iran closes the Strait of Hormuz, there will be a “very, very strong reaction”. (Arab News)

The United States announces “major” sanctions against Iran to prevent them from obtaining nuclear weapons. (BBC)

The Trump administration releases a $50 billion plan that calls for investment in Palestine’s economy. (NBC News)

 

Friday,  June 21st, 2019

U.S. President Donald Trump spoke to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman about Middle East stability and the oil market, the White House says, after tensions with Iran prompt a rise in oil prices. (Reuters)

Foreign Minister of Saudi Arabia Adel Al-Jubeir says Iran “has to understand that its aggressive behaviour cannot be sustained” and that his country is “trying to avoid a war at all costs”. (Sky News)

Japan’s Defense Ministry says Russian Air Force bombers violated southern Japanese airspace, prompting Japan Air Self-Defense Force fighters to scramble and escort the planes out of the area. (Japan Today)

Ten civilians are killed when a suicide bomber detonates his explosive belt in a crowd of worshippers at a Shia mosque in eastern Baghdad, Iraq. (Sputnik)

Korean Air confirms that US carrier Delta Air Lines has acquired a 4.3% stake in Korean Air’s parent company Hanjin Kal, which may help Hanjin resist pressure from an activist shareholder. (Reuters)

A Beechcraft King Air sky diving operation plane crashes near Dillingham Airfield on Oahu, Hawaii, killing all eleven people onboard. (The Guardian)

The End

 

Get Ready For Fireworks

London – March 1977

Friday,  June 21st, 2019

David Gilmour auctions 120 guitars of his personal collection raising $21.5 million, including $3.975 million for The Black Strat, his most iconic guitar. (Christie’s) (Rolling Stone)

Trump Barters for Borders — and Wins, Big Time
ILANA MERCER • JUNE 20, 2019 • 1,000 WORDS

Mexico ratifies USMCA trade deal Mexico’s Senate overwhelmingly voted on Wednesday to ratify the U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade agreement. The deal is an update of the North American Free Trade Agreement, and comes despite President Trump threatening tariffs on Mexico a few weeks ago. Mexico’s Senate voted 114-4 to approve the deal, with three lawmakers abstaining. Some of those voting for the deal were cautious, seeing as Trump has been unpredictable when dealing with Mexico, but said the bill was essential in guaranteeing Mexico’s economic viability. Despite largely voicing opposition to Trump, Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador also pushed for the deal, essentially ensuring its passage. The deal contains many of the same provisions as NAFTA, but calls for more automotive manufacturing within the three countries. Source: The Washington Post

Riviera Beach, Florida, is paying $600,000 to a hacker who took over local government computers three weeks ago. (CNN)

Trump administration officials say that U.S. President Donald Trump ordered the United States Armed Forces to conduct military strikes against targets of the Armed Forces of the Islamic Republic of Iran in retaliation for downing an American surveillance drone the day prior. However, President Trump reportedly changed his mind hours later and ordered an immediate stop to the operation while American warplanes were in the air and warships were in position. (The New York Times)

Trump reportedly approved, called off retaliatory strike on Iran President Trump approved a U.S. military strike against targets inside Iran in retaliation for Iran’s downing of a $130 million American surveillance drone, but the operation, already underway in its early stages, was abruptly called off Thursday night, The New York Times and The Associated Press report. Planes were in the air and ships in position to strike a handful of targets, like radar installations and missile batteries, before dawn on Friday. It’s not clear whether Trump changed his mind on the strikes or whether the administration backed down for other reasons, but Iranian leaders told Reuters on Friday that Trump had warned them about an imminent attack via Oman, saying “he was against any war with Iran and wanted to talk to Tehran about various issues.” Source:  Reuters

Global airlines re-route flights to avoid Iranian airspace Several global airlines are avoiding Iranian airspace near the Gulf of Oman and the Strait of Hormuz after Iran shot down a U.S. drone flying in the area. Major airlines like British Airways, Qantas, Lufthansa, Singapore Airlines, and Air-France KLM all announced they would redirect flights to avoid Iranian-controlled airspace, citing increased safety concerns after escalating tensions between the U.S. and Iran. The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration issued an emergency order on Thursday prohibiting U.S. carriers from flying over the area until further notice, saying that the “misidentification of aircraft is possible.” United Airlines announced it had suspended flights to Mumbai and India following the FAA’s warning. Europe’s travel and leisure stocks were down Friday after the announcement, and Germany’s Lufthansa was one of the worst performing airlines on the market. Source: CNBC

Japan’s Defense Ministry said Russian Air Force bombers had violated southern Japanese airspace, prompting Japan Air Self-Defense Force fighters to scramble and escort the planes out of the area. (Japan Today)

Foreign minister of Saudi Arabia Adel Al-Jubeir says that Iran must stop its “aggressive” behaviour and that his country wants to avoid war with Iran at all costs. (Sky News)

Senate votes to block Trump’s $8 billion arms deal to Saudi Arabia The Senate passed three resolutions on Thursday that attempt to block President Trump’s $8 billion sale of munitions to Saudi Arabia and other Middle Eastern countries. Seven Republicans voted joined all Democrats to pass two of the resolutions, 53-45, while the third passed 51-45, neither tally enough to override a presidential veto. Trump announced the sales last month, invoking an emergency provision to bypass Congress. But congressional members from both parties have taken issue with Trump’s workaround. “This vote is a vote for the powers of this institution to be able to continue to have a say on one of the most critical elements of U.S. foreign policy and national security,” said Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), who co-sponsored the bill with Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) Source: The Washington Post

Apple, Dollar Tree, Fitbit join list of companies opposing Trump tariffs Apple Inc., Keurig, Dr Pepper Inc., Dollar Tree Inc., and Fitbit Inc. are the latest companies to press the Trump administration to ease-up on China tariffs. The companies are urging President Trump not to impose more tariffs, following reports that Trump would be willing to impose more than $300 billion in additional tariffs on Chinese goods. In a letter filed Thursday, Apple said more tariffs would reduce its competitiveness. Trump announced this week he’ll be meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping at next week’s G-20 summit, where the two leaders will presumably discuss some sort of trade agreement. Source: Reuters

S&P 500 closes at record high U.S. markets surged on Thursday, with the S&P 500 setting a new all-time high upon closing. Markets climbed in the wake of the Federal Reserve’s announcement indicating possible interest rate cuts in the future. The S&P 500 closed at 2,954.18, putting the index on track for its best June since 1955. The Dow Jones Industrial Average also enjoyed a 250-point bump, coming within 1 percent of its record. Fed Chairman Jerome Powell said Wednesday that “the case for somewhat more accommodative policy has strengthened,” though the Fed board has not yet announced a rate cut. Source: The Washington Post

Explosions at Philadelphia oil refinery shake nearby homes A massive fire broke out at a major oil refinery in Philadelphia on Friday, and the strength of an explosion in the blaze shook nearby homes. Firefighters are responding at the Philadelphia Energy Solutions Refining Complex after a fire broke out at around 4 a.m., with Philadelphia Deputy Fire Commissioner Craig Murphy saying that “it’s confined, and it’s being addressed, but it is not under control.” Several explosions at the refinery shook homes in Philadelphia and “jolted people from their sleep miles from the scene,” even being felt by some South Jersey residents. No injuries have been reported, the Philadelphia Fire Department said. This is the refinery’s second fire this month. The cause of the fire is currently unclear. Source: CBS News

 

 Thursday, June 20th, 2019

U.S. President Donald Trump, when asked about the attack, says it is “hard to believe it was intentional”. He later approves retaliatory military strikes against Iranian missile and radar facilities, but subsequently changes his mind. (BBC)

NXIVM leader Keith Raniere is found guilty of seven charges, including human trafficking, sex trafficking, sexual exploitation of a child, forced labor conspiracy, and racketeering. (NPR)

At least 44 people are killed when a bus carrying at least 60 plunges into a gorge in the Kullu district of Himachal Pradesh, a mountainous northern Indian state. (BBC)

The Colombian military reveals that dissident FARC groups, in spite of a 2016 treaty, have been recruiting Venezuelan migrants at illegal border crossings, strengthening their numbers and increasing attacks. (Reuters)

Home Secretary Sajid Javid is eliminated after coming in fourth place in the fourth round of voting. Boris Johnson remains the front runner, with Michael Gove and Jeremy Hunt coming in second and third place respectively.(BBC)

In the fifth round of voting, Gove is controversially eliminated. The party membership run-off vote will be between Johnson and Hunt. (The Guardian)

Roy Moore, the former judge accused of sexual misconduct with teens decades ago, announces that he would run for U.S. Senate again in Alabama, defying the wishes of Donald Trump and the Republican Party. (CNBC)

 

 

Iran shoots down U.S. drone near Strait of Hormuz Iran and the U.S. said Iran’s paramilitary Islamic Republican Guard Corps (IRGC) shot down a U.S. drone early Thursday, but the two countries disagreed on where it was flying when it was hit by Iran’s surface-to-air missile. Iran said it downed a U.S. Navy RQ-4 Global Hawk “spy” drone after it crossed into Iranian airspace, but U.S. officials tell Reuters that the MQ-4C Triton reconnaissance drone was in international airspace over the Strait of Hormuz. Tensions are high between Iran and the U.S., and President Trump tweeted that “Iran made a very big mistake.” IRGC commander Gen. Hossein Salami said the “the downing of the American drone was a clear message to America” that “our borders are our red line.” Source: BBC News

Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps shoots down an American spy drone after it allegedly violates Iranian airspace. (Raidió Teilifís Éireann)

An anonymous American official says the incident occurred in international airspace, and not over Iranian territory. (The Times of Israel)

China’s Xi Jinping arrives in North Korea for talks with Kim Jong Un Chinese President Xi Jinping landed in Pyongyang on Thursday, where he is expected to discuss aid, the economy, and nuclear talks with leader Kim Jong Un. Xi is the first Chinese president to visit North Korea in 14 years, and will stay for two days. The pair will likely talk about Kim’s failed February summit with President Trump, which crumbled after the two sides could not reach an agreement on North Korea ending its nuclear program in exchange for relief from sanctions. China is dealing with its own trade issue with the United States, and the visit is supposed to strengthen ties between China and North Korea. Source: The Guardian

Chinese President Xi Jinping arrives in North Korea for a two-day state visit with Kim Jong-un. (Los Angeles Times)

Biden campaign aides reportedly unhappy with his segregationist remarks Former Vice President Joe Biden pushed back on criticism about comments he made Tuesday night in which he touted his ability to get business done with two former senators, both hard-line segregationists, in the 1970s. “I ran for the United States Senate because I disagreed with the views of the segregationists,” he said. Asked if he should apologize for his remarks, as Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) said, Biden asked what he would apologize for, adding: “Cory should apologize. He knows better. There’s not a racist bone in my body.” Later on CNN, Booker called Biden’s pushback “so insulting and so missing the larger point.” Reports on Thursday said Biden’s campaign aides had warned him against mentioning this anecdote and called it a “point of contention.” Source: USA Today

 

Slack set to debut on NYSE with $15 billion valuation Slack is set to make its debut on the New York Stock Exchange Thursday with an estimated initial valuation of $15.7 billion, or $26 a share. In contrast to the majority of tech companies, Slack is not filing an initial public offering but using a direct offering instead. Slack’s reference price will be $26 per share, but its opening price could change on Thursday depending on market makers. By going the route of a direct offering, Slack is allowing its current shareholders to immediately sell their shares into the market instead of offering new shares. Direct offerings can be more beneficial for immediate trading, and they can also avoid underwriting fees, which are accrued in an IPO. Slack follows in the footsteps of Spotify, which popularized direct offerings after filing its own in 2018. Source: Fortune

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Mark Lennihan/AP/Shutterstock (10191127a)
Actress Allison Mack leaves Brooklyn federal court, in New York. Mack pleaded guilty to racketeering charges on Monday in a case involving a cult-like group based in upstate New York. The trial is expected to detail sensational allegations that the group, called NXIVM, recruited sex slaves for its spiritual leader, Keith Raniere
Branded Women, New York, USA – 08 Apr 2019

 

Wednesday,  June 19th, 2019

Four people, three Russians and a Ukrainian, will be charged with murder for the crash that killed 298 people on July 17, 2014. The trial is to be held on March 9, 2020 and take place in Badhoevedorp, Netherlands. (CNN)

Li Ka-shing, “Hong Kong’s richest man”, pledges to pay, via his charitable foundation, the tuition fees of the Shantou University’s 2019 incoming class for up to five years. (BBC)

The UN predicts that over five million Venezuelans, over 15% of the nation’s population, will have left the country by the end of 2019 since the start of the crisis in Venezuela—the total at the end of 2018 was 3.3 million. One million have left the country since November, with a daily average of 5,000 departures. Additionally, over 20% of all worldwide UN asylum requests are from Venezuelans; 350,000 applied in 2018 alone. (Financial Times)

Millions of people in southeast India face water shortages due to drought and depleted groundwater. (CBC)

The Japanese coast guard says its patrol boats have been pushing back hundreds of North Korean boats trying to poach in fishing grounds rich with squid off Japan’s northern coast. (Japan Today)

Saudi Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Adel al-Jubeir says that the UN’s report on the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi is unfounded, saying it has “clear contradictions and baseless allegations.” (Gulf News)

Rory Stewart is eliminated after coming in fifth place in today’s third round voting. The front runner remains Boris Johnson. Jeremy Hunt, Michael Gove, and Sajid Javid came in second, third, and fourth respectively. A fourth round will be taken tomorrow. (BBC)

The End

 

What the fuck is that thing?

https://pagesix.com/2019/06/18/lindsay-lohan-losing-her-mtv-show-and-mykonos-nightclub/

 

Wednesday,  June 19th, 2019

Adel al-Jubeir says that the UN’s Khashoggi report is unfounded. “The report of the rapporteur at the [UN] Human Rights Council includes clear contradictions and baseless allegations that strike at its credibility,” – “We strongly reject any attempt to touch the kingdom’s leadership, push the case out of the track of justice in the kingdom, or affect it in any form,”, Saudi Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Adel Al Jubeir said. (Gulf News)

The Japanese coast guard says its patrol boats have been pushing back hundreds of North Korean boats trying to poach in fishing grounds rich with squid off Japan’s northern coast. (Japan Today)

Four people, three Russians and a Ukrainian, will be charged with murder for the crash that killed 298 people on 17 July 2014. The trial is to be held on March 9, 2020 and take place in Badhoevedorp, Netherlands. (CNN)

U.N. investigator blames Saudi Arabia for Jamal Khashoggi’s ‘extrajudicial killing’ In a long-awaited 101-page report released Wednesday morning, special United Nations human rights investigator Agnes Callamard said Saudi Arabia is legally responsible for the “deliberate, premeditated execution” of Saudi journalist and Washington Post columnist Jamal Khasoggi inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul last October. Callamard, said her investigation, hampered by a lack of cooperation and likely obstruction by the Saudi government, found no “smoking gun” linking Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to the “extrajudicial killing,” but she found enough “credible evidence” to warrant “further investigation by a proper authority” independent of Saudi Arabia. Callamard also gave a gruesome, detailed timeline of Khashoggi’s sedation, suffocation, and dismemberment. Source: CNN

4 people to be charged with murder following disappearance of MH17 Four people will be charged with murder and accused of causing the crash of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, the plane that was shot down in Ukraine in 2014, investigators announced Wednesday. The flight crashed, killing 298 people. The four suspects include Igor Kirkin, Sergey Dubinskiy, and Oleg Pulatov, who are Russian nationals, and Leonid Kharchenko, who is Ukrainian. Investigators say that the suspects did not fire the missile that downed MH17, but say they are “just as punishable.” They are suspected of working to obtain the missile, “with the goal to shoot a plane.” The Joint Investigation Team, who announced the charges, is made up of investigators from Australia, Belgium, Malaysia, the Netherlands, and Ukraine. Source: CNN

 

Tuesday,  June 18th, 2019

In response to accusations by the United States that Iran is responsible for last week’s attacks on two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman, and the subsequent increased U.S. military presence in the region, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani says “Iran will not wage war against any nation”. (CBC)

Google announces that it is setting aside $750 million in land and $250 million in financing to encourage developers in the San Francisco area to build and rehabilitate housing, in order to ease the homeless crisis in a region where Google has 45,000 employees. (Reuters)

Boeing sells 200 of its 737 MAX planes to International Airlines Group, the first sale of the controversial airliners since two fatal crashes and subsequent worldwide groundings earlier this year. (CNBC)

Colombian authorities deport Venezuelan refugees in the border town of Cúcuta; in response, the Venezuelan government restricts movement of Colombians into the country. (Al Jazeera)

It is reported that Roberto Marrero, aide to Venezuela’s partially-recognized interim President Juan Guaidó, who was arrested several months ago, has his preliminary hearing completed, with Judge Carol Padilla denying his right to defense and ordering his incarceration. (El Universal)

Boris Johnson again leads after the second Tory MP leadership ballot with 126 ballots, 12 more than in the first round. Dominic Raab is eliminated after coming in last with 30 votes, three fewer than the minimum needed to progress. Jeremy Hunt (40), Michael Gove (41), Sajid Javid (33) and Rory Stewart (37) all received enough to advance to tomorrow’s third round. (BBC)

Patrick Shanahan, who has been acting Secretary of Defense since January 1, has withdrawn his name from consideration as Secretary “… to devote more time to his family”, President Trump said. Secretary of the Army Mark Esper will be the acting Secretary of Defense. (BBC)

One of the towers of the centuries-old Citadel of Ghazni, Afghanistan collapses amid heavy rainfall. (BBC)

U.S. President Donald Trump confirms he has been briefed on a spike of UFO sightings in Earth’s atmosphere by United States Navy pilots, saying “people are saying they’re seeing UFOs. Do I believe it? Not particularly”. The U.S. Navy recently updated its guidelines for how its pilots can report “unidentified aircraft”. (ABC News)

Almost half of singles in Japan who wish to get married are unable to find a suitable partner, with 61.4 percent of the group stating they are not doing anything to change the situation, a government survey shows. (Japan Today)

Japanese anime developers report that the industry is in crisis, even as its popularity soars in its native country. Among the reasons are low pay, long hours, and a huge shortage of artists – just as its global popularity reaches record levels. (Japan Today)

A man identified as Yujiro Iimori, who allegedly stabbed and robbed a police officer of his gun, is arrested in Osaka, Japan. He presents a mental health certificate as defense. (The Japan Times)

U.S. to send 1,000 more troops to Middle East over Iran’s ‘hostile behavior’ In response to attacks on oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman, an additional 1,000 U.S. troops are being sent to the Middle East, Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan announced Monday. The U.S. says Iran is behind the attacks, and “hostile behavior by Iranian forces and their proxy groups … threaten United States personnel and interests across the region,” Shanahan said. These troops, who will join 1,500 other soldiers sent to the region last month after similar tanker attacks, are “for defensive purposes to address air, naval, and ground-based threats in the Middle East,” he added. Earlier Monday, Iran said that within 10 days it will go over the 300 kg of low-enriched uranium it can retain under its 2015 nuclear deal. Source: Politico

Trump says ICE will start deporting ‘millions’ of immigrants ‘next week’ In a tweet Monday night, President Trump said that “next week,” Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents “will begin the process of removing the millions of illegal aliens who have illicitly found their way into the United States.” Trump appears to be referring to a real plan “in preparation for months that aims to round up thousands of migrant parents and children in a blitz operation across major U.S. cities,” The Washington Post reports, but ICE officials said Monday night they were unaware Trump planned to tweet about it, and “publicizing a future law enforcement operation is unheard of at ICE.” The agency, whose acting leadership seems willing to conduct the mass raids, doesn’t appear to have the necessary personnel or budget to do it. Source: The Washington Post

Record number of migrants from Central Africa arriving at U.S.-Mexico border In recent weeks, a record number of African migrants have been crossing the U.S.-Mexico border, fleeing from political persecution and economic hardship. During one week, Border Patrol agents in Texas’ Del Rio sector stopped more than 500 African migrants; only 211 African migrants were detained along the entire southern border during the 2018 fiscal year, The Associated Press reports. Most of the migrants are from the Republic of the Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Angola, and Cameroon. They fly to South America from Africa, then travel by land to the U.S.-Mexico border, with many seeking asylum at ports of entry. Over the last several days, 170 asylum seekers were bused to Portland, Maine, where Somali refugees were resettled in the 1990s. Hundreds more are expected to arrive in the near future. Source: The Associated Press

 

Monday,  June 17th, 2019

Former Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi, who was ousted in a coup in 2013 and has been detained in jail since then, dies after fainting during an espionage court hearing. (CNN)

Acting United States Secretary of Defense Patrick M. Shanahan authorizes the deployment of approximately 1,000 additional U.S. troops to the Middle East region “for defensive purposes to address air, naval and ground-based threats” amid increased tensions with Iran. The move comes four days after two oil tankers were attacked in the Gulf of Oman incident. (NBC News)

Iran announces that within ten days, it will stop abiding by the agreement and will exceed the limit on its stockpile of uranium. (NPR)

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani tells the Fars News Agency “the time is short for Europe to save the international nuclear deal”, and calls on France to take the lead. Reuters reports that Rouhani added the collapse of the nuclear deal would not be in the interests of the region and the world. (BBC)

Ecuador agrees to allow U.S. military planes fighting drug trafficking to operate from San Cristóbal Airport in the Galápagos Islands. National Assembly legislators call on Defense Minister Oswaldo Jarrin and Environmental Minister Marcelo Mata to explain the scope of co-operation. (BBC)

The Venezuelan government releases deputy Gilber Caro, who had been illegally detained and disappeared for three months as a political prisoner. (VOA)

Three Boko Haram suicide bombers blew themselves up among a group of football fans, killing 30 people and wounding 40 others, in Konduga, Nigeria. (BBC)

Twelve people were killed and dozens more injured when a passenger grabbed the steering wheel of a bus in West Java, Indonesia, causing it to crash. (BBC)

Iran says it will exceed nuclear deal’s uranium limits in 10 days Iran said Monday that it will exceed the limits on stockpiled low-enriched uranium set up under a 2015 nuclear deal unless European signatories find a way to work around U.S. sanctions within 10 days. Behrouz Kamalvandi, spokesman for Iran’s atomic agency, said Iran has already accelerated its production of uranium and could soon begin enriching it to up to 20 percent, far above the 3.67 percent limit in the deal and significantly closer to the 90 percent enrichment considered weapons-grade. Iran had previously given the Europeans until July 7 to come up with a plan to salvage the deal, which the Trump administration has chipped away at for two years, and Monday’s announcement coincides with a meeting of European Union foreign ministers in Brussels. Source:  The Washington Post

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The End of Music

Thursday, June 13th, 2019

A billionaire venture capitalist thinks music as we know it will be dead in 10 years

A committee of the US House of Representatives announces that it will hold a hearing next Thursday (June 20) to examine fuel efficiency standards, as the Trump administration presses for a rollback of an Obama-era schedule of 5% reductions in emissions per year. (Reuters)

Two oil tankers are on fire in the Gulf of Oman, including a Taiwanese CPC Corporation tanker, which has been reported as “on fire and adrift”, after reportedly being struck by torpedoes. The Norwegian Maritime Authority says a Norwegian-owned tanker has “been attacked”, leading to multiple explosions onboard, and that its 23 crew members had been rescued. (BBC) (Sky News)

Japan offers to mediate between Iran and the U.S.; officials say the Japanese government hopes to rescue the landmark 2015 international nuclear deal.  (Reuters)

Iran defends execution of gay people. The United States and Germany have condemned Iran after its foreign minister defended the policy of execution for homosexuality. The issue erupted after a pointed question from a German reporter. (Deustche Welle)

The U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC) recommends that the Trump administration remove Kellyanne Conway from her office as senior aide to President Trump because of her repeated violations of the Hatch Act of 1939. The Trump administration rejects the OSC’s recommendations, saying they “are deeply flawed and violate [Conway’s] constitutional rights to free speech and due process.” (USA Today)

 

Wednesday,  June 12th, 2019

Despite dense fog, SpaceX successfully launches the Canadian Space Agency’s RADARSAT Constellation satellites on a Falcon 9 rocket from Vandenberg Air Force Base. (CNET)

In ice hockey, the St. Louis Blues defeat the Boston Bruins four games to three to win their first Stanley Cup. (CBS Sports)

A ballistic missile fired by Houthi forces strikes the arrivals hall at Abha International Airport in Saudi Arabia, injuring 26 people. (CNN)

Chinese telecommunications and electronics company Huawei cancels its new laptop launch. A Huawei executive said the company has been “unable to supply the PC” because of the U.S. trade blacklist and may have to scrap the project. (BBC)

A speedboat carrying migrants reportedly sinks off the coast of Venezuela en route to Curaçao, making it the third migrant boat leaving Venezuela to sink in as many months, with over 50 people missing. (BBC)

Wellcome Trust director Dr. Jeremy Farrar says the Ebola outbreak in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, which has killed 1,400 people since August 2018, is the worst since the 2013–2016 outbreak in West Africa and shows “no sign of stopping”. Uganda reported its first two deaths. (BBC)

Reuters reports, on the basis of an unnamed “senior administration” source, that the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump is pressuring the government of Saudi Arabia to show some progress in its investigation of the murder of Jamal Khashoggi before the one-year anniversary in October. (Reuters)

Former Stanford University sailing coach, John Vandemoer is sentenced to two years probation with the first six months to be served under house arrest. Vandemoer is the first person to be sentenced among the 50 individuals indicted on federal charges related to the U.S. college admissions bribery scheme. (Los Angeles Times)

Illinois Governor J. B. Pritzker signs abortion rights law making the procedure a “fundamental right” for women in the state. (Chicago Tribune)

Russian authorities detain hundreds of protesters, including Novaya Gazeta journalist and protest organizer Ilya AzarIlya and other reporters, at an “unauthorized march” in Moscow demanding punishment for police who detained anti-corruption journalist Ivan Golunov. Golunov’s charges were dropped and he was released yesterday at which time Interior Minister Vladimir Kolokoltsev said some officers who had taken part in his detention were suspended pending an investigation. (BBC)

More text messages between judge Sérgio Moro and prosecutor Deltan Dallagnol are leaked, implicating Vice-President of the Supreme Federal Court Luiz Fux in illicit collaboration between Brazilian judges and Car Wash’s team of prosecutors. (Veja)

The End 

 

Rolling The Iron Dice

Miley Cyrus apologizes for racially ‘insensitive’ comments

Wednesday,  June 12th, 2019

Biden calls Trump an ‘existential threat to America’ in Iowa speech Former Vice President Joe Biden went after President Trump as “literally an existential threat to America” in a speech in Iowa on Tuesday. Both Biden and Trump were in the state for dueling campaign stops in what could serve as a preview of a potential 2020 general election face-off. Biden first spoke at an Ottumwa rally, in which he argued that Trump being elected to another term would “fundamentally change who we are as a nation.” Trump before heading to Iowa for his own events on Tuesday slammed Biden, calling him a “dummy” and “weak mentally” while suggesting he is a “different guy” and “slower than he used to be.” Source: CBS News

 

House votes to take Barr, McGahn subpoenas to court The House voted 229-191 on Tuesday to take Attorney General William Barr and former White House Counsel Don McGahn to federal court over their noncompliance with House subpoenas for testimony and documents. The vote, which was along party lines, does not hold the two officials in contempt, but “clears the way for more lawsuits against Cabinet departments, administration officials, bankers, accountants, and more,” NPR says. The move comes just a day after Judiciary Chair Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) announcedhe’d reached a deal with the Justice Department to see previously withheld “key evidence” from the Mueller report. Nadler said he’d give the DOJ time to comply with the deal before moving to “enforce” a DOJ subpoena separate from the ones that proceeded on Tuesday. Source: NPR

New poll has every major 2020 Democrat beating Trump If the 2020 presidential election were held today, President Trump would lose to every major Democratic candidate — and he’d be crushed by former Vice President Joe Biden, according to a national Quinnipiac University poll released Tuesday. Biden’s 53-40 percent lead is underpinned by a 30-point advantage among independents, who back him 58 percent to 28 percent over Trump. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) beats Trump by 9 points, Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif) by 8 points, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) by 7 points, and Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and Mayor Pete Buttigieg both beat Trump by 5 points, within the poll’s ±3.5 point margin of error. Trump doesn’t rise above 42 percent against any of them. The poll reached 1,214 voters nationwide June 6-10. Source: CNN

 

Reuters reports, on the basis of an unnamed “senior administration” source, that the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump is pressuring the government of Saudi Arabia to show some progress in its investigation of the murder of Jamal Khashoggi before the one-year anniversary in October. (Reuters)

The Legislative Council delays “to a later time” the second reading of the new legislation on extradition as thousands of protesters, who blocked key roads around government buildings, were confronted by police in riot gear using pepper spray. Despite widespread opposition, the government had said it will continue to push for passage. (BBC)

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