06.08.2018

I haven’t paid any attention to Global Warming in a very long time. I have a very small carbon footprint and I am efficient and conserve and all that, but I just don’t think there is anything I can do as an individual to change anything.  I was challenged recently to give a shit. Help. I’m wondering if anybody has any thoughts ( I know you do).

Paris climate conference: 10 reasons why we shouldn’t worry about ‘man-made’ global warming
The UN Climate Change Conference in Paris would have us all terrified about the future of the environment. Here’s why I’m not
by Christopher Booker

 

Friday,  Jun 8, 2018

Author, chef, TV host Anthony Bourdain dies at 61 Celebrated author and chef Anthony Bourdain, host of CNN’s award-winning series Parts Unknown, has died in an apparent suicide, CNN reported Friday. He was 61. “His love of great adventure, new friends, fine food and drink, and the remarkable stories of the world made him a unique storyteller,” the network said in a statement. Bourdain was in France working on an episode for his show, which explored food and culture around the world, when a friend, French chef Eric Ripert, found him unresponsive in his hotel room. Bourdain was a chef before his 2000 best-selling book Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly catapulted him to stardom. He hosted shows on the Food Network and the Travel Channel before joining CNN. Source: CNN

I was an unhappy soul, with a huge heroin and then crack problem

In a 2017 interview with The Guardian, Bourdain reflected on his life in kitchens and said he’d been able to find peace out of a chaotic upbringing, saying he had “put aside my psychotic rage, after many years being awful to line cooks, abusive to waiters, bullying to dishwashers.”

“Nowadays I still have a rather withering ability to be sarcastic and displeased but I’m not screaming at anyone,” he told The Guardian.

Bourdain was born in New York City and grew up in New Jersey. He would have been 62 on June 25. Despite his success, Bourdain was known to struggle with drug addiction and had a history of heroin use.

“I was an unhappy soul, with a huge heroin and then crack problem,” Bourdain said in The Guardian interview. “I hurt, disappointed and offended many, many, many people and I regret a lot. It’s a shame I have to live with.”

 

Former Senate staffer indicted in Justice Department leak probe On Thursday, James A. Wolfe, the Senate Intelligence Committee’s former director of security, was indicted by a federal grand jury for lying to the FBI about repeated contact with three reporters. The Department of Justice said in a statement that Wolfe lied to agents in December 2017 about the contacts he made with reporters, including through encrypted messaging programs. As director of security, Wolfe “was entrusted with access to classified secret and top secret information provided by the executive branch, including the U.S. intelligence community” and was “responsible for safeguarding” this information. The New York Times reported that the Department of Justice notified reporter Ali Watkins in February that it had seized her phone and email records, going back several years, in connection with a probe into leaks of classified information. Watkins and Wolfe were once in a romantic relationship. Source: The New York Times

Thursday, Jun 7,  2018

Donald Trump and Shinzō Abe discuss improving trade relations between the two countries. (The Straits Times)

Donald Trump says that he might invite North Korean leader Kim Jong-un to the United States if the planned summit meeting in Singapore goes well. (BBC)

IKEA announces that it plans to phase out single-use plastic items by 2020, and intends to move toward sustainability in its product design. (BBC)

NASA announces the discovery of preserved organic matter in an ancient lake bed on Mars by its Curiosity rover. It has not been determined if the matter was potentially related to past life on Mars or not. (The Guardian)

Argentina agrees with IMF negotiators on a US$50 billion loan. (AP via The Kansas City Star)

Facebook reports a error in privacy settings that has affected 14 million users. (BBC)

 

Wednesday,  Jun 6,  2018

 A lava flow destroys at least 130 homes in the Vacationland Hawaii and Kapoho Beach Lots neighborhoods. Officials reported Vacationland Hawaii to be completely destroyed, while nearby Kapoho Bay has been filled with lava.(West Hawaii Today) (West Hawaii Today2)

The Cabinet of the United Kingdom approves a controversial third runway at London’s Heathrow Airport. (Sky News)

At least 18 people are killed by twin explosions in a weapons depot in a mosque in Sadr City, Baghdad. (Belga via Het Laatste Nieuws)

The Syrian government re-opens the Homs–Hama highway after it was closed for seven years. (Reuters)

A woman in Australia is reported dead from hepatitis after consuming frozen pomegranate. Health authorities have stated that 24 such cases were related to products by Entyce Food Ingredients. (BBC)

The European Commission proposes to implement two measures by August, designed to counter the US exit from the agreement with Iran. These would extend the EU blocking statute and allow an extension of the European Investment Bank mandate. (Belga via HBVL)

Alexander Nix, the head of Cambridge Analytica, faces questions from British MPs regarding the company’s use of data. (BBC)

The End

6ix9ine

 

Thursday, May 31,  2018

The Federal Reserve wants to soften the Volcker Rule on big banks The three members of the Federal Reserve Board voted unanimously on Wednesday to advance a proposal that would roll back the Volcker Rule, which prevents banks from making risky bets with depositors’ money. The Volcker Rule, part of the Dodd-Frank financial reform law, has been in effect since April 2014 and is meant to keep banks in check in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis. Wall Street has complained about the rule ever since, and Fed Chairman Jerome Powell said Wednesday that regulators are trying to “replace overly complex and inefficient requirements with a more streamlined set of requirements.” The proposal is now open to 60 days of public comment. The Federal Reserve is supposed to have seven governors. Source: The Hill

 

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Harvey Weinstein is indicted for rape charges by a New York City grand jury. (CBS)

Arkady Babchenko, who was reported dead after being shot yesterday in Kiev, appears on live television in Ukraine, stating that the assassination was staged. (BBC)

Top North Korean official Gen Kim Yong-chol meets with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in New York City to discuss the summit set to be held in June. (BBC)

A consortium led by the Institute of Cetacean Research, which is linked to Japan’s Ministry of Fisheries, reports that 333 Antarctic minke whales were killed in last year’s “scientific survey”. 122 of the whales were pregnant, and 114 immature. (Smithsonian)

According to Macedonian Prime Minister Zoran Zaev, talks with Greece on Macedonia’s name are in a final phase. Zaev says that if a compromise name for the country is agreed upon, it will be put to a referendum. (RFE/RL)

Report: Trump asked Sessions to rescind his recusal from Russia probe President Trump asked Attorney General Jeff Sessions to reverse his decision to recuse himself from the Russia investigation during a dinner in Florida in March 2017, The New York Times reported Tuesday. Sessions refused. He had flown to see Trump at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach because he needed to discuss Trump’s travel ban days after his Russia recusal, and the president wasn’t taking his calls. Trump reportedly berated Sessions and demanded his loyalty. Special Counsel Robert Mueller is now investigating this incident as part of his probe into whether Trump tried to obstruct justice, the Times reported. Mueller’s team has interviewed several current and former White House officials about how Sessions was treated by Trump. Sessions was interviewed in January. Source: The New York Times

 

 

Trump: ‘I wish’ I didn’t pick Jeff Sessions for attorney general President Trump publicly bashed his attorney general, Jeff Sessions, on Twitter Wednesday after The New York Times reported he had pressured Sessions in March 2017 to reverse his decision to recuse himself from the Russia investigation. Trump quoted Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.), who had appeared on Fox News to defend the president, writing: “[If] I picked somebody to be the country’s chief law enforcement officer and they told me later ‘oh by the way, I’m not going to be able to participate in the most important case in the office,’ I would be frustrated too … There are lots of really good lawyers in the country, he could have picked somebody else!” Trump added his own comment after Gowdy’s quote: “And I wish I did!” Source: Donald J. Trump, The Week

Kim Kardashian West talks prison reform with Trump Reality star Kim Kardashian West went to the White House Wednesday to discuss prison reform with President Trump. Already the socialite has been in contact with Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and senior adviser, to advocate for the pardon and release of 62-year-old Alice Marie Johnson, who is more than two decades into a life sentence for a nonviolent drug offense. White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders declined to offer advance details of the Wednesday visit, only confirming it would happen. “Happy Birthday Alice Marie Johnson,” Kardashian West tweeted earlier Wednesday. “Today is for you.” Source: Politico

 

 

Tuesday,   May 29, 2018

U.S. television network ABC cancels its recently revived sitcom Roseanne following a controversial tweet from Roseanne Barr about former U.S. President Barack Obama aide Valerie Jarrett. (BBC)

The U.S. Government announces a 25% import tariff on US$50 billion of Chinese goods with “industrially significant technology”. A full list of affected products will be published on June 15. Investment restrictions and enhanced export controls are to be announced on June 30. (NPR)

Four Libyan leaders (Fayez al-Sarraj, Khalifa Haftar, Aguila Saleh and head of the Council of State Khaled al-Mishri) endorse a statement calling to hold “credible, peaceful” elections on 10 December. (The Guardian)

The End

 

Lil_tay_https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tz5Qk8i68l4

De-extinction

Muntadhar al-Zaidi, the Iraqi journalist who threw his shoes at George W. Bush in 2008, will run for Iraqi parliament. (BuzzFeed News)

Minimum alcohol pricingcomes into effect in Scotland, mandating prices of at least 50p per unit. Scotland becomes the first country to introduce such a scheme. (The Independent)

Biologists at the University of Melbourne announce plans to clone the extinct thylacine (Tasmanian tiger). (News Corp Australia)

“That’s something that’s not science fiction any more, it’s science fact,” Prof Pask said. “They will be able to bring something mammoth-like back to life.” And it could one day open the floodgates for resurrecting other lost species.

Bone remains of more than 140 children and about 200 young llamas were found in the Peruvian city of Trujillo, near the Chan Chan citadel, according to a National Geographic publication. This discovery, which would date from the time of the little-known Chimú pre-Columbian civilization (about 550 years ago), would be, for researchers, the largest mass sacrifice of children in the American continent. (El Comercio) (National Geographic)

Russia’s first floating nuclear power plant, the Akademik Lomonosov, sets sail across the Baltic Sea from St. Petersburg. (Alphr)

What could go wrong?

The world’s oldest known spider, a trapdoor spider known as “Number 16”, dies of a wasp sting at the age of 43. (Yahoo! News via AFP)

A communal toilet collapses in Bhandup, Mumbai, India. Several people are trapped and require rescue, with two dying en route to hospital. (First Post)

Scientific studies have offered evidence that a geothermal plant may have caused the earthquake in South Korea. (Phys.org)

Marathon Oil purchases Andeavor for $23.3 billion, creating the biggest oil refining firm in the United States. (Bloomberg)

T-Mobile US and Sprint agree to merge in a deal valued at US$146 billion. The merger is subject to approval from regulators. (USA Today)

 

Tuesday,   May 1, 2018

American actress Ashley Judd sues Harvey Weinstein for defamation and sexual harassment, and claimed that he “torpedoed” her chance to be cast in The Lord of the Rings trilogy. (Herald Courier)

A Russian Su-27 fighter jet intercepts a United States P-8 Poseidon surveillance plane in international airspace over the Baltic Sea, with the US claiming the procedure was unprofessional and the aircraft came within 20 feet of each other. (KFDI)

ISIL releases an execution video showing a prisoner being killed by explosives in Yarmouk Camp, Damascus. (Metro)

Pro-Hadi forces capture the Al Bareh Triangle and seize Houthi arms. (Gulf News)

Several independent MPs urge Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir to withdraw troops from Yemen where they are supporting a Saudi-led coalition fighting Houthi rebels. (AllAfrica)

Iraqi police and al-Hashd al-Shaabi troops raid ISIL locations in Hawija, Kirkuk, and seize tunnels and arms caches. (Iraqi News)

The Supreme Court of India orders the government to seek international help after examining photos submitted by environmentalists showing a change in colour of the Taj Mahal. (BBC)

Minimum alcohol pricing comes into effect in Scotland, mandating prices of at least 50p per unit. Scotland becomes the first country to introduce such a scheme. (The Independent)

 

The Dominican Republic severs ties with Taiwan and establishes diplomatic relations with China. (CNN)

The African Land Forces Summit opens in Abuja, Nigeria. Present are military delegations from 30 African nations plus representatives from Europe and the United States. (AllAfrica)

Far-left anarchists clash with riot police in central Paris, France. Several businesses are looted and set on fire, including a McDonald’s restaurant and Renault garage. Hundreds are arrested. (Reuters)

Iran bans the Telegram messenger app, citing national security concerns. (BBC)

NYT: Mueller has 4 dozen questions he wants to ask Trump The New York Times has obtained a list of more than four dozen questions that Special Counsel Robert Mueller wants to ask President Trump as part of his investigation into ties between Trump’s campaign and Russia and possible obstruction of justice. The questions focus primarily on Trump’s firings of former FBI Director James Comey and former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, a Trump Tower meeting in the summer of 2016 between several top campaign officials and Russians promising compromising information on Hillary Clinton, and discussions Trump had with personal lawyer Michael Cohen regarding a Moscow real estate deal. Trump’s lawyers wrote down the questions from Mueller’s team, with that list provided to the Times by someone not on Trump’s legal team. Source: The New York Times

 

Monday,  Apr 30, 2018

 A Syrian military source cited by pro-Syrian government news outlet Al-Masdar News says that an Israeli F-35 killed more than 30 soldiers yesterday in an attack that completely destroyed the Syrian government’s Brigade 47 missile base in Hama. (Al-Masdar News)

Iran’s Tasnim News Agency denies reports that yesterday’s missile attack in Hama and Aleppo Governorate hit an Iranian military base and says that no Iranian soldiers were killed in the attack. (Reuters)

The U.S. State Department confirms the U.S. has completed a delivery of FGM-148 Javelin anti-tank missile systems to Ukraine. (RFE/RL)

The Israel Defense Forces say they shot dead three Palestinians in two incidents yesterday. The IDF says one was killed trying to breach the Israeli-Gazan border fence while a second was wounded and arrested. They say the second incident saw two men shot dead after bypassing the fence and throwing explosives at IDF soldiers. (The Wire)

Amnesty International and Justice for Iran accuse Iran of building at least seven mass graves in six provinces containing thousands of bodies from executions of suspected Mujahedeen-e Khalq towards the end of the 1980-88 war. (RFE/RL)

The U.S.-led coalition in Iraq declares an end to major combat operations against ISIL in Iraq and closes the Coalition Forces Land Component Command headquarters. The U.S.-led coalition says in a statement that it would transition “from supporting and enabling combat operations to the training and development of self-sufficient Iraqi security-related capabilities”. (Reuters)

South Korea president Moon Jae-in suggests that Donald Trump should receive the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts to help denuclearize the Korean Peninsula. (The Washington Post)

The German daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung reports that last year’s visit of the Vietnamese public security minister and his entourage to Slovakia was used to cover for the abduction of a dissident Vietnamese entrepreneur Trịnh Xuân Thanh who had previously emigrated to Germany. (The Slovak Spectator)

Sajid Javid becomes the United Kingdom’s Home Secretary following the resignation of Amber Rudd over the Windrush scandal. He is the first Home Secretary from an ethnic minority background. (BBC)

The Palestinian National Council, the legislative arm of the Palestinian Liberation Organisation, convenes for the first time in nine years in Ramallah. The agenda includes voting in a new eighteen-member PLO Executive Committee, transforming the Palestinian Authority into a state with its own institutions and monetary system, and cessation of ties with Israel. Gazan rivals Hamas are not invited. (al-Jazeera)

 

Sunday, Apr 29, 2018

 The Syrian Army, along with what is believed to be Iranian-backed militias, took control villages east of the Euphrates river near the city of Deir ez-Zor that were under the control by Kurdish-led forces in a rare clash with the Syrian Democratic Forces. The territory was later recaptured by U.S.-backed forces in a counter-attack spearheaded by the YPG with help from U.S.-led coalition jets that took off from American bases in northern Syria. The U.S. military says in a statement that the “coalition used established deconfliction channels to de-escalate the situation”. (Reuters)

 

Syrian state media, Syrian Arab News Agency, reports missile strikes have targeted military sites in the Hama Governorate and Aleppo Governorate. It is unclear who carried out the strikes. (Xinhuanet)

 An Israeli military officer states IDF snipers are targeting the legs of protestors and deaths are largely the unintentional result of protestors bending over, missing shots, and the subsequent rounds ricocheting from intended targets. (Haaretz)

In response to a Yesh Din petition to the Israeli High Court calling for a ban on the use of live rounds to prevent protestors breaching the border fence, the Israeli government says its rules of engagement meet local and international law, that intelligence used to justify decisions will be submitted to the court, and that the protests are considered part of the ongoing conflict with Hamas. (Ynetnews)

South Korean officials say that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un stated during his summit meeting with South Korean President Moon Jae-in that he would close the country’s Punggye-ri Nuclear Test Site in May. (SCMP)

The leaders of the United Kingdom, Germany and France agree on their support for the Iran nuclear deal as the best way to prevent Iran from having nuclear weapons. (The Hill)

United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says the United States will quit the agreement if its “flaws” can’t be fixed. (Bloomberg)

The Central Criminal Court in Baghdad, Iraq, sentences nineteen Russian women, six Azerbaijani women, and four Tajikistani women to life in prison for membership to ISIL. (The Sunday Times)

Brazil surfer Rodrigo Koxa breaks the record for the largest wave ever surfed. The wave occured off the coast of Nazaré, Portugal and measured 24.4 meters (80 feet). (BBC)

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Skin In The Game

Doctors at the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, perform the world’s first successful transplant of a penis and scrotum from a deceased donor to a U.S. soldier injured in Afghanistan. The testicles are not transplanted. (BBC)

Scientists using infrared spectroscopy data from the Gemini North telescope have established the presence of hydrogen sulfide in the clouds of your anus. (Time)

Actress Natalie Portman, who was born in Jerusalem, pulls out of the upcoming Genesis Prize (worth 1 million USD) ceremony in Israel over “recent events in Israel”. The Genesis Prize Foundation says it is worried the event will become politicised. (CBS News)

A British man reported last month to be suffering what doctors called the “worst-ever” super-gonorrhoea is said by Public Health England to have been cured. (BBC)

Prosecutors in Minnesota say nobody will be charged over the death of Prince, who accidentally overdosed on counterfeit fentanyl pills. (BBC)

 

A Chernobyl ‘suicide squad’

 

Horrifying Details Emerge About Alleged Sex-Cult Recruiter Allison Mack at Bail Hearing
‘Slaves’ in the NXIVM cult were allegedly forced to starve themselves, not remove their pubic hair, not masturbate, and were directed by Mack to have sex with leader Keith Raniere.

 

Inside a Secretive Group Where Women Are Branded

 

Facebook? It’s the Government I Don’t Trust
by Bunky Mortimer III
April 20, 2018

The assumption behind last week’s congressional hearing was simple: that people—in the words of the greatest prophet of any age, Alexis de Tocqueville—have “neglected their chief business, which is to remain their own masters.” How shallow has man’s political conviction become that it can be swayed by a few memes? I long for the curt rejoinder of Margaret Thatcher—whom I met, of course—that “each person must make up their own mind.” Yet the basis of the modern political campaign—as gestated by those asses, the Democrats—is that we don’t really have minds. This was as much as I gleaned from the Clinton postmortem Shattered before throwing it overboard: that the electorate is a kind of barren womb, waiting for the precious seed of political intelligence to be implanted from above. In this grand fertilization, Facebook plays the role of the turkey baster. All this was tickety-boo when it was loaded with the saccharine drip of Obama’s emo-Marxism. But when Donald Trump’s tiny hands found their way to the same lever? Oh, no!

 

Thursday, Apr 26,  2018

Ronny Jackson withdraws VA secretary nomination Embattled White House physician Ronny Jackson said Thursday that he is “regretfully withdrawing” his name to be veterans affairs secretary, saying that while he had expected tough questions about the Department of Veterans Affairs, “I did not expect to have to dignify baseless and anonymous attacks on my character and integrity.” He called the allegations against him “completely false and fabricated.” The Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee had indefinitely suspended confirmation hearings this week as lawmakers received allegations from current and former colleagues that Jackson had crashed a government vehicle while drunk, drank on the job, and handed out prescription drugs “like candy.”Source: Reuters

Michael Cohen to plead the Fifth in Stormy Daniels case On Wednesday, President Trump’s personal lawyer Michael Cohen told a federal judge he will assert his Fifth Amendment right not to incriminate himself in the Stormy Daniels case, The Washington Post reports. Daniels, who said she had an affair with Trump in 2006, was paid $130,000 by Cohen right before the 2016 presidential election, and is suing to get out of a non-disclosure agreement she signed with him. Cohen’s home, hotel room, and office were raided by FBI agents earlier this month, and Cohen, who is requesting to pause proceedings in the case, said they seized electronic devices and documents containing information relating to the payment to Daniels. Lawyers for Cohen, Trump, and the Trump Organization are asking to see the material before it goes to prosecutors, and Trump’s attorney said he would be available “as needed” to review the documents.Source: The Washington Post

Wednesday,  Apr 25,  2018

Scientists from the University of Science and Technology of China state that North Korea’s nuclear test site, the Punggye-ri Nuclear Test Site at Mount Mantap, would have collapsed just minutes after the country performed its sixth nuclear test and opened up a hole of up to 656 feet (200 m) in diameter. It has been one of the possible reasons given for North Korea agreement to suspend nuclear and missile tests. (Fortune)

Around 500 experts from over 70 countries meet in Paris to start a two-day counterterror conference discussing methods of cutting financing to Al-Qaeda and ISIL. (The Tampa Bay Times)

The President of the Community of Madrid, Cristina Cifuentes, resigns after the discovery of a video of her stealing anti-aging cream in a supermarket and after several weeks of controversy after it came to light that she obtained her master’s degree fraudulently. (BBC)

Danish inventor and submariner Peter Madsen is convicted of the murder of Swedish journalist Kim Wall and sentenced to life in prison. (BBC)

Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department arrest Joseph James DeAngelo in connection to the Golden State Killer case. (The Week)

Texas senator Ted Cruz said he will support Donald Trump in the 2020 elections. (Arutz Sheva)

A flaw, called the “Ghost in the Locks” exploit, is reported with hotel keycard systems created by the Swedish lock company Assa Abloy. The company states that they began deploying a patch in February. (BBC)

The European Space Agency releases the largest-ever 3D map of stars in our galaxy from the Gaia spacecraft. (Le Monde)

Astronomers detect light from fourteen colliding galaxies. Due to the distances involved, the light comes from events 12 billion years ago. (BBC)

 Tuesday,   Apr 24, 2018

Donald Trump meets with French president Emmanuel Macron to discuss the Iran nuclear deal along with economics and trading. (i24) (USA Today)

An alleged arson attack kills 18 in a karaoke lounge in Qingyuan, China. A suspect is arrested. (The Guardian)

Thailand expresses its interest in hosting the planned summit meeting between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. (ABC News)

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission fines Altaba US$35 million for failing to disclose its 2014 data breach in a timely manner. (CNET)

A former MP from Poland’s Samoobrona party is charged with spying for Russia and China. (Radio Poland)

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Take Out The Gunman

 

Wednesday,  Apr 18,  2018

The Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant opens its doors to tourism. (TASS)

 CIA Director Pompeo secretly met with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un President Trump confirmed Wednesday that over Easter weekend, CIA Director Mike Pompeo made a covert visit to North Korea on behalf of the administration and met with Kim Jong Un. Trump told reporters that Pompeo “had a great meeting with Kim Jong Un and got along with him really well, really great.” Pompeo’s visit was an effort to lay the groundwork for a summit between Trump and Kim regarding North Korea’s nuclear weapons program, per The Washington Post. The meeting was held soon after Trump nominated Pompeo to be secretary of state, and about a week later, U.S. officials said the government had directly confirmed Kim was willing to discuss possible denuclearization. Source: The Washington Post

Trump administration reportedly decides against new Russia sanctions The Trump administration has apparently decided not to levy new sanctions on Russia. The White House informed the Russian embassy in Washington, D.C., that no additional sanctions are coming, a Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman told CNN. The decision comes after U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said Sunday that new sanctions would be coming to “send a strong message” to Russia about its support of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Other administration figures rushed to backpedal Haley’s statement, with National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow saying that Haley’s announcement was the result of “momentary confusion.” Kudlow later clarified that Haley wasn’t confused, but rather was following “what she thought was policy. The policy was changed and she wasn’t told about it.” Source: The New York Times

Miguel Díaz-Canel expected to succeed Raúl Castro as Cuban president Cuban President Raúl Castro is expected to step down this week, with Miguel Díaz-Canel the lone candidate to be his successor. The move comes less than two years after the death of Fidel Castro, who was the brother of 86-year-old Raúl. Díaz-Canel, 57, is described by The Washington Post as “a consensus builder unlikely to push for quick or radical change.” He will be the first new leader of the communist island nation after almost 60 years of rule by the Castro brothers. “This is about institutionalizing the regime,” explained Jorge Domínguez, a Cuba expert at Harvard University, adding: “If you are someone who really wants the regime to endure, it’s what Raúl needs to do.” Source: The Washington Post

 

Tuesday,   Apr 17, 2018

In Los Angeles, SpaceX announced that they will build a massive rocket named BFR capable of sending humans to Mars. (PC Magazine)

A passenger jet suffers an uncontained engine failure during a flight from LaGuardia Airport in New York City to Dallas Love Field in Dallas, Texas. One passenger is killed. The aircraft diverts to Philadelphia International Airport in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (BBC)

U.S. President Donald Trump and his administration are considering replacing the U.S. military forces in Syria with a regional Arab force. (Haaretz)

Israel holds services remembering 23,646 Israeli soldiers and 3,134 civilians killed in the conflict. (The Times of Israel)

Egypt invites rival Palestinian factions Fatah and Hamas to meet in Cairo in a bid to halt violent protests at the Israeli-Gazan border. (i24 News)

The names of 3,607 employees of Unit 731, a Japanese military medical experimentation unit associated with war crimes during World War II, are released. Prosecutors in the United States had kept their identities secret following the war in exchange for access to data gleaned from the project. (Newsweek)

North Korea and South Korea announce that they are planning to officially end the Korean War by writing a peace agreement. An armistice agreement was reached, ending armed conflict, in 1953. U.S. President Donald Trump called the decision to end the war a blessing. (Business Insider)

United States officials state that Director of the Central Intelligence Agency Mike Pompeo met with North Korea leader Kim Jong-un. (WBIR-TV)

The European Commission announces plans to force tech companies worldwide that provide services within the European Union to supply data on their users in counterterror investigations. (The Guardian)

Amid anti-government protests, Armenia’s National Assembly swears in former President Serzh Sargsyan as Prime Minister. The opposition call the move a “power grab”. (BBC)

Former U.S. First Lady Barbara Bush dies at age 92. (Reuters)

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World’s Oldest Man

Thursday, Apr 12,  2018

Japanese supercentenarian Masazo Nonaka is confirmed as the world’s oldest living man. (Sky News)

http://www.businessinsider.com/most-violent-cities-in-the-world-2018-3

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2017/12/musta-israel-agents-pose-palestinians-171218061118857.html

http://www.businessinsider.com/elon-musk-instragram-spacex-mars-ship-2018-4

 

 

Trump backpedals threats against Russia, Syria President Trump appeared to backpedal his threats against Russia and Syria on Thursday after warning a day earlier that missiles “will be coming, nice and new and ‘smart!'” The White House has spent the week debating a response to a chemical weapons attack in Syria last weekend that left dozens dead and hundreds affected. Trump, who frequently lamented former President Barack Obama foregoing “the element of surprise,” said Thursday that he “never said when an attack on Syria would take place. Could be very soon or not so soon at all!” The president added, “In any event, the United States, under my administration, has done a great job of ridding the region of ISIS. Where is our ‘Thank you America?'” Source: Donald J. Trump, HuffPost

Report: FBI raid on Trump lawyer sought Access Hollywood tape records The FBI was reportedly looking for documents concerning the infamous Access Hollywood tape when they raided the office and residences of President Trump’s personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, on Monday. The tape, recorded in 2005 and made public just before the 2016 election, caught Trump bragging into a hot mic about kissing and grabbing women by their genitals. While it wasn’t immediately clear what Cohen’s relation might be to the tape, the news “reveals a new front in the investigation into Mr. Cohen that is being led by the United States attorney’s office in Manhattan,” The New York Times writes. The FBI agents are also thought to be investigating “hush” payments Cohen might have made to women on Trump’s behalf as well as other possible financial crimes. Source: The New York Times

 

Wednesday,  Apr 11,  2018

 The International Criminal Court finds radical nationalist Serb Vojislav Seselj guilty of war crimes against Bosnians during the Balkans war and sentences him to ten years in prison. He is immediately released as he served more than eleven years in the court’s custody, and takes to Twitter to declare himself “proud of my war crimes”. (al-Jazeera)

The family of a man killed in California when his Tesla Model X crashed with the Autopilot engaged says they intend to sue the carmaker. His wife further says he had complained of flaws in the vehicle’s behaviour and predicted his death in a collision with the barrier his car ultimately hit. (Electrek)

The death toll from tainted alcohol in Jakarta and West Java, Indonesia, reaches at least 82. (Reuters)

The Royal Saudi Air Defense intercepts a ballistic missile fired from Yemen over the Saudi capital Riyadh that caused panic among residents. Houthis say they fired several Burkan-2 missiles at targets in Saudi Arabia, including Saudi Aramco oil facilities. Separately, Saudi Air Defenses shoot down two Houthi-operated Qasef-1 drones near the border. (Reuters)

Spain’s Audiencia Nacional sentences ten Islamic extremists to between eight and twelve years in prison for a plot to launch attacks against Barcelona landmarks and behead a hostage on camera. The cell was convicted yesterday. (El País)

The Abu Dhabi Federal Appeal Court jails two Egyptians and a Saudi for fifteen years each and fines them for promoting terrorist ideologies online. The court orders them deported after release, their computer equipment seized, and their social media presences deleted. (Gulf News)

An Ilyushin Il-76 military plane crashes shortly after take-off from Boufarik Military Airport in Algeria, killing all 257 passengers on board. (BBC)

Poland releases a new report on the disaster, which killed 96 including then-President Lech Kaczyński, rejecting previous findings and claiming instead air traffic controllers in Smolensk, Russia, gave the jet erroneous information prior to two explosions destroying the jet in midair. (Radio Poland)

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern bans future offshore oil and gas exploration in New Zealand, leaving existing permits untouched. (The New Zealand Herald)

Elmira Medynska, the partner of Russian whistleblower Alexander Perepilichnyy, tells his inquest at the Central Criminal Court in London he seemed nervous and had been unwell prior to his death. The inquest is attempting to determine if Perepilichnyy had been murdered. (BBC)

South Korean politician Ahn Hee-jung is indicted on accusations he repeatedly raped his aide Kim Ji-eun, who previously accused him publicly of sexual abuse. (Gulf News)

South Korea national security adviser Chung Eui-yong visits Washington, D.C. and meets with his U.S. counterpart John R. Bolton. (Yonhap News Agency)

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Ri Sol Ju

Thursday, Mar 29,  2018

U.S. graphics processing unit producer Nvidia suspends all its tests of self-driving cars. (The Verge)

Uber reaches a lawsuit settlement with the victim’s family of an autonomous vehicle. (Reuters)

Claims emerge that Uber had disabled Volvo’s collision avoidance technology in the self-driving car involved in a fatal accident in Arizona. (Bloomberg)

The United States National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) launches a probe into a Tesla electric car crash and fire in California. The NTSB says it will investigate issues firefighters had trying to determine how to respond. (Bloomberg)

Date set for meeting between leaders of North and South Korea South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un will hold a summit on April 27, South Korea announced Thursday. High-level officials from both countries set up the meeting during talks in the border village of Panmunjom, and the Koreas plan to hold a second preparatory meeting on April 4. South Korean Unification Minister Cho Myoung-gyon said there was a “sufficient exchange of opinions” on the agendas of the April 27 summit, but didn’t provide a clear answer on whether Pyongyang’s nuclear program will be among the items Kim and Moon discuss. The leaders of South and North Korea have only held talks twice since the 1950-53 Korean War — once in 2000 and again in 2007. Source: Bloomberg, The Associated Press

Trump ousts VA Secretary David Shulkin President Trump announced Wednesday on Twitter that he has ousted Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin. Shulkin had been widely rumored to be on the outs, as his department has been consumed by internecine fighting and lack of direction. “I appreciate the work of Dr. David Shulkin and the many great things we did together at Veterans Affairs,” Trump said in a statement accompanying his tweet. Trump announced he would nominate Rear Adm. Ronny Jackson, who currently serves as the presidential physician, as Shulkin’s replacement; Robert Wilkie, an undersecretary in the Department of Defense, will serve until Jackson receives Senate confirmation. Source: NBC News, The Washington Post

Baseball returns with historic all-team opening day Baseball returns Thursday with an all-team opening day, the first of its kind since 1968, when there were just 20 Major League Baseball franchises. Although 15 games were scheduled for Thursday as to make for an appearance of all 30 teams, the Cincinnati Reds and the Washington Nationals have preemptively postponed their game until Friday due to “impending inclement weather” in Ohio, so only 28 baseball teams will ultimately play. The marathon otherwise kicks off at 12:30 p.m. ET when the Chicago Cubs face the Miami Marlins. The 2017 World Series Champions, the Houston Astros, will play the Texas Rangers at 3:30 p.m. ET in Arlington, and games will continue on through 10:10 p.m. ET when the last, between the Colorado Rockies and the Arizona Diamondbacks, begins in Phoenix. Source: The Ringer, SB Nation

 

Wednesday,  Mar 28,  2018

Mubarak al-Ajji, named on a Qatari official list of wanted terrorists, wins second place at a government-sponsored triathlon and is photographed at the medal ceremony. (The Week)

 The United Arab Emirates, with help from Korea Electric Power Corp., completes construction of the first reactor complex at the Barakah nuclear power plant 50 km west of Ruwais. The complex is the first Arab nuclear power plant. (The Mercury News)

The governments of China and North Korea both confirm that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un met with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing during the past four days. China states that North Korea is “committed to denuclearization” and willing to hold a summit with the United States. (Reuters)

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Topless Femen protester flashes Silvio Berlusconi

 

Are We Doomed?
by Steve Sailer

Consider airliner safety. During the month of August 1985, when I was flying frequently on business, three commercial jet airliners crashed, killing 712 people. In contrast, in the entire year of 2017, there was not a single fatal commercial jet airliner crash anywhere in the world.

This trend didn’t happen automatically or effortlessly. Guys like my father, an engineer at Lockheed from the 1930s to the 1980s, put a lot of sweat into making planes safer. And when they failed, they had to walk the crash sites picking up broken pieces of the plane (and of the passengers).

 

Monday,  Mar 5, 2018

Shape of Water, Frances McDormand, Gary Oldman win big at Oscars The Shape of Water was named best picture Sunday night at the 2018 Academy Awards, with Guillermo del Toro winning best director. The night’s other big winners include Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri‘s Frances McDormand for best actress and Sam Rockwell for best actor in a supporting role; Darkest Hour‘s Gary Oldman for best actor; I, Tonya‘s Allison Janney for best actress in a supporting role; Get Out‘s Jordan Peele for best original screenplay; Call Me By Your Name‘s James Ivory for best adapted screenplay; Coco for best animated feature film; and Icarus for documentary feature. Source: Los Angeles Times

China’s Xi Jinping poised to extend his rule indefinitely The Chinese Communist Party’s Central Committee introduced a proposal last week to remove the presidential term limit constraining the rule of President Xi Jinping. On Monday, the constitutional amendment is expected to be overwhelmingly passed by the National People’s Congress, permitting Xi, already enormously powerful, to extend his rule indefinitely. The change has been subject to criticism on Chinese social media, and it marks a major undoing of reforms implemented since the era of Mao Zedong. President Trump commented on the plan at a fundraiser in Florida Saturday, saying it is “great” Xi will be “president for life,” and musing, “Maybe we’ll have to give that a shot someday.” The White House did not respond to a request to clarify whether Trump was joking. Source:  Reuters

Italy votes for populists, right-wingers, denies any faction a majority Italy’s anti-establishment Five Star Movement won the most votes in the country’s national elections on Sunday, but a right-leaning coalition is likely to win the most seats, with no party or group earning a majority, projections showed early Monday. Five Star, a populist party started in 2009 by a former comedian, was projected to win about 32.5 percent of the vote, followed by the anti-immigrant right-wing party the League, with 17.7 percent, plus the League’s main coalition party, Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia party, at 13.3 percent. The ruling center-left Democrats are projected to get just under 20 percent, with their leftist coalition earning about 22 percent. It is unclear whether the Five Stars, which reject establishment parties, will be able or willing to form a governing coalition. Source: Reuters

 

Sunday, Mar 4, 2018

Scientists discover a big colony of the more than 750,000 pairs of Adélie penguins on the Danger Islands in Antarctica. (WGN-TV)

Advertisers remove their ads from InfoWars founder and conspiracy theorist Alex Jones’ YouTube channel after being contacted by CNN. (Independent)

South African officials determine that the country’s ongoing listeriosis outbreak — which is already the world’s deadliest listeriosis outbreak, killing over 180 people and sickening 1,000 more—was caused by contaminated “Polony” processed meat from RCL Foods and from Tiger Brands subsidiary company Enterprise Food. The Ministry of Health issues a recall of contaminated products and advises the public to avoid all processed meat products that are sold as ready-to-eat. (Reuters)

A senior Chinese diplomat says that China does not want a trade war with the United States after U.S. President Donald Trump announced a plan to put tariffs on steel and aluminium imports. (CNBC)

U.S. President Donald Trump states North Korea was recently seeking talks with the United States. (Chicago Tribune)

South Korean President Moon Jae-in announces he is sending two officials to meet with North Korea. (The Week)

U.S. President Donald Trump congratulates Chinese President Xi Jinping on eliminating China’s presidential term limits, and reportedly advocates for similar action to be taken in the United States. (CNN)

SPD party members approve with 66% in favour to allow to form a coalition with Angela Merkel’s CDU/CSU, ending a five-month political deadlock after the federal elections. (BBC)

15,000 demonstrators gather in Barcelona, Spain, to support the mock region of Tabarnia—a hypothetical area that includes the least independentist areas of Catalonia—as a way to oppose Catalan independence and the declaration of independence on October 27. (The Washington Post)

Swiss voters reject a proposal to scrap the television licence fee that provides the majority of funding for the Swiss Broadcasting Corporation. Swiss voters also approve the right of the federal government to levy VAT and direct federal tax until 2025. (BBC)

Hyperbolic asteroids A/2017 U7 and A/2018 C2 are announced, although their orbit suggests they are not interstellar in origin. (Minor Planet Center1)(Minor Planet Center2)

 

Saturday, Mar 3, 2018

According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, at least 36 pro-Syrian government troops were killed in a Turkish airstrike in Afrin, Syria. (BBC)

Turkish troops and the Free Syrian Army seize control of the strategic town of Rajo, Syria, from YPG forces. (Al Masdar News) (The Guardian)

Gazan officials say Israeli soldiers killed a Palestinian farmer on his own land in the Gaza Strip. An Israeli military spokesperson said that he got too close to the border fence. (Oman Times)

In a message on Twitter, U.S. President Donald Trump says the U.S. will apply a tax on cars made in the European Union if the E.U. “further” increases tariffs.(BBC)

Hours after the Polish so-called Holocaust Law about discussing of historical facts takes effect, the Polish League Against Defamation sues Argentinian newspaper Página/12, which it accuses of suggesting Poland was complicit in the Holocaust. (Reuters)

On the day of the funeral of slain journalist Ján Kuciak, for lack of evidence, police release seven Italian nationals who are accused of links with the ‘Ndrangheta mafia in a posthumously published investigative report by Kuciak. (Daily Star)

The Florida Senate rejects a bill to ban “assault weapons” and holds a moment of “silence and reflection” for the Parkland, Florida, victims. (The Washington Post)

The International Football Association Board, which sets the rules for association football, approves the use of video assistant referees, which will be used at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia. (BBC)

 

 

Friday,  Mar 2, 2018

An Israel Police anti-corruption unit questions Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara. (Reuters)

A terrorist attack at the French embassy and military headquarters in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, leaves 28 people dead and at least 50 others injured. (BBC)

An attack on a village, part of the unrest between ethnic Lendu and Hema communities, leaves 49 people dead in the Ituri Province of DR Congo. (News18)

At least 25 people are killed in a fire at a drug-rehabilitation clinic in Baku, Azerbaijan. (RFE/RL)

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov denies White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders’ claim that Russia breached any international arms control pacts, after President Vladimir Putin’s March 1 speech on nuclear weapons. (Reuters)

The Hellenic Parliament passes a bill legalising the use of medical cannabis in Greece. New Democracy, Communist Party, Golden Dawn and the Union of Centrists voted against the government-sponsored bill. (Greek Reporter)

Antonio Tajani, the current President of the European Parliament, accepts the offer of Silvio Berlusconi to stand as a candidate for Prime Minister of Italy for Forza Italia. (The Local)

European Union lawmakers strike a deal on opening up the 3.6 and 26 GHz bandwidths by 2020 to make room for the new 5G network. (Reuters)

The Dutch swimmer Maarten van der Weijden sets the 24-hour swimming record in a 25-meter pool at 102.8 kilometres (63.9 mi). (SwimSwam)

 

Thursday, Mar 1,  2018

The Parliament of Iraq votes to oblige the federal government to set a schedule for the withdrawal of foreign troops. (Iraq News)

An alleged Senate Intelligence Committee report states that a House Intelligence Committee Republican was behind the leak to Fox News of private text messages between a Russian-connected lawyer and Senator Mark Warner, the committee vice-chairman, concerning an attempt to contact Christopher Steele, author of the Trump–Russia dossier. Committee chairman Richard Burr later denied the leak report. (The New York Times)(Slate)

U.S. President Donald Trump announces plans to impose tariffs on steel and aluminium imports. (BBC)

Police in Oslo, Norway, say that the FBI is assisting in the investigation into two forged nominations of Donald Trump for the Nobel Peace Prize. The impersonator allegedly used the same stolen identity twice. (Newser)(The Washington Post)

Dilek Öcalan, MP for the pro-Kurdish HDP party, is sentenced to two and a half years in jail on charges of terror propaganda related to her participation in the 2016 funeral of a PKK fighter. Nine HDP MPs are currently in jail. (NRT)

NASA astronomers use the Hubble and Spitzer space telescopes in research implying that “hot Saturn” (high surface-atmosphere temperatures and gas giant-mass) exoplanet WASP-39b, located 700 light-years from Earth, has a large amount of water molecules in its atmosphere. (NASA)

THE END

The Real Wakanda

 

Thursday, Feb 22,  2018

How To Exploit a High School Massacre

“Most accounts didn’t mention the fact that in the past seven years, police had been called to Cruz’s home 39 times for his erratic behavior. They didn’t play up the fact that Cruz had been banned from the high school where he committed the massacre after fighting with and repeatedly threatening his ex’s new boyfriend. They made not a peep about the fact that Cruz had been diagnosed with depression, autism, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder after a social-media post in which he inflicted wounds on both of his arms. They didn’t mention that a former sister-in-law suggested that Cruz was on psych meds, which is a factor far too prevalent in mass shootings. They didn’t say anything about the fact that the FBI had been warned about Cruz’s erratic behavior and his publicly stated aspirations to become a “professional school shooter” but dropped the ball and didn’t notify their Florida office about the warning. The ADL certainly didn’t offer any updates about the fact that Cruz claims his mother was Jewish, which would make him one of those White Supremacist Hispanic Jewish Nazis they keep soliciting funds to combat.”

 

Ethiopia

 

 

Influential evangelical pastor Billy Graham dead at 99 Rev. Billy Graham, a Christian evangelist known as “America’s Pastor,” has died at the age of 99. Over the course of his more than 70-year career, Graham preached to an estimated 200 million people across 185 countries, and was granted personal audiences with several U.S. presidents and world leaders. Rev. Martin Luther King credited Graham’s influence, saying: “Had it not been for the ministry of my good friend Dr. Billy Graham, my work in the Civil Rights Movement would not have been as successful as it has been.” Long a presence on television and radio, Graham retired in 2005, citing his health. Graham was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease 25 years ago. Source: The Huffington Post

Making My Peace With Billy Graham
by Joe Bob Briggs
February 22, 2018

U.S. beats Canada for 1st Olympic women’s hockey gold medal since 1998 Team USA beat Canada in the Olympic women’s hockey finals on Thursday in Pyeongchang, South Korea, in a thrilling 3-2 shootout after a hard-fought game that ended 2-2 even after a 20-minute overtime. Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson fired in the game-winning shot past Canada’s Shannon Szabados, and when U.S. goalie Maddie Rooney blocked the potential equalizing shot from Canada’s Meghan Agosta, the U.S. women won their first gold medal since 1998, and their second ever. Canada had won the women’s hockey gold in the past four Winter Olympics. This was the first time the women’s hockey gold medal had ever been decided in a shootout. Source:  USA Today

Wednesday,  Feb 21,  2018

South Korea signs free trade agreements with the Central American countries of Costa Rica, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Panama to eliminate duties on about 95% of traded goods and services. (Reuters)

U.S. President Donald Trump meets in the White House State Dining Room with parents and friends of young people killed in school shootings to discuss what needs to be done. Suggestions for the president included a number of items to make schools safer, and for Trump to put the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution aside and back gun control measures. (NBC News)

 Tuesday,   Feb 20, 2018

Pro-Syrian government forces are sent to help the Kurdish YPG fight against Turkey and the Turkish-backed Free Syrian Army in the Afrin Region. This action opens up a new front in the war. (The Independent)

Venezuela launches its Petro cryptocurrency, which it claims is the world’s first sovereign cryptocurrency. (BBC)

Iranian forces have spotted the wreckage of the missing Aseman Airliner 30 meters below a hilltop on mount Dena. Helicopters could not land yet at the crash site due to weather and topographical conditions. 65 people are feared dead. (PressTV)

Indonesia’s Mount Sinabung has a massive eruption, completely destroying the volcano’s peak, with ash reaching over 7 kilometres (4.3 mi) high. Much of the surrounding area is covered with ash. (Quartz)

Attorney Alex van der Zwaan pleads guilty in the U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., to making false statements to the FBI during the special counsel investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. Presidential election. Specifically, the charges are that he lied to investigators about his interactions with political consultant and lobbyist Rick Gates and an unidentified Ukrainian-based associate of Paul Manafort. (The New York Times)

 

Florida, begin arriving in Tallahassee, the Florida State Capitol, for advocacy meetings with lawmakers and other State officials. During Tuesday’s legislative session, the Republican-controlled Florida House defeated, by a party-line vote, a motion to debate assault weapons ban legislation, 71-36. (Tallahassee Democrat) (Miami Herald)

 

 

Monday,  Feb 19, 2018

Ahead of an expected ground offensive, Syrian Air Force strikes on rebel-held eastern Ghouta, near Damascus, kill at least 44 people, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. (France 24)

A collapse at a garbage dump in Mozambique kills at least 17 people. (BBC)

Spanish Minister of Economy and Competitiveness, Luis de Guindos, is set to be nominated by the Eurogroup to succeed Vítor Constâncio as Vice-President of the European Central Bank. (Business Insider)

In a Scientific Reports publication, researchers propose 1965 as the start of the Anthropocene era. In that year, human nuclear weapons testing caused a noticeable spike in radiocarbon in the heartwood of the world’s remotest tree, a Sitka spruce on Campbell Island, New Zealand. The general scientific community has already been using 1950 as the year “Before Present”, when nuclear weapons began to significantly affect the reliability of radiocarbon dating of objects whose organic matter content formed after that epoch. (Daily Mail)

 

Sunday, Feb 18, 2018

An Iran Aseman Airlines ATR 72 commercial aircraft carrying 59 passengers and 6 crew members crashes near the Iranian town of Semirom. The airline reports that there are no survivors.  (BBC)

 

Saturday,  Feb 17, 2018

An Anti-Terrorism Court in Lahore, Pakistan, sentences Imran Ali to death, for the rape and murder of 7-year-old Zainab Ansari. The victim’s family demands Ali’s hanging to be conducted in public. (The Express Tribune)

UK Independence Party (UKIP) members vote to remove Henry Bolton as leader amid controversy over his private life and leadership. Gerard Batten becomes interim leader. (BBC)

Friday,  Feb 16, 2018

A magnitude 7.2 earthquake strikes near the town of Pinotepa Nacional and is widely felt across Southern and Central Mexico, causing material damages in the states of Guerrero, Oaxaca and Mexico City. It is followed by a 5.8-magnitude aftershock. (USGS) (CNN)

The Court of Appeal in Rabat, Morocco, acquits Younes Chekkouri of undermining the security of the state. Chekkouri was detained in Guantanamo Bay detention camp for 14 years without charges. (Xinhua)

A court in Turkey hands life sentences to six journalists, including Ahmet Altan, Mehmet Altan and Nazlı Ilıcak. (Reuters)

U.S. President Donald Trump’s former chief strategist Steve Bannon is interviewed over two days this week as part of the investigation into alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. (BBC)

Thirteen Russian nationals from the Internet Research Agency are indicted by a grand jury on charges of conspiracy to defraud the United States during the 2016 U.S. Presidential election.  (BBC)

Thursday, Feb 15,  2018

Hailemariam Desalegn resigns as Prime Minister of Ethiopia after six years in office amid ongoing unrest in the Oromia and Amhara regions. (BBC)

The United Nations report that in 2017, more than 10,000 Afghan civilians were killed or wounded in the war. (Deutsche Welle)

An arms depot explosion in Tabiyet Jazira, Deir ez-Zor, kills at least 23 people, including over a dozen Russian contractors allegedly belonging to the Wagner Group, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. (The Guardian)

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission blocks a Chinese-led group of investors from buying the Chicago Stock Exchange. (CNN)

The United Kingdom government and the United States White House accuse the Russian military of being responsible for the launch of the NotPetya malware in June 2017. The White House calls it the most destructive and costly cyberattack in history and says Russia will be met with unspecified “international consequences”. Russia denies responsibility and dismisses the accusation as “groundless”, lacking evidence, and “Russophobic”. (Washington Examiner)

Prime Minister of Bulgaria Boyko Borissov says that GERB, his party, will not ratify the convention due to lack of support from political parties. The treaty was designed by the Council of Europe to combat domestic violenceand violence against women but critics say its language is vague, it could encourage youth to identify as transgender or third gender and it could lead to same-sex marriage in Bulgaria. (Reuters)

The U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee backed the Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act, a package to reduce some of the strictest federal sentencing rules along with reforms for the federal prison system, by a vote of 16–5. (CNN)

Cyril Ramaphosa is elected by the National Assembly as President of South Africa. (PBS)

NASA’s Kepler space telescope has discovered 95 new exoplanets. (USA Today)

 

THE END

 

Surprise! It’s Spectre and Meltdown

Friday, Jan 5, 2017

Security researchers disclose two hardware vulnerabilities—Spectre, which affects most modern processors, and Meltdown, which affects most Intel chips. (Reuters) (The Guardian)

Apple joins list of firms whose laptops, phones are vulnerable to security flaw On Thursday, Apple said that Mac computers, iPhones, and iPads are vulnerable to two hard-to-fix security flaws that cybersecurity experts revealed Wednesday. Windows, Google, and other companies that make PCs, smartphones, servers, and tablets had already acknowledged that their own devices have the same issue. The flaws — named Spectre and Meltdown — could be used by hackers to exploit the microprocessors, mostly made by Intel, in internet-connected devices to launch a “side-channel analysis attack” to steal files, passwords, photos, and other documents. Intel, the dominant chipmaker, says the vulnerability has been in every microprocessor it has made since 1995, but apparently nobody realized the risk until a few months ago. No hackers are known to have exploited the vulnerabilities. Source: The New York Times

North Korea and South Korea to hold first talks in 2 years North Korea has accepted South Korea’s invitation to discuss ways to cooperate on the Winter Olympics, and agreed to meet at the border village of Panmunjom on Tuesday, South Korea’s Unification Ministry announced Friday. This will be their first formal dialogue in more than two years, and they will also discuss how to improve ties between the Koreas. On Thursday, the United States and South Korea agreed to postpone their joint military exercises — an annual event that North Korea considers preparation for an invasion — until after the Pyeongchang Olympics in February. While some see this as the first step in bettering relations, others believe this could be Pyongyang’s way of causing friction between South Korea and the United States. Source: The Associated Press

Fire and Fury publisher pushes up release date after Trump lawsuit threat The White House has come out swinging after excerpts from a forthcoming tell-all book — Michael Wolff’s Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House — were published in various news outlets, featuring incendiary quotes from former chief strategist Stephen Bannon. In response, a Trump attorney sent Bannon a letter saying “legal action is imminent,” and demanded the book’s author and publisher halt the book’s release and “issue a full and complete retraction and apology” or else face legal action. Publisher Henry Holt instead pushed up the released date five days, putting it on sale Friday morning. “We see Fire and Fury as an extraordinary contribution to our national discourse, and are proceeding with the publication of the book,” the publisher said. Source: ABC News

U.S. economy added 148,000 jobs in December, fewer than expected U.S. employers added 148,000 non-farm jobs in December, the Labor Department reported on Friday. The numbers fell short of the average increase of about 190,000 predicted by economists, and marked a slowdown from an average increase of 232,000 in the two previous months. Economists had been predicting that hiring would slow down eventually, just not this soon. The unemployment rate remained unchanged at 4.1 percent. Wages increased by 2.5 percent over the last 12 months, edging up from November’s 2.4 percent figure, but still considered sluggish. Source: MarketWatch

 

Thursday, Jan 4,  2017

North Korea accepts South Korea’s proposal for official talks, and will meet on January 9 to discuss North Korea’s possible involvement with the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea. These are the first high-level talks between the Koreas in more than two years. (BBC)

The U.S. State Department suspends its security assistance to Pakistan. (ABC News)

The U.S. Treasury sanctions five Iranian entities associated with Iran’s ballistic missile program. (Politico)

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions rescinds three Obama-era memos that had adopted a policy of non-interference with states that have legalized recreational marijuana. (Associated Press)

A United Airlines flight headed from Chicago to Hong Kong makes an emergency landing in Anchorage, Alaska, after a passenger allegedly became unruly. (KTUU-TV)

Munich Re reports that the insurance industry faces record claims of US$135 billion from natural catastrophes, such as the Mexico earthquakes, South Asian floods, California wildfires and Atlantic hurricanes in 2017. Overall economic losses from natural disasters are estimated at the second highest amount since 2011. (Insurance Journal)

A massive winter storm hits the East Coast of the United States with up to 18 inches of snow predicted to fall between The Carolinas and Maine. So far, three people have died in North Carolina and a person has died in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (AP via Yahoo!)

 

Wednesday,  Jan 3, 2017

A new Icelandic law goes into effect which requires government agencies and companies with more than 24 full-time employees to prove they are paying men and women equally, as required by existing legislation. (NPR)

Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn announces that Ethiopia will drop charges against all political prisoners and close down the infamous prison camp of Maekelawi. (AP)

 

Tuesday, Jan 2, 2018

U.S. President Donald Trump responds to Kim Jong-un’s claim of having North Korea’s nuclear missile launch button on his desk, boasting that the size of the nuclear missile launch button on his own desk is larger and more powerful than Kim’s.  (BBC)

South Korean President Moon Jae-in, responding to North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s offer during his New Year’s Day address, proposes a meeting to discuss the Winter Olympics and North Korea’s nuclear program next Tuesday at the border city of Panmunjom.  (BBC)

President Donald Trump tweets that the U.S. may withhold future payments to the Palestinian authority, over 350 million dollars per year, because they are “no longer willing to talk peace” with Israel, and that Israel “would have had to pay more” in return for his recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. (Haaretz) (Politico)

Israel announces plans to deport African migrants residing in the country illegally. Migrants will be given 90 days to leave the country or face imprisonment. (BBC)

Vice Media suspends two of its top executives as it investigates allegations made against them. (ABC News)

Citing national security concerns, the U.S. government blocks Ant Financial’s acquisition of MoneyGram. (Reuters)

Joshua Boyle, a Canadian man recently rescued from a Taliban linked group, is arrested on 15 charges, including assault, sexual assault, and unlawful confinement. (Global News)

Nine prisoners have escaped from a Berlin, Germany prison over the last five days, with two escaping today. (BBC)

There’s Something Different About These Iran Protests
Four days into the protests, there are still more questions than answers.
by Trita Parsi
January 01, 2018

The fact that reformists—who have been at the center of most of the large-scale protests in Iran for the past two decades—appear to be neither driving nor even particularly involved presents a new political phenomenon in Iran.

The protestors likely include some disillusioned Rouhani supporters. But remember that Rouhani won re-election with 57% of the vote (and 70% voter participation) only seven months ago. That means it’s more likely that the core of the demonstrators are of a different ilk.

Their uncompromisingly anti-regime slogans suggest they may belong to the segment of the population who tends not to vote, doesn’t believe the system can be reformed and either never subscribed to or has lost hope in the idea of gradual change. Add to that those who have joined the protests out of a sense of economic desperation and humiliation.

Most analysts have not kept an eye on these segments of the population precisely because they have not been at the center of political change in Iran in recent history. Nor do they have a track record of being able to muster protests of this size.

http://www.businessinsider.com/store-closures-in-2018-will-eclipse-2017-2018-1

http://www.unz.com/comments/all/?commenterfilter=Art+Deco

http://www.businessinsider.com/tesla-deliveries-november-2017-12

This is an outstanding 8,000 word article. You can even listen to it. There is an audio app at the beginning:

https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2018/01/01/the-dark-bounty-of-texas-oil

Between January, 2015, and December, 2016, more than a hundred U.S. oil and gas producers declared bankruptcy, nearly half of them in Texas. This figure doesn’t count the financial impact on the pipeline, storage, servicing, and shipping companies that depend on the energy business, or the seventy-four billion dollars’ worth of debt that these bankruptcies left behind. As a gesture of sympathy, Ouisie’s Table, a Houston restaurant in the wealthy River Oaks neighborhood, began offering a three-course meal on Wednesday nights that was pegged to the price of a barrel of oil. When I visited in the early spring of 2016, the meal cost about thirty-eight dollars. (Ouisie’s Table dropped the practice when oil prices inched back up. As of December 13th, the Wednesday special would have cost $56.60.)

Now that oil prices have stabilized, Texas’s economy is robust again. In recent years, it has finally begun to diversify, and now tops that of California in exporting technology, from semiconductors to communications equipment. Conservative politicians in Texas like to claim that the state’s low taxes and light regulation are the magic forces propelling its economy. But oil still sets Texas apart. It has been both a gift and a trap.

Clusterfuck Nation Forecast 2018

http://kunstler.com/clusterfuck-nation/forecast-2018-go-wrong/

Russian Forecast 2018

http://www.unz.com/akarlin/new-year-predictions-for-2018/

Trump returns to Washington for high-stakes January President Trump returned to Washington on Monday night in an upbeat mood after 10 days at his members-only club in Florida, but White House aides are bracing for “the grim reality of 2018,” including slim legislative prospects, a potentially brutal midterm election, an expected exodus of White House aides with no replacements ready, and the ever-present “shadow of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation,” Politico reports. On the other side of Capitol Hill, Congress returns over the next week with a full plate for January, including funding the government, children’s health care, protection for DREAMers, stability of health-care markets, a looming debt ceiling increase, and other contentious and high-stakes issues. Source: Politico

Deadly anti-government protests grip Iran At least 20 people have been killed in anti-government protests in Iran, including nine overnight Monday, Iranian state TV and semi-official ILNA news agency reported Tuesday. At least 450 others have reportedly been arrested as demonstrators stormed police stations and military bases. The protests, the biggest in the country since 2009, began Thursday, with protesters chanting “death to the dictator” and “death to Khamenei,” the country’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, despite the government’s threat of an “iron fist” of punishment. On Sunday, Tehran placed what it says is a “temporary” restriction on access to social media including Instagram and an encrypted messaging app call Telegram. Demonstrators have used both to chronicle and coordinate their efforts this week. Source:  CNN

Monday,  Jan 1, 2018

Ten people die at the protests overnight, with twelve deaths total so far as the protests enter their fifth day. (BBC)

Value Added Tax (VAT) has been introduced in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates for the first time. (BBC)

U.S. President Donald Trump tweets that Pakistan has been a “safe haven” for terrorists from Afghanistan and has given America “nothing but lies & deceit” after getting more than $33 billion in U.S. aid. (Time)

Pakistan asks U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan David Hale to clarify Trump’s remarks. Pakistani Prime Minister Khaqan Abbasi calls for Cabinet and National Security Council meetings to discuss the tweet. (Los Angeles Times)

Pakistan’s Defence Minister accuses the U.S. of giving Pakistan “nothing but invective & mistrust” after receiving “land & air communication, military bases & intel cooperation that decimated Al-Qaeda over last 16yrs”. (AOL)

An armed standoff between Indian security forces and Kashimiri rebels at a paramilitary base ends after 36 hours and leaves eight people dead. (Al Jazeera)

California becomes the latest and most-populated state to legalize the recreational use of cannabis. (BBC)

Alain Berset takes office as President of the Swiss Confederation. Mr. Berset is the youngest president of Switzerland since 1934. (SWI)

 

Sunday, Dec 31, 2017

Iran blocks access to Telegram and Instagram as the largest anti-government protests since 2009 continue. (The Guardian)

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres issues “a red alert for our world,” saying that conflicts have deepened, global anxieties about nuclear weapons have increased, inequalities have grown, and nationalism and xenophobia are on the rise. Guterres calls for global unity to overcome these growing challenges. (CNN)

China announces the country’s ivory trade is now illegal. In 2015, Chinese President Xi Jinping and then-U.S. President Barack Obama announced “near-complete” ivory bans for each country. America’s ivory ban went into effect in June 2016. (National Geographic)

Palestine recalls their envoy to the United States for “consultations,” following President Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Palestine President Mahmoud Abbas says they will not accept any U.S. peace plan in the wake of Trump’s move. (BBC)

 

Saturday,  Dec 30, 2017

Two protesters are shot dead by Iranian police in Dorud, Lorestan Province, as anti-government protests spread across the country. (Reuters)

Nepal bans solo climbers, double amputees and blind climbers from scaling its mountains, including Mount Everest, in a bid to reduce accidents. This has been criticized by successful double-amputee Everest climbers. (BBC)

A man strapped with explosives takes 11 people hostage in Kharkiv, Ukraine. The Ukrainian police free all the hostages and arrest the man. (Reuters)

 

Friday, Dec 29, 2017

Anti-government demonstrators have taken to the streets of Iran for a second day, with protests being held in a number of cities. (BBC)

Venezuelan communications director Jorge Rodríguez announces that the country’s Petro cryptocurrency, backed by 5.3 billion barrels of oil worth $267 billion, will launch shortly. (CNBC)

In a surprising event, Malian Prime Minister Abdoulaye Idrissa Maïga and his government resign without providing a reason. (The Guardian)

THE END