dr. consulta

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Tuesday,  Aug 14, 2018

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

Monday,  Aug 13, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, Aug 12, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday,  Aug 11, 2018

Fighting continues around the city of Ghazni. (Reuters)

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

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

 

Friday,  Aug 10, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 Thursday, Aug 09,  2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The End

 

Demented

Monday,  Jul 23, 2018

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

Sunday, Jul 22, 2018

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

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

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

 

Saturday,  Jul 21, 2018

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

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

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

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

 

 Friday,  Jul 20, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The End

Global Warming

Friday,  Jul 20, 2018

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

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

Thursday, Jul 19,  2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

 

Wednesday,  Jul 18,  2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 Tuesday,  Jul 17, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Monday,  Jul 16, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The End

Helsinki Summit

 

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

 

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

 

Twelve Ham Sandwiches with Russian Dressing

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

 

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

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

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

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

This is really inspiring, though:

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

Monday,  Jul 16, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Sunday, Jul 15, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 Saturday,  Jul 14, 2018

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

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

 

Friday,  Jul 13, 2018

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

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

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

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

 

The End

Stormy Daniels Arrested

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

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

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

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

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

 

Thursday, Jul 12,  2018

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

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

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

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

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

 

Wednesday,  Jul 11,  2018

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

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

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

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

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

 

Tuesday,  Jul 10, 2018

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

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

The End

The Illuminati

The Square and the Tower: Networks and Power, from the Freemasons to Facebook
Hardcover – January 16, 2018
by Niall Ferguson

 

 

 

 

You Couldn’t Handle a Revolution

Moore said we have a problem in this country, and Colbert agreed, and then they said that the real problem was figuring out what to do about the problem.

 

 

Street-Corner Semantics

“Not everyone can be a prostitute,” one of my fellow panelists piped up. “It takes skill.”

“I am sure it can be taught,” I said. “The unemployed could be sent for sex-work training. It surely wouldn’t take long to learn.”

My audience proved its intellectual gravitas by not laughing.

 

A Turn for the Worse

Don’t get too worked-up, either, over the Big Story that robots will soon be doing all the jobs lately done by humans in America. That fantasy of the next economy is actually already dead-on-arrival due to the energy predicament that virtually no one in the public arena is paying any attention to. The century-long oil bonanza is winding down again. The oil companies know it. They’re not spending any money on exploration, meaning they won’t replace the energy we’re currently burning up with new supply. To make matters more interesting, the alt-energy industries will not survive the demise of oil. You have no idea how this dilemma will shove the life our nation into something like a new medieval age. And don’t be surprised if it comes complete with a new feudalism — which is just a way of describing a deeply local economy, if you can make one at all.

 

Tuesday,  July 3, 2018

Thai soccer team trapped in a cave could be there for months Twelve Thai youth soccer team members trapped in a cave for more than a week have been found alive, but the boys and their coach could remain stuck for months before flooding recedes enough for them to be freed. The team became trapped on June 23 when flash floods hit while they were exploring the massive cave system; the group managed to survive by crowding onto a narrow ledge as the waters rose. The Thai military is considering sending at least four months worth of food to the team. The alternative is teaching the boys how to dive, but that poses its own risks. It took a group of cave diving experts days to reach the team. Source: The Guardian, Sky News

Cheshire Police in England arrest a female healthcare professional on suspicion of murdering eight babies and attempting to murder six more at Countess of Chester Hospital. (BBC)

 

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It Came From Outer Space

It Came from Left Field

The first known interstellar object to pass through the Solar System, ʻOumuamua, has been identified as a very inactive comet and not an asteroid, as previously thought. (Reuters)

Japanese space probe Hayabusa2 arrives at its target, 162173 Ryugu, an Apollo asteroid. It is planned to return material from the asteroid to Earth by the end of 2020. (BBC)

Enceladus, a moon of Saturn, is reported to host complex carbon-based molecules. Considered a precursor to life, the compounds were only previously known to exist on Earth and some meteorites. (BBC)

 

Monday,  July 2, 2018

Andrés Manuel López Obrador wins Mexican presidential election Leftist populist Andrés Manuel López Obrador won Mexico’s presidential election in a landslide on Sunday. López Obrador was propelled to victory by a wave of anger over rampant corruption and violence, signaling a break from centrist governments that have run the country for decades. He also ran on a promise to stand up to President Trump more forcefully than the current government has on trade and immigration. He even published a book, Oye, Trump (“Listen Up, Trump”), condemning the U.S. president’s proposed border wall and “his attempts to persecute migrant workers.” Trump congratulated López Obrador, tweeting that he looked “very much forward to working with him.” Voters also decided thousands of federal, state, and local offices in what authorities called the biggest election in Mexican history. Source: The Guardian

Trump, Kim Jong Un could meet again in New York City Just weeks after President Trump met with North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un in Singapore, administration officials are already considering a “round two,” Axios reports. The sequel summit would potentially take place in New York City in September, around the United Nations General Assembly. Trump declared that Pyongyang was “no longer a nuclear threat” after his meeting with the North Korean leader on June 12, although Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will be making another trip to the country this week to push for denuclearization. “Since Singapore we have seen a huge gap open up between the claims made by POTUS (that the nuclear problem is essentially solved) and the reality that it is anything but,” said Council on Foreign Relations President Richard Haass. Source: Axios

Tesla finally hits Model 3 production target Tesla essentially hit its elusive goal of producing 5,000 Model 3 electric cars in a week in the final week of its second quarter. The final Model 3 sedan actually rolled off the assembly line a few hours after the midnight deadline on Sunday. Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced the landmark in an email to employees, and said he expected the company to reach 6,000 Model 3 sedans per week next month. “I think we just became a real car company,” Musk wrote. The Model 3 is Tesla’s first mass-market vehicle, and ramping up production to a level necessary to make the mid-priced car successful is considered crucial to the company’s future. Source: Reuters

 

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Voters in Mexico go to the polls to elect a new President as well as 128 senators and 500 deputies. Exit polls give an early lead to Andrés Manuel López Obrador, and his two main opponents concede within an hour of polls closing. (Politico) (BBC News)

Russia knocks out Spain from the World Cup after winning a penalty shootout. (The Denver Channel)

U.S. President Donald Trump’s National Security Advisor John R. Bolton states that the United States has a plan to dismantle the nuclear weapons program of North Korea in a year. (Time)

Three heavily armed gunmen who hijacked a helicopter help Rédoine Faïd, one of France’s most notorious gangsters, escape from a prison in Réau, Île-de-France. The helicopter is later discovered abandoned by police in Gonesse. Faïd previously escaped prison in 2013 and was briefly France’s most wanted criminal. (BBC)

German Chancellor Angela Merkel faces resistance by the Bavarian CSU over the result of the EU asylum policy summit last week. (Bloomberg)(Frankfurter Allgemeine)

Interior minister Horst Seehofer offers his resignation citing a conflict with Angela Merkel over her refugee policy. (Sky News)

NBA free agent LeBron James announces that he will sign a four-year, US$154 million contract with the Los Angeles Lakers. (The New York Times)

A bus skids off a mountain road into a 700-foot (210 m)–deep ravine in Uttarakhand, India, killing at least 48 people. (Sky News)

 

Saturday,  Jun 30, 2018

Two persons are killed, and one injured, in a shooting in downtown Toronto. These are the 49th and 50th murders this year, marking a surge of violence in the city. (CBC)

A peaceful protest over a water shortage in the southern Iran city of Khorramshahr turns violent after clashes between police and protesters. (CNN)

A Patriot Prayer rally in Portland, Oregon turns violent, with clashes reported between the group and the far-left group Antifa. The Portland Police Bureaureports that four arrests were made for outstanding warrants, and that Patriot Prayer’s permit to march was cancelled once the violence began. (NPR)(CBS News)

Tens of thousands of people participate in nationwide protests across the United States over the Trump administration’s immigration policies. Over 630 events are planned, with protesters calling for migrant families split at the United States–Mexico border to be reunited. (BBC)

 

Friday,  Jun 29, 2018

SpaceX successfully launches Commercial Resupply Services payload CRS-15 via a Falcon 9 rocket to dock with the International Space Station. The cargo includes CIMON, a head-shaped AI robot designed by the German Aerospace Center to assist crew onboard the ISS. (NASA Spaceflight)

Ash from Mount Agung’s first volcanic eruption since late-2017 results in the closure of Bali’s Ngurah Rai International Airport until at least 7 pm local time (11:00 UTC). The ash cloud cancels 48 flights, affecting 8,334 passengers. (Reuters)

Luxembourg legalizes the use of medical cannabis for patients suffering from diseases such as cancer. (Luxembourg Times)

United Nations member states elect António Vitorino as the director general of the International Organization for Migration, becoming the first non-American to hold this position since the 1960s. (The Guardian)

 

Thursday, Jun 28,  2018

A summit meeting between U.S. President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin is set for July 16 in Helsinki. The leaders are expected to discuss national security issues as well as Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. elections. (CBS News)

A shooting at the office of The Capital and the Maryland Gazette newspapers in Annapolis, Maryland, United States, kills five people. The suspected shooter is detained by local police.  (BBC)

 

 Wednesday,  Jun 27,  2018

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez defeats Democratic incumbent New York leader Joseph Crowley in what has been described as the “biggest Democratic primary upset victory in years”. (Mother Jones)

FIFA World Cup title-holders Germany’s football team are knocked out of the 2018 competition in the group stage for the first time since 1938 after losing to South Korea. This is the fourth time that the reigning champions have been knocked out in the group stage in the last five tournaments. (BBC)

Sierra Negra erupts on the island of Isabela, the largest island of the Galápagos archipelago. Authorities have arranged evacuations and banned tourists from the area. (BBC)

The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons is granted the power to assign blame for chemical attacks by its constituent countries. The move, proposed by the United Kingdom, received wide support, but was condemned by Russia. (BBC)

A federal judge in California orders a halt to most family separations at the US-Mexico border and the reunification of all families. (WAVY-TV)

US Supreme Court Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy announces his retirement, effective July 31, 2018. (BBC)

Austrian troops and police conduct a border exercise simulating a possible mass arrival of migrants similar to one in 2015, amid tensions within the European Union over migrant rescue ships and fears that Germany may close its borders. (Sky News)

The cabinet of Romanian Prime Minister Viorica Dăncilă survives a motion of no confidence. During the vote, several thousand oppossition supporters protest outside Parliament, calling for the resignation of the government. (Business Review)

The End

06.28.2018

Wednesday, Jun 27, 2018

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez defeats Democratic incumbent New York leader Joseph Crowley in what has been described as the “biggest Democratic Primary upset victory in years”. (Mother Jones)

“Democrat Who Slammed Israel for Gaza Killings Is Shock Winner of New York Primary”. Haaretz. June 27, 2018.

A federal judge in California orders a halt to most family separations at the US-Mexico border and the reunification of all families. (WAVY-TV)

Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat says migrant rescue ship MV Lifeline, stranded in international waters with over 200 rescued people on board for five days, has been granted permission to dock on the island and will do so later today. Muscat says those on board will be split between Malta and seven other European Union nations. (BBC)

Japanese space probe Hayabusa2 arrives at its target, 162173 Ryugu, an Apollo asteroid. It is planned to return material from the asteroid to Earth by the end of 2020. (BBC)

 

Tuesday, Jun 26, 2018

Syrian Army troops and Liwa al-Quds militiamen seize control of the strategic town of Busra al-Harir in the southern Daraa Governorate. Around 45,000 people have been displaced in the region due to recent fighting. (BBC)

Syrian state media reports that two Israeli missiles struck targets near Damascus International Airport overnight, including an Iranian cargo plane which had just landed. (Al Jazeera)

The Israeli Air Force strikes vehicles that it claims were being used to launch incendiary balloons from Gaza over the border into Israel. (The Jerusalem Post)

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu discusses the conflict with Gaza with the United Nations Special Coordinator to the Middle East Peace Process, Nickolay Mladenov, who has been preparing humanitarian projects for Gaza. (The Jerusalem Post)

Protests in Iran, particularly the capital, Tehran, enter their second day as thousands of protestors demand action following a collapse in the value of the Iranian rial. President Hassan Rouhani takes to live TV to call the protests “foreign media propaganda” and says that the United States is waging “psychological, economic and political war” with Iran. Protestors blame the Iranian government for the crisis, saying that billions are being wasted on expensive conflicts. Iran blames sanctions imposed by President Donald Trump. (The Times of Israel)

The protests become the biggest in Tehran since 2012. (The Independent)

Iran’s Chief Justice, Sadeq Larijani warns the protesting merchants that they could have their property confiscated or be executed if they break the law. (Iran Human Rights)

Judiciary officials say “a large number” of demonstrators have been arrested. (RadioFarda)

Authorities in France and French Polynesia meet to discuss rescue plans for MV Thorco Lineage, a freighter hauling zinc that is grounded with eighteen people on board on a coral reef near Raroia, Tuamotus. (Radio New Zealand)

The US National Transportation Safety Board reveals the lithium ion battery on a Tesla Model S involved in a double-fatality crash in Florida reignited twice after initially being extinguished by firefighters. It also reveals the vehicle was traveling at 116mph when the accident occurred; Tesla has introduced speed limiters on their cars as a result. (Engadget)

An Israeli official says that the nation has asked Cyprus to consider allowing Israel to set up a shipping point on the island for goods destined for Gaza. (Reuters)

The Palestinian Authority rejects proposals from Israel and the United States to reduce sanctions that the PA has imposed on Hamas-controlled Gaza. The PA says that there is a “conspiracy” afoot to create a “humanitarian issue” out of the disagreements. (The Jerusalem Post)

French police continue questioning ten suspected far-right terrorists arrested on Saturday over an alleged plot to attack Muslims. An extension to their detention was authorised late last night. (The Local)

Eighteen attorneys general, representing seventeen U.S. states and Washington DC, sue the Trump administration over migrant family separations at the U.S. border with Mexico. The litigants demand around 2,000 migrant children be reunited with their families. (The Independent)

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06.19.2018

Tuesday, Jun 19, 2018

US President Donald Trump directs the Department of Defense to begin the process of establishing a “space force” as the sixth military branch of the United States Armed Forces. (CNBC)

Israel charges former energy minister Gonen Segev with spying for Iran. Segev is in custody; he was extradited from Equatorial Guinea. (BBC)

American rapper XXXTentacion is shot dead in Deerfield Beach, Florida, United States. (The Hollywood Reporter) (BBC)

Google announces that it will invest US$550 million in the Chinese e-commerce company JD.com. (CNN)

A Palestinian man dies while tampering with the Israel–Gaza border’s automated defences, which detonate. (Reuters)

Islamic State kidnaps six people in Mosul, Iraq, and executes them. (Iraqi News)

 

A second attempt is made to extinguish burning container ship MV SSL Kolkata in the Bay of Bengal off India after rough conditions prompted an abandonment of yesterday’s efforts. (Telegraph India)

Iñaki Urdangarin, brother-in-law of King Felipe VI of Spain, enters prison to serve the sentence of almost 6 years for the Nóos case. (La Vanguardia)

The House of Commons of Canada votes to legalize recreational cannabis. The bill will now head back to the Senate, where it is expected to be passed into law. (The Independent)

Kim Jong Un makes third trip to China since March North Korean leader Kim Jong Un arrived in China on Tuesday for a two-day visit, his third trip since March. Kim is expected to brief Chinese President Xi Jinping on his recent summit with President Trump. Kim and Trump agreed to work together toward the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. Trump also offered to guarantee the security of the North Korean regime and promised to end “war games” with South Korea, which both North Korea and China have criticized as provocative. The long-reclusive Kim also is expected to use the clout he gained from his meeting with Trump to push for relief from tough international economic sanctions. Source: Reuters, The New York Times

Japan tops Colombia 2-1 in group stage, making World Cup history Japan stunned Colombia on Tuesday in the World Cup, with the heavy underdogs winning the match 2-1. The victory made Japan the first Asian country to beat a South American nation in World Cup history. The upset began within the first 10 minutes of the game, when Carlos Sanchez used his hand to block midfielder Shinji Kagawa’s shot. Sanchez received a red card and Kagawa scored on the penalty. Playing with just 10 men, Colombia’s Juan Quintero managed to score the equalizer on a free kick in the 39th minute, but Japan pulled ahead again in the 73rd minute thanks to Yuya Osako. Colombia, which lost 2-1 to Brazil in the World Cup quarterfinals in 2014, is stuck at 0 points in the group stage due to the loss. Source: The New York Times

THE END

Myopia

A Narrow View of Things
by Theodore Dalrymple
June 16, 2018

In North Korea I saw no one on the street, in the mass parades, or at the stadium seating 150,000 people wearing them and thought this strange, as Koreans are genetically predisposed to myopia. When I asked my personal spy who accompanied me everywhere where the people who wore glasses were, he replied, “That is a problem we have solved.” It was not by laser surgery, either, though the precise method of the solution went unsolved. The three successive heads of the Kim dynasty have all worn glasses, evidence of their superior, indeed unprecedented, intelligence…. If you kill all the people of above-average intelligence, your chances of having above-average intelligence yourself rise.

 

Monday, Jun 18, 2018

Japan lowers the age of adulthood from 20 to 18, with the changes coming into effect in 2022. The revision to Japan’s civil code means that 18-year-olds will be able to marry without their parents’ consent, apply for credit cards and loans, and transgender people will be able to have their new gender officially recognised. The change causes confusion and concern regarding the kimono industry and Coming of Age Day. (The Guardian)

A missing Indonesian woman’s body is found inside a python, being one of only two fully documented cases of a human being consumed by a snake. (The Hindu)

Audi CEO arrested in widening VW diesel scandal Audi CEO Rupert Stadler was arrested in Germany on Monday in the latest fallout from the diesel-emissions cheating scandal at the automaker’s parent company, Volkswagen. “We confirm that Mr. Stadler was arrested this morning,” a VW spokesman said Monday, noting that Stadler was presumed innocent like any suspect. Audi made no immediate comment. The arrest came as Munich prosecutors expand their investigation into the scandal to look at possible fraud and false advertising at Audi, VW’s luxury brand. VW shares were down about 1.6 percent from Friday’s closing price. Source: Reuters

 

 

Sunday, Jun 17, 2018

Wynn Resorts Ltd. says that two board members, including one investigating sexual misconduct allegations against former Chief Executive Steve Wynn, will leave their posts after Elaine Wynn, the company’s largest shareholder, presses for additional board changes. (The Wall Street Journal)

In an upset victory, Mexico beats Germany 1–0, handing them their first opening loss in a World Cup since 1982. (TSN)

Twin suicide bombings in Damboa, Nigeria, leave at least 31 people dead. The explosions are reportedly followed by rockets fired from outside the town. (BBC)

A magnitude 5.9 earthquake strikes Osaka, Japan, at 7:58 a.m. local time (22:58 UTC). At least two people have been killed and several are transported to hospitals with injuries. Electrical services are disrupted citywide, affecting 170,000 buildings. (NHK)

Iván Duque wins the second round presidential election to become the new President of Colombia. (BBC)

 

Saturday,  Jun 16, 2018

Boris Becker, who was once the highest ranked men’s singles tennis player in the world, has claimed diplomatic immunity from a bankruptcy claim by private bankers Arbuthnot Latham, based on his role as a sports attaché to the European Union from the Central African Republic. (Reuters)

Saudi Arabian-led coalition troops seize control of Hodeida International Airport in Al Hudaydah after driving out Houthi forces. Around 280 people have been reportedly killed in the last four days inside the Yemeni port city. (Sky News)

The Hawaii County Civil Defense Agency states that the eruption of lower Puna has destroyed 467 homes in total. (Upi)

The coalition government of Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras survives a vote of no-confidence brought by the opposition party over a deal to end the dispute. (AP)

First time qualifier Iceland holds off a late charge from two-time champion Argentina and comes away with a 1-1 draw in the opening World Cup matches for both countries. (ESPN)

 

Friday,  Jun 15, 2018

Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort has his bail revoked for allegedly tampering with witnesses, and is sent to jail to await his trial for foreign lobbying charges. (CNN)

The Afghan Ministry of Defense reports that Mullah Fazlullah, the emir of the Pakistani Taliban, was killed in Kunar province by an U.S. drone strike two days prior on June 13. (NBC News)

The United States imposes a 25% tariff on goods imported from China worth $50 billion, set to come into effect on July 6, and accuses Beijing of “intellectual copyright theft”. (BBC)

Cristiano Ronaldo scores a hat-trick achieving Portugal’s 3–3 draw against Spain. (Reuters)

 

 Thursday, Jun 14,  2018

The U.S. Department of Justice publishes a 568-page report by Inspector General Michael E. Horowitz on the FBI’s handling of its investigation of Hillary Clinton’s email practices. The report is critical of former FBI Director James Comey, accusing him of being “insubordinate”, but finding that his actions were not politically biased. (BBC)

The Message is the first Arabic film commercially screened in Saudi Arabia. (Quartz)

EU countries approve tariffs worth €2.8 billion in retaliation against U.S. tariffs on steel and aluminium. (AFP via Yahoo! News)

The Senate of France approves a bill to reform the SNCF railway company. The French state writes off €35 billion of SNCF’s €47 billion debt, but remains the sole owner of the joint-stock company with two subsidiaries: operator SNCF Mobility and infrastructure manager SNCF Network. (International Railway Journal)

Hosts Russia beat Saudi Arabia 5–0 in the opening match, with two goals by Denis Cheryshev. (BBC Sport)

The End