Third Gender Candidates

All the world’s longest zipline’s flights are cancelled until further notice and we will be in direct contact with all our customers by phone immediately.
Sheikh Saud bin Saqr al-Qasimi


New Horizons makes a flyby of Kuiper belt object 2014 MU69, nicknamed Ultima Thule, at 05:33 UTC. It is either a tightly-orbiting binary asteroid or a contact binary. (The New York Times)

NASA probe flies by farthest object ever explored in solar system Just after midnight on New Year’s Eve, NASA’s New Horizons probe sailed into the outer edges of the solar system, flying by Ultima Thule, 4.1 billion miles from Earth. The mysterious object is home to frozen relics from the birth of the solar system. New Horizons has spent years soaring through space, flying past Pluto in late 2015. New Horizons got within 2,200 miles of Ultima Thule, whizzing by at 32,000 miles per hour. “We set a record! Never before has a spacecraft explored something so far away,” New Horizons principal investigator Alan Stern, of the Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colorado, said after the flyby. “I mean, think of it. We’re a billion miles farther than Pluto.” [] Source:


Iraqi politicians from both parliamentary blocs in the Council of Representatives of Iraq demand the withdrawal of U.S. forces from the country, following U.S. President Donald Trump’s unannounced visit to troops stationed at Al Asad Airbase. An extraordinary session to debate the matter is planned. (The Guardian)

 A law recognising a third gender that can be administered for intersex people takes effect in Germany. (BBC)

After a 53-day trek, American professional endurance athlete Colin O’Brady allegedly becomes the first person to cross Antarctica alone and unaided; his claim of being unaided has been disputed, and the first person to really cross Antarctica alone and unaided was Børge Ousland in 1996 and 1997. (BBC)

After a 56-day trek, British Army captain Lou Rudd becomes the second person to cross Antarctica alone and unaided, over two decades after the first solo crossing by Norwegian Børge Ousland. (BBC)


Wednesday,  Jan 2nd,  2019

Tesla Sinks as Price Cuts Signal a Ceiling for Costly Models
January 2, 2019
-Automaker sold 63,150 Model 3 sedans in the fourth quarter
-Prices cut by $2,000 to partially offset shrinking tax credit

Trump will host congressional leaders for border talks amid shutdown impasse President Trump will host congressional leaders Wednesday afternoon for a Homeland Security briefing on border security, the White House confirmed Tuesday night. This will be the first time Republicans and Democrats in Congress have sat down with Trump since the partial government shutdown began Dec. 22. Democrats take control of the House on Thursday, and they plan to immediately pass two bills to reopen the government, neither of which provides more than $1.3 billion for border security. Trump is demanding $5 billion for a border wall, and the White House said Tuesday that the House Democratic bills are a “nonstarter.” Senate Republicans say they won’t allow a vote on any bill that Trump doesn’t support. Source: The Washington Post

Border Patrol fires tear gas on migrants in Tijuana U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents fired tear gas into Mexico early Tuesday after a group of about 150 migrants tried to breach a section of border fence in Tijuana. CPB said “no agents witnessed any of the migrants at the fence line, including children, experiencing effects of the chemical agents, which were targeted at the rock throwers,” and Department of Homeland Security spokeswoman Katie Waldman characterized the gassed crowd as a projectile-hurling “violent mob of migrants.” Journalists for The Associated Press and Reuters said they saw migrants throw rocks only after the gas was fired, if at all, and witnessed migrants hit by gas canisters and plastic bullets from U.S. agents. CBP said it’s reviewing the incident. Source:  Reuters


Netflix pulls episode of Hasan Minhaj’s comedy show from Saudi service Netflix confirmed on Wednesday it had pulled the second episode of Daily Show alumnus Hasan Minhaj’s new topical comedy show, Patriot Act, from its streaming service in Saudi Arabia following complaints from the kingdom’s Communications and Information Technology Commission. “We strongly support artistic freedom worldwide and only removed this episode in Saudi Arabia after we had received a valid legal request — and to comply with local law,” Netflix said in a statement, referring to Saudi Arabia’s cyber-crime statute. In the episode, Minhaj criticizes Saudi Arabia and its crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, for the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, among other things. You can still watch the episode on YouTube in Saudi Arabia. Source: BBC News


Tuesday,  Jan 1st, 2019

Patrick M. Shanahan becomes acting United States Secretary of Defense following the resignation of Jim Mattis. (New York Post)

US President Donald Trump requests a bipartisan meeting with lawmakers to discuss border security as a partial government shutdown enters its second week. (MPR News)

The Taliban kill 27 security forces in a series of coordinated attacks in northern Afghanistan. They refuse to sit down with Afghan officials about peace in the country after the United States announced last month that they would withdraw about half of their 14,000 troops. (The New York Times)

Same-sex marriage becomes legal in Austria. (ABC News)

Jair Bolsonaro is inaugurated as the 38th President of Brazil, succeeding Michel Temer. (BBC)

Monday,  Dec. 31st, 2018

Joining several other democrats in the race, Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts announces the formation of a presidential exploratory committee for running in the 2020 presidential election. (CNN)

 Russia’s FSB state security agency says it has arrested a U.S. citizen “caught spying” in Moscow. According to former CIA officials the arrest was done as a retaliation for the arrest of alleged Russian spy Maria Butina. (BBC) (Daily Beast)

An explosion caused by a gas leak devastated a block of flats in Magnitogorsk, Russia, killing 14 people while 27 others are missing. (BBC)


Sunday, Dec. 30th, 2018

A rescue helicopter crashes near the world’s longest zipline in the United Arab Emirates, killing four people. (BBC)

Voters in the Democratic Republic of the Congo head to the polls to determine a successor to incumbent President Joseph Kabila. Elections are also held for the National Assembly and local councils. (BBC News)


 Saturday,  Dec. 29th, 2018

U.S. President Donald Trump issues an executive order freezing federal workers’ pay raise in 2019, excluding that of military personnel. (CNN)

In response to a roadside bombing that killed three Vietnamese tourists and an Egyptian tour guide the previous day, Egyptian police kill 40 suspected militants. (The New York Times)

Yemen’s Shiite rebels say they have given control of the port of Hodeida to the coast guard and local administrators. The Yemeni government disputes this claim. (AP via Seattle Times)

An equipment failure causes a jet bridge at the Baltimore–Washington International Airport to collapse, injuring seven people. (The Baltimore Sun)

 Friday,  Dec.28th, 2018

The Kurdish YPG calls on Syrian government troops to protect Manbij against what it calls a “Turkish invasion”. (Reuters)

An explosion caused by a roadside bomb hits a tourist bus in Cairo, Egypt, near the Giza pyramid complex. Three Vietnamese tourists and an Egyptian tour guide are killed, while 12 others are injured. (BBC)

Bahrain announces it will reopen its embassy in Damascus, Syria, a day after the UAE made the same decision. (RT)

The three men suspected of causing an explosion at a shop in Leicester in February are convicted of murder. The explosion destroyed the shop and the flat above it, killing five people. The three men were also convicted of conspiracy with one of the victims to commit insurance fraud. (The Guardian)

Thursday, Dec.27th,  2018

Richard Arvin Overton, the oldest U.S. veteran from World War II, as well as the oldest American man, dies at age 112. (Newsweek)

The New York City sky lights up in blue after e after a transformer in Astoria, Queens, explodes. (The Guardian),

The Chaos Computer Club holds their 35th Chaos Communication Congress, a hacker convention, in Leipzig, Germany. (Handelsblatt)


 Wednesday,  Dec.26th,  2018

U.S. President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump make an unannounced post-Christmas visit to troops at the Al Asad Airbase in Iraq, their first visit to a combat zone since taking office. (BBC)

Japan announces its intention to resume commercial whaling in July 2019 after withdrawing from the International Whaling Commission. (NBC News)

Martial law in Ukraine ends a month after an attack on three Ukrainian Navy vessels near the Kerch Strait. (NBC News)


The End

Watch on the Rhine


Monday,  Dec. 17th, 2018

 Filipina-Australian model Catriona Gray is crowned Miss Universe at the IMPACT Arena in Thailand. (CNN)

Tolls are scrapped for the Severn crossing bridges connecting England and South Wales, making travel across the River Severn free for all commuters for the first time in 800 years. (BBC)

160 million-year-old fossil anurognathid pterosaurs are discovered that show feathery coverings, suggesting either deep common ancestry with therapod dinosaursor independent coevolution. (BBC)

Michael Flynn associates charged with covertly lobbying for Turkey’s government Two of former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn’s former associates have been hit with indictments. Bijan Kian and Ekim Alptekin were charged Monday with counts of conspiracy and illegally acting as agents of a foreign government. The Justice Department says they were both involved in a “conspiracy to covertly influence U.S. politicians and public opinion” against Fethullah Gulen, a Turkish cleric living in Pennsylvania whose extradition has been requested by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Flynn’s lobbying firm, Flynn Intel Group, was used as part of this effort. Documents that have been unsealed as part of this case show that Flynn was working to promote Turkey’s agenda even as he was angling for a role in President Trump’s administration. Source:  The Washington Post

Protesters in Hungary call on lawmakers to end ‘slave law’ Since Wednesday, thousands of demonstrators have filled the streets of Budapest at night, protesting against Viktor Orban, the country’s right-wing nationalist prime minister, and new laws ushered in by his Fidesz party. Sunday’s protest was the largest, with at least 10,000 people gathering to walk from Heroes’ Square to parliament. On Wednesday, Fidesz lawmakers approved a measure that critics have dubbed the “slave law,” which lets employers ask staffers to work up to 400 hours in overtime every year. Under the law, their pay could be delayed for up to three years. The protests are being organized by unions, students, and opposition parties. In addition to the law being changed, these demonstrators are calling for a free press and an independent judiciary. Source: Reuters

Sunday, Dec. 16th, 2018

Salome Zurabishvili takes office as President of Georgia. Zurabishvili is the first woman in office and the last president to be elected by popular vote. (Deutsche Welle)


Saturday,  Dec. 15th, 2018

Representatives from 196 nations agree on a rulebook to implement the Paris Agreement against global warming. (Reuters)

Pakistani, Afghan and Chinese officials hold talks in Kabul aimed at ending the region’s conflicts. (Al Jazeera)

President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko declares the establishment of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, a new branch of Eastern Orthodox Christianity, separate from the Russian Orthodox Church, after Ukrainian clergy elected Metropolitan Epiphanius I as the head of the new church. (BBC)

Indian soldiers kill at least 7 people in a crowd of protesters and 9 civilians are critically injured after the army surrounds a village in the Pulwama region. Three militants and one soldier are also killed. (The Independent)

Australia formally recognizes West Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and East Jerusalem as the capital of a future Palestinian state but will not move its embassy from Tel Aviv until a peace settlement is reached with the Palestinians. (Sky News)


 Friday,  Dec.14th, 2018

 Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo successfully completes its fourth powered test flight with VSS Unity and reaches space at an altitude of 82.7 km (51.4 mi) but does not breach the 100 km (62 mi) Karman Line. (BBC)

Chang’e 4 successfully enters orbit around the Moon ahead of a historic landing on the far side of the Moon in early 2019. (The Guardian)

It is reported that a German journalist was kidnapped and imprisoned by the Venezuelan government three weeks ago, with diplomats from both nations denied to see him. (BBC)

President Donald Trump appoints incumbent Office of Management and Budget director Mick Mulvaney as Acting White House Chief of Staff, to replace John F. Kelly at the end of the year. (NPR)

The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces seize control of Hajin, the last major town held by ISIL in Syria, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. (The Guardian)

The Assembly of the Republic of Kosovo votes to create a proper army out of the lightly-armed Kosovo Security Force, with eleven minority Serb deputies boycotting the vote. While the United States lauds the decision, criticism comes from both NATO and the neighbouring country of Serbia. (Reuters)

The Weekly Standard to shutter after 23 years Conservative news magazine The Weekly Standard is shutting down after 23 years of circulation. The outlet, which often published influential conservative opinion pieces, had been searching for a new owner, reports CNN, but its publisher told staffers Friday that it was no longer interested in seeking ways to revamp the company. The Weekly Standard was founded by Bill Kristol and Fred Barnes in 1995; it was seen as a pillar of neoconservative media and was often aligned with former president George W. Bush’s administration. In recent years, the publication has consistently criticized President Trump — editor-in-chief Stephen Hayes reportedly noted to staff that conservative organizations critical of Trump’s administration have struggled compared to Trump-friendly publications. Source: CNN


Thursday, Dec.13th,  2018

A UN-brokered ceasefire is agreed upon between the two warring factions in Al Hudaydah, Yemen. Troops from both sides will withdraw from the port city within three weeks to allow humanitarian aid coming into the country, which has been plagued by war and famine. (The Guardian)

Chinese state media reports a second Canadian national Michael Spavor has been detained on suspicion of endangering state security while the PRC foreign ministry say two Canadian nationals are detained in the country. The Spavor investigation follows the detention of former Canadian diplomat Michael Kovrig on Dec. 10 and Canada’s Dec. 1 arrest Meng Wanzhou.(reuters1)(reuters2)

A high-speed train crashes at Marşandiz railway station in Ankara, Turkey, killing at least nine people and leaving dozens injured. (BBC)

Two Israeli soldiers were killed and two others seriously wounded after a shooting at a bus stop in the Jewish settlement of Giv’at Asaf, West Bank. (CNN)

A knife-wielding Palestinian assailant was shot dead in Jerusalem’s Old City, after lightly injuring two police officers by stabbing them. (Al Jazeera)

Chérif Chekatt, the perpetrator of the terror attack two days ago that killed three and wounded 12, is found and killed by French police forces. (BBC)

A tribunal in Colombia disqualifies the Brazilian multinational corporation Odebrecht from operating in the country for 10 years amid ongoing investigations against the company for inciting corruption. (El Tiempo)

Iranian political activist Vahid Sayadi Nasiri [fa], who was jailed for his messages on social media, dies after spending 60 days on hunger strike. He was accused of insulting Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. (BBC)

Jihadists on motorcycles kill around 42 people in a series of attacks targeting Tuareg camps in Mali. (CBC News)

The End 


Chang’e-4: China mission launches to far side of Moon

A beaver is seen in Northern Italy on camera, a species that has not been seen in the country since 1471. (CBC)

A jury finds James Alex Fields guilty of the murder, in the first degree, of Heather Heyer at a 2017 white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. (Al Jazeera)

Russian serial killer and former policeman Mikhail Popkov is convicted of an additional 56 murders between 1992 and 2007. All of his victims were women. (Sky News)

The deputy governor of Sweden’s central bank, the Riksbank, says that the country is likely to become a cashless society within the next three to five years. (Reuters)


Monday,  Dec. 10th, 2018

As prosecutors eye Trump’s business, Democrats talk jail time, impeachment Federal prosecutors in the Southern District of New York have shifted from investigating Michael Cohen, President Trump’s former lawyer and fixer, to examining what other members of Trump’s family business, the Trump Organization, may have known about the crimes Cohen says he committed on behalf of Trump in 2016, The New York Times reports. Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) told CNN on Sunday that if Trump was “at the center of a massive fraud,” as prosecutors seem to allege, those crimes “would be impeachable offenses.” Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) added on CBS’s Face the Nation that “there’s a very real prospect that on the day Donald Trump leaves office, the Justice Department may indict him, that he may be the first president in quite some time to face the real prospect of jail time.” Source: The New York Times

British Prime Minister Theresa May postpones Brexit deal vote British Prime Minister Theresa May postponed the final vote on her Brexit deal Monday after the European Court of Justice ruled that Britain can unilaterally call off its exit from the European Union without input from the 27 other EU members, and without altering the terms of Britain’s EU membership. On Tuesday, Britain’s House of Commons was scheduled to vote on, and expected to reject, the Brexit plan, which would have thrown Britain’s exit from the EU into further uncharted waters. The deal under consideration was settled with EU leaders late last month. Revoking the Article 50 exit clause would have to “follow a democratic process,” the court ruled, meaning that in Britain, Parliament would have to approve calling off Brexit. The upshot is that staying in the EU is now “a real, viable option,” BBC Brussels correspondent Adam Fleming notes, cautioning that “a lot would have to change in British politics” for Brexit to be actually called off. Source: BBC News

U.S., Russia, Saudis undermine U.N. climate report at Poland talks The low-level U.S. delegation to global climate talks in Katowice, Poland, joined with Saudi Arabia, Russia, and Kuwait on Saturday night in an attempt to undermine a United Nations report warning of catastrophic consequences if the world fails to combat rising global temperatures, The Washington Post reports. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released its latest report on climate change to coincide with a two-week U.N. conference to create rules for implementing the 2015 Paris climate accord. President Trump, who also downplayed similar dire warnings from a report issued last month by 13 U.S. federal agencies, started withdrawing the U.S. from the Paris accord in 2017, but the U.S. still has a seat at the table until it can formally withdraw in November 2020. Source: The Washington Post


Sunday, Dec. 9th, 2018

NASA announces that Voyager 2 entered interstellar space after exiting the heliosphere on November 5. (NASA)

The Court of Justice of the European Union rules that an EU member state’s invocation of Article 50 TEU is unilaterally revokable. (BBC)

Armenian citizens vote in the country’s first ever snap election and the first one since the Velvet Revolution. (VOA)

Ronnie O’Sullivan wins a record seventh UK Championship snooker title after defeating Mark Allen 10–6 in the final at the Barbican Centre, York. (BBC)

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Monday,  Dec. 3rd, 2018

Convicted murderer Samuel Little confesses to murdering 90 women between 1970 and 2005, making him one of the most prolific serial killers in U.S. history. The Federal Bureau of Investigation has confirmed 34 of his confessions and are now working to confirm the others. (BBC) (FBI)

Comey reaches deal to testify privately before House panel Former FBI Director James Comey is dropping his legal challenge to a congressional subpoena, his attorney announced Sunday. Comey has made a deal to testify privately in front of the House Judiciary Committee regarding the FBI’s investigations into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server while she was secretary of state, and possible coordination between Russia and the Trump campaign during the 2016 presidential election. He will be able to speak freely about it once the hearing is over, and a transcript will be released 24 hours after he finishes his testimony. Comey was fighting to make his testimony public, with his attorneys saying he was afraid House Republicans would leak his testimony. President Trump fired Comey in May 2017. His interview is scheduled for Friday. Source: The Associated Press

Qatar announces plans to quit OPEC in January Qatar announced Monday that it will withdraw from OPEC, the oil cartel it joined in 1961, in January to focus on developing its massive liquified natural gas (LNG) reserves. OPEC’s de facto leader, Saudi Arabia, cut ties with Qatar and led an ongoing economic boycott in June 2017, joined by Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain. But Qatari energy affairs minister Saad Sherida al-Kaabi said politics weren’t behind the decision to quit OPEC, and he will attend the 15-member organization’s meeting later this week. Qatar produces only 600,000 barrels a day (bpd) of oil, versus Saudi Arabia’s 11 million bpd, so its departure and aspirations to increase crude output are expected to have little effect on sagging global oil prices as OPEC tightens production. Source:  Reuters

Qatar announces that it is withdrawing from OPEC in January 2019, after almost 60 years of membership, to focus on natural gas production. (The Guardian)

Hundreds arrested in Paris as tax protesters riot More than 220 people were arrested in Paris Saturday as “yellow vest” protesters assembled for the third straight weekend. Authorities say around 100 people were injured when some demonstrators rioted, vandalizing the Arc de Triomphe, attacking police, and damaging and looting cars and stores. The French government may impose a state of emergency. French President Emmanuel Macron plans to initiate a dialogue with the yellow vests, but a government representative said policy changes are not being considered. The demonstrators are angry about Macron’s presidency, rising taxes, and high costs of living more broadly. Source: Reuters

Sunday, Dec. 2nd, 2018

The 24th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change convenes in Katowice, Poland. (BBC News)

The Socialist and current regional President Susana Díaz wins the election, but loses 14 seats. (El Mundo)

The far-right and anti-immigration Vox enters a legislative chamber after winning 12 seats, for the first time in the history of Spanish democracy. (CNN)

UEFA confirms that a new annual European football club competition called UEFA Europa League 2 will be introduced in 2021. (BBC)

A senior Taliban commander, Mullah Abdul Manan Akhund, is killed in a U.S. air strike in Afghanistan. (BBC)


Saturday,  Dec. 1st, 2018

The United States and China agree to halt new trade tariffs for 90 days to allow for talks. (BBC)

Andrés Manuel López Obrador is sworn in as the 58th President of Mexico. (The Guardian)

Protesters clash with police in Paris. (Reuters)

Jordi Turull and Jordi Sànchez, jailed Catalan separatist leaders accused of rebellion, start a hunger strike. (The Washington Post)


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Architects of Our Own Suffering

Books for the week:

Looking Backward 2000-1887 (1887) by Edward Bellamy

Solaris  (1961) by Stanislaw Lem

Roadside Picnic  (1971) by Arkady and Boris Strugatsky

The Nazi Hunters  (2016 ) by Andrew Nagorski

Lords of the Desert  (2018) by  James Barr

Vietnam: An Epic Tragedy, 1945-1975  (2018) by Max Hastings


Wednesday,  Nov.14th,  2018

Trump pares back schedule amid reported brooding in tense White House In one week, President Trump has transformed from a nonstop campaign-rally machine to a nearly invisible figure communicating mostly by tweet. After returning late Sunday from a 43-hour trip to Paris, where he sat out some big events and clashed with allies, Trump has had few public events and declined to lay a ceremonial wreath at Arlington National Cemetery on Veterans Day. Instead, administration officials and Trump confidantes say, Trump has been watching TV, tweeting, berating staff, and brooding over looming investigations by House Democrats, expected indictments from Special Counsel Robert Mueller, and bad press from his France trip. “It’s like an episode of Maury,” one former Trump aide told Politico. “The only thing that’s missing is a paternity test.” Source: Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post

Melania Trump urges firing of White House deputy national security adviser First lady Melania Trump on Tuesday called for the firing of Deputy National Security Adviser Mira Ricardel. The first lady’s spokesperson, Stephanie Grisham, said in a statement that Ricardel “no longer deserves the honor of serving in this White House.” The statement follows a series of reported incidents between Ricardel and the first lady’s office, including over Trump’s solo trip to Africa. The first lady’s staff has also reportedly told the president they believe Ricardel is responsible for leaking negative stories about her to the press, and Ricardel has clashed with Defense Secretary James Mattis and several West Wing staffers. Source: NBC News, The Wall Street Journal

Hate crimes rise for third consecutive year The FBI reported on Tuesday that hate crimes rose 17 percent last year, the third consecutive year of increases. Anti-Semitic attacks went up 37 percent. There were 7,175 hate crimes reported in 2017, up from 6,121 in 2016. The bureau notes that there were more police departments reporting hate crime data last year, which could be partially responsible for the uptick. Three of every five hate crimes targeted a person’s race or ethnicity, reports The Washington Post, while one out of five target a person’s religion. Another 16 percent were motivated by sexual orientation. About 2,000 of the reported crimes targeted black Americans, and another 938 affected Jewish Americans. Anti-Islamic hate crimes declined 11 percent. Source: FBI, The Washington Post

Oil prices fall to year lows as markets struggle to rebound U.S. crude oil prices dipped more than 7.1 percent on Tuesday, the most severe one-day decline in three years. Investors have reportedly been spooked by an excess supply, which has come as President Trump has encouraged OPEC and Saudi Arabia to continue production levels even in the face of plunging prices. At closing, prices hovered below $56 a barrel for the first time in a year. Stocks have remained volatile; the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down about 100 points, after dropping more than 600 points on Monday. Other indexes fell slightly or flatlined, though tech shares recovered partially after yesterday’s slumps. Source: Bloomberg, CNBC


Tuesday,  Nov. 13th, 2018

China’s Hefei Institutes of Physical Science announces that its Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak (EAST) reactor in Hefei has reached a milestone of 100 million degrees celsius. (CGTN)

Amazon announces it will split their second headquarters in New York City and National Landing in northern Virginia (outside Washington D.C.) (CNN)

CNN files a lawsuit against the Trump administration, claiming its revocation of White House correspondent Jim Acosta’s press pass on November 7 violated their First and Fifth Amendment rights. (The Washington Post)

First Lady of the United States Melania Trump calls for the ouster of Deputy National Security Advisor Mira Ricardel. (Toronto Star) (Reuters)

The Islamic City Council of Tehran appoints Pirouz Hanachi as the new mayor of Tehran, the third in 18 months. (RFE/RL)


 Monday,  Nov. 12th, 2018

The Irish Aviation Authority launches an investigation after several airliner pilots report extremely fast moving bright lights off the south-west coast of Ireland. (BBC) (Irish Examiner)

The Camp Fire in Butte County is now ranked as the deadliest wildfire in Californian history, with 42 people confirmed dead and 228 people missing. (HuffPost)

Israel and Hamas exchange missile fire with 300 rockets being launched from Gaza within the span of three hours. (The New York Times)

The Israeli Air Force bombs Hamas-run Al-Aqsa TV’s headquarters in Gaza City. (Reuters)

A rocket fired from Gaza strikes an apartment building in Ashkelon, killing a man and injuring two others. The victim was a middle aged Palestinian illegal immigrant from Hebron. This is the first person killed on Israeli soil due to Palestinian rocket fire since 2014. (Ynetnews)

Marvel Comics editor and comic book writer Stan Lee dies at the age of 95. (The New York Times(The Guardian)

Parviz Kazemi, former Iranian welfare minister, is arrested and transferred to Tehran’s Evin Prison on charge of causing disruption in the country’s economic system. (PressTV)

A week after the election, which was initially too close to call, Democratic Party candidate Kyrsten Sinema is elected to the United States Senate, defeating GOP candidate Martha McSally. Sinema is the first woman elected to represent Arizona in the Senate and first Democrat to win a Senate election in the state since 1988. (BBC)


Sunday, Nov. 11th, 2018

Seven Palestinians, including commander Nour Baraka and three other militants, are killed during a raid by the Israel Defense Forces in the southeastern Gaza Strip, that was supported by air attacks. One IDF officer was killed and another was injured. Over a dozen rockets were subsequently fired from Gaza, three of which were shot down. (KUNA) (BBC) (Al Jazeera)

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan says that recordings related to the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi were issued to Saudi Arabia, the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany and France. (CNN)

Around 70 world leaders in Paris mark the centenary of the 1918 Armistice which ended World War I. (ABS-CBN News)

A 50-year-old former strawberry farm supervisor is arrested in Queensland in connection with 230 reports of sewing needles found hidden in strawberries. The “strawberry scare” spread throughout the country and to New Zealand, and devastated Australia’s multimillion-dollar strawberry industry. (BBC) (The Mail)

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Mission to Mercury

The World Looks the Other Way
by Taki
October 17, 2018

Erdogan needs money, will the Saudis buy him off? Will the footage of the torture and dismembering of Khashoggi be disappeared by the wily Turks? Will The Donald stay quiet and rant against Iran? Kushner persuaded Trump to make Riyadh his first stop as president after a lunch with the crown prince. The Donald is now saying that he does not want to jeopardize lucrative defense contracts with Saudi Arabia. Which means we don’t want to know who ordered a man to be dismembered. American academics will also stay stumm. The Saudis have given Harvard millions and have promised more to come to other places of learning. The Clintons, too, will change the subject, as their foundation has taken in tens of millions. Another quiet man will be my old friend Imran Khan, because he needs 20 billion to keep the country going, and the Saudis need Pakistani troops as they are bogged down in Yemen. It would be easy to feel omnipotent. Everyone needs money—MBS promises a lot, and goes about his business.


Monday,  Oct 22, 2018

Saudi agent filmed leaving consulate in Khashoggi’s clothes, Turkey says After Saudi agents killed journalist Jamal Khashoggi inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2, one of the 15 Saudi operatives implicated in his death left the consulate in Khashoggi’s clothes, a fake beard, and glasses, CNN reported Monday, citing a senior Turkish official and surveillance video. The Saudi decoy, who Turkey identifies as Mustafa al-Madani, left the consulate with an accomplice by the back door, in an apparent failed ruse to suggest Khashoggi left the consulate alive, CNN says. Turkey says Saudi agents murdered and dismembered Khashoggi, and there’s intense speculation that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was involved. On Sunday, the official Saudi Press Association reported the crown prince called Khashoggi’s eldest son to offer his condolences to the family. Source: CNN

Special counsel reportedly taking closer look at ties between Stone, WikiLeaks Over the last month, Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team has been following up on leads regarding Roger Stone and whether he was in communication with WikiLeaks and its founder, Julian Assange, during the 2016 presidential election, several people familiar with the matter told The Washington Post on Sunday. Stone, one of President Trump’s longtime advisers, bragged during the campaign about his ability to get in touch with Assange, and predicted future leaks. Now, prosecutors are looking at those comments, as well as private conversations he allegedly had with associates about his connection to Assange, to determine whether he knew in advance that WikiLeaks was going to publish hacked Democratic emails. Stone told the Posthis only connection to WikiLeaks was through former friend Randy Credico; a person familiar with the probe said Credico told Mueller’s grand jury that in 2016, Stone told him he had a secret back channel to WikiLeaks. Source: The Washington Post

Halloween debuts at No. 1 Halloween led the weekend box office, with the latest installment in the slasher film franchise bringing in $77.5 million in North America in its debut, Universal Pictures said Sunday. It was the second biggest horror film opening in history, behind last year’s It. The film also posted the second highest October opening ever behind Venom, which brought in $80.3 million earlier this month. Venom fell from No. 1 to No. 3, while A Star is Born held firm at No. 2. Jim Orr, Universal’s president of domestic distribution, said Halloweenbenefited from the “ridiculously potent combination” of nostalgia for the 1978 original Halloween, the return of the original star Jamie Lee Curtis, and the production prowess of Blumhouse Productions, which was behind the wildly successful Get Out. Source:  The New York Times

Sunday, Oct 21, 2018

King Abdullah II announces Jordan will reclaim two small plots of farmland territory leased to Israel under their 1994 peace treaty.(Reuters)

A NATO spokesperson confirms Brigadier General Jeffrey D. Smiley as the American wounded by gunfire three days earlier during the attack in which Abdul Raziq Achakzai was assassinated.(ABC News)


Saturday,  Oct 20, 2018

A spat in a market in Nigeria’s northern Kaduna State results in 55 dead. After the brawl, 22 people were arrested. (BBC)

Tanzanian billionaire Mohammed Dewji is freed by his captors nine days after being seized by unknown gunmen. (CNN) (Quartz)

After a delay of three years, voters in Afghanistan head to the polls to elect members of the nation’s parliament. The election is marred by violence and suicide attacks which leave over 170 dead or wounded nationwide. (Deutsche Welle)

Because of technical issues in some constituencies, voting was extended until Sunday. Additionally, voting in the Kandahar Province will be delayed by one week following the assassination of police commander Abdul Raziq Achakzai two days prior. (Reuters)

U.S. President Donald Trump says that the United States will withdraw from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, a 1987 nuclear arms treaty with Russia. (The Guardian)

More than 600,000 people gather at Parliament Square in London as protesters from the People’s Vote campaign call for a second Brexit referendum deal between the United Kingdom and the European Union. (BBC)

The Los Angeles Dodgers return to the World Series after a 5-1 victory against the Milwaukee Brewers in game 7 of the National League Championship Series. (The Los Angeles Times)


Friday,  Oct 19, 2018

Former Secret Intelligence Service head John Sawers says that Saudi Arabian crown prince Mohammad bin Salman was behind the death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. (The Guardian)

Saudi Arabia’s general prosecutor claims Jamal Khashoggi died in a fight inside the Istanbul consulate. (CNBC)

At least 59 people are dead and 100 are injured after a train runs into a Dussehra celebration near Amritsar in India’s northern state of Punjab. (BBC News)

A SH-60 Seahawk helicopter crashes on the flight deck of the USS Ronald Reagan, leaving 12 sailors injured. (Los Angeles Times)

Hundreds of Central American migrants taking part in a migrant caravan to the United States clash with riot police on the Guatemala–Mexico border. (BBC)

The United States Justice Department charges 44-year old Elena Khusyaynova of Saint Petersburg with conspiracy to defraud the United States for managing the financing of the social media troll operation that included the Internet Research Agency. (CNN)

Arianespace launches the European Space Agency–Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency probe BepiColombo from Guiana Space Centre as it begins a 7-year journey to Mercury. It is the final mission of the Horizon 2000+ program. (The Guardian)

136 years after beginning construction, the Sagrada Família in Barcelona receives a building permit to complete construction. (CNN)

The End 



Ozzy Osbourne Cancels Rest of Tour


Friday,  Oct 12, 2018

Trump chooses Arab authoritarianism over Jamal Khashoggi

Saudi forensic expert is among 15 named by Turkey in disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi

Turkey says it has audio, video proving journalist killed in Saudi consulate Turkish security officials have told the United States they have both audio and video recordings that definitively prove missing journalist Jamal Khashoggi was murdered last week inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, U.S. and Turkish officials told The Washington Post on Thursday. Khashoggi, a columnist for the Post, went to the consulate on Oct. 2 to get a document he needed for his wedding, and has not been heard from since. One official told the Post on the audio recording, “you can hear his voice and the voices of men speaking Arabic,” and another said men can be heard beating Khashoggi. After he was killed, he was reportedly dismembered. Saudi Arabia has denied being involved in Khashoggi’s disappearance. Source: The Washington Post

Hurricane Michael returns to the Atlantic, leaving destruction, death Hurricane Michael moved over the Atlantic Ocean on Friday morning after dumping rain on the mid-Atlantic states. Michael was downgraded to a tropical storm on Thursday after it ripped through Florida Wednesday as an “extremely dangerous” Category 4 hurricane. At least seven people were reportedly killed in the storm — five in Florida, one each in Georgia and North Carolina — and an estimated 1.5 million customers are without power in five states. Michael was the most powerful hurricane to hit the continental U.S. in nearly five decades, and the strongest on record to hit the Florida Panhandle. Unseasonably warm waters in the Gulf of Mexico gave the storm a boost as it battered Mexico Beach and Panama City, causing devastating damage to homes and infrastructure. Source:  USA Today

The collapse of a shopping mall under construction in the Mexican city of Monterrey results in at least seven deaths and nine people missing. 15 others are injured. (AP via ABC News America)

The Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople plans to recognize the autocephaly of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, a move welcomed by Ukrainian leaders and denounced as “catastrophic” by the Russian Orthodox Church. (RFE/RL)

Michelle Obama said Barack does one thing at home that drives her crazy


Thursday, Oct 11,  2018

Report: Saudi crown prince ordered operation to lure missing journalist U.S. intelligence intercepted Saudi Arabian officials discussing a plan ordered by the crown prince to lure journalist Jamal Khashoggi from the United States back to Saudi Arabia, where he would be detained, U.S. officials told The Washington Post on Wednesday. Khashoggi went missing last week after he went to the Saudi consulate in Istanbul to pick up a document he needed to get married. Turkish officials are adamant that Khashoggi, a columnist for the Post, was killed inside the consulate by a Saudi hit squad. Saudi Arabia has denied any wrongdoing and says Khashoggi left the consulate. A bipartisan group of senators on Wednesday urged President Trump to impose sanctions on anyone found to be connected with Khashoggi’s disappearance. Source: The Washington Post

The Turkish newspaper Sabah names the 15-member Saudi Arabian intelligence team allegedly involved in the disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi. (Reuters)

Turkish officials say Saudi leaders ordered murder of missing journalist A senior Turkish official told The New York Times on Tuesday that security officials have determined that missing Saudi dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi was murdered inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul last Tuesday on orders of the royal court. Khashoggi was at the consulate to pick up a document he needed to get married, and was killed within two hours of his arrival, the official said. Turkey says 15 Saudi agents arrived in Instanbul on two charter flights the same day Khashoggi went to the consulate, and left a few hours later. One of those agents was an autopsy expert, the official told the Times, and security officials believe he helped with dismembering Khashoggi’s body. Saudi Arabia denies killing Khashoggi. Source: The New York Times, The Washington Post

Stock markets around the world plunge Stock markets around the world plunged Thursday, following one of the worst point drops in the Dow Jones Industrial Average’s history on Wednesday. The 832-point drop triggered a massive U.S. sell-off, which rippled through Asian markets. Indexes in Tokyo, Hong Kong, Shanghai, and Taiwan plummeted between 3 and 6 percent, and experts say the rout will continue. President Trump blamed the Federal Reserve’s newly-raised rates for the tumble, but Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the “correction” in the market was “not particularly surprising.” Analysts say rising trade tensions between the U.S. and China could continue to cause strife; the CBOE Volatility Index, sometimes referred to as the “market fear index,” is at its highest point in about four months. Source: Bloomberg

Alleged Chinese spy charged with stealing U.S. trade secrets A Chinese intelligence officer has been arrested and charged with conspiring and attempting to commit economic espionage and theft of trade secrets from a U.S. aerospace company, the Justice Department announced Wednesday. Investigators say the man, Yanjun Xu, was arrested April 1 in Belgium, and was extradited to the U.S. on Tuesday. Court documents say he is an official with China’s Ministry of State Security, who targeted an aviation firm. “This case is not an isolated incident,” John Demers, assistant attorney general for the Department of Justice’s national security division, said. “It is part of an overall economic policy of developing China at American expense.” U.S. officials say this is the first time an alleged Chinese spy has been brought to the United States to face prosecution. Source: NBC News

Soyuz MS-10, carrying a cosmonaut and an astronaut to the International Space Station, is forced to make an emergency landing in Kazakhstan after a failure with its Soyuz-FG rocket. (Reuters)


Wednesday,  Oct 10,  2018

 ‘Extremely dangerous’ Hurricane Michael makes landfall in Florida Hurricane Michael has made landfall near Mexico Beach, Florida, as an “extremely dangerous” Category 4 storm, the National Hurricane Center said Wednesday. Its winds hit 155 mph, nearly qualifying it as a Category 5, and experts warn of a dangerous storm surge. Hurricane Michael is moving north at 12 mph, and it will be the “most intense” storm to hit the Florida Panhandle since 1851, FEMA Administrator Brock Long said Wednesday. It is expected to weaken as it moves across the southeastern United States. Source: CBS News

Trump slams Medicare-for-all in USA Today op-ed In a USA Today op-ed published Wednesday, President Trump slams Democrats as “radical socialists” who would bring about a “radical shift in American culture and life” if they win control of Congress. Trump specifically criticizes Medicare-for-all, claiming that this proposal would “inevitably lead to the massive rationing of health care” and would mean seniors would lose access to the doctors they want. Some Democrats propose Medicare-for-all as a way to actually improve benefits for seniors. The president also argues that Democrats want government control of education, private-sector businesses, and “other major sectors of the U.S. economy,” also accusing them of being for “open-borders socialism.” The op-ed is reportedly part of a new effort to characterize Democrats as extremists heading into the November midterms. Source: USA Today

Michael Bloomberg re-registers as a Democrat amid 2020 speculation Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has just re-registered as a Democrat amid speculation of a possible 2020 presidential bid. Bloomberg said on Instagram Wednesday that he did so because “we need Democrats to provide the checks and balance our nation so badly needs.” He didn’t mention a possible run for president, but The New York Times previously reported that he was “actively considering” a 2020 campaign. Bloomberg was previously registered as an independent after being a registered Republican for much of his time in office. Before serving as mayor, Bloomberg was a Democrat. Source:  The New York Times

A Dhaka court sentences 19 people to death, including two former ministers, and sentences Bangladesh Nationalist Party acting chairman Tarique Rahman to life imprisonment over a 2004 attack on Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. (Al Jazeera)


Tuesday,  Oct 9, 2018

 Nikki Haley announces her resignation as the United States Ambassador to the United Nations, effective at the end of the year. (NBC News)

American singer Taylor Swift wins four trophies, including Artist of the Year, and holds 23 American Music Awards, beating Whitney Houston. (BBC News)

Former Guatemalan Vice President Roxana Baldetti is sentenced to 15 years and 6 months in prison for fraud in a system to clean the polluted Lake Amatitlán. Baldetti still has four pending lawsuits and extradition to the United States. (The Guardian)

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un invites Pope Francis to Pyongyang, and said he would be “warmly welcomed” to North Korea. (New York Times)


“Progressive academia’s main thrust seems to be that so long as your heart is in the right place, it doesn’t matter if you’re brain-damaged.”

expect comms blackout


How conspiracy theories spread from the Internet’s darkest corners
QAnon’s “researchers” have figured out how to shape national conversations.


Tuesday,  Oct 2, 2018

Iran fires six ballistic missiles from its own territory at ISIL targets near the Euphrates river valley in eastern Syria, in response to the Ahvaz military parade attack. (The Independent)

Trump touts new trade deal with Canada and Mexico President Trump on Monday announced a trade deal with Canada and Mexico, saying the updated agreement would ensure fair treatment for American workers and the manufacturing industry. The deal, called the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) is an update to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which Trump called the “worst trade deal ever made.” He said that dairy products will now be traded tariff-free with Canada, and that 40 percent of car manufacturing must now be done by “high-wage workers.” Trump asserted that it is a “privilege” for other countries to trade with the U.S., and that the USMCA will reflect that in requiring Canada and Mexico to “treat us fairly.” Source: White House

Kavanaugh reportedly asked friend to defend him before accusation was public Text messages obtained by NBC News suggest Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh spoke with at least one Yale classmate about Deborah Ramirez before The New Yorker published Ramirez’s accusation that Kavanaugh exposed himself to her at a party freshman year. The texts are between Kerry Berchem and Karen Yarasavage, college friends of Kavanaugh and Ramirez. One of the messages from Yarasavage states that Kavanaugh asked her to go on the record refuting Ramirez’s allegation. During his Senate Judiciary Committee testimony last week, Kavanaugh said under oath the first time he heard of Ramirez’s accusation was when The New Yorker published her account on Sept. 23. Berchem says the FBI has not responded to her offer to hand over the texts. Source: NBC News

Amazon announces $15 minimum wage for all U.S. workers On Tuesday morning, Amazon announced that starting Nov. 1, it will pay all 350,000 of its U.S. employees no less than $15 an hour. The change will affect all full-time and temporary workers at its warehouses, in customer service, and at Whole Foods. “We listened to our critics, thought hard about what we wanted to do, and decided we want to lead,” Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos said in a statement. “We’re excited about this change and encourage our competitors and other large employers to join us.” The company said in exchange for the wage hike it will stop granting stock options to those workers. Bezos is the world’s wealthiest person. Source: ReCode

Physics Nobel Prize awarded for laser breakthroughs On Tuesday morning, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences awarded the 2018 Nobel Prize in Physics to three scientists “for groundbreaking inventions in the field of laser physics.” American Arthur Ashkin was awarded half of the Nobel for inventing “optical tweezers and their application to biological systems,” while Gérard Mourou of France and Canadian Donna Strickland were jointly awarded the other half “for their method of generating high-intensity, ultra-short optical pulses.” Mourou and Strickland created a technique called chirped pulse amplication (CPA), paving the way “toward the shortest and most intense laser pulses created by humankind.” Source: Nobel Committee

At least 1347 people are now known to have died in the Indonesian earthquake and tsunami. (BBC)


Monday,  Oct 1, 2018

North Korea and South Korea begin removing landmines and other explosives from the Korean Demilitarized Zone. (CBS News)

Mauricio Vila Dosal takes office as Governor of the Mexican state of Yucatán. (Diario de Yucatán)

The discovery of a third Sednoid, 2015 TG387, is announced. The 200–600-kilometre (120–370 mi) wide asteroid never approaches less than 65 astronomical units from the Sun, more than twice Neptune’s distance. (Nature)

The End




“I believe shim”

Imaginary Monsters and the Uses of Chaos
Clusterfuck Nation

“I believe her” is the new totalitarian rallying cry, conveniently disposing of any obligation to establish the facts of any ambiguous matter.


The spirit of the kangaroo court has since graduated into business and politics where it has proven especially useful for settling scores and advancing careers and agendas dishonestly. Coercion has replaced persuasion. Coercion is at the heart of totalitarian politics. Do what you’re told, or else. Believe what we say, or else. (Or else lose your reputation, your livelihood, your friends….) This plays neatly into the dynamics of human mob psychology. When the totalitarians set up for business, few individuals dare to depart from the party line. It’s the perfect medium for cultivating mendacious ideologies.


For the moment, America has opted for a grand circus of sexual hysteria. It’s really an easy, lazy choice because sex is full of easily manipulated tensions and ambiguities prone to melodramatic misrepresentation.


Under the terms of a settlement with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, Elon Musk and Tesla, Inc. agree to pay $20 million each to financial regulators, and Musk is expected to resign as chairman, but will remain as chief executive. (Market Watch) (HuffPost)

A USMC F-35 jet crashes in coastal South Carolina making this the first crash of the U.S. military’s newest and most expensively developed aircraft. (CBS News)

The government of Pakistan is “rethinking” its dependence on China for the loans it needs to complete its Peshawar to Karachi rail project. This is part of a broader pushback on the ambitions of China’s Belt and Road Initiative throughout the region. (Reuters) (SCMP)

 Monday,  Oct 1, 2018

U.S., Canada reach deal to update NAFTA, change its name The United States and Canada, with only hours to spare, reached a deal that keeps Canada part of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) with the U.S. and Mexico. Negotiations lasted throughout the weekend, as the White House had imposed a deadline of midnight Sunday. U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland said the accord, which will be renamed the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), will result in “freer markets, fairer trade, and robust economic growth in our region.” The agreement gives the United States more access to the Canadian dairy market and safeguards Canada should the Trump administration impose tariffs on automobiles. In August, the U.S. and Mexico reached a bilateral deal. Source: CBS News

Murky scope of FBI Kavanaugh probe leads to new partisan battle “FBI agents are experts at interviewing people,” former FBI Director James Comey said in a New York Times op-ed, and “unless limited in some way by the Trump administration, they can speak to scores of people in a few days” in their week-long investigation of sexual misconduct allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. But there are contrasting indications of what parameters the White House has placed on the FBI’s reopened background check, and reports that FBI agents can interview only four people have drawn complaints from Democrats and demands for clarification. Trump tweeted he wants FBI agents “to interview whoever they deem appropriate, at their discretion,” but FBI agents reportedly can’t investigate widespread allegations from former Kavanaugh classmates that he lied under oath about his drinking and yearbook entries, among other topics. Source: NBC News, The New York Times

Sunday, Sept 30, 2018

At least 844 people are now known to have died in the Indonesian earthquake and tsunami. (CNN)

Thirty-one people in Iran die after drinking tainted homemade alcohol, and a further 173 are hospitalized. (Star Tribune)

A referendum is held in the Republic of Macedonia on whether to change the country’s name in order to join NATO and the EU. (Reuters)

More than 90% of votes are in favor of the change, however, the voter turnout is only 36%. Prime Minister Zoran Zaev vows to continue to push forward with the change despite the invalid result. (Reuters)


Saturday,  Sept 29, 2018

The FBI reaches out to Deborah Ramirez, the second woman to publicly accuse Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct, as part of the investigations into allegations against Kavanaugh. (CBS News)

The New York Supreme Court allows a $45 million loan lawsuit against Harvey Weinstein to resume after pausing it for bankruptcy proceedings for the Weinstein Company to complete. (The Wrap)

A Mediterranean tropical-like cyclone (also known as a “Medicane”) strikes Greece near Kalamata, causing power outages and gale force winds near the capital Athens. In the storm’s formative stages, heavy rains killed four people in Tunisia. (Weather Underground)(The Weather Channel)



Friday,  Sept 28, 2018

U.S. President Donald Trump orders an FBI investigation into the sexual assault allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. (The New York Times)

Six Palestinians, including a 12-year-old, are killed by IDF fire in Gaza border clashes. (Haaretz)

It is announced that the Gordie Howe International Bridge, a bridge planned to span the Canada–United States border between Detroit and Windsor, will open in late 2024. The project is expected to cost $5.7 billion and create 2500 jobs. (CTV News Windsor) (Tri-City News)

Facebook uncovers a security flaw, impacting 50 million user accounts which may have been compromised. (The Guardian) (Reuters)


Senate Judiciary Committee to vote on Kavanaugh after contentious hearing The Senate Judiciary Committee will vote Friday morning to recommend or reject Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. If he’s backed by the Republican majority, the entire Senate will vote on his confirmation Tuesday. Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), one of the GOP members of the committee who was thought to be a swing vote, announced Friday morning that he would vote to confirm Kavanaugh. On Thursday, Christine Blasey Ford, who alleges Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her when they were in high school, testified that she is “100 percent” sure it was Kavanaugh who forcibly groped her at a house party in the 1980s. Kavanaugh angrily and unequivocally denied Ford’s allegations. “I never sexually assaulted anyone,” he said in a tearful opening statement. Source: Los Angeles Times, The Week

SEC accuses Elon Musk of misleading investors, hammering Tesla shares The Securities and Exchange Commission on Thursday sued Tesla founder Elon Musk on charges of misleading investors when he suggested he would take his company private. The SEC is seeking to bar Musk from serving as an officer of a public company. Musk tweeted in August that he had “funding secured” to take Tesla private at $420 per share, which the SEC called a “false and misleading” statement. “In truth and in fact, Musk had not even discussed, much less confirmed, key deal terms, including price, with any potential funding source,” the lawsuit read. News of the lawsuit sent Tesla shares plummeting 10 percent. The SEC said Musk “did not inform Nasdaq that he intended to make this public announcement, as Nasdaq rules required.” Source: Bloomberg


 Thursday, Sept 27,  2018

Christine Blasey Ford, who has accused Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault, testifies before the Senate. (New York Post)

Kavanaugh testifies to the Senate following the testimony of Ford. Kavanaugh denies the sexual assault claim and calls it part of a “calculated and orchestrated political hit” designed to keep him off the Supreme Court. (AOL)

The Supreme Court of India strikes down a law criminalizing adultery as unconstitutional, stating it treated women as property of their husbands. (BBC)

Eric Reid returns to the NFL, signing a one-year contract with the Carolina Panthers. (WRAL) (CBS Sports)

The End


California regulators open another investigation into Tesla’s factory after getting a report that an employee had part of a finger amputated during a workplace accident

SpaceX announces that Japanese billionaire and art collector Yusaku Maezawa will be the first commercial passenger to orbit the Moon on their BFR rocket in 2023. (Sky News)

Bob Lutz predicts conspiracy theorists will soon be asking ‘Who killed Tesla?’

Thursday, Sept 20,  2018

Moon says Kim Jong Un wants 2nd Trump summit as soon as possible North Korean leader Kim Jong Un wants a second summit with President Trump as soon as possible. That’s the message from South Korean President Moon Jae-in, who returned from North Korea Thursday after a three-day summit with Kim. Moon said he will personally deliver a private message from Kim to Trump next week in New York and also discuss a declaration to end the 1950-53 Korean War. Kim also wants U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to visit Pyongyang for nuclear talks, Moon said. Pompeo welcomed the announcement and said he had invited North Korea’s foreign minister to meet in New York next week to further a goal to complete denuclearization of North Korea by January 2021. Experts said Moon oversold the utility of Kim’s promises. Source: Reuters

Amazon considering opening 3,000 cashierless stores by 2021 Amazon is reportedly considering opening 3,000 new AmazonGo cashierless stores over the next few years. The plan would mark a costly expansion and major threat to convenience-store chains like 7-Eleven, as well as sandwich shops like Subway, Panera Bread, and other quick-service food options. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has been experimenting with small cashierless stores since 2016, with some early versions offering limited selections of salads, sandwiches, and snacks, as well as small selections of groceries, like conventional convenience stores. Adding 3,000 of the stores would make AmazonGo one of the largest U.S. chains. Bloomberg said Amazon is considering opening 10 locations this year, 50 more in 2019, and the rest by 2021. Source: Bloomberg

 Wednesday,  Sept 19,  2018

The death toll from the recent spike in ethnic violence in Ethiopia rises to 58. Thousands are still protesting against the killings in the capital Addis Ababa. (Yahoo News)

Islamabad High Court suspends the NAB accountability court sentences and orders the release of former Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, his daughter Maryam Nawaz, and son-in-law Muhammad Safdar Awan. However, the convictions remain standing. (Al-Jazeera)

Former Prime Minister of Malaysia, Najib Razak, is arrested in connection with the allegation that RM2.6 billion (US$681 million when first reported three years ago) went into his personal bank accounts. New charges are, once approved, due to be filed tomorrow. (The Wall Street Journal)

An arrest warrant is issued in Texas for 3D-printed gun rights activist and Defense Distributed owner Cody Wilson in connection with the sexual assault of a child. Wilson was last known to be in Taiwan. (ABC News)

NASA discovers its first exoplanet via the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite space telescope. Pi Mensae c, a small Earth-like exoplanet, is located nearly 60 light-years away from Earth. (Gizmodo)

Astronomers discover an exoplanet located in the 40 Eridani star system mentioned in the Star Trek series where the planet Vulcan is located. (Forbes)


Tuesday,  Sept 18, 2018

News emerges that the Russian Ilyushin Il-20 aircraft with fourteen people on board, missing since Monday over the Mediterranean Sea, was shot down. Russia accuses Israel of not giving enough warning before launching its attacks, causing Syria to shoot the plane down. (BBC) (ABC News)

China adds US$60 billion of US products to its import tariff list in retaliation to the United States’ recent tariffs on US$200 billion of Chinese imported goods. (Reuters)

The death toll rises to 35. Also, about 3.4 million chickens and turkeys and 5,500 hogs were killed in flooding from Hurricane Florence as rising North Carolina rivers swamped dozens of farm buildings where the animals were being raised for market. (CBS News) (Washington Examiner)

A total of 21 people, mostly foreign workers, are confirmed dead due to the drinking of tainted alcohol in Malaysia. (France24)

21 people are killed and 25 others are injured in a collision between a passenger bus and a trailer carrying flammable materials in Isfahan, Iran (Xinhua)

The sixth floor of the Hotel Ritz in Madrid, Spain, collapses resulting in the death of one person while 12 others are injured. (BBC)

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un greets South Korean President Moon Jae-in in Pyongyang for their third summit meeting in 2018, as both countries look to establish peace on the Korean Peninsula. (CNN)

North Korea says it will dismantle its Yongbyon Nuclear Scientific Research Center if the U.S. takes reciprocal measures. North and South Korea say they will seek a joint bid to host the 2032 Summer Olympics. (NBC News)

South Africa legalizes the recreational use of cannabis. (BBC)

German Chancellor Angela Merkel removes Hans-Georg Maaßen from the position of President of the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution after his remarks downplaying anti-migrant violence. (AP)

Monday,  Sept 17, 2018

A Russian Air Force Ilyushin Il-20 reconnaissance plane with 14 servicemen on board disappears from radar over the Mediterranean Sea during the missile attack on Syria’s Latakia Governorate. A U.S. official claims the Syrian Army inadvertently shot it down while attempting to intercept missiles, while Russia detected a missile launch from a French FREMM multipurpose frigate. (CNN) (Reuters) (BBC)

Several missiles are launched from the sea at the coastal city of Latakia, some of which are destroyed by air defence systems. It is not immediately clear who was behind the attack. (Reuters)

Russia and Turkey announce a demilitarized zone in Syria’s Idlib Governorate and rule out any military operations. (The Independent)

The Taliban launches multiple attacks on security checkpoints in Afghanistan, killing at least 27 members of the security forces. Twenty-two Taliban members are also killed and 16 others are injured. (

The United States announces a 10% tariff on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods to start on September 24, increasing to 25% by the end of the year, and threatens tariffs on an additional $267 billion worth of imports if China retaliates. (Reuters)

The Jamaican Cabinet announces a total ban on the importation, manufacture, distribution and use of single-use plastic bags, effective January 1, 2019. (Jamaica Observer)

The death toll rises to at least 32, as flooding continues to inundate North Carolina. (BBC)

Over 100 people are killed in floods after Nigeria’s two major rivers burst their banks. (BBC)

JunoCam captures an image of Jupiter’s “brown barge”, a cyclone-like shape that has weather patterns in Jupiter’s atmosphere. (UPI)

The End