Valentine’s Day Border Massacre

Thursday, Feb 14th,  2018

Trump to declare a national emergency over the border President Trump will sign Congress’ funding bill to avert a partial government shutdown while at the same time declaring a national emergency, the White House confirmed Thursday. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell first made this announcement on the Senate floor, and White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders subsequently confirmed the plan. Although Democrats and many Republicans had said they would not back a national emergency declaration, McConnell said he is going to support it. Trump had previously signaled that he would sign off on Congress’ agreement, which includes $1.3 billion for border fencing but not the $5.7 billion he had wanted for a border wall. Both the House and the Senate will vote on the funding bill on Thursday. Source: NBC News, The Guardian

American Congressman LTC Adam Kinzinger is deployed to the US-Mexico Border. (Politico)

Senate confirms William Barr as attorney general The Senate on Thursday voted to confirm William Barr as attorney general. Barr was nominated to the position by President Trump in December, and he now takes over for Matthew Whitaker, who served as acting attorney general for three months following the departure of former Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Barr, who previously served as attorney general under former President George H.W. Bush, said in his January confirmation hearing that Special Counsel Robert Mueller will be allowed to finish his investigation. “If confirmed, I will not permit partisan politics, personal interests, or any other improper consideration to interfere with this or any other investigation,” Barr said. Source: The New York Times

Vice President Mike Pence calls on the European Union to withdraw from the Iran Nuclear Deal. (Reuters)

Former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe says he ordered the obstruction of justice probe of President Donald Trump. (CBS News)

 

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Protecting the Oil of the Industrial Nations

The American Way of Strategy: U.S. Foreign Policy and the American Way of Life (2006)
by Michael Lind

Protecting the Oil of the Industrial Nations (p.142-144)

The Iraq War that began in 2003 did achieve one goal. It put the U.S military in charge of the country with the fourth-largest proven oil reserves in the world.

Of the three major oil-producing nations in the Persian Gulf, Saudi Arabia remains a U.S. protectorate, Iraq at the time of this writing [2006] is occupied by the United States, and Iran is bordered by three U.S. client states that contain significant numbers of U.S. military forces—Iraq, Pakistan, and Afghanistan. “Regime change” in Iran that brought a pro-American regime to power would complete the conversion of several major oil-producing countries into U.S. protectorates. The most populous Arab country, Egypt, has been a subsidized U.S. client state since the Camp David Accords between Egypt and Israel brokered by the United States in 1978.

Many frustrated Americans hoped that U.S. involvement in the Middle East could be reduced if only the United States could liberate itself from dependence on Persian Gulf oil. They did not understand, and America’s bipartisan foreign policy elite was careful not to explain, that the United States was In the Middle East to protect not only its own oil but also that of other great powers, in order to discourage those great powers from building and projecting military power of their own.

By the first decade of the twenty-first century, the United States derived only about one-fifth of its oil from the Middle East. Sixty percent of Middle Eastern oil went to Asia. Half of China’s oil came from the Persian Gulf region. The CIA estimated that by 2015 three-quarters of all Middle Eastern oil will go to Asia, with only one-tenth going to Western nations including the United States.”

The fact that Japan heavily subsidized the liberation of Kuwait from Iraq by the United States in 1991 was a clue to the bargain between the United States and its major protectorates in the post-Cold War period. Thomas P. M. Barnett, an influential American strategic thinker who taught at the Naval War College, noted that “the West … has come to rely less and less on Persian Gulf oil … The United States, for example, imports more energy supplies from Canada than from any other nation, and gets the bulk of its imported oil from North and South America. According to Barnett: “In effect, U.S. Naval presence in Asia is becoming far less an expression of our nation’s forward presence than our exporting of security to the global marketplace.” Barnett argued that “in the end, this is a pretty good deal. We trade little pieces of paper (our currency, in the form of a trade deficit) for Asia’s amazing array of products and services. We are smart enough to know this is a patently unfair deal—unless we offer something of great value along with those little pieces of paper. That product is a strong U.S. Pacific Fleet, which squares the transaction quite nicely.”

The power to protect by its nature is also the power to threaten. American policymakers did not make this explicit. But “Asia 2025,” the alarmist report about China published by the Pentagon in 2000, noted a potential weakness of China, Japan, and the two Koreas, observing that by 2020 Asia might consume three times as much energy as Europe. In a book published by the National Defense University, defense analyst Douglas E. Streusand wrote of “the American geopolitical imperative to retain control—the ability to use and to deny use—of the sea lines of communications between the Middle East and East Asia.” According to Streusand: “Asia, including China, depends on the United States, not merely on the actual sellers of the petroleum and natural gas, for its energy and thus for its economic prosperity and growth. The leverage of energy access control can counterbalance the leverage of China’s size and proximity on the Pacific Rim. It also offers significant leverage over China itself. From this perspective, the U.S. commitments in the Persian Gulf and Indian Ocean protect not only our own energy supplies but also our status as a global power. Since we are currently engaged in a war against Osama bin Laden, who claims the American presence in Saudi Arabia as the principal justification for his hostility, there is no doubt that the U.S. presence in the Gulf brings painfully expensive baggage. But it is an essential component of the maintenance of global order.”

The ability of the United States to cut off oil supplies to Asia did not go unnoticed in Asia. A zoos report commissioned by the U.S. Defense Department entitled “Energy Futures in Asia” cited the belief of Chinese officials that the United States had the military ability to cut off Chinese oil imports. To reduce its vulnerability to the United States, China sought to provide for its future energy needs by deals with oil-producing countries hostile to the United States, including Iran, Sudan, and Venezuela. In 2005 a bid, later withdrawn, by China’s state-owned oil company, the China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC), to take over the U.S. oil company Unocal, which had large holdings in oil fields and pipelines in Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Turkey, created alarm in the United States. China went on to buy Canada’s Petro-Kazakhstan.

In addition, according to a 2005 Pentagon report, “China is building strategic relationships along the sea lanes from the Middle East to the South China Sea in ways that suggest defensive and offensive positioning to protect China’s energy interests, but also to serve broad security objectives.” According to the report, China was pursuing a “string of pearls” strategy by building or upgrading naval bases in Bangladesh, Burma, Cambodia, and the South China Sea to deter the potential disruption of its energy supplies from potential threats, including the U.S. Navy, especially in the event of a conflict with Taiwan” in which the United States might impose a blockade preventing oil imports to China. With good reason the political scientist Robert A. Pape observed that “U.S. monopolization of Persian Gulf oil would be the single most significant act that the United States could take to increase its relative power, save for taking control of European or Asian resources.”

 

 

Tuesday,  Feb 5th, 2019

Kamala Harris, Bernie Sanders to rebut State of the Union Sens. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) will respond to President Trump’s State of the Union address on Tuesday. Harris will air a “pre-buttal” on Facebook Live ahead of Trump’s speech on the House floor, while Sanders will respond after the address concludes. Both senators are tacking on to the official Democratic response, which will come from former Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams. Harris, who recently announced a presidential bid, said on Twitter that “It’s critical we speak truth to the American people during this inflection moment in our country’s history.” Abrams said she plans “to deliver a vision for prosperity and equality, where everyone in our nation has a voice and where each of those voices is heard.” Source: Bloomberg

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specially trained ants

Thursday, Jan 31st,  2018

Italy’s economy falls into recession for the third time in a decade after declining GDP growth in late 2018. Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte blames the recession on external factors, including trade tensions between the United States and China. (The Guardian)

Taiwanese manufacturer Foxconn announces that the company is reconsidering their plan to manufacture LCD panels in a promised Wisconsin plant because of a changed global marketplace, and the high cost of United States labor. Foxconn said, earlier in January, that it still planned to create 13,000 jobs in Wisconsin. The State of Wisconsin pledged subsidies worth more than $3bn. (BBC) (Reuters)

Unemployment claims near highest in more than one year The number of applicants seeking unemployment benefits is near a one-and-a-half year high, the Labor Department reported Thursday. An increase of 53,000 to a seasonally adjusted 253,000 claims for the last week of January is the largest surge since September 2017, and the total number of claims is the highest since the same time. The jump could signal a slowing labor market, and is also likely affected by claims from government workers who were unemployed during the partial government shutdown. The spike in jobless claims will likely recede in coming weeks, writes MarketWatch, settling closer to the 49-year low that was reported earlier this month. Source: CNBC

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Iranian Spider-Tail Snake

 

Tesla is ‘waking up’ from its Model 3 dream

 

 

America vs. Russia and China: Welcome to Cold War II
The Second Cold War is a rematch among the same teams.

by Michael Lind
April, 2018

 

Wednesday,  Jan 23rd,  2019

Los Angeles teachers approve contract, end 6-day strike Late Tuesday, Los Angeles teachers approved a contract deal and agreed to return to the classrooms on Wednesday after a six-day strike in the nation’s second-largest school district. The votes of the 30,000 teachers union members were still being counted Tuesday night, but “a vast supermajority are voting yes for the agreement that we made,” said union president Alex Caputo-Pearl. “Those are preliminary results but they’re so overwhelming that we know what the results are going to be.” The deal, finalized early Tuesday, gives teachers a 6 percent raise, reduces class sizes incrementally over the next few years, and increases the number of support staff, including teachers and librarians. Source: Los Angeles Times

The U.S. Supreme Court allows, by a 5–4 vote, the Trump administration to begin implementing the policy that prohibits transgender persons who require or have undergone gender transition from serving. Unresolved challenges remain in lower courts. (BBC)

A Tupolev Tu-22M3 supersonic strike bomber crashes in Russia’s northwestern Murmansk region while attempting landing during a storm. 3 of its 4 crewmen are killed. (Reuters)

 

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzō Abe and Russian President Vladimir Putin meet in Moscow to discuss a peace treaty and the Kuril Islands dispute. (TASS)

An Israeli spokesman says Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has cancelled Wednesday’s Qatari aid of $15 million to Gaza Strip. (Reuters)

A Hamas militant is killed and two others are injured when an Israeli tank fires into the Gaza Strip after a protest turned violent. The Israel Defense Forcesaction is retaliation for a shooting which lightly injured an officer, and for the brief incursion of two Palestinians into Israel. (Reuters)

The nominees for the 91st Academy Awards, honoring the best in cinema in 2018 are announced, with Roma and The Favourite leading with 10 nominations each. (The New York Times)

Five foreign demining experts, identified as two South Africans, one Croatian, one Bosnian and one Kosovar, are killed in an accidental explosion in Yemen. (BBC)

American singer Chris Brown and two associates are briefly detained in Paris after being accused of aggravated rape and drug offenses. (NBC News)

The National Baseball Hall of Fame announces the results of voting by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America (BBWAA) to determine players to be formally inducted in July 2019. Roy Halladay, Edgar Martínez, Mike Mussina, and Mariano Rivera are elected and will join Harold Baines and Lee Smith, elected by a Hall committee in December 2018, at the induction ceremonies in Cooperstown, New York. Rivera is the first player ever to be elected unanimously by the BBWAA. (ESPN)

The End

Pemex Tula-Tuxpan Pipeline

An illicitly tapped fuel pipeline explodes in Tlahuelilpan, Hidalgo, Mexico, killing at least 79 people and wounding 74 others. It is believed the explosion occurred after the line was ruptured by suspected fuel thieves. (BBC)

 

 

Tuesday,  Jan 22nd, 2019

The Israeli military says it had attacked Iranian military targets in Damascus including the city’s international airport in response to a missile attack. (CNN)

Israel’s military remains on elevated alert in the north and the ski area in the Golan Heights has been closed, but there are no other restrictions on civilian movement.

Two men are killed in separate avalanches at ski resorts, one near Aspen, Colorado and another in Kachina Peak at Taos Ski Valley approximately 125 miles (201 km) northeast of Albuquerque, New Mexico. (NBC News)

Two people died and 25 more were injured, four seriously, in a fire at the ski resort of Courchevel in the French Alps. (RTE)

 

‘World will end in 12 years if we don’t address climate change,’ Ocasio-Cortez says

Senate GOP releases Trump’s shutdown bill, with big asylum changes Senate Republicans on Monday night, released a 1,300-page version of the plan President Trump outlined Saturday to reopen the federal government. It includes $5.7 billion for Trump’s border wall, a three-year extension of DACA, and measures to fund the parts of the government closed for 31 days and counting, plus $12.7 billion in assorted disaster and agricultural relief. Immigration experts also found several big, unheralded changes that would sharply curtail asylum requests. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) plans to bring the bill up for a vote this week, even though Democrats have already rejected it. House Democrats, meanwhile, will likely pass another bill to reopen the government, this one with $1 billion for border security but no wall. Source: The Associated Press

Supreme Court allows restrictions on transgender military members The Supreme Court on Tuesday ruled to allow the Trump administration to enforce restrictions on transgender personnel in the military. President Trump’s ban was blocked by several courts last year, but the Supreme Court voted 5-4 to lift the injunctions that had rejected the restrictions. The controversial policy first banned transgender people from serving in the U.S. military “in any capacity,” then was later amended to ban transgender people who “may require substantial medical treatment.” The ruling means that the restrictions can be enforced while a case proceeds to determine the policy’s long-term fate. Source: Reuters

Roma and The Favourite lead the 2019 Oscar nominations The 2019 Academy Award nominations have been announced. In the top category of Best Picture, the nominees are BlacKkKlansman, Black PantherBohemian RhapsodyThe FavouriteGreen BookRomaA Star Is Born, and Vice. The most nominated films overall are The Favourite and Roma, each of which received 10 nominations. Awards season favorites Christian Bale (Vice), Glenn Close (The Wife), Lady Gaga (A Star Is Born), Regina King (If Beale Street Could Talk), and Mahershala Ali (Green Book) all received acting nominations, while Roma‘s Marina De Tavira and Yalitza Aparicio earned surprise nods for Best Supporting Actress and Best Actress, respectively. A Star Is Born‘s Bradley Cooper, meanwhile, was left out of Best Director field. Source: The Hollywood Reporter

Report: There are as many as 20 secret missile sites in North Korea Researchers have found an undisclosed ballistic missile base in North Korea, and say there could be as many as 20 secret bases across the country. Beyond Parallel, a project sponsored by the defense think tank Center for Strategic and International Studies, released a report on Monday that revealed the existence of the Sino-ri Missile Operating Base, 130 miles north of the DMZ. Satellite photos of the base taken in late December show an entrance to an underground bunker, hardened shelters, and the headquarters of the Korean People’s Army Strategic Rocket Forces missile brigade, NBC News reports. Beyond Parallel says the base has been crucial in the development of ballistic missiles able to reach Japan, South Korea, and Guam. In February, the U.S. and North Korea will meet for a second nuclear summit. Source: NBC News

Monday,  Jan 21th, 2019

China confirms the 2018 birth of the world’s first genetically edited babies, Lulu and Nana, saying He Jiankui forged ethical review papers and organised a project team with foreign staff, which intentionally avoided surveillance, and that He and his staff will be punished according to laws and regulations. The Guangdong government will keep the twins under medical observation with the support of the national departments. (South China Morning Post)

A suicide car bomb attack kills five members of the Syrian Democratic Forces while they were out on a patrol with U.S. troops in northeastern Syria. (Telegraph)

A Taliban attack on a National Directorate of Security compound in the central Maidan Wardak Province, kills 126 security personnel, according to local officials. (The Guardian)

Germany revokes the license of Iranian airline Mahan Air, citing the airline’s involvement in Syria and other security concerns. (Reuters)

Israel Airports Authority formally opens Ramon Airport in the Timna Valley near Eilat. The new international airport replaces Eilat Airport, which will cease operations on January 22. (Channel NewsAsia)

A mutiny by members of the Venezuelan National Guard who oppose the government is quashed. The Venezuelan Military in a statement says they were involved in “treasonous” acts motivated by “obscure interests tied to the far right.” (Time)

At least 11 crew members are killed after two ships caught fire, as one vessel was transferring fuel to the other, in the Kerch Strait near Crimea. (BNO) (BBC)

Egyptian TV presenter Mohamed al-Ghiety is sentenced to one year of hard labor and fined 3,000 Egyptian pounds ($167; £130) for “promoting homosexuality” by interviewing a gay man on the privately-owned LTC Egypt TV channel last year. (BBC)

Democratic U.S. Senator Kamala Harris from California announces she will run for President in 2020. (NPR)

Howard Schultz, former CEO of Starbucks, is reported to be exploring an independent candidacy for President of the United States in 2020. (CNN)

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“could be.” Bwahahaaa! Fuck you.

Electric planes could be a reality “within 15 years”

 

Beijing’s new $12 billion Daxing Airport – biggest in the world

 

China Overrated by Right-Wing Kooks
These Crazies Are Just Like Hitler
Fred Reed • January 6, 2019 • 1,200 Words

 

Tuesday,  Jan 15th, 2019

Laurent Gbagbo, former President of Ivory Coast, is acquitted of crimes against humanity charges by the International Criminal Court. (BBC)

GOP Rep. Steve King removed from all congressional committee assignments Following backlash to inflammatory comments he made during a New York Times interview last week, the House Republican Steering Committee removed Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) from all of his congressional committee assignments, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) announced Monday night. During the interview, King asked, “White nationalist, white supremacist, Western civilization — how did that language become offensive?” In a statement, King said his remarks were “mischaracterized,” and he only wondered when “Western civilization became a derogatory term in political discourse today.” He said McCarthy’s “decision to remove me from committees is a political decision that ignores the truth,” and he does not plan on resigning. Earlier in the day, Reps. Bobby Rush (D-Ill.) and Tim Ryan (D-Ohio) filed resolutions to censure King for his remarks. Source: CNN

Monday,  Jan 14th, 2019

Robert Lloyd Schellenberg, a Canadian in China, is sentenced to death after a one-day retrial for attempting to smuggle over 222 kilograms (489.4 pounds) of methamphetamine through the country. Schellenberg’s new sentence comes amid increasing tensions between Canada and China. (Fox News)

Over 31,000 teachers, nurses, counselors and librarians in Los Angeles, who have been without a contract for more than a year, go on a strike to demand higher pay after negotiations for improved compensation and work conditions failed. (CBS News)

A Boeing 707 cargo plane crashes into a building in Karaj, Iran, after overshooting the runway during its landing. Officials confirm that of 16 people on board, 15 are killed and one is injured. No casualties are reported on the ground. (BBC)

Paweł Adamowicz, the Mayor of Gdańsk, Poland, dies in hospital of stab wounds after an attack at a charity event the night before. (The Guardian)

The End

“new services”…Fuck You. Lol. Kill Urself

Tim Cook teases that Apple has ‘new services’ coming in 2019

Global Gloom Spreads Across Industries

OPEC Output Falls Most in Almost Two Years as Saudi Cuts Begin

Why 2019 will be a turning point for tech Not! Such horseshit.

Tesla Could Be A Lone Success In 2019 As European Model 3 Sales Catch Fire… and after that the actual cars catch fire.

Tesla Model 3 Used Car Stats As Depressing For BMW & Audi As New Car Sales

Thursday, Jan 10th,  2019

Scientists announce through the Nature journal, the discovery of 13 deep-space fast radio bursts (FRBs), named FRB 180814, by the CHIME radio telescope in British Columbia, Canada. (BBC)

Remnants of a Dassault Mirage 2000D fighter jet are found in Jura, France, after the aircraft with two pilots onboard disappeared from radar. (France Info)

Russia confirms that a fireball seen over much of New Zealand on January 5 was its Kosmos 2430 missile early warning satellite, which was launched in 2007. (The Guardian)

Syrian state media claim an ISIL rocket attack killed five British soldiers in Abu Kamal district, Deir ez-Zor Governorate. (RT)

A Houthi drone strike on Al Anad Air Base in Lahij Governorate, Yemen, during a military parade, kills six pro-government soldiers and injures several senior officials. (BBC)

After several delays, the Congolese election commission announces that Félix Tshisekedi is the winner of the December 30 presidential election. (France24)

Congo says opposition candidate Felix Tshisekedi won presidential vote Election officials in the Democratic Republican of Congo “provisionally” declared opposition candidate Felix Tshisekedi winner of a long-delayed presidential election Thursday, setting up the first democratic transfer of power since Congo’s independence in 1960. According to the national election commission, Tshisekedi narrowly beat another opposition candidate, Martin Fayulu, with Emmanuel Shadary, the hand-picked successor of outgoing President Joseph Kabila, a distant third. Polls before the Dec. 30 election showed Fayulu with a commanding lead, and outside observers and institutions — notably the Catholic Church, which deployed 40,000 election observers — considered him the true victor. Just before the electoral commission named him the runner-up, Fayulu claimed it’s an “open secret” that Tshisekedi had entered a power-sharing agreement with Shadary and the Kabila government. Source: BBC News

Amazon’s Jeff Bezos and wife are getting divorced Amazon CEO and founder Jeff Bezos announced Wednesday that he and wife MacKenzie Bezos are getting a divorce after a trial separation. “We feel incredibly lucky to have found each other and deeply grateful for every one of the years we have been married to each other,” the couple said a joint statement. “If we had known we would separate after 25 years, we would do it all again.” The couple, who have four children, say they plan to remain “cherished friends.” Bezos is thought to be the world’s wealthiest man, worth an estimated $137 billion, and Amazon just became the most valuable publicly traded company in the U.S., with a market value Wednesday of $811 billion. Their marriage predates Amazon. Source: CBS News

German prosecutors say, based on CCTV images, that most of AfD politician Frank Magnitz’s injuries yesterday may have been sustained as he hit the ground after having been elbowed once by three people and falling over. Magnitz says the attack may have been an attempted robbery. (Deutsche Welle)

The End

01.09.2019

Interesting how the sentence on this first story changed as I was looking for the reference article which was not included on the first appearance.

1- A Polish woman, Elzbieta Piotrowska, is decapitated with an axe on the Clonmore estate in Ardee, County Louth. A man known to her was later arrested.[1]

2- A Polish woman, Elzbieta Piotrowska, is attacked with an axe and dies from her injuries in Ardee, County Louth, Ireland. A man known to her was later arrested.(RTÉ)

U.S. sends troops to Gabon amid election uncertainty in neighbouring Congo

 

Wednesday, Jan 9th, 2019

Former Israeli minister Gonen Segev pleads guilty to spying for Iran, in exchange for a 11-year prison sentence. (Reuters)

Two biologists who analysed a sound recording obtained by the Associated Press in 2017, say that it closely matches the calling song of the Indies short-tailed cricket, a species not known to exist in Cuba. (NBC News)

Trump says border wall is ‘absolutely critical,’ will pay for itself In his first prime-time address from the Oval Office, President Trump on Tuesday night said a barrier must be built along the southern border to keep out drugs and criminals. Trump proclaimed that “all Americans are hurt by uncontrolled illegal migration,” as it “strains resources and drives down jobs and wages,” but blacks and Hispanics are hit the hardest. He also said the “absolutely critical” border wall will “very quickly pay for itself,” because it would keep billions of dollars worth of illegal drugs out of the country, and added that it will “be paid for indirectly by a great new trade deal we have made with Mexico.” In their response, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said it’s time for Trump to “stop manufacturing crises and reopen the government.” Source: The Week

China, U.S. end extended trade talks, fueling optimism Chinese and U.S. negotiators wrapped up trade talks in Beijing on Wednesday after extending them into an unscheduled third day, signaling possible progress toward ending a trade war that has disrupted global markets. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said the fact that both sides agreed to stretch out the talks indicated they were “very serious.” Ted McKinney, U.S. under secretary of agriculture for trade and foreign agricultural affairs, said the U.S. delegation was heading home after a “good few days.” The lengthened talks were the first since President Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping agreed to a 90-day trade-war truce in December, and they fueled optimism among investors. U.S. stock futures edged higher early Wednesday, extending the week’s gains.Source:  CNBC

 

Tuesday,  Jan 8th, 2019

 Donald Trump gives the first prime time address of his presidency to talk about the partial government shutdown and its key issue, proposed funding for the Mexico–United States barrier. (The New York Times)

The military police of Russia says that it has started patrolling the area surrounding Manbij. (TASS)

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un arrives in Beijing for his fourth summit meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping. (The Japan Times)

A bankruptcy judge grants Sears Chairman Eddie Lampert another chance to buy Sears and save it from liquidation. (CNBC)

A Vietnam-registered oil tanker explodes off Hong Kong’s southern coast, killing at least one person and leaving three others missing. (ABC News)

Brazil formally withdraws from the UN’s Global Compact for Migration pact, however, Brazil’s Foreign Minister Ernesto Araújo says that the country will continue to accept Venezuelan refugees. (Reuters)

German politician Frank Magnitz [de], a member of the AfD party, was beaten unconscious by three masked assailants in the city of Bremen on Monday. AfD party leader Alice Weidel calls the attack an “assassination attempt” and politicians from other German parties condemn the attack. (BBC)

Jaskirat Sidhu, the driver involved in a fatal crash involving the Humboldt Broncos, pleads guilty to 29 charges against him, including 16 counts of dangerous operation of motorized vehicle causing death and 13 counts of dangerous operation of motor vehicle causing bodily injury. (Sporting News) (CBC)

Following Muhammad V of Kelantan’s abdication as King of Malaysia on Sunday, the Keeper of the Rulers’ Seal explains that the Conference of Rulers will elect a new King on 24 January, who will assume duties immediately after taking the oath of office on 31 January. (The Star/ANN via AsiaOne)

Retired USMC General Anthony Zinni resigns as U.S. envoy for the Qatar diplomatic dispute because regional leaders couldn’t agree on a “viable mediation effort” to resolve the stalemate. (CNN)

The asteroid 6478 Gault, 5 kilometres (3.1 miles) in diameter, is found to have been impacted by another large (>500 metres (>0.31 miles)) asteroid in late October 2018, the largest asteroid-to-asteroid collision in recorded history. (Central Bureau for Astronomical Telegrams)

The University of Hawaii reports that Lonely George, the last known member of the Achatinella apexfulva species of land snail in Oahu, Hawaii, died aged 14 on New Year’s Day. Despite being listed as critically endangered the species is now considered extinct. (National Geographic)

 

Monday,  Jan 7th, 2019

 The government of Gabon quashes a coup d’état by soldiers. The attempt took place while the country’s president, Ali Bongo, was undergoing medical treatment in Morocco. (CBC)

The government of Guatemala denounces the UN-backed International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG) and gives it 24 hours to leave the country. (BBC News)

Chen Gang, the former vice-mayor of Beijing, is detained for corruption. (South China Morning Post)

The End 

 

Genetically Edited Babies and Dog Meat

Monday,  Nov. 26th, 2018

The World Meteorological Organization reports that average global carbon dioxide concentrations rose to 405.5 parts per million in 2017. They say this level was not seen since at least 3 million years ago. (Associated Press)

South Korea shuts down the country’s largest dog meat slaughterhouse. The move is lauded by animal rights activists. (CNN)

Violent clashes between French police and protesters last well into the night on the Champs Elysees in Paris over rising fuel taxes. (Reuters)

The London Metropolitan Police Service releases video footage of police cars being driven into suspected criminals on scooters. They say the tactic isn’t new. (BBC)

Chinese researcher claims to create first genetically edited babies Chinese researcher He Jiankui claimed late Sunday that he had helped create the world’s first genetically edited babies, twin girls born earlier in November. If verified, this would be a big and controversial leap in science. He said he used a new gene-editing tool called CRISPR-cas9 to remove a gene called CCR5 from embryos fertilized in a lab, in an attempt to make the genetically modified children immune to HIV, the AIDS virus. Most bioethicists and experts in the gene-editing field condemned the work as premature and morally indefensible. Several scientists who reviewed the research He released said his tests are insufficient to show the editing worked as intended or to rule out harm to the girls. Source: The Associated Press, Stat

Syrian state media report that more than 50 civilians are injured in a suspected poison gas attack by Syrian rebels on Aleppo. (The Sydney Morning Herald)

GM will stop building cars at 3 North American factories and cut its salaried workforce by 15% in 2019 as it shifts to electric and self-driving cars

After eleven consecutive draws, a record for the 132-year-old championship, Magnus Carlsen and Fabiano Caruana are tied 5.5 points each in the best-of-12-games match. (The Guardian)

NASA’s InSight set to land on Mars NASA engineers at the Jet Propulsion Lab will be on pins and needles Monday as they wait to see if the InSight spacecraft touches down safely on Mars. InSight was launched seven months ago, traveling 301,223,981 miles and reaching a top speed of 6,200 mph. This is NASA’s first mission to study the deep interior of Mars, and the landing will be tricky. InSight will enter the planet’s atmosphere at hypersonic speed, and must slow down quickly to make a gentle landing. If all goes according to plan, InSight will touch down at noon PST, with signals reaching engineers back on Earth eight minutes later. Should InSight land successfully on Mars, it will take two to three months for its robotic arm to set up and calibrate all of the mission’s instruments. Source: Jet Propulsion Lab (Jet Propulsion Laboratory) (Reuters)

Matthew Hedges, a British academic student studying at Durham University, is sentenced to life imprisonment in the United Arab Emirates after being convicted of spying. (BBC) (The Guardian)

Matthew Hedges, the British student who was sentenced to life in prison last week, is pardoned and will be released, says the United Arab Emirates. The U.A.E. maintains that he would be a MI6 agent. (The New York Times) (The Guardian)

Big asset managers like BlackRock are sitting on the sidelines of the $75 billion US marijuana industry because of one big pain point

Russia asks for an urgent meeting of the United Nations Security Council to convene. (TASS)

The Kerch Strait is re-opened to civilian shipping. (Reuters)

Taliban insurgents ambush a police convoy in the western Farah Province, killing 20 officers, including the newly appointed provincial police chief. (The Guardian)

George Soros’ Open Society Foundation says it will cease operations in Turkey. “Baseless claims” in the media would make its work impossible. (Reuters)

U.S. fires tear gas at migrants protesting near U.S.-Mexico border The United States temporarily closed a major port of entry to the U.S. from Mexico on Sunday as hundreds of migrants approached the southern border at San Ysidro. U.S. Customs and Border Protection tweetedthat “several migrants threw projectiles at the agents in San Diego. Border Patrol agents deployed tear gas to dispel the group because of the risk to agents’ safety.” A peaceful protest of migrants calling on the U.S. to speed up the processing of asylum claims escalated when some migrants tried to break through fencing, and agents shot multiple rounds of tear gas at them. Witnesses said the wind blew the fumes toward children and others hundreds of feet away. The border crossing was closed to vehicle and foot traffic for several hours. Source: The Associated Press

Deadly California Camp Fire is 100 percent contained The Camp Fire in Northern California’s Butte County, which killed at least 85 people and destroyed more than 18,000 buildings, is 100 percent contained, officials said Sunday. The fire broke out on Nov. 8, sweeping through the town of Paradise. Officials say the blaze scorched more than 153,000 acres and burned down 14,000 homes. There are 249 people still missing. More than 1,000 firefighters are still on site, with most taking part in search-and-recovery efforts and clearing hazards from roadways. Rain in the area helped extinguish hot spots, and despite the concerns of officials, did not trigger any mudslides. Source: Los Angeles Times

Cyber Monday expected to bring record U.S. online sales Cyber Monday sales are expected to reach $7.8 billion, an increase of nearly 18 percent over last year that would make Monday the biggest online shopping day in U.S. history, according to Adobe Analytics. Online sales on Black Friday rose by 24 percent to $6.2 billion, although the big U.S. days still lag far behind the $30.8 billion in spending during China’s Alibaba Singles Day promotion last month. Retailers could be holding back even bigger Cyber Monday gains by spreading out discounts over several days. Amazon and Bed, Bath & Beyond, for example, started their Cyber Monday discounts on Sunday, and Macy’s is offering “cyber week” deals through Wednesday. Source: MarketWatch

More Below The Fold

Continue reading “Genetically Edited Babies and Dog Meat”

Nobody Knows Anything

Why Orwell Is Superior to Huxley

 

Friday,  Nov. 16th, 2018

The first genetic analysis of hemimastigotes reveals they are distinct enough from other forms of life to be classified in a separate supra-kingdom. (CBC)

David Hockney painting sells for a record $90.3 million David Hockney’s “Portrait of an Artist (Pool with Two Figures)” sold on Thursday for $90.3 million, setting a new auction record for a living artist. Christie’s in New York estimated that the 1972 oil painting would fetch $80 million. The bidding lasted nine minutes, with the two most active bidders calling in by telephone. The previous record was held by Jeff Koons, whose “Balloon Dog (Orange)” sold in 2013 for $58.4 million. Hockney, 81, is considered one of the most influential British artists. Source: The Guardian

Screenwriter William Goldman dies at 87 Award-winning screenwriter William Goldman has died at 87, Deadline and The Washington Post report. Goldman reportedly died Thursday night at his home in Manhattan; no cause of death has yet been released, although Deadline notes he had been in ill health for some time. After beginning his career as a novelist, Goldman successfully branched out into Hollywood, going on to win two Oscars for writing Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and All the President’s Men. He also wrote the screenplay for The Stepford WivesMarathon ManThe Princess BrideMisery, and more. In his book about screenwriting, he famously reached the conclusion that in Hollywood, “nobody knows anything.” Goldman is survived by two children. Source: Deadline, The Washington Post

More than 600 missing in Northern California’s Camp Fire On Thursday, search teams in Northern California discovered seven more bodies in the Camp Fire burn area, bringing the blaze’s death toll to 63. Authorities say there are now 631 people missing, up from 130 on Wednesday evening. The fire, the deadliest in state history, has burned 141,000 acres, destroyed 11,862 structures, and is about 40 percent contained. Most of the deaths occurred in the town of Paradise, which was almost entirely wiped out by the fire. Officials said it could take several weeks to finish searching for victims. Source: Los Angeles Times

Justice Department apparently secretly indicted WikiLeaks’ Assange In a recently unsealed court filing, a U.S. federal prosecutor in Virginia inadvertently disclosed that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been charged with an undisclosed crime, it emerged Thursday night. Hours earlier, The Wall Street Journal reported that U.S. prosecutors are increasingly confident about indicting Assange and prosecuting him in U.S. court. Assange was granted asylum by Ecuador, and he’s been living in the country’s London embassy since 2012. It’s not clear if the charges relate to WikiLeaks’ 2010 publication of classified U.S. military and diplomatic cables, the 2016 election, or something else. The Aug. 22 court filing, about a separate sex trafficking and terrorism case, merely says that “Assange has been charged” and the other case should “remain sealed until Assange is arrested.” Source: The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post

Julian Assange, a major target of the investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 US election, is charged in a “accidental mistake” at a court filing. (The Guardian) (New York Times)

Iran’s Social Security Organization chairman Mohammad Taghi Nourbakhsh and his deputy dies after a car accident during visit of Gorgan. (Mehr News)

 

Thursday, Nov 15th,  2018

The Donald Trump administration announces sanctions on 17 Saudi officials, but not Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, for their alleged involvement in killing Khashoggi. (ABC News)

US Senator Bernie Sanders launches the Stop Walmart Act, which would prohibit big employers from repurchasing shares until they adopt a $15-an-hour minimum wage. (CNN)

Taliban kill 30 policemen in an attack on an outpost in Farah Province. (AP via Fox News)

The United Nations announce that seven MONUSCO peacekeepers were killed in clashes with militia yesterday in Beni, North Kivu, Democratic Republic of the Congo. (Reuters)

 

An Odor of Perfidy
by James Howard Kunstler
Nov.16th, 2018

“Little is known about what is going on inside the Mueller commission. But if, as it appears, the Special Counsel is still stalking Russian Facebook trolls and ignoring the slime-trail of  huggermugger left behind by Hillary & Company, then we are seeing one of the most fantastic failures of law enforcement in history. Still, there’s a possibility — low-percentage in my view — that Mr. Mueller might disclose a raft of charges against the Clinton gang and her errand boys.

The trouble is that such charges may lead to the some of the highest former officials in the land, including former CIA director John Brennan, former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, former Attorney General Loretta Lynch, and perhaps even the sacred former President Obama. Even Mr. Mueller himself is suspect in the 2009 Uranium One deal that conveyed over $150-million dollars from Russian banks into the Clinton Foundation coffers.”

 

The End