article 7

 

The massive plastic-cleaning device invented by a 24-year-old to clean the Great Pacific Garbage Patch is finally being put to the test.

 

Wednesday, Sept 12, 2018

The European Parliament votes 448—197 to trigger article 7 against Hungary for flouting the rule of law in the country. (Al Jazeera)

Iranian Kurdish shopkeepers begin a region-wide strike against the executions of Kurdish activists and the bombing of opposition parties in Koya in the neighboring Iraqi Kurdistan Region. (Kurdistan24)

Deputy US Trade Representative Dennis Shea will represent the United States at a Group of 20 trade ministers in Argentina. (Reuters)

Tuesday,  Sept 11, 2018

Iraq announces the executions of seven terror convicts in Dhi Qar, saying the men, all citizens of Iraq, were hanged yesterday. (Gulf News)

RiskIQ, a cybersecurity firm, reports that it has discovered the software that was used to gather credit card information from the British Airways website. The firm further states that the “supply chain attack” was very similar to an earlier attempt to skim data from the Ticketmaster website. (BBC)

A bus carrying pilgrims from a Hindu temple in the hills of Telangana in India plunges off a road, killing at least 57 people and injuring 25 others. (NDTV)

South Korean health authorities announce that they are searching for around 50 foreign nationals who may have been in contact with the recently confirmed MERS patient, including those who arrived in Incheon Airportfrom Dubai on the same flight last Friday. (The Straits Times)

The Eritrean–Ethiopian border reopens for the first time since 1998. (The New York Times)

Monday,  Sept 10, 2018

The Netherlands halts funding of the Syrian opposition and police forces, saying the chances of them winning the war are “extremely limited”. Dutch support for the White Helmets will also end in December 2018. (Dutchnews.nl)

Nieuwsuur reports the Dutch government has provided funding over the past two years to Syrian rebel group Jabbat al-Shamiya, despite Dutch prosecutors describing the group as a “salafist and jihadistic” terror group and preparing to bring a man to trial next week accused of being a member. (Dutch News)

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra announces the arrest of 32 East Bay street gangsters linked to a million-dollar fraud conspiracy. (SFGate.com)

Gunmen storm the headquarters of the National Oil Corporation (NOC) in Tripoli, Libya. At least four people are killed. (BBC)

A gas depot explodes in Lafia, Nigeria, killing at least 35 people and leaving some burned beyond recognition. (CBC)

Palestinian diplomat Saeb Erekat says that the United States “is willing to disband the international system in order to protect Israeli crimes”. (Times of Israel)

A car bomb in Mogadishu kills six people and injures 16 others. (Al Jazeera)

Conservative South Korean protesters at the Seoul station call for the release of imprisoned former President Park Geun-hye. (Upi)

National Security Advisor John R. Bolton threatens the International Criminal Court with sanctions should the organisation try to prosecute Americans for war crimes committed in Afganistan. (Reuters)

SpaceX successfully launches Canadian communication satellite Telstar 18V from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. It was deployed into geostationary transfer orbit (GTO) approximately 32 minutes after rocket’s liftoff. (CBS News)

The End

That one is predetermined
That one, it finds another
This one comes in one window
Sliding out the other
We need an instrument to take a measurement
To find out if loss could weigh
We need to know value
We need to place value
In case it all comes true
Could it be loss could weigh?
It’s always they that’s dying
But now it’s we that’s dying
So sooner comes the trying to understand that loss could weigh
We’ve been dragged through the fire
We bragged about that fire
But suddenly we’re tired
Could it be that loss could weigh?
Loss could weigh

09.10.2018

George Papadopoulos, former 2016 presidential campaign aide to Donald Trump, receives a prison sentence of 14 days for lying to investigators regarding his ties to Russian contacts. He also receives a fine, probation and a community service obligation. (CNN)

Tesla stock drops 9% the day after CEO Elon Musk was seen drinking whiskey and smoking cannabis in California while discussing space colonization, life after the technological singularity and whether reality is a simulation on The Joe Rogan Experience, and two executives resign. (AP) (Space.com)

ASIA ARGENTO FLIPS THE SCRIPT

Soul-sucking part-time actress Asia Argento was recently featured in these pages flip-flopping in her story of exactly what happened between her and 17-year-old Jimmy Bennett in a Marina del Rey motel room back in 2013.

At first she denied that anything sexual had ever happened between the two. Then, when text messages leaked that showed her quite clearly saying, “I had sex with him, Argento, who had known Bennett since he was seven, said that she didn’t know he was a minor until receiving a “shakedown letter” that her dead boyfriend, Anthony Bourdain—who appears to have killed himself after being distraught at seeing Ms. Asia cavorting with a man less than half his age—paid off to the tune of $380,000 just to keep things quiet while she was parading as an anti-rape activist.

Last week Argento’s lawyer Mark Jay Heller—who appears to have been sculpted entirely from chopped liver—is flipping the script and claiming that Bennett was the sexual predator in the equation:

Asia at no time initiated a sexual encounter with Bennett and in fact as she stated in her response to the New York Times article, concerning their past history, ‘I have never had any sexual relationship with Bennett…but rather the relationship was a long distance friendship over many years.’…

Asia chose at the time not to prosecute Bennett for sexually attacking her.

It appears that Heller is trying to say that Argento paid Bennett $380,000 as hush money so he wouldn’t tell the world that he raped her.

It’s time for us to go curl in a ball on the shower floor and cry all the pain away.

 

The Incessant Pendulum Swing
by Theodore Dalrymple

The case of Ariana Grande and the bishop who was a little too familiar with her reminded me of my adolescence. In those far-off days, when even vulgarity was more genteel than it is now, my companions and I learned how to turn even the most innocuous of statements into something salacious by the mere addition of seven words in parenthetical conclusion: “as the actress said to the bishop.”

Monday,  Sept 10, 2018

CBS chief Moonves out amid sexual misconduct allegations CBS Chairman and CEO Leslie Moonves is leaving the company, effective immediately, CBS announced Sunday. In July, The New Yorker published the accounts of six women accusing Moonves of sexual misconduct, and the magazine reported additional allegations on Sunday. CBS hired two law firms to investigate the accusations, and it won’t begin negotiating a severance package until the probe is finished. CBS and Moonves will donate $20 million to organizations that promote equality for women and the #MeToo movement, money that will be deducted from any financial package Moonves may receive. Moonves, who has run CBS since 2006, has denied all allegations of sexual misconduct while acknowledging three of the encounters, saying they were consensual. Source: CBS News

Far-right party gains in Sweden, moving government toward gridlock Sweden’s ruling center-left Social Democratic Party won the greatest share of votes in Sunday’s parliamentary elections but just barely, winning about 28.4 percent. The Social Democrats’ ruling coalition earned a combined 40.6 percent of the vote, for about 144 seats in the 349-seat Riksdag, or Parliament, while the center-right Alliance coalition, led by the Moderates, got 40.3 percent, for about 142 seats. The biggest gain was by the far-right, anti-immigrant Sweden Democrats, who got 17.6 percent of the votes, for about 63 seats, from 49 seats in the 2014 election. It’s unclear how either the center-left or center-right coalition will form a government, as both reiterated after the vote that they won’t form a government with the Sweden Democrats. Source: Reuters, The Associated Press

With 99% of the votes counted, the center-left parties that form the current government obtain 40.6% of the vote, the center-right alliance winning 40.3%. The far-right Sweden Democrats gain 17.6%. A long process to form a coalition government now seems likely. (CNN)

Kremlin aide Yuri Ushakov says that Russian President Vladimir Putin has sent a letter to meet North Korea leader Kim Jong-un. (Reuters)

The Russian presidential office confirms that mayor of Moscow Sergei Sobyanin is reelected for a second and last term. (Sputnik via Urdupoint)

The Wall Street Journal reports that National Security Advisor John Bolton is expected to announce today the closure of the Palestine Liberation Organizationoffice in Washington. (Bloomberg)

Hurricane Florence regains strengthens into a category 2 hurricane and is expected to grow into a major hurricane this week, and to threaten the East Coastnear the Carolinas. (Upi)

Sunday, Sept 9, 2018

The prosecutor in Abkhazia says that the driver of the car that probably initiated the deadly accident of Prime Minister of Abkhazia Gennady Gagulya yesterday was under the influence of drugs and has been detained. (News.am)

Moldovan President Igor Dodon is involved in a highway accident when his official motorcade is struck by a truck coming from the opposite direction. Several passengers, including the president and members of his family, suffer moderate injuries and are hospitalized. Reports indicate that the Moldovan head of state is in good health. (BBC)

Dozens of people are killed in four separate attacks by the Taliban. An army base is destroyed in Baghlan Province. (The New York Times)

North Korea celebrates its 70th anniversary with a military parade in Pyongyang with the absence of its international ballistic missiles. (New York Times)

About 200 Kosovo Albanian veterans from the Kosovo War block the road to Banje near Drenica and prevent a planned visit by the President of Serbia. (Reuters)

Swedish media report voter harassment by members of the neo-Nazi movement Nordic Resistance Movement. The far-right Alternative for Sweden party is reportedly “shouting loud” on social media. (The Washington Post)

 

Saturday,  Sept 8, 2018

The Prime Minister of Abkhazia Gennadi Gagulia dies in a car accident in Abkhazia after returning from a trip to Syria. (RFE/RL) (TASS)

The WTC–Cortlandt subway station in lower Manhattan opens for the first time since being destroyed in the September 11 attacks in 2001. (The New York Times)

A pneumonia outbreak in Brescia and Mantova, Italy, infects at least 150 people. The deaths of two other people are suspected connected to the disease. The cause is a suspected bacterium in the water. (Corriere della Sera)

A South Korean man is diagnosed with the potentially deadly MERS virus and is being treated at a hospital in Seoul, the first such case in three years. (Reuters)

Iran’s judiciary executes three Iranian Kurdish prisoners, including Ramin Panahi, for terrorism offences. Two United Nations special rapporteurs condemn the executions and Amnesty International alleges their trials were unfair, due to the denial of legal counsel and confessions obtained through torture. (Reuters)

A court in Egypt sentences 75 people to death for participating in a pro-Morsi sit-in protest in a Cairo suburb in 2013. The breakup of that protest at Rabaa Square by Egyptian authorities resulted in over 600 deaths. Of the 739 defendants, Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohamed Badie and 46 others are sentenced to life in prison, 374 receive 15-year jail terms, 22 are sentenced to 10 years and 215 people, including Mahmoud Abu Zeid (Shawkan), to five years in jail. (France 24)

 

Friday,  Sept 7, 2018

The presidents of Russia and Iran disagree with the Turkish president’s proposal for a ceasefire in Idlib after meeting in Tehran, because it would not include the Islamist militants those nations aim to defeat. (Reuters)

U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis makes an unannounced visit to Afghanistan, to attempt to discuss peace with the Taliban, which has declined such talks with the Afghan government. (UPI)

Starbucks opens its first shop in Italy, in the city of Milan. The 25,000 square-foot Reserve Roastery creates 300 jobs. (Fortune via Yahoo!)

Energy specialists and executives say a power outage from the earthquake could have been lessened if Hokkaido Electric did not rely so exclusively on the Tomato-Atsuma coal plant. The company has restored electricity to just over half of its affected customers. (Reuters)

Protesters storm the Iranian consulate in Basra, in protest of corruption and misrule by Iraq’s political elite, damaging the consulate’s offices and shouting anti-Iranian slogans while others briefly take workers hostage at a nearby oilfield. (Reuters)

The End

09.07.2018

The New York Times publishes an editorial written by an anonymous senior administration official in the Trump administration which criticizes U.S. President Donald Trump and claims unnamed administration aides and officials, in efforts to promote national stability, conspired against the president. (AP via CBC)

U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis makes a “surprise” visit to Afghanistan, to attempt to discuss peace talks with the Taliban. (Upi)

Kim gives a timeline for denuclearization, aiming for completion by the end of U.S. President Donald Trump’s first term. (Reuters)

Ben Wallace, British Security Minister, says in an interview that Russian President Vladimir Putin bears the responsibility for multiple Novichok poisonings in the U.K., in which British citizens were harmed and killed. (BBC)

 

Friday,  Sept 7, 2018

Trump has reportedly narrowed his list of NYT op-ed suspects down to 12 President Trump and White House aides have come up with a list of 12 or so people suspected of being behind the anonymous op-ed published Wednesday by The New York Times, an outside adviser told the Times Thursday. The op-ed, penned by a senior administration official, called Trump’s leadership style “impetuous, adversarial, petty, and ineffective,” and the author said there is a “quiet resistance” underway by staffers trying to protect the country from Trump’s “half-baked, ill-informed, and occasionally reckless decisions.” White House officials spent Thursday calling different departments to ask Cabinet secretaries if they were responsible for the op-ed, the Times reports, and they all said no. Several West Wing officials are especially suspicious of Vice President Mike Pence and his staff, and were not persuaded by his denial, White House officials told the TimesSource: The New York Times

Leading Brazilian presidential candidate stabbed at rally A man stabbed the leading candidate in Brazil’s presidential election, far-right lawmaker Jair Bolsonaro, at a campaign rally on Thursday. Bolsonaro became the frontrunner in the Oct. 7 first round after Brazil’s electoral court last week barred the left’s leading candidate, former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, from running due to corruption charges. Bolsonaro is a controversial figure who has angered many Brazilians with divisive comments but is revered by conservatives. He will spend at least a week in the hospital and take up to two months to recover, said Dr. Luiz Henrique Borsato. “His internal wounds were grave and put the patient’s life at risk,” Borsato said. Source: Reuters

Hokkaido Electric is expected to restore power, but experts warned that the earthquake highlighted the fundamental flaws in the power grid. (Reuters)

 

Thursday, Sept 6,  2018

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and South Korea president Moon Jae-in agree to hold a third summit between September 18 and September 20 in Pyongyang. (NBC News)

Heavy floods in North Korea leave at least 76 dead and 75 missing. (Reuters)

A magnitude 6.7 earthquake strikes the island of Hokkaido in Japan, killing 16 people, injuring 120 and leaving 26 missing. (BBC)

Approximately two million Ford F150 trucks are recalled due to a manufacturing error which can cause the seat belt pretensioner to ignite the vehicle. (NPR)

Kinder Morgan hints at a potential offloading of Canada assets following sales of the Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion project to the federal Canadian government. (Vancouver Sun)

The Justice Department announces charges against an alleged hacker for the North Korea government in connection with a series of cyber attacks, including the 2014 assaults on Sony Pictures. Officials accuse Park Jin Hyok for being part of a conspiracy to hack on behalf of Reconnaissance General Bureau, the country’s intelligence agency. (The Washington Post)

The second trial of U.S. citizen Nicholas Slatten, the former Blackwater (now Academi) employee who was found guilty in 2013 of first-degree murder in connection to the killing in 2007 of fourteen unarmed civilians on Baghdad’s Nisour Square and sentenced to life in prison, ends in a mistrial. The future of the case is unclear. (NPR)

The Trump administration proposes regulatory changes which would allow the children of illegal immigrants to be imprisoned for more than 20 days. (NPR)

Ñuble becomes the 16th region of Chile after new administrative divisions in Chile come into effect. (Biobío)

Brazilian presidential candidate Jair Bolsonaro is stabbed at a campaign rally and suffers serious abdominal injuries. He is expected to be in intensive care for at least seven days. (AP)

Wolf 503b, a super-Earth exoplanet twice the size of Earth, is discovered 145 light years away by American, German, and Canadian researchers via the NASA Kepler Space Telescope. (Fox News) (Astrobio)

 

Wednesday,  Sept 5,  2018

British authorities charge two men for their alleged involvement in a Novichok poisoning earlier in 2018, claiming the men are agents of the GRU. (NPR)

Russia says that the United Kingdom declines to provide them with the suspects’ fingerprints. (TASS)

A suicide attack at a wrestling club in a Hazara Shi’ite neighborhood of the Afghan capital Kabul and a second explosion apparently targeting emergency services and journalists kills at least 20 people and wounds 70 others. (Reuters)

Israel’s Supreme Court rejects appeals against the demolition of Khan al-Ahmar in the occupied West Bank whose fate has been a subject of international concern. (BBC)

Emirates Flight 203 from Dubai is quarantined briefly after landing at John F. Kennedy International Airport when 19 passengers were deemed sick and others complained of symptoms. (USA Today)

Paraguay announces that it will move its embassy in Israel from Jerusalem to Tel Aviv, reversing a May decision to move it from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, citing efforts to achieve peace in the Middle East. In response, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu orders the closure of Israel’s embassy in Paraguay. (Reuters)

The End Friday

https://www.businessinsider.com/video-of-b-52-bomber-training-mission-over-the-pacific-2018-9

https://www.businessinsider.com/trumps-new-syria-strike-idlib-wont-save-syrians-2018-9

https://www.businessinsider.com/photos-of-fake-perfume-bottle-of-nerve-agent-used-in-skripal-poisoning-2018-9

Plastic People

Anchorage, Alaska, passes a strict ban on plastic shopping bags, and imposes a fee on the use of store-issued paper bags. The law goes into effect on March 1, 2019. (Anchorage Daily News’)

Steve Bannon lets rip on ‘man child’ Elon Musk

Bannon was generally damning of big tech executives on the call, saying that they are “sociopaths” and “narcissists,” but he was particularly scathing about Musk and Tesla.

In a venomous attack, the former White House strategist said Musk’s board of directors have no control over him and that he “essentially lies.”

He also criticised what he saw as Musk’s “emotional breakdown” in his interview with the New York Times earlier this month. “This is the level of maturity you have with these people. They are not mature adults. They are all man childs,” said Bannon.

It comes just hours after Musk denied crying during the Times interview.

Musk tweeted on Tuesday that during the conversation, his voice “cracked once” and he did not cry. A New York Times spokesperson refuted this, saying: “Mr. Musk’s emotion was audible. It is not true that his voice only cracked once.”

The back-and-forth over Musk’s now infamous “funding secured” tweet has been a stormy time for Tesla, with the carmaker’s stock falling 5% after Musk finally revealed that he was not taking the company private.

Thursday, Aug 30,  2018

Trump has discussed impeachment with his lawyers, reportedly hates ‘the i-word’ President Trump has been able to have serious discussions about impeachment with his lawyers, but other times he will get angry when people bring up what he calls “the i-word,” Trump allies told The Washington Post. The Post spoke with 26 White House advisers, officials, lawyers, and strategists, and several said that Trump does not have a strategy in place should Democrats take control of the House and have subpoena power. It’s possible they could pursue impeachment charges, and Trump’s legal team does not have the experience to handle such matters, the Post reports; he’s talked with advisers about having Abbe Lowell, the defense lawyer representing his son-in-law Jared Kushner, come on board if necessary. Source: The Washington Post

FBI rebuts Trump’s claim that China hacked Hillary Clinton’s email server The FBI said Wednesday that there’s no evidence that Hillary Clinton’s private email server was hacked by a foreign entity. The statement came after President Trump claimed on Twitter that China had obtained classified information by hacking into Clinton’s servers and demanded that the Justice Department investigate the allegations. Trump was likely referring to an article by the conservative Daily Caller, but the DOJ said that despite Trump’s claims that the hack was a “very big story,” experts had already determined that Clinton’s emails were not being relayed to China “in real time,” as the article purported. The rebuttal is seen as the latest example of Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ effort to reject Trump’s criticism of the DOJ’s work. Source: The Associated Press

DeVos considering new college sexual misconduct rules favoring accused Education Secretary Betsy DeVos is preparing new policies that would offer more support to students accused of sexual assault and harassment on campus and reduce liability for colleges, The New York Times reports. The Times obtained a copy of the proposed rules, which would redefine sexual harassment as “unwelcome conduct on the basis of sex that is so severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive that it denies a person access to the school’s education program or activity.” Last fall, DeVos announced she was rescinding the Obama administration’s Title IX guidance on sexual assault on campus, saying it was not fair to students accused of misconduct. Source: The New York Times

Panasonic announces their intent to move their European headquarters from London to Amsterdam, citing concern over Brexit. (BBC)

Wednesday,  Aug 29,  2018

A 7.1 magnitude earthquake hits the Loyalty Islands, New Caledonia. (Stuff)

Germany hands over to Namibia the human remains—19 skulls, a scalp and bones—of Herero and Nama tribespeople among the tens of thousands killedby the German Empire between 1904 and 1908. (Al Jazeera)

Russian President Vladimir Putin announces a softening of the pension plan presented in June. The plan’s original announcement has led to protests and a dip in Putin’s approval ratings. (AP via News 13)

The End

08.20.2018

Animal rights groups hold protests against dog meat consumption in Seoul. (UPI)

The Mexican government announces that they are offering up to MXN$30 million (equivalent to US$1.56 million) for anyone who provides information that leads to the arrest of Nemesio Oseguera Cervantes (alias “El Mencho”), the suspected leader of the Jalisco New Generation Cartel and one of Mexico’s most-wanted. (El Universal)

Constellation Brands, the owner of Corona Beer, announces plans to invest in Canadian marijuana producer Canopy Growth. (BBC)

Archeologists from the Cairo University and the University of Catania report the discovery of one of the oldest known examples of cheese. Discovered at a tomb in the Saqqara necropolis, it is the first known evidence of ancient Egyptian cheese production. (BBC)

Vice President Leni Robredo protests President Rodrigo Duterte’s remark that her hometown Naga City is a “hotbed of shabu.” (CNN Philippines) (Rappler)

 

Monday,  Aug 20, 2018

Report: Michael Cohen investigated for bank fraud with $20 million loans Federal investigators are looking into whether Michael Cohen, President Trump’s former lawyer and fixer, committed bank and tax fraud when securing more than $20 million in loans and if he violated campaign finance laws when arranging financial deals with women who said they had affairs with Trump, several people familiar with the matter told The New York Times. Two people said the probe is in its end stages, and prosecutors are mulling filing charges by the end of August. Investigators are trying to figure out if Cohen misrepresented the value of his assets in order to obtain loans from two banks for his taxi business, and if he failed to report income from that same business to the IRS, the Times reports. Source: The New York Times

Trump rages against Russia investigation in morning tweets President Trump on Monday launched into a tirade against Special Counsel Robert Mueller and the investigation he is leading into whether the Trump campaign was involved with Russian election interference. He claimed without evidence that Mueller has been “disgraced and discredited,” writing on Twitter that the probe is “looking for trouble” while ignoring corruption within the Democratic Party. “They are enjoying ruining people’s lives,” Trump tweeted, additionally claiming that collusion is a “phony crime” and obstruction of justice is an unfair way of punishing Trump when he “fights back.” Mueller’s investigation has so far filed charges against five Americans, 26 Russians, and one Dutch citizen, along with three Russian businesses. Source: Donald J. Trump

Trump’s team knows little of what White House Counsel McGahn told Mueller President Trump’s lawyers basically have no idea what White House Counsel Don McGahn shared with Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team during 30 hours of interviews, people close to Trump told The New York Times on Sunday. McGahn’s lawyer only gave them a sliver of what he told investigators, two people told the Times, and now Trump’s advisers are worried McGahn gave a lot of information that will end up in Mueller’s ultimate report. On Sunday, Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani admitted he didn’t know much about what McGahn had told Mueller’s team, and Trump went on a Twitter tirade, claiming he “allowed” McGahn to speak to investigators because he has “nothing to hide.” Source: The New York Times, The Week

Officials report that the Ferguson Fire in California is fully contained. (BBC)

Shots are fired at the US Embassy in Turkey from a car amid tensions. (ABC News)

 

Sunday, Aug 19, 2018

Italy Interior Minister Matteo Salvini threatens to return 177 migrants who have been aboard an Italian coast guard ship for days to Libya. (Time)

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani calls for a conditional cease-fire with Taliban insurgents for the duration of the Eid al-Adha holiday. (Fox News) (Al Jazeera)

 

Saturday,  Aug 18, 2018

Russian president Vladimir Putin attends the wedding of Austrian foreign minister Karin Kneissl (FPÖ) and businessman Wolfgang Malinger. (BBC)

Chinese President Xi Jinping is expected to visit Pyongyang to attend the celebration of the 70th anniversary of North Korea’s founding. (Reuters)

A school official in Bicol Central Academy, a school in Libmanan, Camarines Sur, Philippines burned students’ bags and other personal belongings as a punishment for students who violated the no-bag policy set for the school’s event during that time. It was met with huge outrage from the netizens. (Rappler)

Belarusian president Alexander Lukashenko reshuffles his government in the wake of a corruption scandal. Andrei Kobyakov is replaced by Sergei Rumas as Prime Minister of Belarus. (The Guardian)

The opening ceremony of the Asian Games takes place. (NDTV Sports)

 

 Friday,  Aug 17, 2018

A high court in İzmir, Turkey, rejects an appeal to release U.S. pastor Andrew Brunson. (USA Today)

Around 20,000 Palestinians protest near the Israel–Gaza barrier. Medical sources say that Israel Defense Forces killed two people and wounded at least 270 others, 50 of them with live bullets. (Reuters)

The U.S. Department of State announces that it will redirect approximately US$230 million in stabilization funds for Syria to “other key foreign policy priorities.” Career Ambassador James Jeffrey is appointed as “special representative for Syrian engagement”. (AP via Chron)

Imran Khan, the chairman of the Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party, is elected as the Prime Minister of Pakistan. (Al Jazeera)

 

Thursday, Aug 16,  2018

In coordinated editorials defending press freedom, hundreds of U.S. newspapers rebuke President Donald Trump’s repeated accusations that the news media reports “fake news” and that journalists are “enemies of the people”. (RTÉ News)

Analysis shows that a rare fire tornado that barreled into the city of Redding on July 26 during the Carr Fire was responsible for the death of a firefighter as he raced towards a neighborhood in flames. (Los Angeles Times)

The government of DR Congo issues an international arrest warrant for opposition leader Moïse Katumbi, who was hoping to take part in the upcoming December 2018 Congolese general election. (Zambia Reports)

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau dismisses speculation that he would call an early election this fall and states that his government remains focused on renegotiating NAFTA and strengthening the economy. (Reuters)

The Texas Rangers pull off a triple play against the Los Angeles Angels without retiring the batter, the first such triple play in MLB since 1912. (HuffPost)

The End

08.06.2018

Hundred-Dollar Bills Make Me Nervous
by Joe Bob Briggs
August 02, 2018

Yes, he’s reading Bright Lights, Big City. (Actually, he’s listening to the audiotape while

riding to work in the back of a Town Car.) No, he doesn’t understand that he’s a cliché and, more important for the rest of us, he doesn’t understand that he’s an economic indicator that won’t show up on any of today’s analyst reports.

If we had an app that tracked the movements of these guys, all our smartphones would be flashing “DOUCHE ALERT, DOUCHE ALERT” and we would be preparing to take all our money out of Facebook and put it in German treasury bills.

The last time these guys were spotted: 2007. What does that tell you?

 

Monday,  Aug 6, 2018

Trump reimposes Iran sanctions, slams ‘horrible’ nuclear deal

In a Monday executive order, President Trump followed through with plans to reinstate sanctions on Iran that had been lifted under the nuclear deal. The 2015 agreement, made between the U.S., Iran, and other world superpowers, limited Iran’s ability to create nuclear weapons in exchange for relief from harsh economic sanctions. Trump withdrew the U.S. from the deal in May. His Monday order slammed the “horrible” deal as “defective at its core,” and it announced that his administration would reimpose sanctions on precious metals and Iran’s automotive sector, among other targets. The EU, France, Germany, and the U.K. jointly derided Trump’s decision in a Monday statement, saying Europe will intensify its efforts to preserve the deal. Source: The Associated Press, ABC News

The United States is set to reimpose sanctions on Iran after pulling out of a nuclear deal three months ago. (Reuters)

 

Sunday, Aug 5, 2018

Syrian media reports that ISIL has executed one of a number of Druze hostages taken from Syria’s government-held city of As-Suwayda in an attack last week. (Haaretz)

A 7.0 magnitude earthquake strikes Lombok, Indonesia. A tsunami warning is issued. At least 98 people are killed and more than 200 are injured. (BBC)

Police in Switzerland say that all 20 occupants of a World War II-era Junkers Ju 52 plane that crashed yesterday on the flanks of the Piz Segnas mountain are dead. (Whig)

Police in New Mexico rescue 11 malnourished children being kept in squalid conditions in a remote desert compound. (BBC)

Saudi Arabia withdraws its Ambassador from Canada, and orders the Canadian counterpart to leave the country in 24 hours, after Canada calls for the release of activists who are in detention in the Middle East nation. (CBC News)

A Taliban suicide bomber kills three Czech soldiers on a routine patrol in Charikar, Afghanistan. A U.S. soldier and two Afghan troops are also injured in the bombing. (BBC)

 

 Saturday,  Aug 4, 2018

England’s Local Government Association reports that approximately two-thirds of plastic objects which reach recycling facilities cannot be recycled, due to the mix of polymers used by producers. (BBC)

Venezuelan authorities detain six people involved in the assassination attempt of Venezuela President Nicolás Maduro. (The Hill)

Venezuela President Nicolás Maduro survives what he calls an assassination attempt involving explosive drones while speaking at a military event in Caracas. Eight people are injured. (BBC)

Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro blames an assassination attempt on Colombia and Venezuelan exiles in the U.S. state of Florida. (The Guardian)

A report commissioned by the United Nations Security Council concludes that North Korea has not stopped its nuclear program and that it attempted to sell military supplies to Libya, Sudan and Yemen. (BBC)

Ri Yong-ho, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of North Korea, says that his country will not start denuclearizing unless the United States takes reciprocal actions. (The New York Times)

Los Angeles Raiders cornerback Daryl Worley is sentenced to three days in jail and two years of probation in June after pleading guilty to firearms and resisting arrest charges stemming from an incident in April. (NFL) (ABC News)

 

Friday,  Aug 3, 2018

The Space Needle in Seattle unveils the world’s first revolving glass floor. (CNN)

Chile becomes the first Latin American country to ban the commercial use of single-use plastic bags. (Sky News)

A suicide bomb attack at a Shi’ite mosque in Gardez, Afghanistan, kills at least 29 people and wounds at least 40 others. There is no immediate claim for the attack. (Reuters) (The Express Tribune)

Researchers at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston report the first successful transplant of a bio-engineered lung. The lung, taken from a donor pig, was reduced to a protein scaffold, and replaced with the subject pig’s own cells over the course of a month. (BBC)

North Korea warns that the heat wave affecting the Korean peninsula could damage important food crops and lead to shortages. (BBC)

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo states in an interview that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un will ultimately set the timeline for denuclearization. (CBS News)

The United States imposes sanctions on a Russian bank that facilitated a transaction for a North Korean on an American blacklist. (Reuters)

The wife of a former US Marine and Iraq War veteran whose family publicly pleaded for President Donald Trump to intervene is deported to Mexico. (NBC News)

Greek Civil Protection Minister Nikos Toskas resigns after a wildfire that killed 88 people and led to wide criticism of the government for its handling of the disaster. (Reuters)

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory releases a report officially disclosing a meteor explosion of roughly 2.1 kilotons of force near Thule Air Base in northwest Greenland on July 25. The United States Air Force confirms the explosion, adding that it did not impact operations at Thule Air Base. (The Independent)

The End

 

Demented

Monday,  Jul 23, 2018

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

Sunday, Jul 22, 2018

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

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

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

 

Saturday,  Jul 21, 2018

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

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

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

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

 

 Friday,  Jul 20, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The End

Global Warming

Friday,  Jul 20, 2018

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

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

Thursday, Jul 19,  2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

 

Wednesday,  Jul 18,  2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 Tuesday,  Jul 17, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Monday,  Jul 16, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The End

Helsinki Summit

 

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

 

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

 

Twelve Ham Sandwiches with Russian Dressing

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

 

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

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

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

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

This is really inspiring, though:

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

Monday,  Jul 16, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Sunday, Jul 15, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 Saturday,  Jul 14, 2018

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

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

 

Friday,  Jul 13, 2018

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

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

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

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

 

The End

Stormy Daniels Arrested

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

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

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

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

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

 

Thursday, Jul 12,  2018

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

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

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

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

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

 

Wednesday,  Jul 11,  2018

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

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

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

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

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

 

Tuesday,  Jul 10, 2018

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

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

The End