Take Out The Gunman

 

Wednesday,  Apr 18,  2018

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

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

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

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

 

Tuesday,   Apr 17, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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The Titanic

Monday,  Apr 9, 2018

 MV Symphony of the Seas, the world’s largest cruise ship at 206,912 tonnes, begins her first voyage with paying passengers. (Stuff)

Tesla’s Q1 Numbers Have A Dark Side

http://kunstler.com/clusterfuck-nation/state-of-failure/

Syrian Showdown: Trump vs. the Generals
by Patrick J. Buchanan

April 06, 2018

 

Trump vows decision after ‘barbaric’ Syrian chemical attack President Trump said Monday that he will decide within the next 24 to 48 hours how to respond to a “heinous,” “barbaric” chemical weapon attack in Syria over the weekend that left as many as 70 people dead. “We’re talking about humanity and it can’t be allowed to happen,” Trump said. He added that Russian President Vladimir Putin “may” bear some responsibility for the attack, which was perpetrated by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, a Putin ally, saying that if Putin was involved, “it’s going to be very tough.” Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov criticized Trump for apparently walking back his stated desire to pull troops from Syria, saying the U.S. appears to be “[establishing] a foothold there for a very long time.” Source: The New York Times

North Korea reportedly told U.S. Kim Jong Un ready to talk denuclearization North Korean officials have directly notified the United States that leader Kim Jong Un is prepared to discuss his country’s nuclear weapons program when he meets with President Trump, The Associated Press reports. Two members of the Trump administration confirmed with AP on Sunday that Pyongyang directly communicated with the U.S., but would not say when or how this contact occurred. Last month, South Korean leaders visiting Washington passed along an invitation from Kim to Trump to hold a summit, with Trump immediately accepting the offer. They have not yet set a date for their meeting. Source: The Associated Press

China has started ranking citizens with a creepy ‘social credit’ system

In a new apostolic exhortation, Gaudete et Exsultate, Pope Francis mentions Satan or the Devil twelve times. Warning against Catholic media transgressing the eighth commandment, he calls to “see how the unguarded tongue, set on fire by hell, sets all things ablaze.” (Reuters)

The New Zealand Overseas Investment Office approves the sale of clothing company Icebreaker to US retail conglomerate VF Corporation, revealing the sale price as NZ$288 million. (Stuff)

US entertainer Bill Cosby’s sexual assault retrial begins. As he enters the court a topless woman with the words Women’s Lives Matter written on her body charges him and is arrested. (AP via Fredricksburg.com)

Around 2,500 police armed with tear gas launch a raid in Notre-Dame-des-Landes, France, in a bid to force the removal of 250 activists who have occupied the site of the proposed Aéroport du Grand Ouest for ten years to prevent its construction. The proposed airport is abandoned but the activists refuse to leave their community. (The Guardian)

Reich’s Laboratory
by Steve Sailer

March 28, 2018

Sunday, Apr 8, 2018

The death toll from yesterday’s suspected chemical weapons attack in Douma, Syria, rises to at least 70, according to the White Helmets group. The Syrian government and Russia deny the allegations of a chemical attack. (BBC)

U.S. President Donald Trump warns Russia and Iran for backing Bashar al-Assad and calls him “Animal Assad”. (Sky News)

8 missiles are launched at the Syrian T4 air base, reportedly by Israeli F-15s. 5 of the missiles are shot down by the Syrian Air Defense Force.  (BBC) (Reuters)

Israeli Defence Forces fire shells at Palestinians on foot near the border fence, saying the men had crossed the fence before reentering the Gaza Strip near Gaza City. (Haaretz)

Gazan hospitals declare a state of emergency owing to the thousands injured. (al-Jazeera)

 

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American Stalinism

Friday,  Apr 6, 2018

Saudi Arabia plans to build a Hyperloop

 

Trump considering hitting China with an additional $100 billion in tariffs President Trump announced Thursday that he is contemplating imposing an additional $100 billion in tariffs against China, piling on to the $50 billion already authorized by the White House. Trump said the increase is in response to China’s decision to raise import duties on U.S. products, including soybeans and pork, by up to 25 percent, which he called an “unfair retaliation” against the U.S. “Rather than remedy its misconduct, China has chosen to harm our farmers and manufacturers,” Trump said. Source: The New York Times

Ex-South Korean President Park Geun-hye sentenced to 24 years for corruption A court in Seoul convicted former South Korean President Park Geun-hye of bribery, extortion, abuse of power, and other corruption-related charges on Friday and sentenced her to 24 years in prison and a $16.8 million fine. Park, who maintains her innocence, was not in court to hear the verdict. She has a week to appeal the verdict. Park was impeached in December 2016 and removed from office in March 2017 by the Constitutional Court, and the scandal has also taken down longtime ally Choi Soon-sil, who is serving 20 years, and dozens of other government and business leaders, most prominently Samsung heir apparent Lee Jae-yong, whose five-year sentence was cut in half and suspended. Source: The Associated Press

 

Thursday, Apr 5,  2018

The Israeli Defence Forces releases footage of a man fatally shot yesterday during an apparent attempt to breach the Gazan border fence. Israel says he was carrying an AK-47 and explosive devices including grenades, and accused Hamas of “playing with fire”. (Ynet News)

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko holds a press conference in Vinnytsia announcing the end of the Anti Terror Operation in Donbass in May. It will be replaced with a military force. (UNIAN)

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan calls 15 peaceful anti-war protestors arrested last month at Boğaziçi University in Istanbul terrorists and says they will not be allowed to complete their education. (Times Higher Education)

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has reportedly told Chinese President Xi Jinping that he is willing to resume six-party talks. (Yahoo! News)

Vasily Nebenzya, the Russian ambassador to the United Nations, tells the UN Security Council the United Kingdom has created a “fake story” and says Russia has “told our British colleagues that you are playing with fire and you will be sorry.” UK UN representative Karen Pierce tells the Security Council UK actions “stand up to any scrutiny” and compares Russian requests to join the investigation to an arsonist investigating their own fire. (BBC)

Brazilian federal judge Sérgio Moro orders the arrest of former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva by late Friday to begin serving a 12-year sentence for corruption. (Reuters)

Newly released documentation reveals Benjamin Morrow, a man killed by an explosion on March 5 in his home in Beaver Dam, Wisconsin, possessed white supremacist literature, five guns with ammunition, boxes of binary explosives, jars of explosive TATP, and a small explosives manufacturing laboratory. (Wisc News)

An arrest warrant is issued for Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) lightweight champion Conor McGregor after he was involved in a melee at a press conference at the Barclays Center in New York City ahead of UFC 223. Video footage appears to show McGregor throwing a guard rail through a window of the Khabib Nurmagomedov team bus. (The Guardian)

White House: U.S. involvement in Syria coming to ‘rapid end’ The White House on Wednesday said that U.S. military involvement in Syria is “coming to a rapid end.” Roughly 2,000 American troops are still in the country, assisting in the fight against the Islamic State. In a statement, the White House said that ISIS is “almost completely destroyed,” and as such, the U.S. will seek to wind down its combat presence. “The United States and our partners remain committed to eliminating the small ISIS presence in Syria that our forces have not already eradicated,” the statement read. “We will continue to consult with our allies and friends regarding future plans.” No timetable was offered for withdrawal. Source: NBC News, The Associated Press

Mueller’s team is reportedly questioning Russian oligarchs In recent weeks, Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team has questioned Russian oligarchs traveling in the United States, and in at least one case searched a man’s electronic devices after he disembarked from his private jet in the New York City area, several people familiar with the matter told CNN on Wednesday. Mueller is investigating Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election, and by showing interest in Russian oligarchs, it reveals his team is focusing on the possible flow of foreign money to President Trump’s campaign and inauguration fund, CNN reports. Under campaign finance laws, foreign nationals are not allowed to donate to U.S. political campaigns. Source: CNN

Facebook says Cambridge Analytica breach affected up to 87 million users Personal information from up to 87 million Facebook users was improperly shared with data firm Cambridge Analytica, Facebook revealed Wednesday — significantly more than the company’s previous estimate of 50 million. Most of the 87 million users were Americans, the social media company explained in a blog post. Facebook will start notifying users next week if their information was improperly obtained. Facebook has been under intense scrutiny since reports found that Cambridge Analytica, a political consulting firm with ties to President Trump, had harvested user information without permission. Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s CEO, has agreed to testify before the House Oversight Committee to address the “breach of trust.” Source: Facebook

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Tesla 2018

EPA says it is relaxing fuel efficiency standards for vehicles The Environmental Protection Agency announced Monday it plans to roll back emissions standards for cars and trucks set by former President Barack Obama, claiming the regulations present “challenges for auto manufacturers due to feasibility and practicability.” As the regulations stand now, new vehicles must get 36 miles per gallon by 2025, but those standards are “too high,” the EPA said. The agency is working with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to come up with new standards. While automakers approve of the move, environmentalists argue it will increase pollution and make it more expensive to fill up vehicles. Source: The Associated Press

 

Not So Happy Motoring
Clusterfuck Nation, James Howard Kunstler
March 30th, 2018

First, there’s the energy embedded in producing the car: mining and smelting the ores, manufacturing the plastics, running the assembly line, etc. That embedded energy amounts to about 22 percent of the energy consumed by the car over a ten-year lifetime. Then there’s the cost of actually powering the car day-by-day. The electricity around the USA is produced mostly by burning coal, natural gas, or by nuclear fission, all of which produce harmful emissions or byproducts. But the illusion that the power just comes out of a plug in the wall (for just pennies a day!) is a powerful one for the credulous public. The cherry-on-top is the fantasy that before much longer all that electric power will come from “renewables,” solar and wind, and we can leave the whole fossil fuel mess behind us.

Tesla Asks for Model 3 Factory Volunteers to Prove ‘Haters’ Wrong

 

Elon Musk: Government-Subsidized Pied Piper
The captain of cheesy stunts, his trendy space debris is destined to orbit the sun for an estimated billion years.
By GILBERT T. SEWALL • March 28, 2018

Speaking after World War II, the eminent psychologist Carl Jung said to the German novelist Hermann Hesse, “Space flights are merely an escape, a fleeing away from oneself, because it is easier to go to Mars or to the moon than it is to penetrate one’s own being.” He later restated this idea to The New Republic, “In the threatening situation of the world today, when people are beginning to see that everything is at stake, the projection-creating fantasy soars beyond the realm of earthly organizations and powers into the heavens, into interstellar space.“

“There’s absolutely nothing that might make Mars a ‘sustainable’ habitat for human beings, or probably any other form of Earthly life,” wrote James Howard Kunstler. The dream of Mars colonization, he pointed out, evades “making a go of it here on Earth, a planet that humans were exquisitely evolved for (or designed for, if you will), and which we are in the process of rendering uninhabitable for ourselves and lots of other creatures.”

 

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Whoops

Friday, March 23rd, 2018

U.S. President Donald Trump announces former United States Ambassador to the United Nations John R. Bolton will become his National Security Advisor, succeeeding the outgoing H. R. McMaster. (USA Today)

Trump says H.R. McMaster out, John Bolton in as national security adviser President Trump tweeted on Thursday evening that National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster is being replaced by John Bolton, a former United States ambassador to the United Nations and Fox News analyst. “I am very thankful for the service of General H.R. McMaster who has done an outstanding job and will always remain my friend,” Trump said. “There will be an official contact handover on 4/9.” Bolton is known for being a hard-line conservative and a hawk on Iran and North Korea, and he’s had regular contact with Trump throughout his presidency to discuss foreign policy. Source: Twitter

Ex-Playboy model Karen McDougal details alleged affair with Trump In an interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper on Thursday night, former Playboy model Karen McDougal detailed her purported 10-month extramarital affair with President Trump, saying they were intimate “many dozens of times” more than a decade ago. McDougal said she knew Trump was married to his third wife, Melania Trump, and she “felt guilty about it” and is “sorry” for what happened. While Trump was “very sweet” and told her he loved her, McDougal said, after they had “been intimate” the first time, Trump “tried to pay me, and I actually didn’t know how to take that.” She said she cried the entire way back to her house after indignantly turning down the money. Source: CNN

 

 

Detective Sergeant Nick Bailey, wounded when he came to the aid of the poisoned Russian dissidents, is discharged from hospital. (BBC)

British Prime Minister Theresa May calls the incident “part of a pattern of Russian aggression against Europe” and promises to raise the matter at an upcoming European Union summit. (BBC)

http://victorhanson.com/wordpress/my-war-with-russian-trolls/#more-11071

An inquest is opened into the death of murdered Russian exiled dissident Nikolai Glushkov in London. (The Independent)

Russian President Vladimir Putin accepts an invitation to visit Sudan from Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir. (Africa News)

Evacuations of 7,500 people from rebel-held Harasta, Eastern Ghouta begin. Rebels agree with the Syrian government and Russia for the displaced people to be exiled in Idlib Governorate. (The Guardian)

A market in the town of Harem, Idlib province, is reportedly struck by Russian aircraft, killing 35 people including 12 children. (NPR)

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer tells a Senate panel that President Donald Trump has decided to “pause” tariffs on steel and aluminium imports from the European Union, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Mexico, and South Korea. (BBC)

U.S. President Donald Trump imposes tariffs on US$60 billion of Chinese goods, while also limiting China’s ability to invest in the U.S. technology industry. (The Washington Post)

 

 

The Chauffeur (uncensored):

http://dai.ly/x2942g

 

Qatar’s Interior Ministry releases a list of individuals and entities it says are linked to terrorism. Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Egypt, who had demanded the list amid tensions with Qatar, welcome its release but criticise the time taken to prepare it. (Gulf News)

Poland’s ruling Law and Justice proposes changes to planned judicial reforms in response to European Union criticisms the plans threaten judicial independence. The European Commission is threatening Poland with sanctions over the reforms. (Deutsche Welle)

Polish and U.S. authorities say the completion of the United States missile defense complex in Poland, part of a NATO project, will be delayed until 2020. (U.S. News and World Report)

Poland’s ruling Law and Justice’s Arkadiusz Mularczyk says Germany owes Polish victims of World War II a total of 1.984 trillion zloty (US$543 billion, 440 billion euros) in compensation. (The Times of Israel)

Iranian immigrant Hussein Khavari is convicted of rape and murder in a case that provoked widespread discussion of refugee immigration to Germany. (BBC)

Ukrainian MP Nadiya Savchenko is arrested in Parliament over an alleged plot to attack Parliament and overthrow the government. (BBC)

An Indian court convicts eleven Hindus of murdering a Muslim man they discovered transporting beef, sentencing them to life. It is the first successful prosecution of cow vigilantism violence in India. (BBC)

Two men accused of an attempt to assassinate Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah die in a shootout with security forces. Two Hamas security personnel also die. (The Jerusalem Post)

The Court of Protection hears the Skripals are unable to communicate and may have suffered lifelong brain damage. It rules blood samples can be taken from the pair for analysis by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and grants the group access to medical records. (The Independent)

DNA tests confirm Ata, an unusual six-inch-long mummy found in Chile in 2003, to be the remains of a newborn human with genetic mutations. (BBC)

 

Thursday, Mar 22,  2018

Lawmakers face Friday deadline for $1.3 trillion budget bill On Wednesday, congressional negotiators finalized a $1.3 trillion budget bill that must be passed by both the House and Senate by midnight Friday in order to avoid another government shutdown. The 2,232-page text of the bill was released in the evening, and House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said while “no bill of this size is perfect,” the “legislation addresses important priorities and makes us stronger at home and abroad.” The bill increases military and domestic spending but does not address DACA or give President Trump much money for his Mexico border wall. Trump tweeted his support anyway, saying he “got $1.6 billion to start Wall on Southern Border, rest will be forthcoming,” and “got $700 billion to rebuild our military.” Source: The Associated Press

Mark Zuckerberg apologizes for Cambridge Analytica data breach Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg told CNN on Wednesday he’s “really sorry” about a data breach that affected an estimated 50 million Facebook users, acknowledging that the company has “a basic responsibility” to protect users’ private information. Facebook is under scrutiny following the revelation that a data scientist created a personality quiz that was taken by millions of users, and their personal information was then secretly passed along to the data analytics firm Cambridge Analytica. Zuckerberg said “anyone whose data may have been affected” will be notified, and the platform plans on building a tool that lets users see if their information has been compromised and if they are using any apps that are “doing sketchy things.” Source: CNN

Saudi crown prince reportedly bragged he has Kushner ‘in his pocket’ Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman told people close to him that President Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner, shared with him the names of Saudis who were disloyal to him, and also told the crown prince of Abu Dhabi he has Kushner “in his pocket,” current and former White House and government officials told The Intercept. Before his security clearance was downgraded, Kushner read the President’s Daily Brief, filled with classified intelligence. A spokesperson for Kushner’s lawyer told The Intercept Kushner did not discuss any names with the crown prince. Source: The Intercept

 

 

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Thursday, Mar 15, 2018

The United Kingdom expels 23 Russian diplomats and cuts off all top-level ties with Russia as punishment for a reported attack with the Novichok military-grade nerve agent, an attack which Prime Minister Theresa May described as an “unlawful use of force by the Russian state against the United Kingdom”. (The Guardian) (NPR) (Reuters)

Sergey Lavrov, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, says Russia will “definitely” expel British diplomats. (Sputnik)

The Trump administration imposes financial sanctions on the 13 Russian government hackers and spy agencies indicted in the Special Counsel investigation. (Business Insider)

America’s largest broadcaster iHeartMedia, owner of 850 radio stations, files for chapter 11 bankruptcy after accumulating $20 billion in debt. (CNN)

Toys ‘R’ Us announces that it will close all U. S. stores. (New York Times)

Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca announces that it is shutting down due to the economic and reputational damage inflicted by its role in the global tax evasion scandal. (The Guardian)

Australian Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton says white South African farmers could receive fast-track visas on “humanitarian grounds” amid calls to transfer land ownership from white to black farmers, and fears over the number of racially-motivated farm killings. (BBC)

Brazilian politician and outspoken police critic Marielle Franco is killed along with her driver in a drive-by shooting in Rio de Janeiro. (BBC)

After a 18-month Sunday Mirror investigation, Theresa May has called for an inquiry “as quickly as possible” on reported Asian grooming gangs in Telfordwhereby up to 1,000 girls were lured from their families to be drugged, beaten, raped and even murdered. (The Mirror)

Miro Cerar announces his resignation as Prime Minister of Slovenia, due to the Supreme Court of Slovenia’s annulment of the referendum that approved building a railway between Koper and Divača, a project which he calls “strategic”. (Associated Press)

Ford issues a recall of 1.4 million vehicles, including some models of the Ford Fusion and the Lincoln MKZ, citing an issue where the steering wheel could come loose. (CNN)

 

Wednesday,  Mar 14,  2018

Trump picks Larry Kudlow to replace Gary Cohn as top economic adviser President Trump has chosen economist and media analyst Larry Kudlow to direct the National Economic Council, Politico reported Wednesday. Kudlow will replace Gary Cohn, the Goldman Sachs executive who resigned from the post amid disagreements over Trump’s steel and aluminum import tariffs. Trump called Kudlow on Tuesday night to offer the job, and Kudlow accepted, CNN reports. Kudlow was long considered a frontrunner to step in as the chief economic adviser, after his role informally helping to shape Trump’s messaging on taxes and other economic issues during the 2016 presidential election, reports CNBC. Source: Politico, CNN

Britain to expel 23 Russian diplomats, suspend contact with Kremlin after spy poisoning British Prime Minister Theresa May announced Wednesday that the United Kingdom will expel 23 Russian diplomats, the most since the Cold War, as well as suspend all planned high-level bilateral contacts with the Kremlin. The decision follows the poisoning of a former Russian spy and his daughter on British soil with a nerve agent developed by the Soviet Union. “For those who wish to do us harm, my message is clear: You are not welcome here,” May told Parliament. Additionally, May announced that members of the royal family would not attend the World Cup in Russia this summer. Russia has dismissed the accusations, and called Britain’s moves “a very serious provocation.” Source: NBC News, Business Insider

Facebook blocks Britain First, a far right group that has been deregistered as a political party in the United Kingdom, because leaders Paul Golding and Jayda Fransen have repeatedly violated its community standards. (The New York Times) (BBC) (NBC News)

British physicist and cosmologist Stephen Hawking dies at age 76 at his home in Cambridge. (The Guardian)(The New York Times)

 

Toys “R” Us are to close down all their stores in the United Kingdom after rescue talks fail, resulting in the loss of about 3,000 jobs. (The Guardian)

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte announces the withdrawal of the Philippines from the International Criminal Court (ICC) over “outrageous attacks” by United Nations officials. (Reuters)

Australian Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton says white South African farmers could receive fast-track visas on “humanitarian grounds” amid calls to transfer land ownership from white to black farmers, and fears over the number of racially-motivated farm killings. (BBC)

Angela Merkel, Chancellor of Germany is elected and sworn in for a new term. Olaf Scholz and Heiko Maas assume the positions of Vice-Chancellor and Federal Minister of Foreign Affairs respectively. (The Guardian)

 

Physicist Stephen Hawking dies at 76 Stephen Hawking, the British theoretical physicist and cosmologist, has died, a spokesman for his family announced Wednesday. He was 76. Hawking died at his home in Cambridge. In a statement, his children, Lucy, Robert, and Tim, called their father “a great scientist and an extraordinary man whose work and legacy will live on for many years.” Hawking worked on black holes and quantum fluctuations, and his 1988 book A Brief History of Time sold more than 10 million copies and was translated into 40 different languages. Hawking had an early-onset form of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) that progressed slowly over time, ultimately leaving him paralyzed, and he used a computer to speak. When he was diagnosed at 21, he expected to live only two more years.Source: The Guardian

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03.12.2018

Monday,  Mar 12, 2018

China’s National People’s Congress approves the removal of presidential term limits, in a move that allows current president Xi Jinping to remain president for life. (BBC)

A Brooklyn federal court sentences Martin Shkreli to seven years in prison for securities fraud in his hedge fund and pharmaceutical companies. (CNBC)

Black Panther reaches $1 billion worldwide Black Panther continued to dominate as it reached $1 billion in the global box office in just four weeks, according to estimates released by Box Office Mojo on Sunday. It is the 16th Disney movie to reach the billion-dollar mark, and the first Marvel superhero film to top ticket sales for four weeks in a row. Black Panther has grossed $562 million domestically, making it the No. 7 highest-grossing movie ever in North America, without adjusting for inflation. It has now surpassed The Dark Knight to become the second highest-grossing superhero movie ever in the U.S. Source: The Washington Post

 

Sunday, Mar 11, 2018

A helicopter crash in Manhattan’s East River kills five people. (ABC News)

A private plane from Sharjah to Istanbul crashes in the Zagros Mountains in Iran, killing Turkish socialite Mina Başaran along with, according to Iranian state media, ten other people on board. (The National (Abu Dhabi))(BBC)

Activist and journalist Lauren Southern is detained at Calais and prevented from entering the United Kingdom, with the reason given by the UK Home Office that her presence ‘was not conducive to the public good’. (The Evening Standard)(Newsweek)

Senator Elizabeth Warren talks around a suggestion by a Massachusetts newspaper to take a DNA test to prove her Native American heritage. (CNN)

 

Saturday,  Mar 10, 2018

Jeju Island emerges as a possible location for U.S.–North Korea summit talks in May. (The Hankyoreh)

North Korean foreign minister Ri Yong-ho will visit Sweden and meet with Deputy Prime Minister Margot Wallström. (Reuters via The Japan Times)

Congolese President Joseph Kabila signs a law that increases taxes on mining and government royalties on international mining companies working in DR Congo, including on the mining of cobalt, despite the opposition from foreign companies. (BBC)

 

Identitarian leaders Martin Sellner and Brittany Pettibone are detained in the UK for wanting to hold a speech at Speaker’s Corner in London and wanting to interview Tommy Robinson. (Demokracija)(Evening Standard)

 

Friday,  Mar 9, 2018

White House: Trump will accept Kim Jong Un’s invitation to meet South Korea’s national security adviser announced Thursday evening that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is “committed to denuclearization” and “expressed an eagerness to meet President Trump as soon as possible.” Speaking outside the White House, Chung Eui-yong said Trump “appreciated the briefing, and said he would meet Kim Jong Un by May to achieve permanent denuclearization.” He also said that while talks are underway, North Korea “would refrain from any form of nuclear or missile tests,” and Kim understands that routine military exercises between South Korea and the United States “must continue.” Later, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders confirmed Trump will accept the invitation to meet, “at a place and time to be determined.” Source: The Week, Twitter

White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders says that the White House needs to see “concrete and verifiable steps” toward the denuclearization of North Korea before meeting with Kim Jong-un. (Business Insider)

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull urges U.S. President Donald Trump to be cautious in North Korea talks. Turnbull also said that Australia must retain sanctions on North Korea. (Canberra Times)

French President Emmanuel Macron says that Trump should hold tough talks with North Korea. (First Post)

An Afghan War veteran and recently expelled resident takes an executive director and two psychologists into a room at the Veterans Home of California in Yountville, California. Seven hours later, California Highway Patrol officers find all of them shot dead. (The New York Times)

U.S. President Donald Trump pardons Kristian Saucier, who had served a one-year sentence for unauthorized possession and retention of national defense information. (The Washington Post)

Arianespace launches mission VS18 from the Guiana Space Centre, a Soyuz rocket carrying a payload of four O3b communications satellites for SES. (NASASpaceFlight.com)

Manafort pleads not guilty to tax and fraud charges in Virginia President Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort pleaded not guilty Thursday to tax and fraud charges in Virginia federal court, and will be outfitted with a second GPS monitoring bracelet. His trial will start July 10. The bracelet will be in addition to the original tracking device Manafort was assigned last month, after he pleaded not guilty to Washington, D.C.-based charges. The Virginia probation officer told the judge that she wouldn’t have access to tracking data from the D.C.-based bracelet, hence the need for a second monitoring device. Manafort’s plea of not guilty to the 18-count indictment is part of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian influence in the 2016 presidential election and whether Trump’s campaign colluded with Moscow. Source: Twitter

 

Thursday, Mar 8,  2018

Kim Jong-un invites Donald Trump to discuss Korea’s denuclearization sometime by May, and Trump accepts. (CBC) (The New York Times)

Secretary-General of the Arab League Ahmed Aboul Gheit demands Guatemala reverse its decision to move its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Guatemala, Sandra Jovel says the move is “irreversible.” (Xinhua News Agency)

U.S. President Donald Trump imposes his tariffs of 25% on steel and 10% on aluminum imported from most countries. Canada and Mexico are provisionally exempt pending NAFTA renegotiations. The tariffs will take effect on March 23. (CBS News)

Eleven countries in Asia, North America, Oceania, and South America sign the revised Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement. (The New York Times)

The End

 

The Real Wakanda

 

Thursday, Feb 22,  2018

How To Exploit a High School Massacre

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

 

Ethiopia

 

 

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

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

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

Wednesday,  Feb 21,  2018

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

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

 Tuesday,   Feb 20, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

 

Monday,  Feb 19, 2018

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

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

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

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

 

Sunday, Feb 18, 2018

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

 

Saturday,  Feb 17, 2018

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

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

Friday,  Feb 16, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, Feb 15,  2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

THE END

 

I never heard so much fucking nonsense in my life.

Instagram deleted this video of Russian oligarchs allegedly partying with prostitutes on a yacht

 

 A man is caught impersonating Kim Jong-un after walking through North Korea’s cheerleading squad. (Business Insider)

 

We have a spreadsheet of Elon’s whoppers, along with a longer spreadsheet of all the executive departures at Tesla.

Chanos: And anybody that can do that and then rise to CEO, you know, had to be able to sell pretty much anything. And that I think is Elon’s greatest quality. He’s a pretty good salesman. He’s always pitching the next great idea. The problem is that the execution of the current ideas is falling short. And that’s where I think it’s problematic. And on top of that, I think — increasingly — he’s making promises that he knows he cannot keep. And I think that’s a much more ominous, turn.

Lopez: What is the most recent promise that he’s made that he can’t keep?

Chanos: Well I think the the biggest whopper that I’ve seen, and we have a spreadsheet of Elon’s whoppers, along with a longer spreadsheet of all the executive departures at Tesla. But I think the latest one that kind of stunned me was when he unveiled the semitruck — EV.

Lopez: But he hasn’t really even given us a regular car. The $30,000 car that he promised everyone.

Chanos: Well forgetting that, he said that truck will be out in 2019. And if that’s the case, those production lines have to be up now. That factory has to be up now. And where is that? I mean what factory line is going to be making a truck in 2019 and a roadster sports car that he unveiled in 2020? You can’t simply say things like that without having some evidence to back them up. You’re a public company’s CEO. And, you know, I’d want some clarification on where exactly this truck is going to be built to be out in 2019. But, you know, he’s missed production estimate after production estimate. He thought there’d be 10,000 Model 3s a week by the end of ’17.

Lopez: Isn’t it 5,000?

Chanos: Now it’s 5,000 by June. I think even worse is that people have thought they were getting a car for what amounted to $27,500 — the $35,000 base plus the federal tax credit. Now they’re realizing that the federal tax credit’s going to, basically, be over by this year. And every manufacturer has a limit.

Lopez: So then it’s a $60,000 car?

Chanos: Well the Model 3s he’s delivering now are $50,000 base pretty much. And with delivery charges and sales tax they’re probably closer to $55,000. So they’re almost twice what he promised people. And the car for $55,000 is not a particularly great car in our view. It might be for $27,500. But it competes against basically luxury cars at $55,000. And that’s a pretty competitive area and going to get more competitive.

Lopez: Gotcha,

Chanos: But he’s already talking about the Model Y.

Lopez: And Mars?

Lopez: Yeah, I mean Mars looks good I guess.

Chanos: And Mars doesn’t have a current extradition treaty with the US from what I understand.

Lopez: He could go; it’s fine. So you once said that the single most important market in the world is the Chinese property market. China has been incredibly quiet in 2018. We didn’t see our normal China puking that we do every year at the beginning of the year. So what’s going on there? And is it still the most important market in the world?

 

 

Yet Another Year of Magical Thinking
Clusterfuck Nation

Thursday, Feb 15,  2018

Cyril Ramaphosa to succeed South African President Jacob Zuma South African Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa will succeed Jacob Zuma as president, after Zuma announced his resignation Wednesday in a nationally televised speech. Ruling party legislators officially elected Ramaphosa on Thursday. The BBC writes that there is “a renewed sense of hope” as Ramaphosa assumes the leadership role he has had his eye on since 1994. Zuma was at the center of several scandals during his nine-year tenure, with critics claiming that his friends and family profited handsomely from his presidency. The leadership of Zuma’s party, the African National Congress, had called for his resignation on Monday. Source: BBC News

More Below The Fold

Continue reading “I never heard so much fucking nonsense in my life.”

Nice Lips

 

http://stephenkotkin.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/23_Kotkin.pdf

http://www.businessinsider.com/dubai-worlds-longest-zipline-jebel-jais-flight-uae-2018-2

Thursday, Feb 8,  2018

https://www.rt.com/business/418173-tesla-reports-record-loss/

 

http://www.businessinsider.com/us-kills-more-than-100-pro-assad-forces-after-unprovoked-attack-syria2018-2

 

https://www.rt.com/news/418227-syria-us-resources-grab/

 

Twitter reports its first profitable quarter Twitter on Thursday reported its first quarterly net profit, of $91 million, after it slashed expenses and its revenue beat analysts’ expectations. The microblogging company’s inability to start making money had confounded Wall Street, given its broad reach and popularity among celebrities and power brokers, including President Trump. The company said it also expected to show profit, using generally accepted accounting principles, for the full year in 2018. Still, Twitter’s user growth missed expectations, falling flat for the quarter at 330 million monthly active users, although that marked a 4 percent increase from a year earlier. A change to Apple’s Safari web browser cost Twitter about 2 million active users. The company also stepped up efforts to reduce spam and automated or fake accounts. Source: Reuters

Wednesday,  Feb 7, 2018

United States Central Command says that it killed more than 100 pro-government troops in “self-defense” strikes 8 kilometres (5.0 mi) east of the Euphratesde-confliction line that was reportedly agreed with Russia. (AFP via Rappler)

Syrian state media say that Israeli warplanes attacked a military position in Jamraya, Rif Dimashq Governorate, from Lebanese airspace, with the Syrian Air Defense Force intercepting most of the missiles. The target is rumored to be a weapon research facility. (Xinhua)

Rob Porter resigns as White House Staff Secretary after two of his ex-wives make allegations of physical and emotional abuse. Porter denies the allegations, which were first published by the Daily Mail(The Guardian)

Researchers at London’s Natural History Museum state that the DNA extracted from “Cheddar Man” reveals that early inhabitants of Great Britain had blue eyes and dark skin. The name “Cheddar Man” was given to a fossil of a human man that lived thousands of years ago, which was discovered in 1903. (BBC)(The New York Times)

 

Tuesday,  Feb 6, 2018

Turkey detains nearly 600 people for social media posts and protests opposing the Afrin offensive in Syria. (Reuters)

Multiple earthquakes, including a magnitude 6.4 earthquake, strike near Hualien City, Taiwan. At least 9 people are killed and over 250 are injured, with extensive damage to many structures in the city. (The Independent)

In the United States, billionaire Steve Wynn, best known for his casino hotels and resorts, resigns as CEO of Wynn Resorts following sexual harassment reports, including a $7.5 million settlement with a former worker at his Las Vegas resort. (The New York Times)

Polish President Andrzej Duda ratifies a controversial Holocaust bill, despite angry protests from Israel and the United States. Duda defends the legislation, which will make it illegal to accuse the Polish state of complicity in the Holocaust during the Nazi occupation. (BBC) (Bloomberg)

SpaceX successfully launches its long-awaited Falcon Heavy—a feat the space company hopes will lead to increased commercial and national security missions. Both boosters were successfully landed and recovered. The core didn’t land and was softly ditched in the water near the drone ship. The rocket launched Elon Musk’s Tesla Roadster, playing “Life on Mars” by David Bowie, which is expected to be in an elliptic orbit of the sun, close to Mars, for several hundred million years. (Los Angeles Times)

Scientists (in the article published in the journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics) warn that the ozone layer that protects people from the sun’s ultraviolet radiation is recovering only over less populated areas. (The Guardian)

THE END