Sense

Mike Pompeo’s secret trip to North Korea makes zero sense
by Noah Millman

I like Noah Millman and I haven’t even read this article yet. But like, since when has anything made any sense?

Macron on Africa’s “Bombshell” Population Growth
STEVE SAILER • APRIL 19, 2018

But a lot of Western philanthropic effort was focused on Bangladesh back in, say, the 1970s before racial attitudes had become quite so self-loathing.

The scary thing is the growing sacralization of blacks as holy beings who cannot be told to, say, leave Starbucks just because they didn’t pay.

Does concern over African overpopulation reflect “Fear of a Black Planet?”

Well, yeah, obviously, it does.

It’s a chicken tikka disaster! Rivers in Bradford are turning YELLOW because the ‘Curry Capital of Britain’ is polluting them with food waste from its 200 Asian restaurants

Jesus.

Calling the police on black people isn’t a Starbucks problem. It’s an America problem.

 

Thursday, Apr 19,  2018

A 35-year ban on movie theaters ends in Saudi Arabia with Marvel Studios’ Black Panther being the first film to show. (CNN)

Cuban president Raúl Castro prepares to step down as Miguel Díaz-Canel is elected as his successor. This marks the first time since the Cuban Revolution that the country is not led by a member of the Castro family. (Washington Post)

Miguel Díaz-Canel elected president of Cuba, succeeding Raúl Castro Cuba on Thursday elected Miguel Díaz-Canel to be its next president. Díaz-Canel succeeds Raúl Castro, who stepped down Thursday morning, though Castro will remain head of Cuba’s Communist Party. Díaz-Canel was the lone candidate to be Castro’s successor and was handpicked by Castro for the job. 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 is the first new leader of the communist island nation after almost 60 years of rule by the Castro brothers. Source: The Washington Post, NBC News

It is revealed a recent airstrike mounted by Israel against an airbase in Syria targeted an Iranian Tor missile air defence system. (Haaretz)

As Israel marks Memorial Day followed immediately by Independence Day a truck driver is arrested at a checkpoint at the Reihan Crossing in the West Bank suspected of being on his way to launch a terror attack. The truck’s contents were marked as supplies for communities on the border but were actually explosives. (Haaretz)

Iran’s central bank officially switches from using the U.S. dollar to the euro in its international transactions. (Reuters)

NASA’s TESS exoplanet space telescope, whose launch was initially delayed, is successfully launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station by SpaceX on a Falcon 9 rocket. The first stage of the rocket successfully landed on SpaceX’s autonomous spaceport drone ship in the Atlantic Ocean. (CNN) (Space)

Search and rescue operations end after a crewman missing after a fire broke out aboard drillship MV Geo Technical in the South China Sea yesterday is found dead on the vessel. A gas leak discovered today was hampering the efforts. (The Star) (The Maritime Executive)

Puerto Rico experiences an island-wide blackout after an excavator accidentally downs a transmission line. (AP News)

Tajikistan and Uzbekistan will hold military drills for the first time. (Trend)

A Crown Court in England jails Daryll Rowe for life with a minimum of 12 years for deliberately infecting five men with HIV and attempting to infect five more. He is the first person convicted of deliberate HIV transmission in the United Kingdom. (BBC)

 

The U.S. Geological Survey’s Hawaiian Volcano Observatory states that Kīlauea is showing unusually high activity and that a new vent could form. (Big Island Now)

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, CNN

Ex-Playboy model Karen McDougal now free to discuss alleged Trump affair American Media Inc., the parent company of The National Enquirer, reached a settlement on Wednesday with former Playboy model Karen McDougal, which lets McDougal out of a contract that prevented her from being able to speak about an affair she says she had with President Trump. In 2016, American Media gave McDougal $150,000 in exchange for the rights to her story about Trump, but never ran the article. McDougal’s attorney, Peter Stris, said under the terms of the settlement, McDougal can keep the $150,000 payment, while American Media has the right to up to $75,000 of any future profits from the story. Trump, who is friends with American Media Chairman David J. Pecker, has denied the affair ever happened. McDougal said she does not have any plans right now to sell her story. Source: The New York Times

The End 

 

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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World’s Oldest Man

Thursday, Apr 12,  2018

Japanese supercentenarian Masazo Nonaka is confirmed as the world’s oldest living man. (Sky News)

http://www.businessinsider.com/most-violent-cities-in-the-world-2018-3

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2017/12/musta-israel-agents-pose-palestinians-171218061118857.html

http://www.businessinsider.com/elon-musk-instragram-spacex-mars-ship-2018-4

 

 

Trump backpedals threats against Russia, Syria President Trump appeared to backpedal his threats against Russia and Syria on Thursday after warning a day earlier that missiles “will be coming, nice and new and ‘smart!'” The White House has spent the week debating a response to a chemical weapons attack in Syria last weekend that left dozens dead and hundreds affected. Trump, who frequently lamented former President Barack Obama foregoing “the element of surprise,” said Thursday that he “never said when an attack on Syria would take place. Could be very soon or not so soon at all!” The president added, “In any event, the United States, under my administration, has done a great job of ridding the region of ISIS. Where is our ‘Thank you America?'” Source: Donald J. Trump, HuffPost

Report: FBI raid on Trump lawyer sought Access Hollywood tape records The FBI was reportedly looking for documents concerning the infamous Access Hollywood tape when they raided the office and residences of President Trump’s personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, on Monday. The tape, recorded in 2005 and made public just before the 2016 election, caught Trump bragging into a hot mic about kissing and grabbing women by their genitals. While it wasn’t immediately clear what Cohen’s relation might be to the tape, the news “reveals a new front in the investigation into Mr. Cohen that is being led by the United States attorney’s office in Manhattan,” The New York Times writes. The FBI agents are also thought to be investigating “hush” payments Cohen might have made to women on Trump’s behalf as well as other possible financial crimes. Source: The New York Times

 

Wednesday,  Apr 11,  2018

 The International Criminal Court finds radical nationalist Serb Vojislav Seselj guilty of war crimes against Bosnians during the Balkans war and sentences him to ten years in prison. He is immediately released as he served more than eleven years in the court’s custody, and takes to Twitter to declare himself “proud of my war crimes”. (al-Jazeera)

The family of a man killed in California when his Tesla Model X crashed with the Autopilot engaged says they intend to sue the carmaker. His wife further says he had complained of flaws in the vehicle’s behaviour and predicted his death in a collision with the barrier his car ultimately hit. (Electrek)

The death toll from tainted alcohol in Jakarta and West Java, Indonesia, reaches at least 82. (Reuters)

The Royal Saudi Air Defense intercepts a ballistic missile fired from Yemen over the Saudi capital Riyadh that caused panic among residents. Houthis say they fired several Burkan-2 missiles at targets in Saudi Arabia, including Saudi Aramco oil facilities. Separately, Saudi Air Defenses shoot down two Houthi-operated Qasef-1 drones near the border. (Reuters)

Spain’s Audiencia Nacional sentences ten Islamic extremists to between eight and twelve years in prison for a plot to launch attacks against Barcelona landmarks and behead a hostage on camera. The cell was convicted yesterday. (El País)

The Abu Dhabi Federal Appeal Court jails two Egyptians and a Saudi for fifteen years each and fines them for promoting terrorist ideologies online. The court orders them deported after release, their computer equipment seized, and their social media presences deleted. (Gulf News)

An Ilyushin Il-76 military plane crashes shortly after take-off from Boufarik Military Airport in Algeria, killing all 257 passengers on board. (BBC)

Poland releases a new report on the disaster, which killed 96 including then-President Lech Kaczyński, rejecting previous findings and claiming instead air traffic controllers in Smolensk, Russia, gave the jet erroneous information prior to two explosions destroying the jet in midair. (Radio Poland)

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern bans future offshore oil and gas exploration in New Zealand, leaving existing permits untouched. (The New Zealand Herald)

Elmira Medynska, the partner of Russian whistleblower Alexander Perepilichnyy, tells his inquest at the Central Criminal Court in London he seemed nervous and had been unwell prior to his death. The inquest is attempting to determine if Perepilichnyy had been murdered. (BBC)

South Korean politician Ahn Hee-jung is indicted on accusations he repeatedly raped his aide Kim Ji-eun, who previously accused him publicly of sexual abuse. (Gulf News)

South Korea national security adviser Chung Eui-yong visits Washington, D.C. and meets with his U.S. counterpart John R. Bolton. (Yonhap News Agency)

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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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Ri Sol Ju

Thursday, Mar 29,  2018

U.S. graphics processing unit producer Nvidia suspends all its tests of self-driving cars. (The Verge)

Uber reaches a lawsuit settlement with the victim’s family of an autonomous vehicle. (Reuters)

Claims emerge that Uber had disabled Volvo’s collision avoidance technology in the self-driving car involved in a fatal accident in Arizona. (Bloomberg)

The United States National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) launches a probe into a Tesla electric car crash and fire in California. The NTSB says it will investigate issues firefighters had trying to determine how to respond. (Bloomberg)

Date set for meeting between leaders of North and South Korea South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un will hold a summit on April 27, South Korea announced Thursday. High-level officials from both countries set up the meeting during talks in the border village of Panmunjom, and the Koreas plan to hold a second preparatory meeting on April 4. South Korean Unification Minister Cho Myoung-gyon said there was a “sufficient exchange of opinions” on the agendas of the April 27 summit, but didn’t provide a clear answer on whether Pyongyang’s nuclear program will be among the items Kim and Moon discuss. The leaders of South and North Korea have only held talks twice since the 1950-53 Korean War — once in 2000 and again in 2007. Source: Bloomberg, The Associated Press

Trump ousts VA Secretary David Shulkin President Trump announced Wednesday on Twitter that he has ousted Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin. Shulkin had been widely rumored to be on the outs, as his department has been consumed by internecine fighting and lack of direction. “I appreciate the work of Dr. David Shulkin and the many great things we did together at Veterans Affairs,” Trump said in a statement accompanying his tweet. Trump announced he would nominate Rear Adm. Ronny Jackson, who currently serves as the presidential physician, as Shulkin’s replacement; Robert Wilkie, an undersecretary in the Department of Defense, will serve until Jackson receives Senate confirmation. Source: NBC News, The Washington Post

Baseball returns with historic all-team opening day Baseball returns Thursday with an all-team opening day, the first of its kind since 1968, when there were just 20 Major League Baseball franchises. Although 15 games were scheduled for Thursday as to make for an appearance of all 30 teams, the Cincinnati Reds and the Washington Nationals have preemptively postponed their game until Friday due to “impending inclement weather” in Ohio, so only 28 baseball teams will ultimately play. The marathon otherwise kicks off at 12:30 p.m. ET when the Chicago Cubs face the Miami Marlins. The 2017 World Series Champions, the Houston Astros, will play the Texas Rangers at 3:30 p.m. ET in Arlington, and games will continue on through 10:10 p.m. ET when the last, between the Colorado Rockies and the Arizona Diamondbacks, begins in Phoenix. Source: The Ringer, SB Nation

 

Wednesday,  Mar 28,  2018

Mubarak al-Ajji, named on a Qatari official list of wanted terrorists, wins second place at a government-sponsored triathlon and is photographed at the medal ceremony. (The Week)

 The United Arab Emirates, with help from Korea Electric Power Corp., completes construction of the first reactor complex at the Barakah nuclear power plant 50 km west of Ruwais. The complex is the first Arab nuclear power plant. (The Mercury News)

The governments of China and North Korea both confirm that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un met with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing during the past four days. China states that North Korea is “committed to denuclearization” and willing to hold a summit with the United States. (Reuters)

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All Of This And Nothing

a phonebook full of accidents
a girl to drive your car
a suit to wear on mondays
and a coat a magazine
a heavy rain a holiday
a painting of the wall
a knife a fork and memories
a light to see it all
you didn’t leave me anything
that i can understand
hey i never meant that stuff
i want to turn you round
dominoes a pack of cards
a picture of the queen
a dress to wear on sundays
and a handle for the door
a letter that i sent for you
a note you left for me
a wave a pack of cigarettes
a pocket full of beads
you didn’t leave me anything
that i can understand
hey i never meant that stuff
i want to turn you on
you didn’t leave me anything
that i can understand
hey i never meant that stuff
i want to turn you round
you didn’t leave me anything
that i can understand
hey i never meant that stuff
i want to turn you on
the sound of people getting drunk
a ceiling and a sky
a bank that’s full of promises
a telephone that lies
a visit from your doctor
he crawls in through the door
a mirror you can look in
so that you know where you are
you didn’t leave me anything
that i can understand
hey i never meant that stuff
i want to turn you round
you didn’t leave me anything
that i can understand
now i’m left with all of this
a room full of your trash

 

Tuesday,   Mar 27, 2018

Trump remains silent on Stormy Daniels President Trump has remained uncharacteristically quiet on the topic of adult film star Stormy Daniels in the wake of her 60 Minutes interview on Sunday night. “He’s really not in a punch-back mode,” explained one friend. “Everyone is telling him, look, you can’t win here, so just do nothing.” Privately, Trump has reportedly vented that Daniels’ claims about their alleged 2006 affair are a “hoax” and that he “personally did not think Daniels appeared credible,” The Washington Post and New York Times write. On Monday, White House spokesman Raj Shah confirmed Trump “does not” believe Daniels’ statement that she was threatened by an anonymous man to keep silent about the alleged affair. In her interview with Anderson Cooper, Daniels said Trump “knows I’m telling the truth.” Source: The Washington Post, The New York Times

 

Monday,  Mar 26, 2018

U.S. firearms and ammunition manufacturer Remington Arms files for chapter 11 bankruptcy protection after amassing US$950 million worth of debt. (Bloomberg)

China launches an oil futures market in a bid to compete with oil benchmarks from the United States and Europe. (MarketWatch)

More than 100 Russian diplomats are expelled from over 20 countries. (BBC)

U.S. President Donald Trump orders the closure of the Russian consulate in Seattle. (BBC)

European Council President Donald Tusk and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker conclude talks with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. The parties say they have been unable to agree on human rights issues but pledge to hold more talks. (The Financial Times)

Spanish police in Alicante arrest the suspected leader of a bank hacking scheme believed to have stolen over €1 billion. (Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty)

Six alleged members of banned neo-Nazi group National Action appear in court. One is accused of planning to murder MP Rosie Cooper and another is charged with inciting murder. (The Independent)

The Egyptian electorate vote in their presidential election, with incumbent President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi facing only one opponent. (The Washington Post)

ArXiv publishes research that a gas giant may be orbiting a brown dwarf. The exoplanet, designated OGLE-2017-BLG-1522Lb, orbits its host at a distance of 0.59 AU and could be the first known gas giant to have formed inside the protoplanetary disk of a brown dwarf. (Phys.org)

 

Monday,  Mar 26, 2018

White House: Trump ‘doesn’t believe’ Stormy Daniels’ claims are accurate During Monday’s press briefing, White House spokesman Raj Shah dismissed adult film star Stormy Daniels’ 60 Minutes interview. In the segment, which aired Sunday, Daniels detailed an affair she says she had with President Trump in 2006. “The president doesn’t believe that any of the claims that Ms. Daniels made last night in her interview were accurate,” Shah said, confirming that Trump “does not” believe Daniels’ statement that she was threatened by an anonymous man to keep silent about the alleged affair. Shah also dismissed speculation about why Trump’s lawyer paid Daniels $130,000 to sign a nondisclosure agreement, explaining: “False charges are settled out of court all the time.” In her interview with Anderson Cooper, Daniels said Trump “knows I’m telling the truth.” Source: CBS News

Trump to expel 60 Russian diplomats after spy poisoning President Trump on Monday ordered the expulsion of 60 Russian officials as well as the closure of the Seattle consulate in response to the poisoning of a former Russian spy and his daughter who were living in Britain, The Washington Post reports. The officials have a week to leave the U.S. At least 10 European countries have also banded together to expel Russian diplomats in a coordinated response. Russia has warned it will retaliate in kind, and the Russian embassy in the U.S. has claimed on Twitter that the accusations against Moscow are “another large-scale anti-Russian campaign.” European Union leaders have said that there is “no plausible alternative explanation” other than Russia being behind the poisoning of the ex-spy and his daughter. Source: The Washington Post, Bloomberg

Dow spikes nearly 670 points, rebounding amid trade turmoil The Dow Jones Industrial Average rebounded after a tumultuous run last week, jumping nearly 670 points by the time markets closed Monday afternoon. The index surged nearly 3 percent in part thanks to Microsoft, the top-performing stock of the day. The gains suggest the market is recovering after President Trump last week announced tariffs targeted at China, which sparked fears of a trade war between the world’s two biggest economies. Investors “have apparently recognized that a trade war is in no one’s best interests and therefore extremely unlikely,” market strategist Jeremy Klein told CNBC in explaining the rebound. The S&P 500 also saw a more than 2 percent bump Monday, while the Nasdaq composite jumped 2.6 percent. Source: CNBC, MarketWatch

 

Sunday, Mar 25, 2018

Two suicide bombers strike a Shi’ite mosque in Herat, Afghanistan, killing one person and wounding seven others. Security forces kill one bomber while the device kills the other. ISIL claims responsibility. (Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty)

ISIL releases a statement claiming responsibility for killing or wounding 103 Iraqi soldiers within one month. The group also claims to have abducted 13 more soldiers, and destroyed 12 armoured vehicles. (Iraqi News)

Houthi forces fire several Burkan-2 ballistic missiles at targets in Saudi Arabia with at least one person, an Egyptian national, being killed in Riyadh. The Royal Saudi Air Defense says it intercepted seven missiles, three of them targeting Riyadh, two targeting Jizan and one apiece targeting Najran and Khamis Mushait. (The Washington Post)

A fire in the Winter Cherry complex, a shopping centre in Kemerovo, Russia, kills at least 64 people, the majority of which are children. (BBC)

South Korea and the United States reach agreements on trade and steel tariffs. (Bloomberg)

EU diplomatic chief Federica Mogherini holds crisis talks with Markus Ederer, the bloc’s recalled ambassador to Russia. (France24)

Sheikh Tamim of Qatar visits Russia to discuss the situation in Syria, Yemen and Palestine. (Al Jazeera)

A former French Parliamentarian candidate of the La France Insoumise party is arrested for tweeting that the death of Lt-Col Arnaud Beltrame was “great” and “one less vote for Emmanuel Macron.” (BBC)

Researchers publish observations of a possible nova (ASASSN-18fv) in the constellation Carina. (AAVSO)(APOD)

Qantas Airways Flight QF9 becomes the first ever regularly scheduled non-stop flight between Australia and Europe after making the 17-hour journey from Perth to London. (The Evening Standard)

An anomalous weather event caused due to dust from a sandstorm in the Sahara, leads to an orange snow blanketing several Eastern European countries, including Ukraine, Bulgaria, Romania and Russia. This weather event happens roughly every five years, a similar event occured in Siberia in 2007. (The Guardian)

More Below The Fold

Continue reading “All Of This And Nothing”

Hot Jupiters

The RussiaRussiaRussia narrative
ClusterFuck Nation

The RussiaRussiaRussia narrative has unspooled since Christmas and is blowing back badly through the FBI, now with the firing (for cause) of Deputy Director Andrew McCabe hours short of his official retirement (and inches from the golden ring of his pension). He was axed on the recommendation of his own colleagues in the FBI’s Office of Professional Responsibility, and they may have been influenced by the as-yet-unreleased report of the FBI Inspector General, Michael Horowitz, due out shortly.

The record of misbehavior and “collusion” between the highest ranks of the FBI, the Democratic Party, the Clinton campaign, several top political law firms, and a shady cast of international blackmail peddlars is a six-lane Beltway-scale evidence trail compared to the muddy mule track of Trump “collusion” with Russia. It will be amazing if a big wad of criminal cases are not dealt out of it…

Monday,  Mar 19, 2018

Trump to unveil plan to fight opioid epidemic President Trump is expected to unveil his plan to fight the opioid epidemic on Monday. An early version of the plan would have called for the death penalty against some drug dealers, but the final version is expected to be scaled back, with a call for capital punishment against drug traffickers only “when appropriate under current law,” said Andrew Bremberg, the White House’s director of the Domestic Policy Council. Trump will announce his new policies during a trip to New Hampshire. The administration says the plan would lead to a reduction in opioid prescriptions by one-third within three years by mixing administration actions and new laws requiring money from Congress. It includes elements focused on law enforcement, education, prevention, treatment, and recovery. Source: Politico

Vladimir Putin wins re-election with 77 percent of the vote Russia’s Central Election Commission said Monday that Russian President Vladimir Putin won re-election with 76.67 percent of the vote in a field of eight candidates. That was a record-high number for Putin, who won his third term in 2012 with 63.3 percent. In second place was communist Pavel Grudinin, with 11.78 percent, followed by Vladimir Zhirinovsky (5.66 percent) and TV personality Ksenia Sobchak (1.68 percent), the only one of the candidates to openly criticize Putin. The candidate most likely to do well against Putin, Alexei Navalny, was barred from running because of a questionable disqualifying conviction. Election observers reported widespread ballot stuffing and unusually intense pressure on voters to participate in the election. Source: The Associated Press, Reuters

New explosion in Austin might have been set off by tripwire An explosion in Austin, Texas, left two men with serious injuries on Sunday night, stoking fears that a serial package-bomber is targeting the city. It was the fourth unexplained explosion in the city this month, and police believe the latest blast is related to the earlier ones, which killed two people. The fourth blast occurred on a roadside in an upscale neighborhood, while the earlier package-bombs exploded on the doorsteps of homes. The victims in the latest explosion, both in their 20s, were walking or riding bicycles, and Austin Police Chief Brian Manley said it was “very possible” that the device went off when one of them touched a tripwire. Source: The Associated Press, CNN

 

Sunday, Mar 18, 2018

Voters in Russia cast their votes for the President of Russia. Incumbent Vladimir Putin wins a fourth term

The Turkish Army and Free Syrian Army seize the Kurdish stronghold of Afrin from the YPG in northern Syria, raising the Turkish flag above the city centre. A statue of the Kurdish legendary figure, Kaveh the Blacksmith, is bulldozed by Turkish-backed forces. (BBC) (Reuters)

The Miami Police Department states that they believe they have recovered the last of the victims killed by the bridge’s collapse. (NPR)

A Cirque du Soleil performer dies after falling 15 feet (4.6 m) during a performance in Tampa, Florida. (CBC)

 

Saturday,  Mar 17, 2018

In response to the UK’s decision to expel 23 Russian diplomats following the poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal, the Russian Federation expels 23 Britishdiplomats, closes the British Council in Russia and closes the Consulate-General of the United Kingdom in Saint Petersburg. (BBC)

Former Vice President of Iran Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei, a close ally to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, is arrested after criticizing Iran’s judiciary. (AP via Al-Arabiya)

A man is arrested in Austin, Texas for threatening, via email, to bomb the SXSW festival. (NPR)

Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey launches an investigation into alleged harvesting of Facebook profiles by Cambridge Analytica, a firm employed by Donald Trump’s 2016 election campaign. (BBC) (Reuters via The New York Times)

 

Friday,  Mar 16, 2018

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions fires former Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe because of a report from the Office of Professional Responsibility accusing McCabe of making an unauthorized news media disclosure and lacking candor on multiple occasions. (CBS News)

South Korea states that they want high-level talks with North Korea before the summit. (Reuters)

The death of Russian businessman Nikolai Glushkov, who lived in exile in the United Kingdom, is confirmed by a coroner’s examination to be a murder. The killing happened eight days after the poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal. (BBC)

South Africa’s National Prosecuting Authority Director Shaun Abrahams says former President Jacob Zuma will be prosecuted for corruption, relating to a R30 billion arms deal in the late 1990s. Zuma disputes all the allegations against him. (The Guardian)

European astronomers discover eight new exoplanets classified as Hot Jupiters as part of the WASP project. (The Talking Democrat)

 

Thursday, Mar 15,  2018

The largest U.S. broadcaster, iHeartMedia, owner of 850 radio stations, files for chapter 11 bankruptcy after accumulating US$20 billion in debt. (CNN)

The Trump administration imposes financial sanctions on 19 Russian nationals, including 12 of those indicted in the Special Counsel investigation. (Business Insider)

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

Prime Minister of Slovakia Robert Fico resigns amid controversy over the murder of Ján Kuciak. (The Guardian) (BBC)

An under-construction pedestrian bridge over the eight-lane Tamiami Trail at Florida International University in Miami collapses killing at least six people and flattening eight cars. Nine people are rescued from the rubble and taken to nearby Kendall Regional Medical Center. Two require immediate surgery; the others injured sustain non-life-threatening wounds. (The Washington Post)

A U.S. Air Force HH-60 Pave Hawk helicopter crashes near Al-Qa’im in Iraq‘s western Al Anbar Governorate, killing all seven people on board. (ABC News) (CNN)

THE END

Surprise! It’s Spectre and Meltdown

Friday, Jan 5, 2017

Security researchers disclose two hardware vulnerabilities—Spectre, which affects most modern processors, and Meltdown, which affects most Intel chips. (Reuters) (The Guardian)

Apple joins list of firms whose laptops, phones are vulnerable to security flaw On Thursday, Apple said that Mac computers, iPhones, and iPads are vulnerable to two hard-to-fix security flaws that cybersecurity experts revealed Wednesday. Windows, Google, and other companies that make PCs, smartphones, servers, and tablets had already acknowledged that their own devices have the same issue. The flaws — named Spectre and Meltdown — could be used by hackers to exploit the microprocessors, mostly made by Intel, in internet-connected devices to launch a “side-channel analysis attack” to steal files, passwords, photos, and other documents. Intel, the dominant chipmaker, says the vulnerability has been in every microprocessor it has made since 1995, but apparently nobody realized the risk until a few months ago. No hackers are known to have exploited the vulnerabilities. Source: The New York Times

North Korea and South Korea to hold first talks in 2 years North Korea has accepted South Korea’s invitation to discuss ways to cooperate on the Winter Olympics, and agreed to meet at the border village of Panmunjom on Tuesday, South Korea’s Unification Ministry announced Friday. This will be their first formal dialogue in more than two years, and they will also discuss how to improve ties between the Koreas. On Thursday, the United States and South Korea agreed to postpone their joint military exercises — an annual event that North Korea considers preparation for an invasion — until after the Pyeongchang Olympics in February. While some see this as the first step in bettering relations, others believe this could be Pyongyang’s way of causing friction between South Korea and the United States. Source: The Associated Press

Fire and Fury publisher pushes up release date after Trump lawsuit threat The White House has come out swinging after excerpts from a forthcoming tell-all book — Michael Wolff’s Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House — were published in various news outlets, featuring incendiary quotes from former chief strategist Stephen Bannon. In response, a Trump attorney sent Bannon a letter saying “legal action is imminent,” and demanded the book’s author and publisher halt the book’s release and “issue a full and complete retraction and apology” or else face legal action. Publisher Henry Holt instead pushed up the released date five days, putting it on sale Friday morning. “We see Fire and Fury as an extraordinary contribution to our national discourse, and are proceeding with the publication of the book,” the publisher said. Source: ABC News

U.S. economy added 148,000 jobs in December, fewer than expected U.S. employers added 148,000 non-farm jobs in December, the Labor Department reported on Friday. The numbers fell short of the average increase of about 190,000 predicted by economists, and marked a slowdown from an average increase of 232,000 in the two previous months. Economists had been predicting that hiring would slow down eventually, just not this soon. The unemployment rate remained unchanged at 4.1 percent. Wages increased by 2.5 percent over the last 12 months, edging up from November’s 2.4 percent figure, but still considered sluggish. Source: MarketWatch

 

Thursday, Jan 4,  2017

North Korea accepts South Korea’s proposal for official talks, and will meet on January 9 to discuss North Korea’s possible involvement with the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea. These are the first high-level talks between the Koreas in more than two years. (BBC)

The U.S. State Department suspends its security assistance to Pakistan. (ABC News)

The U.S. Treasury sanctions five Iranian entities associated with Iran’s ballistic missile program. (Politico)

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions rescinds three Obama-era memos that had adopted a policy of non-interference with states that have legalized recreational marijuana. (Associated Press)

A United Airlines flight headed from Chicago to Hong Kong makes an emergency landing in Anchorage, Alaska, after a passenger allegedly became unruly. (KTUU-TV)

Munich Re reports that the insurance industry faces record claims of US$135 billion from natural catastrophes, such as the Mexico earthquakes, South Asian floods, California wildfires and Atlantic hurricanes in 2017. Overall economic losses from natural disasters are estimated at the second highest amount since 2011. (Insurance Journal)

A massive winter storm hits the East Coast of the United States with up to 18 inches of snow predicted to fall between The Carolinas and Maine. So far, three people have died in North Carolina and a person has died in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (AP via Yahoo!)

 

Wednesday,  Jan 3, 2017

A new Icelandic law goes into effect which requires government agencies and companies with more than 24 full-time employees to prove they are paying men and women equally, as required by existing legislation. (NPR)

Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn announces that Ethiopia will drop charges against all political prisoners and close down the infamous prison camp of Maekelawi. (AP)

 

Tuesday, Jan 2, 2018

U.S. President Donald Trump responds to Kim Jong-un’s claim of having North Korea’s nuclear missile launch button on his desk, boasting that the size of the nuclear missile launch button on his own desk is larger and more powerful than Kim’s.  (BBC)

South Korean President Moon Jae-in, responding to North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s offer during his New Year’s Day address, proposes a meeting to discuss the Winter Olympics and North Korea’s nuclear program next Tuesday at the border city of Panmunjom.  (BBC)

President Donald Trump tweets that the U.S. may withhold future payments to the Palestinian authority, over 350 million dollars per year, because they are “no longer willing to talk peace” with Israel, and that Israel “would have had to pay more” in return for his recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. (Haaretz) (Politico)

Israel announces plans to deport African migrants residing in the country illegally. Migrants will be given 90 days to leave the country or face imprisonment. (BBC)

Vice Media suspends two of its top executives as it investigates allegations made against them. (ABC News)

Citing national security concerns, the U.S. government blocks Ant Financial’s acquisition of MoneyGram. (Reuters)

Joshua Boyle, a Canadian man recently rescued from a Taliban linked group, is arrested on 15 charges, including assault, sexual assault, and unlawful confinement. (Global News)

Nine prisoners have escaped from a Berlin, Germany prison over the last five days, with two escaping today. (BBC)

There’s Something Different About These Iran Protests
Four days into the protests, there are still more questions than answers.
by Trita Parsi
January 01, 2018

The fact that reformists—who have been at the center of most of the large-scale protests in Iran for the past two decades—appear to be neither driving nor even particularly involved presents a new political phenomenon in Iran.

The protestors likely include some disillusioned Rouhani supporters. But remember that Rouhani won re-election with 57% of the vote (and 70% voter participation) only seven months ago. That means it’s more likely that the core of the demonstrators are of a different ilk.

Their uncompromisingly anti-regime slogans suggest they may belong to the segment of the population who tends not to vote, doesn’t believe the system can be reformed and either never subscribed to or has lost hope in the idea of gradual change. Add to that those who have joined the protests out of a sense of economic desperation and humiliation.

Most analysts have not kept an eye on these segments of the population precisely because they have not been at the center of political change in Iran in recent history. Nor do they have a track record of being able to muster protests of this size.

http://www.businessinsider.com/store-closures-in-2018-will-eclipse-2017-2018-1

http://www.unz.com/comments/all/?commenterfilter=Art+Deco

http://www.businessinsider.com/tesla-deliveries-november-2017-12

This is an outstanding 8,000 word article. You can even listen to it. There is an audio app at the beginning:

https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2018/01/01/the-dark-bounty-of-texas-oil

Between January, 2015, and December, 2016, more than a hundred U.S. oil and gas producers declared bankruptcy, nearly half of them in Texas. This figure doesn’t count the financial impact on the pipeline, storage, servicing, and shipping companies that depend on the energy business, or the seventy-four billion dollars’ worth of debt that these bankruptcies left behind. As a gesture of sympathy, Ouisie’s Table, a Houston restaurant in the wealthy River Oaks neighborhood, began offering a three-course meal on Wednesday nights that was pegged to the price of a barrel of oil. When I visited in the early spring of 2016, the meal cost about thirty-eight dollars. (Ouisie’s Table dropped the practice when oil prices inched back up. As of December 13th, the Wednesday special would have cost $56.60.)

Now that oil prices have stabilized, Texas’s economy is robust again. In recent years, it has finally begun to diversify, and now tops that of California in exporting technology, from semiconductors to communications equipment. Conservative politicians in Texas like to claim that the state’s low taxes and light regulation are the magic forces propelling its economy. But oil still sets Texas apart. It has been both a gift and a trap.

Clusterfuck Nation Forecast 2018

http://kunstler.com/clusterfuck-nation/forecast-2018-go-wrong/

Russian Forecast 2018

http://www.unz.com/akarlin/new-year-predictions-for-2018/

Trump returns to Washington for high-stakes January President Trump returned to Washington on Monday night in an upbeat mood after 10 days at his members-only club in Florida, but White House aides are bracing for “the grim reality of 2018,” including slim legislative prospects, a potentially brutal midterm election, an expected exodus of White House aides with no replacements ready, and the ever-present “shadow of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation,” Politico reports. On the other side of Capitol Hill, Congress returns over the next week with a full plate for January, including funding the government, children’s health care, protection for DREAMers, stability of health-care markets, a looming debt ceiling increase, and other contentious and high-stakes issues. Source: Politico

Deadly anti-government protests grip Iran At least 20 people have been killed in anti-government protests in Iran, including nine overnight Monday, Iranian state TV and semi-official ILNA news agency reported Tuesday. At least 450 others have reportedly been arrested as demonstrators stormed police stations and military bases. The protests, the biggest in the country since 2009, began Thursday, with protesters chanting “death to the dictator” and “death to Khamenei,” the country’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, despite the government’s threat of an “iron fist” of punishment. On Sunday, Tehran placed what it says is a “temporary” restriction on access to social media including Instagram and an encrypted messaging app call Telegram. Demonstrators have used both to chronicle and coordinate their efforts this week. Source:  CNN

Monday,  Jan 1, 2018

Ten people die at the protests overnight, with twelve deaths total so far as the protests enter their fifth day. (BBC)

Value Added Tax (VAT) has been introduced in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates for the first time. (BBC)

U.S. President Donald Trump tweets that Pakistan has been a “safe haven” for terrorists from Afghanistan and has given America “nothing but lies & deceit” after getting more than $33 billion in U.S. aid. (Time)

Pakistan asks U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan David Hale to clarify Trump’s remarks. Pakistani Prime Minister Khaqan Abbasi calls for Cabinet and National Security Council meetings to discuss the tweet. (Los Angeles Times)

Pakistan’s Defence Minister accuses the U.S. of giving Pakistan “nothing but invective & mistrust” after receiving “land & air communication, military bases & intel cooperation that decimated Al-Qaeda over last 16yrs”. (AOL)

An armed standoff between Indian security forces and Kashimiri rebels at a paramilitary base ends after 36 hours and leaves eight people dead. (Al Jazeera)

California becomes the latest and most-populated state to legalize the recreational use of cannabis. (BBC)

Alain Berset takes office as President of the Swiss Confederation. Mr. Berset is the youngest president of Switzerland since 1934. (SWI)

 

Sunday, Dec 31, 2017

Iran blocks access to Telegram and Instagram as the largest anti-government protests since 2009 continue. (The Guardian)

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres issues “a red alert for our world,” saying that conflicts have deepened, global anxieties about nuclear weapons have increased, inequalities have grown, and nationalism and xenophobia are on the rise. Guterres calls for global unity to overcome these growing challenges. (CNN)

China announces the country’s ivory trade is now illegal. In 2015, Chinese President Xi Jinping and then-U.S. President Barack Obama announced “near-complete” ivory bans for each country. America’s ivory ban went into effect in June 2016. (National Geographic)

Palestine recalls their envoy to the United States for “consultations,” following President Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Palestine President Mahmoud Abbas says they will not accept any U.S. peace plan in the wake of Trump’s move. (BBC)

 

Saturday,  Dec 30, 2017

Two protesters are shot dead by Iranian police in Dorud, Lorestan Province, as anti-government protests spread across the country. (Reuters)

Nepal bans solo climbers, double amputees and blind climbers from scaling its mountains, including Mount Everest, in a bid to reduce accidents. This has been criticized by successful double-amputee Everest climbers. (BBC)

A man strapped with explosives takes 11 people hostage in Kharkiv, Ukraine. The Ukrainian police free all the hostages and arrest the man. (Reuters)

 

Friday, Dec 29, 2017

Anti-government demonstrators have taken to the streets of Iran for a second day, with protests being held in a number of cities. (BBC)

Venezuelan communications director Jorge Rodríguez announces that the country’s Petro cryptocurrency, backed by 5.3 billion barrels of oil worth $267 billion, will launch shortly. (CNBC)

In a surprising event, Malian Prime Minister Abdoulaye Idrissa Maïga and his government resign without providing a reason. (The Guardian)

THE END

All Our Better Angels Are Dead

Killed for $3 haircut


US porn king offers $10mn for ‘smoking gun’ to impeach Trump

 

KNOWINGLY EXPOSING OTHERS TO H.I.V. NO LONGER A FELONY IN CALIFORNIA

Even though it’s homophobic to allege that AIDS is a gay disease, it is also homophobic to criminalize intentionally infecting someone with HIV, even though, you know, it’s not a gay disease. In other words, for you laymen out there, it’s not a gay disease, but you’re a homophobe if you’re afraid of catching it.

That’s why a new bill sponsored by California state senator Scott Weiner—who looks gayer than 100 penises in 99 male rectums—has demoted the act of intentionally infecting someone with this fatal illness from a felony to a mere misdemeanor. From henceforth, HIV-positive “gift givers” don’t necessarily have to be shooting their deadly semen all over the mucus membranes of willing “bug chasers.” Now, in the interest of progress and to protect the feelings and self-esteem of those wish to deliberately infect the unwitting with a virus that will likely kill them, gift givers can give the gift that keeps on giving anonymously. To Scott Wiener and all those like him, intentionally injecting someone with a fatal virus is not the real crime—treating that person like a criminal is.

No Joy in Trumpville

As I watched the endless stream of tourists and hipsters stride by in their selfie raptures, I pictured the various downtowns of the Midwest I’ve visited over the years — St Louis, Kansas City, Minneapolis, Detroit, Akron, Dayton, Cleveland, Louisville, Tulsa, and many more — and remembered the incredible desolation of their centers. There was no one there, certainly no tourists or hipsters, really no activity to speak of. They were ghost cities. The net effect of financialization has been the asset-stripping of every other place in America for the benefit of a very few cities on the coasts, and especially the financial engineers within them.

Thus, the ironic rise of New Yorker Trump as the avatar and supposed savior of all those people “out there” in their dying hometowns and beyond. And their tremendously bitter enmity against the “blue” coastal elites, of which Trump is a nonpareil exemplar. History is a trickster.

 

The Bronx’s Quiet, Brutal War With Opioids

 

The Elites “Have No Credibility Left”
An interview with journalist Chris Hedges
OCTOBER 6, 2017 • 3,900 WORDS

Silicon Valley Is Not Your Friend

 

Thursday, Oct 12,  2017

Trump attacks press freedom, says it is ‘disgusting’ media can write freely President Trump attacked the free press Wednesday, telling reporters that “it is frankly disgusting that the press is able to write whatever it wants to write.” The comments followed Trump’s tweets Wednesday morning, which reacted to an NBC News story that claimed the president had called for the nuclear arsenal to be increased “tenfold.” “With all of the fake news coming out of NBC and the networks, at what point is it appropriate to challenge their license?” Trump asked. When pressed in the afternoon about whether there should be limits on the media, Trump said “no,” but added that reporters should write “more honestly.” Citing no evidence, Trump said: “When they make up stories like that, it’s just made up … They make up sources.” Source: Bloomberg News

 Wednesday,  Oct 11, 2017

Three suicide bombers attack a police command center in Damascus, killing two people and injuring six others. (Reuters)

Last year a hacker stole non-classified information about Australia’s Joint Strike Fighter program and other military hardware after breaching the network of a defense contractor. (Reuters)

The Peruvian Pedro Pablo Kuczynski Administration through the Ministry of Justice appoints a new head to the Direction of Presidential Graces, which is believed to be a first step towards granting a pardon to 79-year-old former president Alberto Fujimori (1990-2000), although the president Kuczynski has denied it. In April 2009, a three-judge panel had sentenced Fujimori for acts of corruption, Human Rights violations, and various others crimes. Fujimori, who has been in jail since 2007 and whose health has deteriorated, including alleged tongue cancer, has applied for a pardon unsuccessfully on two occasions. (RPP Noticias)(El Comercio)(Diario Correo)

Nature publishes research from The Institute of Astrophysics of Andalusia at the Glorieta de la Astronomía of Granada, Spain, describing the discovery that a ring system orbits the dwarf planet, trans-Neptunian object, Haumea. (The Verge)(Nature)

SpaceX launches a Falcon 9 Full Thrust rocket at Cape Canaveral, Florida, to supersynchronous orbit an Airbus-built communications satellite for Luxembourg-based SES and U.S.-headquartered EchoStar. (Space Flight Now)

 

Confusion lingers about Las Vegas shooter’s timeline MGM Resorts International, the parent company of the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, released a statement Tuesday night disputing the latest police timeline of the Oct. 1 mass shooting targeting the Route 91 Harvest Festival. MGM Resorts spokeswoman Debra DeShong said her company “cannot be certain about the most recent timeline that has been communicated publicly, and we believe what is currently being expressed may not be accurate.” On Monday, Sheriff Joe Lombardo said a Mandalay Bay security guard was shot before Stephen Paddock fired down at the music festival, not after, and that Paddock checked in on Sept. 25, not Sept. 28. Source: Las Vegas Review-Journal

Boy Scouts to begin admitting girls in 2018  A program for older girls will roll out in 2019, allowing them to earn the rank of Eagle Scout for the first time in its 107-year history. “This decision is true to the BSA’s mission and core values,” said the BSA’s chief scout executive, Michael Surbaugh. “The values of Scouting — trustworthy, loyal, helpful, kind, brave, reverent, for example — are important for both young men and women.” Cub Scout units, or “dens,” will be single-gender. A similar organization, Girl Scouts, has so far resisted allowing boys to join due to the desire to nurture an environment specifically to promote female leaders. Source: NBC News, ABC News

 

The Rest of The News Below the Fold

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