Myopia

A Narrow View of Things
by Theodore Dalrymple
June 16, 2018

In North Korea I saw no one on the street, in the mass parades, or at the stadium seating 150,000 people wearing them and thought this strange, as Koreans are genetically predisposed to myopia. When I asked my personal spy who accompanied me everywhere where the people who wore glasses were, he replied, “That is a problem we have solved.” It was not by laser surgery, either, though the precise method of the solution went unsolved. The three successive heads of the Kim dynasty have all worn glasses, evidence of their superior, indeed unprecedented, intelligence…. If you kill all the people of above-average intelligence, your chances of having above-average intelligence yourself rise.

 

Monday, Jun 18, 2018

Japan lowers the age of adulthood from 20 to 18, with the changes coming into effect in 2022. The revision to Japan’s civil code means that 18-year-olds will be able to marry without their parents’ consent, apply for credit cards and loans, and transgender people will be able to have their new gender officially recognised. The change causes confusion and concern regarding the kimono industry and Coming of Age Day. (The Guardian)

A missing Indonesian woman’s body is found inside a python, being one of only two fully documented cases of a human being consumed by a snake. (The Hindu)

Audi CEO arrested in widening VW diesel scandal Audi CEO Rupert Stadler was arrested in Germany on Monday in the latest fallout from the diesel-emissions cheating scandal at the automaker’s parent company, Volkswagen. “We confirm that Mr. Stadler was arrested this morning,” a VW spokesman said Monday, noting that Stadler was presumed innocent like any suspect. Audi made no immediate comment. The arrest came as Munich prosecutors expand their investigation into the scandal to look at possible fraud and false advertising at Audi, VW’s luxury brand. VW shares were down about 1.6 percent from Friday’s closing price. Source: Reuters

 

 

Sunday, Jun 17, 2018

Wynn Resorts Ltd. says that two board members, including one investigating sexual misconduct allegations against former Chief Executive Steve Wynn, will leave their posts after Elaine Wynn, the company’s largest shareholder, presses for additional board changes. (The Wall Street Journal)

In an upset victory, Mexico beats Germany 1–0, handing them their first opening loss in a World Cup since 1982. (TSN)

Twin suicide bombings in Damboa, Nigeria, leave at least 31 people dead. The explosions are reportedly followed by rockets fired from outside the town. (BBC)

A magnitude 5.9 earthquake strikes Osaka, Japan, at 7:58 a.m. local time (22:58 UTC). At least two people have been killed and several are transported to hospitals with injuries. Electrical services are disrupted citywide, affecting 170,000 buildings. (NHK)

Iván Duque wins the second round presidential election to become the new President of Colombia. (BBC)

 

Saturday,  Jun 16, 2018

Boris Becker, who was once the highest ranked men’s singles tennis player in the world, has claimed diplomatic immunity from a bankruptcy claim by private bankers Arbuthnot Latham, based on his role as a sports attaché to the European Union from the Central African Republic. (Reuters)

Saudi Arabian-led coalition troops seize control of Hodeida International Airport in Al Hudaydah after driving out Houthi forces. Around 280 people have been reportedly killed in the last four days inside the Yemeni port city. (Sky News)

The Hawaii County Civil Defense Agency states that the eruption of lower Puna has destroyed 467 homes in total. (Upi)

The coalition government of Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras survives a vote of no-confidence brought by the opposition party over a deal to end the dispute. (AP)

First time qualifier Iceland holds off a late charge from two-time champion Argentina and comes away with a 1-1 draw in the opening World Cup matches for both countries. (ESPN)

 

Friday,  Jun 15, 2018

Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort has his bail revoked for allegedly tampering with witnesses, and is sent to jail to await his trial for foreign lobbying charges. (CNN)

The Afghan Ministry of Defense reports that Mullah Fazlullah, the emir of the Pakistani Taliban, was killed in Kunar province by an U.S. drone strike two days prior on June 13. (NBC News)

The United States imposes a 25% tariff on goods imported from China worth $50 billion, set to come into effect on July 6, and accuses Beijing of “intellectual copyright theft”. (BBC)

Cristiano Ronaldo scores a hat-trick achieving Portugal’s 3–3 draw against Spain. (Reuters)

 

 Thursday, Jun 14,  2018

The U.S. Department of Justice publishes a 568-page report by Inspector General Michael E. Horowitz on the FBI’s handling of its investigation of Hillary Clinton’s email practices. The report is critical of former FBI Director James Comey, accusing him of being “insubordinate”, but finding that his actions were not politically biased. (BBC)

The Message is the first Arabic film commercially screened in Saudi Arabia. (Quartz)

EU countries approve tariffs worth €2.8 billion in retaliation against U.S. tariffs on steel and aluminium. (AFP via Yahoo! News)

The Senate of France approves a bill to reform the SNCF railway company. The French state writes off €35 billion of SNCF’s €47 billion debt, but remains the sole owner of the joint-stock company with two subsidiaries: operator SNCF Mobility and infrastructure manager SNCF Network. (International Railway Journal)

Hosts Russia beat Saudi Arabia 5–0 in the opening match, with two goals by Denis Cheryshev. (BBC Sport)

The End

Bad Blood

Thursday, Jun 14,  2018

Blood Simple
by Steve Sailer
June 13, 2018

Some other lessons from the Theranos debacle involve the plausibility of conspiracy theorizing. After all, the cast of famous operators who played supporting roles in the Elizabeth Holmes saga makes it sound like this, if anything, ought to be a conspiracy of some sort, right?

And yet the tale turned out to be one couple hoodwinking the Bohemian Grove members.

Now, we are often told that conspiracy theories couldn’t possibly be true because no organization could keep a secret for very long (although Britain’s vast Bletchley Park code-breaking project during WWII was kept confidential until the 1970s.)

And yet Theranos had been in business for twelve years and had fired hundreds of disillusioned employees before anybody published a debunking article.

No, the real weakness in most conspiracy theories is the sheer quantity of elite ineptitude. It turns out that, unlike in 1984 or Brave New World, there is no Inner Party of Machiavellian but informed insiders who actually know what’s going on. Hence, even the guys who won the Cold War were made fools of by a megalomaniacal young lady with the winds of the zeitgeist at her back.

 

Justice Department watchdog expected to slam FBI over Clinton email probe On Thursday afternoon, Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz will release his anticipated report on the FBI and Justice Department’s handling of the Hillary Clinton email investigation. The report is expected to criticize former FBI Director James Comey for violating longstanding DOJ policies by criticizing Clinton’s email use while announcing the FBI found no wrongdoing and then publicly reopening the investigation a week before the 2016 election. Horowitz may also criticize former Attorney General Loretta Lynch, former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe — the report already contributed to his firing — and others. When he launched the investigation in January 2017, however, Horowitz made clear he would not second-guess the decision to not press charges against Clinton. Clinton and others have said Comey’s actions cost her the election. Source: NPR

2018 World Cup begins with match between Russia, Saudi Arabia The world’s most widely-viewed sporting event, the soccer World Cup, begins Thursday in Russia, where the national team will face off against Saudi Arabia at Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow. Russia is the lowest-ranked team in the 2018 World Cup, having failed to win their last seven friendly matches since last October, while Saudi Arabia last reached the global finals in 1994. “Never mind that it’s the least appealing World Cup opener ever,” writes Henry Bushnell for Yahoo Sports. “If you’re a soccer fan, you watch the World Cup opener.” Games can be watched on Fox or Fox Sports 1, or in Spanish on Telemundo or NBC Universo. Russia vs. Saudi Arabia kicks off at 11 a.m. ET. Source: Sporting News

 

Wednesday,  Jun 13,  2018

Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili resigns following anti-government protests. (RFE/RL)

Saudi-led coalition forces begin an operation to take control of the Yemeni port city of Al Hudaydah, which has been held by the Houthis since 2015. (BBC News)

Volkswagen is fined €1 billion by German prosecutors after cheating on diesel particulate emissions testing. (BBC News)

The FIFA Congress votes to hold the 2026 World Cup in Canada, Mexico, and the United States, with Morocco’s World Cup bid coming in second. (BBC Sport)

Julen Lopetegui is ousted as coach of Spanish national football team, one day before the 2018 FIFA World Cup. (The Guardian)

 

Tuesday,  Jun 12, 2018

Tesla announces that it intends to cut 3000 jobs in an attempt to improve profitability. Many of those workers will be offered alternative jobs under the same employer. (BBC)

A U.S. federal judge approves AT&T’s $85 billion merger with Time Warner. (NPR)

Seattle’s city council votes 7–2 to repeal a controversial employer head tax, which was approved a month earlier. (The Guardian)

Hurricane Bud grows into a category four hurricane with winds of 130 miles per hour (210 km/h) off of the Pacific Coast of Mexico. (CBS News)

Germany issues a recall of 73,000 eggs from the Netherlands suspected to be contaminated with fipronil. (BBC)

The United States unveils a new 6.5-hectare (16-acre) complex in Taipei for the American Institute in Taiwan, the de facto U.S. embassy. (Reuters)

U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean Chairman Kim Jong-un meet for a historic summit on Sentosa Island in Singapore. This marks the first time that the leaders of both countries have met. (BBC)

The End

Bad Blood will next be filmed by Will Ferrell’s pal Adam McKay (director of the Big Short mortgage movie) with Jennifer Lawrence as Holmes.


https://twitter.com/SecPompeo

Silk Roads

 

Why were five U.S. soldiers killed by a B-1 Bomber in Afghanistan?
A classified report blames human error for the deadliest friendly fire incident of the Afghan War involving U.S. soldiers. Soldiers who were there say that’s wrong

 

How we entered the age of the strongman
Liberals have consistently misread the present – and their complacency is pushing us into a new authoritarian era.
by John Gray
May 2018

 

A NEW SILK ROAD
China is investing billions in building pathways to Europe, Central Asia, and the Middle East.
Photographs By Davide Monteleone

 

Khorgos, Kazakhstan – October 2017. A freight train arriving from China just left the Khorgos dry port to cross all Kazakhstan to reach Europe. Kazakhstan is a crucial country for the Chinese Belt and Road Initiative, and the Khorgos dry port is quickly becoming the China west gate for land import and export.

 

Tuesday,   May 29, 2018

White House confirms tariff on $50 billion worth of Chinese goods The White House confirmed Tuesday that it will be going forward with the implementation of heavy tariffs on Chinese imports next month following weeks of concern that doing so might spark a trade war. Some $50 billion in imported goods will be subject to the 25 percent tariff, with a finalized list of goods expected by June 15. The U.S. also plans to restrict China’s access to American technology, with the administration citing national security concerns. Trade negotiations between the nations are ongoing, with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin saying the trade war was “on hold” less than two weeks ago. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross will travel to China to continue talks in early June. Source: The New York Times, CNN Money

Top North Korean official to visit New York High-level talks between the United States and North Korea continue Tuesday, with senior Pyongyang official Kim Yong Chol en route to New York City, President Trump confirmed. Kim will be the most senior North Korean official to visit the U.S. since 2000, following Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s two trips to North Korea to meet with leader Kim Jong Un this year. American diplomats in South Korea are also believed to be meeting with their North Korean counterparts on Tuesday, and on Monday a North Korean delegation reportedly arrived in Singapore, possibly to continue preparations for a summit Trump withdrew from last week. South Korean President Moon Jae-in met with Kim Jong Un over the weekend to push for the meeting to resume. Source: The Associated Press, CNN

Hurricane Maria death toll reportedly 70 times higher than official count More than 4,500 people are believed to have been killed in Puerto Rico as a result of Hurricane Maria last year, more than 70 times the official death count of 64, the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine reported Tuesday. That estimate would make the hurricane far deadlier than Hurricane Katrina in 2005, when 1,833 people died. Deaths that count towards a total death toll include directly related events, like “flying debris,” as well as deaths “caused by unsafe or unhealthy conditions resulting in injury, illness, or loss of necessary medical services.” Puerto Rican deaths went underreported because hurricane-related casualties are required to be confirmed by the island’s Institute of Forensic Sciences, and indirect deaths often aren’t properly represented on official death certificates. Source: The New England Journal of Medicine

Palestinian militants in Gaza fire dozens of mortars at Israel in the heaviest such barrage in years. The Israeli Air Force responds with airstrikes on militant positions. (BBC)

The studio behind battle royale game PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG) sues Epic Games for allegedly copying their game, with Fortnite Battle Royale, which is currently the most played video game in the world. (BBC)

 

cardiB_https://youtu.be/iDjWKMbg_Ok

 

Two WYFF journalists, Mike McCormick and Aaron Smeltzer, are killed after a tree crushes their car as they covered the storm in North Carolina. (BBC)

Bashar al-Assad’s government of Syria recognises the disputed territories of Abkhazia and South Ossetia as independent states, “in an appreciation of [their] supportive positions towards the terrorist aggression against Syria”. Georgia severs relations with Syria in response. (Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty)

Right-wing British activist Tommy Robinson was sentenced to 13 months in prison for contempt of court within five hours after being arrested outside Leeds Crown Court on 25 May. A ban on reporting his sentence is lifted today following a legal challenge by journalists. (The Mirror)

 

 

Monday,  May 28, 2018

Mariusz Błaszczak, Poland’s Minister of Defence, says that he recently talked with United States officials in Washington D.C. about a permanent stationing in Poland of thousands of US troops as a deterrent against Russia. (AP via Business Insider)

Austria’s coalition government unveils plans to cut benefit payments for immigrants, including refugees, in a move aimed at deterring new arrivals. (BBC)

The Golden State Warriors advance to the NBA Finals and will play the Cleveland Cavaliers for the fourth straight year. (Cleveland.com)

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Illegitimi non carborundum

Can We Call It a Coup Now?
MIKE WHITNEYMAY 20, 2018 • 3,300 WORDS

This is not a Dems vs Republicans issue, at least, it shouldn’t be. It’s about the unelected cabal that operates behind the cloak of partisan politics to exert its stranglehold on political power. As comedian George Carlin said, “The parties exist to make you think you have a choice. But you have no choice. You have owners, and they own everything.” Russiagate was merely the paper-thin pretext this secretive group settled on to launch its attack on the candidate who was never supposed to win the election.

 

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/21/us/politics/mark-penn-clinton-aide-mueller-investigation.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&clickSource=story-heading&module=first-column-region&region=top-news&WT.nav=top-news

Tuesday,   May 22, 2018

Trump meets with DOJ officials to expand probe into FBI informant President Trump on Monday met with FBI Director Christopher Wray and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and asked the Justice Department to expand its investigation to “include any irregularities with the FBI’s or Justice Department’s tactics concerning the Trump campaign.” On Sunday, Trump initiated an inquiry into a report that an American academic working as an FBI informant met with several members of his 2016 campaign in the early days of the agency’s investigation into Russian election meddling. Trump demanded that the Justice Department look into whether Obama administration officials coordinated surveillance of his campaign for political reasons. Reports on the matter said there was no evidence the informant was embedded in the Trump campaign, as Trump suggested. Source: The Washington Post

Syrian government regains full control of Damascus for 1st time since 2011 The Syrian military said Monday that after fighting for a month, it has captured an area of southern Damascus from the Islamic State, and the capital is now, for the first time since the country’s civil war began in 2011, under full government control. They were able to take back the Palestinian refugee camp Yarmouk and the Hajar al-Aswad district, and will now focus on the territory held by rebels in southern Syria. A monitoring group said that 1,600 people, including hundreds of ISIS militants, left southern Damascus on Saturday and Sunday, and went toward the eastern desert after agreeing to a deal with the Syrian government. Source: The Associated Press

Monday,  May 21, 2018

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says the U.S. will impose the “the strongest sanctions in history” on Iran if it does not meet various demands, including ending its nuclear program and leaving the Syrian Civil War. (Reuters)

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani rejects Pompeo’s demands, and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif accuses the U.S. of repeating past mistakes. (Al Jazeera)

Sony agrees to a $2.3 billion deal where they will buy a controlling interest in EMI Music Publishing. The deal will mean that Sony would indirectly own 90% of the record label and its two million songs. (BBC)

Paraguay opens its embassy in Jerusalem, making Paraguay the third country, after the United States and Guatemala, to transfer its diplomatic mission in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. (AP via Politico)

The U.S. Supreme Court votes 5–4 to allow companies to enforce contracts which bar employees from entering class action lawsuits. (The Washington Postvia Concord Monitor)

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Kilauea

Tuesday,   May 8, 2018

Trump to unveil Iran nuclear deal decision; poll heavily favors keeping deal President Trump said Monday he will announce at 2 p.m. on Tuesday whether he is unilaterally pulling the U.S. out of a deal with Iran, China, Russia, and European allies that prevents Iran from developing nuclear weapons at least through 2030, and Trump is widely expected to scrap the deal. Trump, a longterm critic of the 2015 deal, has until May 12 to decide whether to withdraw, which would put him at odds with all the other signatory nations. A CNN poll out Tuesday shows that to be an unpopular choice, with 63 percent of Americans preferring to stay in the deal and only 29 percent saying the U.S. should pull out.  Source: The New York Times, CNN

Jeff Sessions: Families entering U.S. illegally will be split up Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced on Monday that the Trump administration is splitting up all undocumented parents and children who cross the border together, with the parents immediately sent to detention centers and federal court. “If you are smuggling a child then we will prosecute you, and that child will be separated from you as required by law,” Sessions said during a law enforcement conference in Arizona. “If you don’t like that, then don’t smuggle children over our border.” The children will go to the Office of Refugee Resettlement, and then either be placed with relatives in the United States or private shelters. Children and parents who seek asylum at the border will not be separated, administration officials said. Source: NBC News

Hawaii volcano eruption destroys at least 31 homes At least 31 houses and buildings have been destroyed by lava flowing from the Kilauea volcano on Hawaii’s Big Island, officials said Monday. The eruption started late Thursday afternoon, and scientists said that at one point lava was spewing more than 200 feet into the air. U.S. Geological Survey volcanologist Wendy Stovall said that new fissures have emerged in the Leilani Estates neighborhood, and that “there’s more magma in the system to be erupted. As long as that supply is there, the eruption will continue.” She also warned about toxic sulfur dioxide gas pouring from the fissures. More than 1,700 people have been evacuated from the area, and it’s unknown when they’ll be able to return to the neighborhood. Source: CBS News, Los Angeles Times

The United States Navy re-establishes the United States Second Fleet, which was disbanded in 2011, citing recent heightened tensions between NATO and Russia. (Reuters)

A Russian Sukhoi-30SM crashes after leaving an airbase in Khmeimim, Latakia, Syria. Both crew die. (The Guardian)

The head of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, Ahmet Uzumcu says that up to 100 grams of liquid nerve agent were used in the chemical attack on Sergei and Yulia Skripal – around half a cup of liquid, suggesting it was intended for use as a weapon and was not created for research purposes. (The Guardian)

Oliver North, a former Ronald Reagan aide and marine, becomes the new president of the National Rifle Association. (The Hill)

In official results, Hezbollah and allied parties win a slight majority of seats in Parliament. (Reuters)

NASA’s InSight Mars lander launches from Vandenberg Air Force Base near Lompoc, California. It is the first interplanetary mission launched from the West Coast of the United States. (CBS News)

Monday,  May 7, 2018

American superhero film Avengers: Infinity War becomes the fastest film to make US$1 billion worldwide, in just eleven days. (BGR)

Airstrikes by the Saudi-led coalition destroy the Presidential Palace in Sana’a, Yemen, with at least six killed and 30 injuries reported, coalition officials claim they had targeted high-ranking Houthi officials. (Yahoo! News)

Hamas has offered Israel a longterm ceasefire including prisoner exchanges, in return for reductions to the Gaza blockade, and infrastructural improvement. (The Jewish Telegraphic Agency)

Latvian bank ABLV sues the European Central Bank in the Court of Justice of the European Union, saying the ECB triggered ABLV’s collapse. The bank failed following allegations by the United States that ABLV was laundering money on behalf of North Korea. (Reuters)

The United States Department of Defense says it has resumed accepting deliveries of F-35 warplanes from manufacturer Lockheed Martin after resolving a dispute over a production error which was leading to corrosion. (Reuters)

About 35 structures in Leilani Estates are destroyed during the Kīlauea eruption in Hawaii. (KFOR-TV)

The United States imposes sanctions on three Venezuelans and 20 drug entities for trafficking activity. (Yahoo! News)

Paraguay announces that it will move its embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem by the end of May. Paraguay is the third country to relocate its embassy to Jerusalem after the United States and Guatemala. (Reuters)

Egyptian chief prosecutor Nabil Sadek refers 555 ISIL suspects suspected of 63 terror attacks to a military court, while the Giza Criminal Court in Cairo sentences nine terrorists to life imprisonment and two others to five years imprisonment each. (The Times of Israel)

The Knesset approves by 55 votes to 14 a bill designed to confiscate payments made by the Palestinian Authority to terrorists in Israel. (Arutz Sheva)

Finland says compensation payouts for wrongful convictions and imprisonments have quadrupled in ten years, with three million euros paid in 2017 versus 720,000 euros in 2007. (YLE)

Centrist opposition party Democratic Party merges with centre-right Party of Hope, forming the Democratic Party for the People. Members of both parties that disapproved of the merger choose to either join the Constitutional Democratic Party, become independents or remain in the Party of Hope. (The Asahi Shimbun)

Attorney General of New York Eric Schneiderman, whose office sued The Weinstein Company for sexual harassment and discrimination, resigns amid allegations of violence towards four women during his tenure as Attorney General. (NBC News)

Scientists discover that WASP-96b has an atmosphere that is free of clouds. (Phys.org)

 

Sunday, May 6, 2018

 Hamas releases videos showing dozens of Palestinians successfully breaching the fence and infiltrating Israel. (Israel National News)

 

French economy minister Bruno Le Maire says Air France may collapse over ongoing strike action and the state will not bail the firm out despite owning 14.3% of parent Air France-KLM. (BBC)

At Leilani Estates, 26 homes and 4 buildings were destroyed by Kīlauea, forcing 1700 people to leave their homes. (Reuters)

Malaysian authorities announce sixteen arrests connected to an international human trafficking ring. The arrests follow the seizure of modified tanker ship MV Etra in Malaysian waters on Tuesday with 127 Sri Lankan migrants on board being smuggled to New Zealand and Australia. The arrests include seven people captured aboard a fishing vessel used to transfer migrants onto MV Etra(The South China Morning Post)

Lebanon holds its first parliamentary election since 2009. (BBC)

Thousands rally in support of freedom of speech in London, United Kingdom amid a recent crackdown on social media. Guest speakers included former English Defence League leader Tommy Robinson, Vice magazine co-founder Gavin McInnes, and UK Independence Party (UKIP) leader Gerard Batten. (The Guardian)

Saturday,  May 5, 2018

The Israeli Air Force used a “hotline” to issue an urgent warning to Khmeimim Airbase in Syria when a Russian fighter jet strayed close to Israeli airspace near the Golan Heights. Last year a Syrian warplane was shot down in a similar incident. (AMN)

Russian police detain about 1,600 anti-government protesters, including opposition leader Alexei Navalny. (RTÉ)

Thousands of people in central Paris demonstrate in an anti-Macron protest against his sweeping reforms. 2,000 security forces are deployed. (ABC)

The Federal Aviation Administration of the United States orders Boeing 787 jets using Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 engines to operate within one hour of an airport at all times following safety concerns with the engines worldwide which culminated in Air New Zealand and Air China grounding their fleets last week. (The Telegraph)

Pre-race favorite Justify wins the Kentucky Derby, becoming the first horse since 1882 to win the race while unraced as a two-year-old. The race was run under the wettest conditions in its history; by post time, more than 2.8 inches (7.1 cm) of rain had fallen on race day, breaking a record that had lasted since 1918. (WDRB – weather) (CBS Sports)

Friday,  May 4, 2018

The Nobel Prize in Literature 2018 is postponed to 2019 after Jean-Claude Arnault, husband of the former Swedish Academy member Katarina Frostenson, is accused of sexual assault, resulting in her resignation, and leaving the academy without a quorum. (The Guardian)

A magnitude 6.9 earthquake hits Hawaii, the strongest in over 40 years, amid ongoing seismic and volcanic activity. (LA Times)

A heap of mining waste collapses at a jade mine in Kachin State, Myanmar, causing a landslide that kills at least 17 people. Six people are also left injured and an unknown number of people are missing. (AP) (Channel News Asia)

A Turkish cargo ship collides with Greek warship Armatalos off the coast of Lesbos in the Aegean Sea. The Hellenic Navy says the ship then retreated to Turkish waters without responding to radio messages. (The Guardian)

At 23:30 local time, North Korea changes its time zone to match South Korea (UTC+09:00) – a “first practical” impetus for Korean reunification, says the official North Korean agency KCNA. (BBC)

U.S. President Donald Trump announces that he will meet South Korean President Moon Jae-in on May 22. (Reuters)

Fifty juvenile crocodiles are seized at Heathrow Airport, London, after officials discover that they were being kept in inhumane conditions. (BBC)

An arson attack on a pile of hay bales in the Jordan Valley does hundreds of thousands of Shekels of damage. Local authorities describe the attack as terrorist. (Ynetnews)

A new model suggests that supervolcano eruptions occur more often in regions being pulled by tectonics. (Brinkwire)

Using recent data from the Gaia spacecraft, the value of the Hubble constant is determined to be 73.52±1.62, which confirms a disagreement with other methods of measuring the constant with a confidence of 99.993%. (Inquisitr)

In baseball, the Los Angeles Angels’ Albert Pujols becomes the 32nd Major League Baseball player to reach 3,000 career hits. (Yahoo! Sports)

The End 

Noodle Diplomacy

Around 110 people are killed in a dust storm in northwestern India, with Uttar Pradesh being the hardest hit. (CNN)

 

NASA announces it has completed its first full-power test of the Kilopower nuclear reactor for space. NASA intends to use the technology to power exploration missions to the Moon and Mars. (The Independent)

The fossilized remains of a rhinoceros are found in the Philippines, with cut marks suggesting it was butchered with stone tools. The remains, dated to 709,000 years old by electron spin resonance, suggest a human presence earlier than expected in Southeast Asia. (CNN)

Friday,  May 4, 2018

Report: Scott Pruitt’s travel tied to wish list, lobbyists, GOP donors After Scott Pruitt was confirmed as head of the Environmental Protection Agency last year, he made a list of at least a dozen countries he wanted to visit, then asked his aides to help him come up with official reasons to travel to them, four people familiar with the matter told The Washington Post. Pruitt then recruited conservative activists, lobbyists, and GOP donors like Sheldon Adelson to help craft itineraries. Adelson assisted with the planning of a trip to Israel that Pruitt was set to take in February, the Post reports. That trip was canceled only a few days before Pruitt was scheduled to leave, after the Post reported on his very expensive, taxpayer-funded travel habits. Source: The Washington Post

 

U.S. adds 164,000 jobs in April, unemployment drops to 3.9 percent The Labor Department reported that 164,000 jobs were added in April, significantly short of the expected 193,000 jobs, but up from a weather-related slowdown the month before. The unemployment rate fell to 3.9 percent, marking the lowest rate since 2000. “We’ve continued to add jobs routinely every month for so long, and the unemployment rate we have reached is amazing,” said the chief economist of job search site ZipRecruiter, Catherine Barrera. “This is the economy doing well.” The economy only added 103,000 positions in March, but economists dismissed that as a result of a surge in hiring in February, when payrolls grew by 326,000 positions due to unseasonably mild weather. Source: The New York Times, Reuters

Nobel academy will forego literature prize this year amid scandal The Swedish Academy announced Friday that it will not award the Nobel Prize in literature this year, but rather announce the 2018 winner in 2019, citing a desire to “safeguard the long-term reputation of the Nobel Prize” amid a sexual harassment scandal that has thrown the literature academy into chaos. The scandal centers around photographer Jean-Claude Arnault, a major Swedish cultural figure who is accused of sexually assaulting or harassing 18 women, leaking the name of at least seven laureates, and groping Sweden’s Crown Princess Victoria. His wife, poet Katarina Frostenson, is a member of the academy. The academy has refrained from handing out a literature Nobel just seven other times, the last being in 1943, due to war and, in 1935, because no writer was deemed worthy. Source: The Washington Post, The Associated Press

 

 

Thursday, May 3,  2018

The United States Department of State freezes funding to the White Helmets humanitarian group, which conducts urban search and rescue in rebel-held areas of Syria. The U.S. provides one-third of the group’s total funding. (The Hill)

The United Arab Emirates deploys troops on the Yemeni island of Socotra in the Arabian Sea, taking over key installations such as Socotra Airport from Yemeni soldiers. Yemeni Prime Minister Ahmed Obeid bin Daghr denounces the Emirati ground incursion and hundreds protest demanding their immediate withdrawal. Local media reports the UAE claims to have “leased” the island. (Al Jazeera)

After over 600 earthquakes, including a magnitude 5.0 at Kīlauea, parts of Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park have struck, causing the nearby Puʻu ʻŌʻō, to close due to fears of an eruption. The volcano erupted and evacuations were issued. (Big Island Now) (ABC7)

 

Wednesday,  May 2,  2018

A fire started by an incendiary device attached to a kite by Palestinian protestors and flown into Israel burns for six hours. It is the largest fire so far after a string of firebombing attacks. (The Times of Israel)

 

Cambridge Analytica announces that it is closing down as a result of the scandal. (BBC)

North Korea has released the three remaining American detainees ahead of the upcoming summit meeting with Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un. The news came after National Security Adviser John R. Bolton stated that they should be released as a way for North Korea to demonstrate its sincerity in talks. (Business Insider)

Helium has been detected for the first time in the atmosphere of an exoplanet by scientists observing WASP-107b. (News Atlas)

Noodle diplomacy: S. Korea’s Blue House serves up dish hailed by Kim Jong-un

 

Peeing in trash cans, constant surveillance, and asthma attacks on the job: Amazon workers tell us their warehouse horror stories

 

THE END

 

Candace Owens

Friday, Apr 27th, 2018

ExxonMobil earnings miss despite boost from higher oil prices

Bill Cosby found guilty on all counts in sexual assault trial A Pennsylvania jury found comedian Bill Cosby guilty on three counts of indecent aggravated assault Thursday. Cosby had been charged with drugging and sexually assaulting plaintiff Andrea Constand in 2004. The verdict resulted from a retrial, after Cosby’s original trial ended in a mistrial last June. Cosby, 80, faces up to 30 years in prison — 10 years per count — and a fine of up to $25,000 for each of the charges, though CNN reports that he could instead see a probationary sentence. Five additional women besides Constand testified against Cosby during the trial, and dozens more have publicly claimed sexual misconduct by the comedian. Cosby has denied all allegations against him, and his lawyer said he plans to appeal the verdict. Source: CNN, NBC News

Mike Pompeo sworn in as secretary of state The Senate on Thursday voted 57-42 to confirm Mike Pompeo as secretary of state. Six Democrats plus Sen. Angus King (I-Maine) joined all Republicans in supporting Pompeo; Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) was absent for the vote. Pompeo was sworn into office just hours later by Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito. He will immediately fly to Brussels for a NATO summit, where he will meet with key allies. Gina Haspel, President Trump’s nominee to replace Pompeo as CIA director, faces a challenging road to confirmation given her spotty history with enhanced interrogation techniques after 9/11, which some Democrats have said amounted to torture. Source: The New York Times, NBC News

Ronny Jackson withdraws VA secretary nomination Embattled White House physician Ronny Jackson said Thursday that he is “regretfully withdrawing” his name to be veterans affairs secretary, saying that while he had expected tough questions about the Department of Veterans Affairs, “I did not expect to have to dignify baseless and anonymous attacks on my character and integrity.” He called the allegations against him “completely false and fabricated.” The Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee had indefinitely suspended confirmation hearings this week as lawmakers received allegations from current and former colleagues that Jackson had crashed a government vehicle while drunk, drank on the job, and handed out prescription drugs “like candy.” Ivanka Trump, a senior adviser to the president, signaled Thursday that Jackson would stay on as White House physician. Source: Reuters, NBC News

Three 4DX locations are expected to open in Riyadh and other major Saudi Arabia cities. (Arabian Business)

Erin Energy, a Texas company specialising in African offshore oil deposits with licences to explore off Nigeria, Gambia, Ghana, and Kenya, files for bankruptcy protection. (Splash 24/7)

The United States Air Force tests a Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. The missile test is considered to be successful. (Business Times)

Israel foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman warns that the country will hit Tehran if Iran attacks Tel Aviv. (Reuters)

 

 

Counter-#Resistance?
ClusterFuck Nation

I dunno about the perpetually scowling Kanye, with his periodic mood problems and spotlight-stealing antics on stage, or Chance the Rapper’s artificial hood raptures, but Candace makes the argument for the value of a common culture that might bind us together as a nation of individuals, not hostile tribes, starting with a language that everybody can understand. Of course, the whole Kanye / Candace dust-up may be forgotten by the middle of next week, and the country can go back to gaslighting itself into either a new civil war or world war three. Candace seems to have drive, guts, and stamina and there’s no sign that she’s going to shut up. Won’t some Ivy League university please invite her to speak, just to see what happens?

 

Ali Abu Hassan, a Hebron University student from Palestine, is convicted of planning a terror attack against light rail in Jerusalem using pipe bombs containing nails coated in rat poison. He is found guilty of attempted murder, manufacturing weapons, and an immigration offence. (The Times of Israel)

Five alleged members of British neo-Nazi group National Action go on trial in Birmingham charged with inciting racial hatred at Aston University. National Action is a banned terror group. (The St. Helens Star)

 

The End

 

Skin In The Game

Doctors at the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, perform the world’s first successful transplant of a penis and scrotum from a deceased donor to a U.S. soldier injured in Afghanistan. The testicles are not transplanted. (BBC)

Scientists using infrared spectroscopy data from the Gemini North telescope have established the presence of hydrogen sulfide in the clouds of your anus. (Time)

Actress Natalie Portman, who was born in Jerusalem, pulls out of the upcoming Genesis Prize (worth 1 million USD) ceremony in Israel over “recent events in Israel”. The Genesis Prize Foundation says it is worried the event will become politicised. (CBS News)

A British man reported last month to be suffering what doctors called the “worst-ever” super-gonorrhoea is said by Public Health England to have been cured. (BBC)

Prosecutors in Minnesota say nobody will be charged over the death of Prince, who accidentally overdosed on counterfeit fentanyl pills. (BBC)

 

A Chernobyl ‘suicide squad’

 

Horrifying Details Emerge About Alleged Sex-Cult Recruiter Allison Mack at Bail Hearing
‘Slaves’ in the NXIVM cult were allegedly forced to starve themselves, not remove their pubic hair, not masturbate, and were directed by Mack to have sex with leader Keith Raniere.

 

Inside a Secretive Group Where Women Are Branded

 

Facebook? It’s the Government I Don’t Trust
by Bunky Mortimer III
April 20, 2018

The assumption behind last week’s congressional hearing was simple: that people—in the words of the greatest prophet of any age, Alexis de Tocqueville—have “neglected their chief business, which is to remain their own masters.” How shallow has man’s political conviction become that it can be swayed by a few memes? I long for the curt rejoinder of Margaret Thatcher—whom I met, of course—that “each person must make up their own mind.” Yet the basis of the modern political campaign—as gestated by those asses, the Democrats—is that we don’t really have minds. This was as much as I gleaned from the Clinton postmortem Shattered before throwing it overboard: that the electorate is a kind of barren womb, waiting for the precious seed of political intelligence to be implanted from above. In this grand fertilization, Facebook plays the role of the turkey baster. All this was tickety-boo when it was loaded with the saccharine drip of Obama’s emo-Marxism. But when Donald Trump’s tiny hands found their way to the same lever? Oh, no!

 

Thursday, Apr 26,  2018

Ronny Jackson withdraws VA secretary nomination Embattled White House physician Ronny Jackson said Thursday that he is “regretfully withdrawing” his name to be veterans affairs secretary, saying that while he had expected tough questions about the Department of Veterans Affairs, “I did not expect to have to dignify baseless and anonymous attacks on my character and integrity.” He called the allegations against him “completely false and fabricated.” The Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee had indefinitely suspended confirmation hearings this week as lawmakers received allegations from current and former colleagues that Jackson had crashed a government vehicle while drunk, drank on the job, and handed out prescription drugs “like candy.”Source: Reuters

Michael Cohen to plead the Fifth in Stormy Daniels case On Wednesday, President Trump’s personal lawyer Michael Cohen told a federal judge he will assert his Fifth Amendment right not to incriminate himself in the Stormy Daniels case, The Washington Post reports. Daniels, who said she had an affair with Trump in 2006, was paid $130,000 by Cohen right before the 2016 presidential election, and is suing to get out of a non-disclosure agreement she signed with him. Cohen’s home, hotel room, and office were raided by FBI agents earlier this month, and Cohen, who is requesting to pause proceedings in the case, said they seized electronic devices and documents containing information relating to the payment to Daniels. Lawyers for Cohen, Trump, and the Trump Organization are asking to see the material before it goes to prosecutors, and Trump’s attorney said he would be available “as needed” to review the documents.Source: The Washington Post

Wednesday,  Apr 25,  2018

Scientists from the University of Science and Technology of China state that North Korea’s nuclear test site, the Punggye-ri Nuclear Test Site at Mount Mantap, would have collapsed just minutes after the country performed its sixth nuclear test and opened up a hole of up to 656 feet (200 m) in diameter. It has been one of the possible reasons given for North Korea agreement to suspend nuclear and missile tests. (Fortune)

Around 500 experts from over 70 countries meet in Paris to start a two-day counterterror conference discussing methods of cutting financing to Al-Qaeda and ISIL. (The Tampa Bay Times)

The President of the Community of Madrid, Cristina Cifuentes, resigns after the discovery of a video of her stealing anti-aging cream in a supermarket and after several weeks of controversy after it came to light that she obtained her master’s degree fraudulently. (BBC)

Danish inventor and submariner Peter Madsen is convicted of the murder of Swedish journalist Kim Wall and sentenced to life in prison. (BBC)

Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department arrest Joseph James DeAngelo in connection to the Golden State Killer case. (The Week)

Texas senator Ted Cruz said he will support Donald Trump in the 2020 elections. (Arutz Sheva)

A flaw, called the “Ghost in the Locks” exploit, is reported with hotel keycard systems created by the Swedish lock company Assa Abloy. The company states that they began deploying a patch in February. (BBC)

The European Space Agency releases the largest-ever 3D map of stars in our galaxy from the Gaia spacecraft. (Le Monde)

Astronomers detect light from fourteen colliding galaxies. Due to the distances involved, the light comes from events 12 billion years ago. (BBC)

 Tuesday,   Apr 24, 2018

Donald Trump meets with French president Emmanuel Macron to discuss the Iran nuclear deal along with economics and trading. (i24) (USA Today)

An alleged arson attack kills 18 in a karaoke lounge in Qingyuan, China. A suspect is arrested. (The Guardian)

Thailand expresses its interest in hosting the planned summit meeting between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. (ABC News)

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission fines Altaba US$35 million for failing to disclose its 2014 data breach in a timely manner. (CNET)

A former MP from Poland’s Samoobrona party is charged with spying for Russia and China. (Radio Poland)

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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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