"All that is necessary for the forces of evil to win in the world is for enough good men to do nothing." -- Edmund Burke, British political writer, 1729-1797

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Just as Russia had started to bring back some refinery capacity damaged by Ukrainian drone attacks earlier this year, a new wave of drone attacks hit a major refinery owned by Rosneft, for a second time.

Rosneft’s Ryazan refinery southeast of Moscow caught fire after the overnight drone attack, an anonymous Ukrainian military source with knowledge of the situation told Bloomberg News on Wednesday.

The refinery in the region of Ryazan, whose main city of the same name is some 120 miles southeast of Moscow, was first attacked by drones in the middle of March. The first attack also led to a fire.

This year, Ukraine has stepped up attacks on oil refineries in Russia, which have reduced Russian refining capacity, and, reportedly, have the White House concerned about rising international prices.

The United States has repeatedly urged Ukraine to halt its drone attacks on Russian oil refineries due to Washington’s assessment that the strikes could lead to Russian retaliation and push up global oil prices, the Financial Times reported in March, citing sources familiar with the exchange.

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Yet another little-known policy implemented by President Joe Biden last year allows migrants in the U.S. on parole to serve as sponsors for other parolees – and border hawks are not happy with the revelation.

While the number of migrants in the country who are only allowed in because they are being supported by other parolees is unknown, it's thought at least hundreds of thousands could be utilizing this policy.

Any migrants on Temporary Protected Status (TPS) or in the U.S. on asylum claims, as well as parolees, refugees and recipients of deferred action, Deferred Enforced Departure or DACA are all able to serve as the support for other migrant parolees, according to policies implemented in January 2023. 

This creates a 'chain parolee' system where parolees are able to bring into the U.S. other parolees by promising to financially support and sponsor them.

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President Joe Biden stubbornly refused to admit Americans' struggles with inflation might cost him the election in a rare interview Wednesday. 

A growing economy could inspire confidence in Biden's leadership ahead of the election, but the issue of persistent inflation could ruin that.

Biden, who was in Wisconsin to tout his record on the economy and to announce an investment by Microsoft to build a factory, defended his handling of inflation.

Polls show voters are nervous and critical of Biden's handling of the economy and anchor Erin Burnett reminded him that grocery prices are up 30 percent.  

But Biden, in his interview with CNN, claimed the polls are wrong and Americans struggling with inflation have more cash in their pockets, saying: 'They have the money to spend.'

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Back in the early 1990s, I spoke with John Marks, author of Search for the Manchurian Candidate. This was the book (1979) that helped expose the existence and range of the infamous CIA MKULTRA program.

Marks related the following facts to me. He had originally filed many Freedom of Information (FOIA) requests for documents connected to the CIA’s mind-control program. He got nothing back.

Finally, as if to play a joke on him, someone at the CIA sent Marks 10 boxes of financial and accounting records. The attitude was, “Here, see what you can do with this.”

I’ve seen some of those records. They’re very boring reading.

But Marks went through them, and lo and behold, he found he could piece together MKULTRA projects, based on the funding data.

Eventually, he assembled enough information to begin naming names. He conducted interviews. The shape of MKULTRA swam into view. And so he wrote his book, Search for the Manchurian Candidate.

He told me that three important books had been written about MKULTRA, and they all stemmed from those 10 boxes of CIA financial records. There was his own book; Operation Mind Control by Walter Bowart; and The Mind Manipulators by Alan Scheflin and Edward Opton.

After publishing his book, Marks continued to press the CIA for more MKULTRA information. He explained to me what then happened. A CIA official told him the following: in 1962, after ten years of mind-control experiments, the whole program had been shifted over to another internal CIA department, the Office of Research and Development (ORD).

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Lithuania is ready to send soldiers to Ukraine as part of a training mission, writes the Financial Times with reference to Lithuanian Prime Minister Ingrid Shimonite.

"Shimonite told the Financial Times that she has permission from parliament to send troops to Ukraine for training purposes," the publication says.

The newspaper clarified that Kiev has not yet received a request to send a mission.

In addition, as stated by Shimonite, Lithuania wants to help Ukraine ensure "that it has the potential to upgrade its armed forces." In this regard, Vilnius will refuse Ukrainian draft dodgers a residence permit. At the same time, they will not intentionally search for or deport them, as this is illegal, the prime minister stressed.

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The US plans to return to the same schedule of delivering weapons to Ukraine as before, State Department Spokesperson Matthew Miller said.

"We are working on other packages," he told reporters at a regular news conference. "You can expect to see us get back to the kind of tempo that we were at before we had this break in funding."

Miller had no specific announcements to make on Wednesday.

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EU foreign policy spokesman Peter is inciting terrorism with his statement about Ukraine's alleged right to attack the Crimean Bridge, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Maria Zakharova said.

"On May 6, EU foreign policy spokesman Peter Stano made a statement about Ukraine's alleged right to attack the Crimean Bridge within the framework, as part of, as it was written, self-defense. You know, there is simply no other way to call this but direct incitement of terrorism," the diplomat said at a briefing.

According to Zakharova, it is shocking that the statement was made by a European official who "in general speaks on behalf of the entire European Union." "These are his responsibilities. Stano’s unacceptable statement proves that the EU is not only a sponsor of the Kiev regime, but its statements also incite Kiev to continue attacks on peaceful Russian cities, civilian infrastructure, including hospitals, schools and stores," she added.

The spokeswoman pointed out that the EU, along with supplying heavy and long-range weapons, "openly disregards its own international obligations, as well as to others, and clearly becomes complicit in the terrorist activities of Ukrainian neo-Nazis."

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Amid bellicose rhetoric from Paris and London regarding the possibility of sending soldiers to Ukraine and massive NATO drills near Russia’s borders, the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces on Tuesday announced that it was preparing drills to practice the use of non-strategic nuclear weapons.

The US-led multinational integrated air and missile defense exercise Astral Knight 2024 kicked off near the border with Russia’s Kaliningrad region, Pentagon Press Secretary Sabrina Singh stated at a briefing on May 7.

With scheduled live-fly operations across the territories of Poland and the Baltic countries, the two-week drills are set to involve around 5,000 personnel from six participating nations – the US, UK, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and Poland. Denmark and Greece will observe the exercise.

Over 50 aircraft will be involved in the drills that are “part of the Defense Department's large scale global exercise 2024 program," according to the Pentagon press secretary.

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Lebanon’s Hezbollah attacked on May 8 several Israeli settlements and sites of the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF), causing material losses and casualties.

In four separate statements, Hezbollah said its fighters struck buildings occupied by Israeli troops in the settlements of Metula, Shlomi, Manara, Hanita and Avivim. In two other statements, the group announced that it had targeted fortified posts in the sites of al-Rahib and al-Malikiyah using guided missiles then shelled troops and surveillance equipment of the IDF there.

Hezbollah said in two more statements that it launched a suicide drone at a newly-established headquarters of the IDF’s Western Brigade near the settlement of Yaara and struck the headquarters of the 91st Division in Pranit barracks with a Burkan heavy improvised rocket. In another statement, the group announced that it fired rockets at the al-Samaqa site.

The attacks were carried out in support of the Palestinian people and resistance in the Gaza Strip and as a response to recent Israeli strikes on southern Lebanon, Hezbollah noted in its statements.

Hebrew media reported a number of casualties in Manara, Avivim and al-Malikiyah with some being evacuated by helicopter to a military hospital in the northern Israeli city of Afula. It also acknowledged that the IDF failed to intercept the drone Hezbollah launched at Yaara.

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A number of former and current high-ranking officials in Malta have been charged with corruption over a hospital privatization scandal, the AFP news agency reported on Wednesday.

The charges against former premier Joseph Muscat, current Deputy Prime Minister Chris Fearne, and the governor of the EU nation’s central bank, Edward Scicluna, were filed on Monday, AFP said, citing documents it had obtained.

Muscat, who was Malta’s prime minister between 2013 and 2020, has reportedly been charged with accepting bribes, corruption in public office, and money laundering.

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Russia firmly opposes the West’s “colonial policies” aimed at elevating a few nations by restraining the development of other sovereign states, Russian President Vladimir Putin has said in his address at the military parade in Moscow celebrating the 79th anniversary of victory over Nazi Germany.

According to Putin, Western nations “would like to forget the lessons of World War II.”

“We see how they are trying to distort the truth about World War II – it interferes with those who are accustomed to building their essentially colonial policy on hypocrisy and lies. They demolish memorials to true fighters against Nazism and place traitors and Nazi collaborators on pedestals,” the president said.

He called this revanchism policy a “mockery of history” based on the desire to justify current followers of the Nazis.

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EU elites are growing increasingly disenchanted with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, Swiss newspaper Neue Zurcher Zeitung has claimed. Bloomberg reported last month that French President Emmanuel Macron, widely regarded as a key backer in von der Leyen’s rise, is eyeing a replacement for her.

Although she is unelected, von der Leyen’s fate still indirectly depends on the outcome of the European parliamentary elections scheduled for next month. She remains the main candidate for the center-right European People’s Party (EPP), which has the most seats in the European Parliament. Despite an expected right wing surge in the upcoming votes, it is expected to reinforce its dominant position in June.

Any EPP nominee would still require the backing from an absolute majority of MEPs and von der Leyen has refused to rule out a coalition with right wing groups in order to secure another five-year term.

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UK Interior Minister James Cleverly has announced a package of sanctions targeting Russia’s diplomatic presence in the country in response to what he called Moscow’s “malign activity.” He outlined the measures while addressing Parliament on Wednesday.

The measures include imposing new restrictions on Russian diplomatic visas, including capping the length of time Russian diplomats can spend in the UK, and removing the status of diplomatic premises from several Russia-linked properties in the country. London believes that Moscow has used the properties, including Seacox Heath in Sussex and the Trade and Defense Section in Highgate, for intelligence purposes.

Cleverly also announced the expulsion of the Russian defense attaché, whom London has branded an “undeclared military intelligence officer.”

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Up to two dozen cases of the presence of French-speaking foreign mercenaries in the Zaporozhye Region have been exposed, Vladimir Rogov, the chairman of the commission on sovereignty, patriotic projects and support for veterans under the Civic Chamber, has told TASS.

Ethnic Poles and Georgians account for the largest groups of mercenaries in the Ukrainian army.

"There were French-speaking mercenaries, but without any French patches or insignia. Both white and dark-skinned. There were up to two dozen such cases in the Zaporozhye Region. Poles, Georgians and Ichkerians (supporters of the self-proclaimed and non-existent Chechen Republic of Ichkeria - TASS) are the largest groups. They were in Orekhov, Gulyaypole and in the city of Zaporozhye itself, as well as Kamyshevakha and Kushugum," Rogov said.

Their exact number on the line of engagement is difficult to determine.

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Israel continued to bombard Gaza’s southernmost city of Rafah on 8 May, as over one million Palestinians there face an immediate threat after Israeli forces captured the city’s border crossing with Egypt the previous day.

“Overnight and into the early hours of the morning, the Israeli military continued to pound parts of eastern Rafah city,” Al Jazeera reported, adding that health facilities in Rafah are unable to accommodate large numbers of casualties.

Israel also targeted Rafah with white phosphorus munitions, which are illegal to use on civilians and civilian infrastructure and are considered a war crime under international law. 

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US retailers have announced the closure of almost 2,600 stores in 2024 - just four months into the year.

Big names including Macy's, Walmart, Walgreens, Foot Locker and 7-Eleven have all said they are closing shops. 

But discount stores like Family Dollar and bankrupt 99 Cents Only have been worst hit, as have drugstores like CVS and Rite Aid. 

If the closures were to continue at the same rate for the rest of the year they would total 7,800 in 2024 - almost 40 percent more than the total in 2023.

Bricks-and-mortar locations are struggling in the face of competition from online. 

Scroll down for the full list of closures so far in 2024.

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