"Everyone has their price. What's surprising is...how low it is" -- Napoleon

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With the overwhelming successes that the Russian Federation forces are enjoying in the North near Kharkov, and the relentless push in the eastern Donetsk Oblast, the situation of the Ukrainian defenders is as bad as it’s ever been in this war.

In this context of near breakdown in the Ukrainian lines in several points, President Volodymyr Zelensky decided to postpone all his foreign trips.

There is also the fact that his Constitutional presidential mandate expires on May 20th, meaning that, after cancelling elections, he will be an illegitimate president, kept in place by force.

Tags: RUSSIA/ UKRAINE /BELARUS /CRIMEA
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A rare, highly progressive neurodegenerative disease has become more prevalent after the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines. Prion diseases, which hollow out the brain and lead to rapid death, have increased over the last three years. According to the medical literature, many new cases have occurred after the administration of COVID-19 mRNA vaccines. Because prions rapidly destroy similar proteins types, the disease can be transmissible if an individual is exposed to organs or blood already affected by prions.

Cases of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease increase after COVID-19 vaccination

One of the main prion diseases is called Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD). CJD was traditionally seen as an extremely rare neurological and degenerative disease, representing approximately 1 case per one million people. Traditionally, there are approximately 350 cases of sporadic CJD in the United States each year. CJD cases makeup 90 percent of all prion diseases.

In April 2023, medical researchers documented a fatal case of CJD after the 68-year-old patient received a second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine. Another case documented in September 2022 involved a 59-year-old man suspected of having CJD, who developed symptoms following multiple COVID-19 vaccinations. In a third researched case, a 68-year-old woman suffered rapid memory loss, behavior changes, headaches and gait disturbance a week after COVID-19 vaccination. By June 7, 2022, the Vaccine Adverse Reporting System (VAERS) had captured 42 cases of CJD after vaccination. Sid Belzberg, an independent researcher, gathered an additional 60 reports of prion diseases after COVID vaccination on a website he’d set up to collect data on the neurological side effects of the jabs. These 60 cases came from a population of approximately 15,000 people who visited the site, suggesting an alarming trend.

Tags: CONSUMER RIGHTS / PRODUCT REPORTS, SCIENCE/ HEALTH/ CLIMATE/ NATURE
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The Florida theme park Disney World has removed Tinker Bell from its meet and greets. The character used to appear alongside Mickey Mouse and others, greeting families at locations at the park.

But according to reports, the innocent fairy has been brandished as “problematic” by the woke crones running the company. How can a small, sweet fairy be seen as remotely “problematic”?

Because she was seen as “body conscious.” We are not clear on what that even means. But the nail in her coffin was that she “desired Peter Pan’s attention.” Oh, now it makes sense. A female character who is attracted to a strong, male figure. The feminist goons that run Disney can’t have that!

These PC clowns are so woke, that they even brandished Captain Hook—the villain of the film—as problematic too because, get this, he has a hook. The liberals who run Disney fear this might be seen as a “negative portrayal of those with disabilities.”

Uh… so now Disney doesn’t like cartoon pirates because they think it will offend someone with a prosthetic in real life? Does anyone really think Hook is evil because he has a hook for a hand? Give me a break.

Tags: CURRENT EVENTS, ENTERTAINMENT
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Donald Trump had accomplished plenty of good during his short stint in the White House. He helped broker trade agreements in the Middle East, defying expectations. He kept the world’s enemies under his thumb, including Iran and North Korea.

He even helped make America the world’s leader in exporting energy, something Biden has devastated in just a few years.

Now, a group in Congress is looking to recognize Trump’s achievements. A few Republicans are pushing to give Trump the highest honor the House can give to a civilian.

From Daily Wire:
A group of House Republicans have banded together in trying to get former President Donald Trump a Congressional Gold Medal, the highest civilian award the Legislative Branch can bestow.

Tags: CURRENT EVENTS
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Bahrain has signalled its willingness to be a member of an Arab multinational force that would administer security in Gaza once Israel ends its war on the embattled enclave, a US official familiar with the Biden administration's plans for the region has told Middle East Eye.

US officials have made several overtures in recent weeks to see if Bahrain would be a member of the force that will fill the security vacuum in Gaza until a Palestinian governing authority can be formed, the US official said on condition of anonymity as he was not authorised to speak to the media.

Manama has said it wants to take a bigger role in post-war Gaza's governance, pointing to its position as the fourth country to normalise ties with Israel in 2020 as part of the Abraham Accords agreements, the official said.

Bahrain's willingness to entertain the idea suggests that Saudi Arabia is also open to an Arab peacekeeping force in Gaza, given Manama's political, military and financial reliance on its larger neighbour.

Tags: ISRAEL, MIDDLE EAST, PALESTINE, WAR/DRAFT/ VETERAN AFFAIRS
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Ireland will recognise a Palestinian state before the end of this month if not on May 21 as first thought, Irish Foreign Minster Micheal Martin said on Wednesday.

European Union members including Ireland, Spain, Slovenia and Malta, had planned to make the recognition next week, arguing that a two-state solution is essential for lasting peace in the region.

"We will be recognising the state of Palestine before the end of the month," Micheal Martin told Newstalk radio. "The specific date is still fluid because we're still in discussions with some countries in respect of a joint recognition."

Tags: GREAT BRITAIN/ UK, PALESTINE
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The editor of WikiLeaks denounced the British judicial system as crooked on Wednesday, days before a crucial court hearing which could end the legal battle by the organisation's founder Julian Assange to stop extradition to the United States.

Assange, 52, is wanted by U.S. prosecutors on 18 charges, all bar one under the Espionage Act, over WikiLeaks' release of thousands of confidential U.S. military records and secret diplomatic cables.

At a hearing on Monday, judges at London's High Court could agree to rubber stamp his extradition, give him permission for a full appeal or even set him free, his wife Stella Assange said.

"Julian is just one decision away from being extradited," she told reporters on Wednesday. "If the judges find against him on Monday, then there will be no further avenues for appeal in the UK."

In March the High Court provisionally gave Assange permission to appeal but said satisfactory assurances - that the U.S. would not seek the death penalty and would allow him a First Amendment right to free speech in a trial - would make this unnecessary.

Tags: COVER-UP/ DECEPTIONS/ PROPAGANDA, CURRENT EVENTS, DICTATORSHIP, GREAT BRITAIN/ UK, POLITICS/ ELECTIONS/ CORRUPTION, TORTURE/ WAR CRIMES, WHITE HOUSE
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Rhetoric from the Pentagon and the arms industry suggests that integrating artificial intelligence, or AI, into U.S. weapons, communications, and surveillance systems will improve efficiency, innovation, and national security.

The Pentagon is beginning to back its rhetoric on emerging technology with resources. The department’s Office of Strategic Capital now has the authority to grant executive loans and loan guarantees to invest in firms researching and developing 14 “critical technologies,” including hypersonics, quantum computing, microelectronics, autonomous systems, and artificial intelligence.

Meanwhile, the Senate version of the National Defense Authorization Act authorizes the Advanced Defense Capabilities Pilot, which contains a mandate to establish public-private partnerships with the goal of “leverag[ing] private equity capital to accelerate domestic defense scaling, production, and manufacturing.”

Proponents argue that the rapid development and deployment of autonomous systems, pilotless vehicles, and hypersonic weapons will shorten the time between recognizing a potential threat and destroying it — a process analysts and military leaders often refer to as shortening the "kill chain." This shift is portrayed as a positive development, when in fact it could easily enable deadly escalations by accident or design.

Webmaster addition: 

Tags: COMPUTERS/INTERNET/AI, WAR/DRAFT/ VETERAN AFFAIRS
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President Joe Biden and his administration have been accused of being complicit in enabling a famine in Gaza by failing to sufficiently act on repeated warnings from their own experts and aid agencies.

Interviews with current and former US Agency for International Development (USAID) and State Department officials, aid agencies working in Gaza and internal USAID documents reveal that the administration rejected or ignored pleas to use its leverage to persuade its ally Israel – the recipient of billions of dollars of US military support – to allow sufficient humanitarian aid into Gaza to stop the famine taking hold.

The former officials say the US also provided diplomatic cover for Israel to create the conditions for famine by blocking international efforts to bring about a ceasefire or alleviate the crisis, making the delivery of aid almost impossible.

“This is not just turning a blind eye to the man-made starvation of an entire population, it is direct complicity,” former State Department official Josh Paul, who resigned over US support for the war, told The Independent.

Tags: ISRAEL, PALESTINE, TORTURE/ WAR CRIMES, WAR/DRAFT/ VETERAN AFFAIRS, WHITE HOUSE
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The Islamic Resistance in Iraq says it has fired advanced cruise missiles at vital targets in the Israeli-occupied territories in retaliation for the massacres committed by the Zionist regime against civilians in Gaza. 

The resistance, which is an umbrella group of anti-US and anti-Israel factions, said in a statement it hit vital targets in the areas of Ariha Valley, also known Jericho, and the Nevatim Airbase using Arqab cruise missiles.

The statement vowed the resistance will continue its operations for as long as the genocide in Gaza continues.

The Islamic Resistance in Iraq has been conducting many such attacks on Israeli targets since the occupying regime launched the genocidal campaign in Gaza in early October.

Tags: IRAQ, ISRAEL, WAR/DRAFT/ VETERAN AFFAIRS
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A senior Iranian commander sounds a note of warning addressed to the UK, Germany, and France after the trio deployed their warplanes to defend the Israeli regime against a retaliatory operation staged by Iran last month.

Brigadier General Esmail Qa’ani, commander of the Quds Force of Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC), made the remarks on Wednesday.

“All criminals should know [this] that their measures and crimes have been chalked up to their accounts,” Qa’ani said.

“France, Germany, and the UK should not think that they deployed the planes that night and that the issue was over. Yes, that night was over, but they will be held accountable in due course,” he added.

The commander was addressing a ceremony held to mark 40 days since the martyrdom of the IRGC’s General Mohammad Hadi Haji Rahimi.

Haji Rahim, Brigadier General Mohammad Reza Zahedi, an IRGC Quds Force commander, and five of their accompanying officers were all martyred on April 1 in an Israeli terrorist attack against Iran’s diplomatic premises in the Syrian capital Damascus.

Tags: FRANCE, GERMANY, GREAT BRITAIN/ UK, IRAN, ISRAEL, WAR/DRAFT/ VETERAN AFFAIRS
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Deputy Prime Minister Robert Kalinak has told reporters in a briefing that "there is no doubt" that the attack was a politically motivated assassination attempt. "The inability to accept the will of some part of the public, which some group does not like, is the result that they have worked towards today," he said in reference to Fico’s political opponents. A video is widely circulated of the detained suspect's interrogation wherein the man, identified as Juraj Cintula, confesses to saying he "disagreed" with his government's policies. 

Western media coverage of the attempted killing has been interesting to say the least. Fico was alongside Viktor Orban a dissenter when it comes to the NATO line on Ukraine.

Journalist Glenn Greenwald has commented, for example, "Listen to this Sky News report on the shooting of Robert Fico. Not only do they come close to justifying it because he opposes aid to Ukraine, but they also casually imply that he's being paid by the Kremlin.

Tags: ASSASSINATION, POLITICS/ ELECTIONS/ CORRUPTION, RUSSIA/ UKRAINE /BELARUS /CRIMEA, WAR/DRAFT/ VETERAN AFFAIRS
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Much attention has been paid to forever chemicals in water and food, but did you know, what you put on your body can be just as dangerous as what you put in it. 

There is a wide array of cosmetic and personal hygiene products Americans use to prevent sweating, shave beards and get a pesky popcorn kernel unstuck from their teeth.

But dozens of these products - and similar - have been revealed to contain harmful PFAS, 'forever chemicals' and other cancer-causing ingredients. 

Consumer watchdog group Mamavation and the Environmental Working Group have tested hundreds of products and analyzed their ingredients, ranging from foods to sunscreens, makeup, body washes and contact lenses. 

They found dangerously high levels of harmful ingredients in items across categories.

Tags: CONSUMER RIGHTS / PRODUCT REPORTS, SCIENCE/ HEALTH/ CLIMATE/ NATURE
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As housing costs soar across the country, even once-affordable cities such as Albuquerque have experienced unprecedented rent increases and severe shortages of affordable housing. The number of people has risen to record levels, and Albuquerque, with a population of about a half million, is no exception. Last year, a survey found the highest number of homeless people in recent years.

Tents, makeshift structures and shopping carts have sprung up in parks, arroyos, ditches and empty lots and on sidewalks. The city has deployed workers from multiple departments to remove them. In 2023, crews visited more than 4,500 locations where people were camping, more than double the number from the previous year, according to data obtained from the Solid Waste Management Department. The city is on pace to clear nearly 6,000 encampment locations this year, according to the data. Over three years, the effort has cost the department nearly $1 million in labor and equipment, according to records.

Albuquerque has escalated this work in spite of a court order prohibiting it from destroying the possessions of people who live outside without providing an option to store them. In doing so, the city also has violated its own policies, including that personal property should be preserved even when the owner isn’t present. The city operates a facility to store property removed from encampments, but ProPublica found it is rarely used.

Webmaster addition: But there is plenty of money for illegal immigrants ... I mean ... Democratic voters!

Tags: ECONOMY
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Authored by Philip Wegmann via RealClearPolitics,

The White House did not offer their full faith and credit to the FDIC chairman when asked by RealClearPolitics about a bombshell 234-page investigation that detailed a toxic environment within the agency.

Other than noting that Martin Gruenberg, the official in question, had already “apologized and spoke[n] to” allegations that he presided over a culture of bullying, harassment, and mismanagement, Karine Jean-Pierre, the president’s spokeswoman, mostly demurred.

Gruenberg will not skate by so easily when he testifies before Congress this week. Republicans in both the House and Senate are hell-bent for leather. And his scalp.

The report was published by law firm Cleary Gottlieb last week and followed a Wall Street Journal investigation last November that documented a federal agency akin to “a good ol’ boys club” where female employees were subjected to stalking, unwelcome illicit messages, and sexual harassment.

The episode is an embarrassment to President Biden, who promised on the first day of his administration to fire “on the spot” anyone who engaged in such behavior.

It is also a political liability. If Gruenberg, a Biden nominee who served in both the Obama and Trump administrations and the Senate confirmed by voice vote, exits under pressure, it would leave the FDIC board deadlocked during an election year. “A 2-2 vote would stall and probably doom politically sensitive banking policy,” observed Renaissance Macro Research. The regulatory policy of the administration would then hang in limbo.

These realities are not lost on many in the FDIC workforce who want reform. In a statement obtained by RCP, current employees expressed their concern that “the egregious issues documented in the Cleary report by over 500 employees have become partisan.”

Working at an agency now under scrutiny for a history of reprisals against whistleblowers, the statement was left unsigned, though the drafters noted that they “have a wide range of political views, ranging from far left to far right.”

“The FDIC employees behind this statement do not have confidence that the chairman and executive management have the willingness to truly make the cultural and structural changes necessary to fully address the [matters] identified in the report,” they write.

For his part, Gruenberg has already offered an apology.

“I want to also thank everyone who shared their experiences throughout this process. I know that doing so was difficult. To anyone who experienced sexual harassment or other misconduct at the FDIC, I again want to express how very sorry I am. I also want to apologize for any shortcomings on my part,” he said in a statement when the Cleary Gottlieb report was published.

“As chairman, I am ultimately responsible for everything that happens at our agency, including our workplace culture,” Gruenberg added.

The chairman, whom the report found has a history of anger and belittling staff, plans to announce a new, independent office devoted to professional conduct at the agency, according to prepared testimony before the House Financial Services Committee Wednesday. But the head of that committee, Republican Chairman Patrick McHenry, has already called for his resignation. And some FDIC employees are already registering their dissatisfaction.

“The Chairman has communicated the action plan that he oversaw the creation of as proof of his commitment to improving conditions at the FDIC. We, however, do not have confidence that this action plan is meaningful,” they wrote.

More than a dozen Republicans now oppose Gruenberg. South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott, the ranking member on the Senate Banking Committee, has called for his resignation. Iowa Sen. Joni Ernst has called on the Department of Justice to open an investigation. Only one Democrat, however, Illinois Rep. Bill Foster, has followed suit, calling for the FDIC chairman to step down.

Rep. Maxine Waters, the top Democrat on Financial Services, blasted the report, not the FDIC chairman, for focusing too much on current leadership. Democrats are expected to circle the wagons to protect Gruenberg during his testimony – an irony given the propensity of Democrats, not Republicans, to rail against toxic workplace environments.

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen signaled her displeasure, telling reporters Tuesday that “the kind of abuses that were documented in the report are a totally unacceptable way to treat employees at the FDIC and not in line with the core values of the Biden administration.” She stopped short, however, of joining Republican calls for his resignation.

Tags: COVER-UP/ DECEPTIONS/ PROPAGANDA, CURRENT EVENTS, POLITICS/ ELECTIONS/ CORRUPTION
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by Tyler Durden
 

In what must be the first time California's 9th circuit has ruled in favor of the 2nd Amendment, non-violent convicted felons can now own guns.

The decision stems from a 2020 case, in which California resident Steven Duarte was arrested after tossing a handgun out of a moving car during a traffic stop. He was indicted by a federal grand jury for possessing said firearm while being previously convicted of "a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year" in violation of the federal “felon-in-possession” law.

A customer shops for a pistol in Tinley Park, Ill., on Dec. 17, 2012. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Duarte had five prior non-violent criminal convictions in California; vandalism, felon in possession of a firearm, drug possession, and two convictions for fleeing a police officer - each of which is punishable by one year or more in prison. After pleading not guilty, Duarte's case proceeded to trial, where he was found guilty and sentenced to 51 months in prison.

Not so fast!

As the Epoch Times notes further, in a 2-1 decision handed down on May 9, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Mr. Duarte’s conviction violated the Second Amendment as applied to him.

Specifically, the court’s majority found that the federal government failed to prove that its felon-in-possession law supports disarming convicted felons for life under a two-step framework established by the U.S. Supreme Court in the 2022 “New York State Rifle & Pistol Association Inc. v. Bruen” case.

The two-step process, put forth by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, first requires the court to determine whether the Second Amendment’s “plain text” covers an individual’s conduct. If so, then that conduct is presumptively protected, and the government must prove that its law is “consistent with this Nation’s historical tradition of firearm regulation.”

“Because Duarte is an American citizen, he is part of the people whom the Second Amendment protects,” Senior Circuit Judge Carlos Bea wrote for the majority.

“The Government argues only that ’the people‘ in the Second Amendment excludes felons like Duarte because they are not members of the ’virtuous’ citizenry,” he wrote. “We do not share that view.”

The burden then fell back to the federal government to show that its gun possession policy aligns with the “historical tradition” of the United States.

However, during the Early Republic era, Mr. Duarte’s past convictions either would have been considered misdemeanors, didn’t exist as a crime, or may have had predecessors for which the government failed to provide evidence of their existence, Judge Bea noted.

‘Historically Understood Meaning’

“Based on this record, we cannot say that Duarte’s predicate offenses were, by Founding-era standards, of a nature serious enough to justify permanently depriving him of his fundamental Second Amendment rights,” the majority opinion read.

“The Second Amendment’s plain text and historically understood meaning therefore presumptively graduate his individual right to possess a firearm for self-defense.”

Tags: RIGHT TO BEAR ARMS
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Authored by Pepe Escobar,

Get ready for what may well be the geoeconomic bombshell of 2024: the coming of a decentralized monetary ecosystem.

Welcome to The Unit  – a concept that has already been discussed by the financial services and investments working group set up by the BRICS+ Business Council and has a serious shot at becoming official BRICS+ policy as early as in 2025.

According to Alexey Subbotin, founder of Arkhangelsk Capital Management and one of the Unit’s conceptualizers, this is a new problem-solving system that addresses the key geoeconomic issue of these troubled times: a global crisis of trust.

He knows all about it first-hand: a seasoned financial professional with experience in investment banking, asset management and corporate matters, Subbotin leads the Unit project under the auspices of IRIAS, an international intergovernmental organization set up in 1976 in accordance with the UN statute.

The Global Majority has had enough of the centrally controlled monetary framework put in place 80 years ago in Bretton Woods and its endemic flaws: chronic deficits fueling irresponsible military spending; speculative bubbles; politically motivated sanctions and secondary sanctions; abuse of settlement and payment infrastructure; protectionism; and the lack of fair arbitration.

In contrast, the Unit proposes a reliable, quick and economically efficient solution for cross-border payments. The - transactional - Unit is a game-changer as a new form of international currency that can be issued in a de-centralized way, and then recognized and regulated at national level.

The Unit offers a unique solution for bottlenecks in global financial infrastructure: it is eligible for traditional banking operations as well as for the newest forms of digital banking.

The Unit can also help to upend unfair pricing in commodity trading, by means of setting up a new – fair and efficient – Eurasian Mercantile Exchange where trading and settlement can be done in a new currency bridging trade flows and capital, thus paving the way to the development of new financial products for foreign direct investment (FDI).

The strength of the Unit, conceptually, is to remove direct dependency on the currency of other nations, and to offer especially to the Global Majority a new form of apolitical money - with huge potential for anchoring fair trade and investments.

It is indeed a new concept in terms of an international currency - anchored in gold (40%) and BRICS+ currencies (60%). It is neither crypto nor stablecoin – as it’s shown here.

The Beauty of Going Fractal

The Global Majority will instantly grasp the primary purpose of the Unit: to harmonize trade and financial flows by keeping them outside of political pressure or “rules” that can be twisted at will. The inevitable consequence translates as financial sovereignty. What matters in the whole process are independent monetary policies focused on economic growth.

That’s the key appeal for the Global Majority: a full ecosystem offering independent, complementary monetary infrastructure. And that surely can be extended to willing Unit partners in the collective West.

Now to the practical level: as Subbotin explains, the Unit ecosystem may be easily scalable because it comes from a fractal architecture supported by simple rules. New Unit nodes can be set up by either sovereign or private agents, following a detailed rule-book in custody of the UN-chartered IRIAS.

The Unit organizers employ a distributed ledger: a technology that ensures transparency, precluding capital controls or any exchange rate manipulation.

This means that connection is available to all open DEX and digital platforms operated by both commercial and Central Banks around the world.

The endgame is that everyone, essentially, may use the Unit for accounting, bookkeeping, pricing, settling, paying, saving and investing.

No wonder the institutional possibilities are quite enticing – as the Unit can be used for accounting and settlement for BRICS+; payment and pricing for the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU); or as a reserve currency for Sub-Saharan Africa.

And now comes the clincher: the Unit has already received backing by the BRICS Business Council and is on the agenda at the crucial ministerial meeting in Russia next month, which will work out the road map for the summit next October in Kazan.

That means the Unit has all it takes to be on the table as a serious subject discussed by BRICS+ and eventually be adopted as early as in 2025.

Tags: CORPORATE MEDIA, CURRENT EVENTS, ECONOMY
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Israel is nowhere close to defeating Hamas above or below ground. Ukraine is now on its third army and running out of time and press-ganged recruits

Tags: ISRAEL, PALESTINE, RUSSIA/ UKRAINE /BELARUS /CRIMEA, TORTURE/ WAR CRIMES, WAR/DRAFT/ VETERAN AFFAIRS
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US Secretary of State Antony Blinken visiting Kiev is a sign that the Biden administration is concerned about the situation at the front, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said at a briefing.

"On May 14-15, the US Secretary of State visited Ukraine," the diplomat noted. "It is obvious that the state of affairs on the frontline and the military failures of the Ukrainian army are triggering more and more serious alarm in the Biden administration."

The spokeswoman noted that the Washington Post said that Blinken arrived at a critical moment for Kiev, calling on it to hold on for as long as possible. "He sang a song, ate some pizza and left," Zakharova noted.

Webmaster addition: 

 

Tags: RUSSIA/ UKRAINE /BELARUS /CRIMEA, WAR/DRAFT/ VETERAN AFFAIRS, WHITE HOUSE
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