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"Are we civilized, or merely domesticated?" -- Michael Rivero
North Korea launched a pair of "strategic cruise missiles" from a submarine in the waters off its east coast, state media reported Monday, in an apparent warning as the United States and South Korea kicked off their largest joint military drills in five years.
The missiles were fired from the "8.24 Yongung" submarine Sunday morning, state-run Korean Central News Agency reported. They flew in figure-eight patterns for over two hours and covered a distance of roughly 930 miles before hitting a target in the sea.
"The drill confirmed the reliability of the weapon system and examined the underwater-to-surface offensive operation posture of the submarine units that constitute one of the major components of the DPRK nuclear deterrent," the report said.
Concerning levels of so-called “forever chemicals” have been detected in several species of fish, some of them used in the quintessential British specialty fish and chips.
According to the Daily Mail, independent journalist group Watershed Investigations collected data from the Center for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (CEFAS). CEFAS, an executive agency attached to the U.K. Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) tested 53 fish samples obtained from the Thames, Mersey and Wyre rivers for traces of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS).
The journalists found that flounder, dab and plaice were the species with high levels of PFAS. One flounder taken from London’s Woolwich district, located along the Thames, had the highest PFAS level at 52.1 micrograms per kilogram (mcg/kg). According to them, fish ingest the forever chemicals while swimming in the three rivers.
Moreover, some samples contained excessively high levels of PFAS. Using the flounder with 52.1 mcg/kg as an example, an average adult who eats just 170 grams (0.4 pounds) of this fish more than once every five months would exceed the safe PFAS threshold set by the European Food Safety Authority. Interestingly, the three fish species – flounder, dab and plaice – are used for fish and chips, one of the U.K.’s national dishes.
When US President Biden appointed Victoria Nuland as Assistant Secretary of State, CODEPINK feminists (Women for Peace, an international non-governmental organisation) expressed their protest against the decision claiming that Nuland would bring pain and suffering to mothers and daughters as she "fomented war."
"Instead of promoting diplomacy, Nuland lights matches wherever she meddles, agitating for war in Afghanistan, and now Ukraine. If feminists remain silent or support this Bush-era neocon simply because she is a woman, Victoria Nuland might just burn down the world in a nuclear fire," Medea Benjamin, CODEPINK for Peace co-founder then said.
It turned out that the above-mentioned statement was not far from the truth. Suffice it to recall the footage of Victoria Nuland distributing bread in the midst of Maidan riots. The video clearly indicates who was behind the revolution in Ukraine.
See more at https://english.pravda.ru/world/156024-victoria_nuland_war/
During March 2022, the peace negotiations between Russia and Ukraine began first in Belarus and then in Istanbul. Vladimir Medinsky, an aide to the Russian delegation announced in public that they managed to align their viewpoints on a number of issues and then Kiev presented a document in writing, which for Russia contained sufficient number of acceptable views with the neutral status out of any political bloc of Ukraine without foreign military bases, units or weaponry, nuclear arms included.
It was recommended that as the guarantors for security these countries would be included as follows: Russia, Great Britain, Germany, Israel, Italy, Canada, China, Poland, the USA, Turkey and France.
The collapse of Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) was the fault of US President Joe Biden’s administration, Donald Trump has claimed, warning it could lead to a new Great Depression in the United States.
SVB, a major lender focused on tech and startups, which was the 16th largest US bank with over $200 billion in assets only a few months ago, imploded on Friday after what analysts called “a classic case of bank run.”
Alarmed over the state of the bank, depositors rushed to withdraw funds, which saw SVB’s shares crash and forced the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) to shut the lender down.
“With what is happening to our economy, and with the proposals being made on the largest and dumbest tax increase in the history of the USA, times five, Joe Biden will go down as the Herbert Hoover of the modern age,” Trump wrote on his social media platform Truth Social.
One of the biggest complaints about ChatGPT is that it provides information, but the veracity and accuracy of that information is uncertain. That's because ChatGPT doesn't provide sources, footnotes, or links to where it derived information used in its answers.
But that's not fully true.
If you know how to properly prompt ChatGPT, it will give you sources. Here's how.
Local sources have reported the use of JDAMs on March 10, specifically in the vicinity of Bakhmut (Artyomovsk). It should be noted that such weapons require extensive ISR (intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance) assets, which the Kiev regime simply doesn’t have. This only leaves NATO as the side directly providing targeting data. And while this is nothing new, as the United States and its NATO vassals have been doing this for over a year now, it does represent a new level of escalation, prompting Russia’s express response. According to the latest battlefield reports, Moscow responded with its own PGMs, specifically smart bombs used by the now legendary Su-57, as well as mass usage of air-launched hypersonic weapons.
The Kiev regime troops tasked with air defense recently reported that the Russian Aerospace Forces (VKS) used at least six 9-A-7660 “Kinzhal” air-launched hypersonic missiles at once, complaining that they have no means of intercepting such weapons. Deployed since at least 2017 and used by modified MiG-31K/I superfast interceptors and Tu-22M3 long-range bombers/missile carriers, “Kinzhals” are some of the most advanced weapons in the history of warfare, being capable of not just using standard and thermonuclear warheads, but also their sheer speed and the resulting kinetic energy to neutralize targets of both tactical and strategic importance. Not even NATO itself has any means of intercepting such weapons, while it is yet to deploy anything remotely similar.
The US Air Force has recently increased the activity of its strategic bombers near the borders of Russia and Iran.
On March 11, the US strategic bomber B-52H Stratofortress, capable of carrying nuclear weapons, worked out a missile launch on the Russian city of St. Petersburg. The aircraft with the board sign NOBLE61 approached the island of Gotland, which is about 200 km from the Russian northern capital. It took off from Poland, not reaching the borders with the Russian Federation, made a detour in the Gulf of Finland and flew in the southern direction.
On March 12, a similar US aircraft with the board sign NOBLE71 capable of carrying nuclear missiles simulated another strike on Iran. It approached the Iranian southern board and was spotted over the territory of Saudi Arabia. According to the local reports, the board “entered the course of combat use of cruise missiles with a nuclear warhead, after which it turned back.” High activity of US reconnaissance aircraft was also noticed in the region. Most likely, they monitored the possible work of Iran’s air defense and recorded the “success” of a virtual strike on Tehran.
The flights of the US strategic bombers were clear acts of intimidation amid the ongoing rapprochement between Moscow and Tehran, including in the military field.
Before the financial collapse come the aggressive anti-regulation lobbyists. These are often of the same ilk: loathing anything resembling oversight, restriction, reporting and monitoring. They are incarnations of the frontier, symbolically toting guns and slaying the natives, seeking wealth beyond paper jottings, compliance and bureaucratic tedium.
The collapse of Silicon Valley Bank (SVB), for a period of time the preferred bank for start-ups, is the bitter fruit of that harvest. Three days prior to the second-largest failure of a US financial institution since the implosion of Washington Mutual (Wamu) in 2008, lobbyists for the banking sector had reason to gloat. They had the ears of a number of GOP lawmakers and were pressing the case that Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell had little reason to sharpen regulations in the industry.
As a matter of fact, the converse case was put: the financial environment was proving too stringent, and needed easing up. This effort built on gains made during the Trump administration, which saw the passing of the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act. Then House majority leader Kevin McCarthy was particularly keen on winding back elements of the Dodd-Frank banking measures introduced in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis. In 2018, he got much of what he wished for.
The UK government expects further deterioration of the global security situation and warns that the period of instability is likely to last beyond the 2030s, according to the Integrated Review Refresh 2023 released on Monday.
"There is a growing prospect that the international security environment will further deteriorate in the coming years, with state threats increasing and diversifying in Europe and beyond. The risk of escalation is greater than at any time in decades, and an increasing number of advanced weapons systems have been developed and are being tested or adopted," the 63-page document says. "the transition into a multipolar, fragmented and contested world has happened more quickly and definitively than anticipated. We are now in a period of heightened risk and volatility that is likely to last beyond the 2030s."
China poses a challenge to the world order the West wants to see, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said in a foreword to Integrated Review Refresh 2023 that was released on Monday.
"China poses an epoch-defining challenge to the type of international order we want to see, both in terms of security and values - and so our approach must evolve," the British premier stated. "We will work with our partners to engage with Beijing on issues such as climate change. But where there are attempts by the Chinese Communist Party to coerce or create dependencies, we will work closely with others to push back against them. And we are taking new action to protect ourselves, our democracy and our economy at home."
The last couple of months have been rough on the FBI. The Twitter Files let the genie out of the bottle, and now more serious allegations against the agency just keep piling on.
If you think revelations of direct involvement in curtailing free speech on social networks coming out for the whole world to see were bad enough – wait until you hear that the FBI has now admitted to what we reported they were doing, by any reasonable interpretation, bypassing warrants, and just buying US location data.
And that could only have come from the super-murky world of data brokers, tightly and opaquely, coupled with Big Tech and the online ad industry.
On Wednesday, a US Senate hearing – conveyed to consider global threats – heard about a rather local one. At some point, FBI Director Christopher Wray was asked if the agency purchases US phone geolocation data.
Wray – once again, that's the FBI head – came back with an answer that “to his knowledge” – this is currently not the case, but previously, it had been.
Wray: “To my knowledge, we do not currently purchase commercial database information that includes location data derived from Internet advertising. I understand that we previously – as in the past – purchased some such information for a specific national security pilot project. But that's not been active for some time.”
Reports interpret his performance before during the hearing as “limiting” his repose in this context to data that companies gathered “specifically for advertising purposes.”
As unrealized losses piled up, Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) gradually, then suddenly became insolvent, followed by the collapse of Signature Bank and people beginning to wake up to issues pervading our financial system. Modern day bank runs, though digital, can force banks to sell reserve assets at a loss, inevitably leading to insolvency.
As Balaji Srinivasan has pointed out, what was once considered the gold standard for risk-free reserve assets is now on the precipice of a potential new banking crisis. Is this the end of the U.S. treasury as we know it?
If nothing else, the events over the weekend — from SVB’s failure to issues with other financial institutions to alarming intervention by the government — demonstrate just how fragile the system has become, underscoring its dependence upon money printing even as it is being undone by the low-yield, low-interest-rate environment that was caused by the printing in the first place. The dichotomy is stark, but there are lessons to be learned.
YOU CAN’T TAPER A PONZI: WHY THE LEGACY BANKING SYSTEM IS RIPE FOR FAILURE
The way the banking system works is, essentially, banks take your deposits and lend them out at higher interest rates than they pay you. They often keep reserves in U.S. treasury bonds, among other things, and everything seems to work until it doesn’t.
On Thursday the New York Times ran yet another report about Saudi Arabia’s entry into an “Abraham Accord,” but if only certain conditions could be met. It quoted longtime Israel lobby heavyweight Martin Indyk and reported on the American Israel Public Affairs Committee’s think tank the Washington Institute for Near East Policy “expert” delegation’s visit to Riyadh to finalize a deal. Then on Friday explosive news broke that China had successfully concluded a secret peace agreement between Iran and Saudi Arabia.
The plan aims to restore diplomatic relations by reopening embassies within two months. They also agree to restart their April 2001 Security Cooperation. Also back on the front burner is a 1998 General Agreement covering economic, trade, investment, technology, science, culture, sports and youth ties. It is well worth reading the entire statement.
As it often does, the New York Times quickly updated its March 9 story in an attempt not to look foolish having given too much credence to Israel lobby guidance.
On Sunday afternoon, September 14, 2008, hundreds of employees of the financial giant Lehman Brothers walked into the bank’s headquarters at 745 Seventh Avenue in New York City to clear out their offices and desks.
Lehman was hours away from declaring bankruptcy. And its collapse the next day triggered the worst economic and financial devastation since the Great Depression.
The S&P 500 fell by roughly 50%. Unemployment soared. And more than 100 other banks failed over the subsequent 12 months. It was a total disaster.
These bank, it turned out, had been using their depositors’ money to buy up special mortgage bonds. But these bonds were so risky that they eventually became known as “toxic securities” or “toxic assets”.
These toxic assets were bundles of risky, no-money-down mortgages given to sub-prime “NINJAs”, i.e. borrowers with No Income, No Job, no Assets who had a history of NOT paying their bills.
When the economy was doing well in 2006 and 2007, banks earned record profits from their toxic assets.
But when economic conditions started to worsen in 2008, those toxic assets plunged in value… and dozens of banks got wiped out.
Now here we go again.
Chinese President Xi Jinping plans to speak with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky for the first time since the Russian invasion of Ukraine was launched, The Wall Street Journal reported Monday.
The report, which cited people familiar with the matter, said Xi is also planning to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow next week and will likely hold his talk with Zelensky following his trip to Russia.
The report indicates Xi is looking to mediate between the two sides and comes after Beijing released a 12-point peace plan for the conflict in Ukraine that focuses on calling for a pause in fighting and a resumption of peace talks.
Zelensky expressed openness to China’s proposal, but it was dismissed by President Biden and other US officials. Biden rejected altogether the idea of China mediating an end to the war that wouldn’t solely benefit Russia.
A senior Ukrainian government official told The Washington Post that Kyiv doesn’t have the resources to pull off a big counteroffensive in the coming months as Ukraine is lacking skilled troops, munitions, and other equipment.
“If you have more resources, you more actively attack,” said the official, who spoke to the Post on the condition of anonymity. “If you have fewer resources, you defend more. We’re going to defend. That’s why if you ask me personally, I don’t believe in a big counteroffensive for us. I’d like to believe in it, but I’m looking at the resources and asking, ‘With what?’ Maybe we’ll have some localized breakthroughs.”
The official said Ukraine doesn’t have “the people or weapons” to pull off a counteroffensive. “And you know the ratio: When you’re on the offensive, you lose twice or three times as many people. We can’t afford to lose that many people,” the official said.
On March 18 protesters will gather at the White House to call for an end to Joe Biden’s cruel proxy war. "Cruel" is the operative word, because the war cynically uses Ukrainians as cannon fodder to weaken Russia and bring about regime change.
We should all be there – or at one of the 5 sister demonstrations in other cities listed here.
The March 18 Rally is organized by a variety of progressive organizations, including ANSWER Coalition, Black Alliance for Peace, Code Pink , The People’s Forum and UNAC (United National Antiwar Coalition). (A more complete list may be found here.)
Only a month ago on February 19, the first national demonstration to oppose the US proxy against Russia in Ukraine broke the ice and drew thousands to Washington under the banner of Rage Against the War Machine. It was organized by the leftist Peoples Party and the Libertarian Party to organize an anti-interventionist movement across the entire political spectrum. Continuing its effort for the broadest possible antiwar movement, Rage Against the War Machine has also called for joining the March 18 demonstration. Everyone in; nobody out!
Comments from both Washington and Beijing have suddenly become much more pointed and aggressive in recent days, with talk about hot war now being discussed as not just a real possibility but in many cases as a probability. Let's have a look at some of the most significant recent developments.
Beijing comments on US encirclement
The Chinese government has finally broken from its usual restrained commentary on the way the empire has been aggressively encircling the PRC with war machinery in ways that Washington would never permit itself to be encircled and waging economic warfare that it itself would never tolerate.
"Western countries—led by the U.S.—have implemented all-round containment, encirclement and suppression against us, bringing unprecedentedly severe challenges to our country’s development," President Xi Jinping said in a speech last week.
China's new Foreign Minister Qin Gang followed up on Xi's comments the next day with a warning of “conflict and confrontation” should US aggressions and encirclement continue.
Middle East and North African countries remained among the world’s largest global arms importers in 2022, despite global attention on arms shipments to Ukraine amid Russia’s invasion, according to a report published on Monday by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (Sipri).
“Even as arms transfers have declined globally, those to Europe have risen sharply due to the tensions between Russia and most other European states,” said Pieter D Wezeman, senior researcher with the Sipri arms transfers programme, according to a Sipri press statement.
“Arms imports to East Asia have increased and those to the Middle East remain at a high level,” Wezeman said.