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Thought for the day
"When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own house, his possessions are safe." -- Luke 11:21
Tom Andrews, the United Nations special rapporteur on human rights in Myanmar, has said that conditions for Myanmar’s 54 million people have gone from “bad to worse to horrific” since the military seized power last year.
Speaking to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, Andrews said the international response to the crisis caused by the February 2021 coup had “failed” and that the Myanmar military was also committing war crimes and crimes against humanity, including sexual violence, torture, deliberate campaign against of civilians, and murder.
A U.S. intelligence agency gained access to China’s telecommunications network after hacking a university, Chinese state media claimed Thursday.
The U.S. National Security Agency used phishing — a hacking technique where a malicious link is included in an email — to gain access to the government funded Northwestern Polytechnical University, the Global Times alleged, citing an unnamed source.
American hackers stole “core technology data including key network equipment configuration, network management data, and core operational data,” and other files, according to the Global Times.
As part of the NSA’s hack, the agency infiltrated Chinese telecommunications operators so that the U.S. could “control the country’s infrastructure,” the Global Times alleged.
Uzbekistan's state prosecutors warned citizens against joining foreign armies after Russia offered fast-track citizenship to those who sign up and Ukraine said it had captured Uzbeks fighting alongside Russians.
Those fighting in military conflicts abroad faced criminal prosecution under Uzbek law, the Central Asian nation's Prosecutor General's office said in a statement late on Wednesday.
A video circulated in Ukrainian social media this month showed two Uzbeks captured in fighting between Ukrainian and Russian forces; the detainees said they had been recruited in Moscow.
A Russian-led security bloc will hold military drills in Kazakhstan from Sept. 26 to Oct. 8, the Kazakh defence ministry said on Thursday, telling the public not to be surprised by the arrival of foreign troops and military vehicles.
Kazakhstan is a member of the Collective Security Treaty Organisation (CSTO) which also includes Belarus, Armenia, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan as well as Russia.
The drills will take place at an unusually tense time for the bloc, with Russia involved in the Ukrainian conflict, Armenia unhappy with CSTO's refusal to back it in fresh clashes with Azerbaijan, and Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan in a fragile ceasefire after deadly fighting in a disputed border area.
Kazakhstan turned to the CSTO in January when the bloc's troops came in to protect strategic locations during violent unrest and an attempted coup.
The United States will provide nearly $376 million in new humanitarian aid to vulnerable Venezuelans, including Venezuelan refugees and migrants and their host communities, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Thursday.
Webmaster addition: The US government continues to spend your money like drunken sailors while our nation rots!
Antonio Guterres, the United Nations secretary-general, has requested an “urgent report” detailing the actions taken by UN staff to ensure accountability after an investigation by The New Humanitarian and Al Jazeera revealed that sexual abuse allegations against aid workers at a UN-run camp in South Sudan have largely gone unchecked over the years.
The Protection of Civilians (PoC) site in Malakal opened its doors in late 2013 to offer refuge to people fleeing South Sudan’s ruinous civil war. Accounts of sexual abuse committed by aid workers first emerged in 2015, but the scale of the problem has since grown despite a UN-led task force charged with tackling it, according to aid workers, camp residents and victims interviewed by The New Humanitarian and Al Jazeera. Reporters also analysed several UN and NGO documents.
Syrian Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad told his Bahraini counterpart, Abdullatif bin Rashid Al Zayani, that improving relations with other Arab countries is a priority for Syria, according to Syrian state-run news agency SANA.
Al Zayani told Mekdad that Bahrain fully supported Syria’s 'territorial integrity and the restoration of security and stability', according to the report.
The ministers met on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York.
NATO has added to the traditional domains of warfare – land, sea, air, space and cyberspace – a new one: “the cognitive domain.” This is not just about imposing certain ideas or behaviors, as in traditional propaganda and psy-ops, but about modifying cognition – influencing the process by which we ourselves arrive at ideas, insights, beliefs, choices and behaviors. The target is not primarily an enemy army, but the citizen. Winning the war is no longer determined by moving a border on a map, but by ideological conversion of the target.
“Cognitive warfare is one of the most debated topics within Nato,” researcher François du Cluzel told a panel discussion on Oct. 5, 2021. He wrote a foundational paper “Cognitive Warfare” for the Nato-affiliated think tank Innovation Hub in 2020. Although cognitive warfare overlaps with information warfare, classical propaganda and psychological operations, du Cluzel points out that cognitive warfare goes much further. In information warfare, one “only” tries to control the supply of information. Psychological operations involve influencing perceptions, beliefs and behavior. The goal of cognitive warfare is “to turn everyone into a weapon,” and “the goal is not to attack what individuals think, but how they think.” Du Cluzel: “It is a war against our cognition – the way our brains process information and turn it into knowledge. It directly targets the brain”. Cognitive warfare is about “hacking the individual,” allowing the brain to be “programmed.”
To achieve this, almost every domain of knowledge imaginable is applied: psychology, linguistics, neurobiology, logic, sociology, anthropology, behavioral sciences, “and more.” “Social engineering always begins with an understanding of the environment and the target; the goal is to understand the psychology of the target population,” du Cluzel writes. The basis remains traditional propaganda and disinformation techniques, enhanced by current technology and advances in knowledge. “Behavior, meanwhile, can be predicted and calculated to such an extent,” according to du Cluzel, “that AI-driven behavioral science ‘behavioral economics’ should be classified as a hard science rather than soft science.”
I am certain that most Americans do not have a clue what transpired this week at the meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (aka SCO). It is a clarion call, a defiant declaration, that the countries, which account for over half of the world’s population, are no longer going to defer to the United States. The attendees included Russia, China, India, Turkey, Iran, Pakistan, Egypt and Saudi Arabia.
The speeches by Russia’s Vladimir Putin and China’s Xi Jinping are especially noteworthy. Both countries put the United States on notice that the United States and NATO will be treated as a sponsor of terrorism because they supply weapons to Ukraine that are being used to attack civilian targets. You may accuse me of exaggerating because neither Putin nor Xi mention the United States or NATO by name. But the actions of the NATO allies in Ukraine are seen by both Russia and China as acts of terrorism. I am reprinting the salient portions of each speech below.
Russia and China also put the west on notice that Iran is no longer going to be treated as a pariah state. Iran is welcomed emphatically by both Putin and Xi as a member of the SCO. Going forward, this means that Iran will do business with all members of the SCO under the rubric of a new financial order being organized by Russia, China, India and Brazil.
The average cost of heating homes is expected to rise drastically this winter as the effects of inflation under Joe Biden are set to dent American's wallets.
Americans will have to pay $177, about 17 percent, more to heat their home compared to last winter's prices, according to the National Energy Assistant Directors Association.
This marks the highest price homeowners will have to pay in over 10 years and the second year in a row that a significant rise in prices is expected, increasing more than 35 percent since 2020.
The 'special master' going through documents seized at Mar-a-Lago has given Donald Trump's lawyers eight days to back up his claims that FBI agents planted material while carrying out a search of his club.
Judge Raymond Dearie included the order in a new 'case management plan' for processing through some 11,000 documents – and follows Trump repeatedly making the allegation publicly without offering evidence of FBI misconduct.
'No later than September 30, 2022, Plaintiff shall submit a declaration or affidavit that includes each of the following factual matters,' the judge wrote, including 'a list of any specific items set forth in the Detailed Property Inventory that Plaintiff asserts were not seized from the Premises on August 8, 2022.'
This is the shocking moment three migrants 'bull-rushed' a Texas farmer's house and broke into his elderly grandparents' home as they tried to dodge Border Patrol.
The man, who has asked to stay anonymous, revealed several minutes of surveillance footage that saw three out of eight illegal migrants attempt to break into various properties within view before finally getting into one.
The video sees three immigrants running towards the street but then they suddenly turn back and attempt to gain access into nearby homes.
One month after the first crash, a Boeing press release approved by Muilenburg 'selectively highlighted certain facts,' implying pilot error and poor aircraft maintenance contributed to the crash.
The press release also attested to the aircraft's safety, not disclosing that Boeing knew a key flight handling system, the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS), posed safety issues and was being redesigned.
After the second crash, Boeing and Muilenburg assured the public that there was 'no surprise or gap' in the federal certification of the MAX despite being aware of contrary information, the SEC said.
'In times of crisis and tragedy, it is especially important that public companies and executives provide full, fair, and truthful disclosures to the markets,' said SEC Chair Gary Gensler in a press release.
Rep. James Comer (R-KY) went on with John Solomon from Just the News on RAV on Thursday.
Rep. Comer recently obtained new documents that show Hunter and Joe Biden were working to sell American natural gas and drilling assets to Communist China.
The sale would have allowed China to take control of our natural gas industry through the deal.
The documents show Hunter was working with the Chinese to get keys to an office in DC for himself, Jim Biden, Joe Biden and Dr. Jill Biden.
But there’s more… Representative Comer says he has two new whistleblowers that worked with Hunter and they are ready to expose it all when the Republicans take control of Congress.
Next week the United States government is holding the trials of several Oath Keepers members who attended the protests in Washington DC on January 5th and January 6th.
The DOJ is hoping to convince a jury that the Oath Keepers were planning an insurrection at the US Capitol on January 6.
Oath Keepers members were working security that day at the Ellipse where President Donald Trump spoke to a million supporters. Several Oath Keepers then walked to the US Capitol where at least two more protests were planned.
Stewart Rhodes, the Oath Keepers founder and president, told all of the members to leave their firearms in their hotel rooms outside of the city.
The attorneys representing Ghislaine Maxwell fired the convicted sex trafficker for failing to pay nearly a million dollars in legal fees.
Lawyers representing Maxwell, who is currently serving a 20-year sentence in a low-security prison in Tallahassee, Florida, in her effort to acquire money from Jeffrey Epstein’s estate have withdrawn their counsel.
It’s distressing to find, in the cause of championing human freedom, infighting among the freedom fighters. Naturally this conflict sabotages the common cause. Factions and prominent advocates accuse each other of being “controlled opposition,” agents provocateurs, dupes, or self-serving egotists advancing platforms of personal gain. Or, as in Charles Eisenstein’s latest screed (There’s No One Driving the Bus), lacking philosophical depth and moral nuance.
In Eisenstein’s view the impulse to lay blame and identify conspiracy is misguided and distracting from the more diffuse cause of our enslavement, our own inability to exercise personal and communal power in our lives. The resulting void, he urges, is more chaos than conspiracy, more abdication than control. But in the conclusion of the essay he betrays the premise by writing,
“It takes commitment to renounce the bribes, ignore the threats, and change the habits.” The obvious rebuttal asks, “Then who is offering the bribes and enforcing the threats?”
It is not my intention to join the infighting by slandering Eisenstein, but to challenge his anti-fundamentalism as yet another version of divisive labeling. He opposes the black-and-white dualism of good guys versus bad guys, in the interest of witnessing the whole field of our collective responsibility. Fair enough, as far as that goes. But the firmness of that denial distracts—if I may use the same term in reverse—from the known planning and perpetration of crimes against humanity by those proud to exercise such control at every level of the machinery of power. That the hierarchy is deep and widespread and staffed by human actors who genuinely believe in the goodness of their technocratic cause does not excuse them from blame and responsibility for its deadly and yes, evil consequences.
China has proposed a “one country, two systems” model for Taiwan, similar to the formula under which the former British colony of Hong Kong returned to Chinese rule in 1997.
China is willing to make the utmost effort to strive for a peaceful “reunification” with Taiwan, a Chinese government spokesperson has said, following weeks of military manoeuvres and war games by Beijing near the island.
Ma Xiaoguang, a spokesperson for China’s Taiwan Affairs Office, told a news conference in Beijing on Wednesday ahead of next month’s once-in-five-years Communist Party congress that China was willing to make the greatest efforts to achieve peaceful “reunification”.
“The motherland must be reunified and will inevitably be reunified,” Ma said. China’s determination to safeguard its territory is unwavering, he added.
China claims democratically governed Taiwan as its own territory. Taiwan’s government rejects China’s sovereignty claims and says only the island’s people can decide their future.
Italy's parliamentary election on Sunday could make history, giving the country its first female prime minister at the head of its most right-wing government since World War Two.
Giorgia Meloni's nationalist Brothers of Italy (FdI) barely scraped 4% of the vote in 2018, but the party is expected to take around 25% this time around and propel an alliance of conservative partners to a clear parliamentary majority.
"There is this idea in Italy that we have tried everyone else, so let's try her now," said Wolfango Piccoli, the co-president of political risk consultancy Teneo.
If the tough-talking Meloni succeeds, she will face an array of daunting challenges, including soaring energy costs, a suffocating debt mountain, a possible recession and an increasingly dangerous conflict in Ukraine.
The 45-year-old from Rome, who is promising a crackdown on immigration and a cut in taxes, will also have big shoes to fill.
A man sits at his workstation within the Mission Operations Center for the Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) spaceship, which is fast approaching its target.
Bet the dinosaurs wish they'd thought of this.
NASA on Monday will attempt a feat humanity has never before accomplished: deliberately smacking a spacecraft into an asteroid to slightly deflect its orbit, in a key test of our ability to stop cosmic objects from devastating life on Earth.
The Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) spaceship launched from California last November and is fast approaching its target, which it will strike at roughly 14,000 miles per hour (23,000 kph).
To be sure, neither the asteroid moonlet Dimorphos, nor the big brother it orbits, called Didymos, pose any threat as the pair loop the Sun, passing some seven million miles from Earth at nearest approach.
Fraudsters stole nearly $46billion in unlawful unemployment claims during the pandemic, the Labor Department concluded on Thursday - while warning that the actual figure may be even higher.
Criminals used inventive measures to access the COVID benefits, with more than 205,000 Social Security numbers that belonged to dead people being used to claim the cash.
Some schemes saw the Social Security numbers of prisoners being used, despite them being ineligible for the unemployment benefits.
CDC Director Dr Rochelle Walensky has clashed with Joe Biden's assertion the pandemic is over - saying just that 'we're in a different place'.
Speaking with ABC News, Walensky refused to agree with Biden's declaration that the pandemic is in the rear view mirror but she did acknowledge how hospitalization and case rates were falling thanks to the wide availability of vaccines.
Biden made his remarks during his appearance on CBS 60 Minutes on Sunday.
- The Russian authorities have decided to incorporate the republics of Donbass and "other territories” into the country.
- The new regions will be protected with the help of those mobilized.
- Russia can use any weapon, "including strategic ones,” so "no need to intimidate Moscow."
The above are the conclusions that Deputy Chairman of the Security Council Dmitry Medvedev has made from Putin's address to the nation on September 21, when he announced partial call-up.
"Referendums will be held, and the Donbass republics and other territories will be accepted into Russia. The protection of all the territories that have joined will be significantly strengthened by the Russian Armed Forces.
"Russia announced that it is not only mobilization capabilities, but also any Russian weapons including strategic nuclear weapons and weapons based on new principles that could be used for such protection. Therefore, various retired idiots with general lampasses do not need to frighten us talking about NATO attacking Crimea. Hypersound will be able to reach targets in Europe and in the United States much faster, guaranteed.
See more at https://english.pravda.ru/news/world/154077-medvedev_hypersound/
The intercontinental ballistic missile Sarmat carries maneuvering warheads, the CEO of the JSC Makeyev Design Bureau (an affiliate of Roscosmos) Vladimir Degtyar, has told TASS.
"The Sarmat is equipped with the most advanced maneuvering warheads," Degtyar said.
The missile is unique in terms of its unsurpassed speed, record-breaking range, the highest accuracy and complete invulnerability while penetrating anti-missile defense systems.
Degtyar said the Sarmat intercontinental ballistic missile would be able to leave the silo under any conditions.
"According to its current characteristics, the missile will leave its silo under any conditions and fulfill its task with 100-percent certainty. This is what its reliability margin is like," Degtyar said.
Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova has hit out at US President Joe Biden’s address at the 77th session of the UN General Assembly where he misquoted Russian President Vladimir Putin.
"As for the address by the US president, I think that it was absolutely unseemly how it began and how it went mainstream, since it was framed around our country. The thing is that he began by allegedly quoting Russia’s president. He attributed remarks to the Russian president that our country was threatening the world with nuclear weapons," she told the Soloviev Live TV channel on Thursday.
The diplomat noted that such a stance was a "propaganda tie-in, inflicted upon society despite what was actually said." "And, unfortunately, this is just how this stance is again being presented in Western media outlets. And the US president just reaffirmed what is being spun in the US media," she added.
Massachusetts electricity customers could be facing a steep increase in their winter bills, National Grid warned on Wednesday.
Citing the high price of natural gas used in generating the power, the utility company said winter electricity rates taking effect on Nov. 1, will be sharply higher than they were last winter.
Mario Conte's Salerno soup kitchen serves 140 hot meals every day but as soaring inflation hits Italy's poverty-stricken south, he is struggling to keep up with demand.
And with far-right leader Giorgia Meloni promising to abolish a poverty relief scheme if she wins Sunday's general elections, he fears things will only get worse.
"There will be a flood of people here," he warned as he handed out food at the San Francesco kitchen, not far from Salerno's palm-lined seafront, south of Naples.
The eurozone's third largest economy is suffering a cost-of-living crisis exacerbated by Russia's war in Ukraine.
But as usual it is Italy's south, long plagued by poverty and unemployment, which feels it hardest.
Putin made the comments during a forum in Moscow. The notorious leader claimed that the west had only achieved its global preeminence due to the historic plunder of other nations and had no moral right to enforce a unipolar model on the planet.
“The model of the total dominance of the so-called ‘golden billion’ is unjust. Why should this ‘golden billion’ among the planet’s population dominate others, impose its own rules of conduct?” Putin asked.
iz Truss met Yair Lapid, the Prime Minister of Israel, at the UN General Assembly in New York yesterday. Among the things they discussed were strategic priorities, including defence, cyber security, trade and green technology. Downing Street highlighted progress on a new Free Trade Agreement and reiterated the commitment to “signing a high-ambition deal which delivers for the digital and services sectors”.
What caught Guido’s eye in the official statement was that
“The Prime Minister informed Prime Minister Lapid about her review of the current location of the British Embassy in Israel. The leaders discussed the Middle East Peace Process and regional security, stressing the need for a long-term strategy to contain the threat from Iran.”