Ukraine in recent days requested Israel publicly condemn the Russian invasion and approve a $500 million loan to the Ukrainian government, one Israeli official and one Ukrainian official told Axios.
Why it matters: The requests were made ahead of Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen's expected visit to Kyiv this week. It will be the first visit by an Israeli minister to Ukraine’s capital since the Russian invasion one year ago.
- A Ukrainian official told Axios the government in Kyiv sees Cohen's visit and whether he responds positively to its requests as a test of the new Israeli government’s intentions and policy towards the war.
Driving the news: Cohen is expected to meet in Kyiv with his Ukrainian counterpart Dmytro Kuleba and reopen the Israeli embassy, which was closed several days before the Russian invasion.
- Israel is the only Western country that hasn’t permanently reopened its embassy in Ukraine. Ukrainian officials have expressed disappointment with the partial operations.
Former South Carolina Governor and Trump official Nikki Haley is expected to announce a presidential run later this month. Haley’s political career has established her as a strong supporter of Israel, and she’s highlighted that record in recent months. She first teased the notion of running for the GOP nomination at a Christians United for Israel (CUFI) event last summer.
In 2015 Haley became the first Governor to sign legislation targeting the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement. The bill became a template for stifling Palestine activism throughout the country, and 35 states currently have such a law in effect. The bill was first initiated by South Carolina State Rep. Alan Clemmons, who brought a delegation of Texas lawmakers to the Israeli Knesset shortly before that state passed its own anti-BDS bill.
“Christians in the US and Americans in general have a great deal of respect for Israel,” said Clemmons at the time. “We believe God has given us a duty to support Israel, so it was not a huge leap for South Carolina to stand up for Israel when it is being terrorized economically by the discriminatory, antisemitic practices engaged in by the BDS movement.”
Patriot missile batteries that Poland acquired from the U.S. last year have been deployed to the country’s capital Warsaw as part of military exercise, according to Poland’s defense ministry.
Poland is taking additional steps to strengthen its defensive capabilities as Russia’s war in neighboring Ukraine enters its second year later this month.
At least three ground-to-air missile launchers were seen Monday at Warsaw’s Bemowo airport.
Defense Minister Mariusz Blaszczak said on Twitter over the weekend that the redeployment of the missile batteries from their base in Sochaczew, central Poland, to Warsaw was “an important element to the training” of the 3rd Warsaw Brigade of Missile Air Defense.
Politico says, “The new calendar — recommended by President Joe Biden and his advisers and approved by a majority vote of the DNC — elevates South Carolina to the first-place position in the primary calendar on February 3, replacing the Iowa caucuses, which held the coveted perch for a half-century.”
Democrats say there shouldn’t be a single state that gets to go first, as Iowa has for many years. They also pointed out how they want to diversify the voters participating early in the electoral process. Biden released his own opinion, which put states that gave him a leg up in the election, like South Carolina, as the first states.
Despite Beijing's protest over the US decision to shoot down a Chinese civilian research balloon, it seems the US won't be giving back what little remains of the device. US officials have said a study of the wreckage will reveal much but have not elaborated on what exactly will be brought to light.
US national security adviser Jake Sullivan has admitted that while recovering the Chinese balloon will take time, the Biden administration intends to retrieve the device in order to "exploit what we recover and learn even more than we have learned."
South Korea's military said on Monday it had tracked a North Korean balloon over its territory, but determined it did not pose a threat.
The balloon briefly entered South Korean airspace on Sunday, the Ministry of Defense said in a statement, adding it in response had taken unspecified “measures”.
The craft left South Korean airspace a few hours later and officials believe it was a weather balloon not one intended for spying activities, Yonhap news agency reported, citing an unnamed official.
Evidence has emerged casting serious doubt over the authenticity of tests carried out by BioNTech (Marketing Authorisation Holder) and Pfizer to prove the fidelity of their product by demonstrating that only the spike protein of SARS-CoV-2 is expressed in cells by the nucleoside-modified mRNA Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine (BNT162b2).
Several Western Blot tests were conducted to evaluate the protein expression of the mRNA in HEK cells transfected with the vaccine taken from different lots. Using this technique, the expressed proteins showed up as highly unusual looking ‘bands.’
Certain independent scientific experts have described these Western blots as the “smoking gun” evidence (particularly the “duplication” of the results) which suggest that BioNTech and Pfizer falsified key data as part of their submissions to the European Medicines Agency and the US Food and Drug Administration for securing emergency use authorisation (conditional) and later marketing authorisation approval of their product.
The bombshell evidence was dropped without so much as a ripple in the sea of brewing scandals washing up on the shores of the behemoth pharmaceutical company and its partner, BioNTech. However, some in the scientific community have taken notice and written about this scandal, known on social media as #Blotgate.
The fact there could be actual evidence to prove that Pfizer and BioNTech engaged in fraud by fabricating critical data would have major ramifications. For instance, their indemnity status (protection from any legal liability resulting from deaths or injuries caused by their product) which was written into their purchasing contracts and signed by many countries, would cease to apply.
A pro-life church has been ordered to pay the Planned Parenthood abortion chain nearly $1 million in fines and fees for holding supposedly disruptive worship services outside of its Spokane, Washington facility.
According to The Christian Post, a judge ruled against The Church at Planned Parenthood in 2021, saying its pro-life members “interfered” with patients’ “access to health care” in violation of state law during worship services outside its Spokane abortion facility.
Then, in January, the court ordered the church to pay $110,000 in damages and $850,000 in legal fees to Planned Parenthood, The Guardian reports.
Responding to the order, Pastor Ken Peters said the case basically came down to the issue of a single hour.
According to information at Russia’s disposal the United States has deployed a network of biological laboratories in a number of states neighboring Russia, where under the auspices of the US Department of Defense, research involving dangerous viruses and other pathogens is underway. The US argues that the laboratories act in the interests of the security of the United States and its allies, and rejects the suspicion that biological weapons are being created there.
The UK-based BP is still the shareholder in Rosneft and has revised the value of its package (20%) to $24 bln, CEO of the Russian oil major Igor Sechin said at the India Energy Week.
"We see with the interest in audited annual statements that BP, which is our 20% shareholder, has revised the value of the Rosneft stake to $24 bln. That is, BP is still with us," Sechin said.
Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov sees the possibility of a single supranational currency being created for settlements within the BRICS (Russia, Brazil, India, China, and South Africa).
"Today, as far as such a system goes, we can deliberate about a single system of settlement payments and settlements among friendly countries. Let's take BRICS nations. <...> [The settlement currency] can be some kind of supranational unit of account," Siluanov noted, speaking to Channel One.
However, according to him, there is a long way to go before a final decision is made.
Nonetheless, Siluanov believed that a single financial system covering a large number of countries and existing outside politics was not possible at the moment.
Fox News host Tucker Carlson calls out the Biden administration's lies in its handling of the Chinese spy balloon on 'Tucker Carlson Tonight.'
Israel has reportedly integrated a “smokeless” and “silent” gravity bomb into its combat drones to make them more lethal on the battlefield.
The development was unveiled after Iran accused Jerusalem of attacking one of its unmanned systems facilities using combat drones last month.
According to a report by Reuters, the bomb was developed domestically and can travel as fast as the speed of sound in free fall.
The munition does not have a propulsion system or afterburners that produce loud noise and smoke.
US Central Command announced last week that it was involved in 43 operations against ISIS in Iraq and Syria in the month of January. Task & Purpose reported the monthly average for US operations against ISIS in 2022 was 26 per month, signaling that the US military is stepping up its assaults against the terror group.
While ISIS no longer controls any territory, there are remnants of the group in remote regions of Syria and Iraq. CENTCOM said each raid in January was conducted with partner forces, the government in Iraq, and the Kurdish-led SDF in Syria.
“We rely heavily on the Syrian Democratic Forces for the fight against ISIS,” CENTCOM chief Gen. Michael Kurilla said. “Meanwhile, our Iraqi Security Forces have been aggressively taking the fight to ISIS in Iraq.”
Trade unions in France have launched a third wave of nationwide strikes against President Emmanuel Macron's proposed pension reform plan, a day after the controversial bill began its passage through parliament.
According to reports, rail services were canceled, schools were closed and refinery deliveries stopped working as workers across sectors joined nationwide strikes in response to calls by unions to take to the streets in large numbers.
French government defends the plan that seeks to increase the minimum retirement age – from 62 to 64 -- in order to keep the pension systems in the black.
Macron’s ruling party lost its majority in elections last year, even though it continues to remain the largest faction. His government wants to pass the legislation with the help of allies on the political right.
Left-wing opponents of the Macron-led administration filed thousands of amendments ahead of the parliamentary debate on the controversial plan.
The outrage was prompted after Washington and eight European countries issued travel warnings over possible terror attacks in Turkey. The US and its western allies have attempted to connect a recent Quran burning in Sweden with travel danger inside Turkey. Muslim countries worldwide have denounced the burning as hate speech, not free speech, but this has no apparent connection to travel safety issues inside Turkey.
The US travel warning is tantamount to a declaration of economic war on Turkey who is in an economic downturn of its tourism sector, which was 11 % of the GDP in 2019, representing $78.2 billion, and rose to $17.95 billion in the third quarter of 2022, of which 85.7 percent came from foreign visitors. In 2018, tourism directly accounted for 7.7% of total employment in Turkey.
“Every American ambassador wonders how they can hurt Turkey. This has been one of Turkey’s greatest misfortunes over the years. It gathers other ambassadors and tries to give them advice. They are doing the same thing in Europe, the American embassy is running Europe,” said Soylu.
Soylu has criticized the US and blames Washington for the 2016 Turkish regime change attempt, and has accused the US of ruling Europe. In foreign policies, the EU follows US directives implicitly.
“I’m being very clear. I very well know how you would like to create strife in Turkey. Take your grinning face off from Turkey,” said Soylu.
During a recent interview with German magazine Der Spiegel, former Chancellor and European political heavyweight Angela Merkel revealed that the Minsk accords, a comprehensive 2015 diplomatic treaty, agreed by the EU, United States, Russia, and Kyiv to end the civil war in eastern Ukraine, was essentially subverted by the Ukrainians in an attempt to buy time to expand its military capabilities.
The fact that the accords, which were widely regarded as a truly workable solution to the conflict, were not prioritized by the U.S. for implementation, speaks volumes when assessing the sincerity of the U.S. position. Just prior to Merkel’s stunning revelations, Former Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko was also covertly recorded admitting that the process was abused by Ukraine and used to prepare for war with Russia.
Given the high level of interface between NATO and Ukraine during this period, it is difficult to imagine that this manipulation of the peace process was not carried out with the full knowledge, and probable assistance, of NATO and the U.S. It is now abundantly clear, at least to all objective observers, that the U.S. never seriously intended to prevent the current conflict in Ukraine. On the contrary, any cursory assessment of their past and contemporary covert and overt involvement in the region suggests they have been working to destabilize Russia via Ukraine for decades.
In reality, I should be the last person to down-talk the subscription movement. Because I truly believe in a strong future for companies who choose to sell their products and services on a subscription model. Nonetheless, it’s important and necessary to talk about what is happening in the streaming market right now – several media outlets are identifying challenges for some of the world’s largest streaming-based platforms – and the stock market has followed suit by dropping prices quickly.
Are the big streaming actors free-falling? Or is it just a question of a natural correction in a market that has grown enormously in the past few years?
Webmaster addition: Certainly the declining economy is going to tighten cash for the streaming services, but the fact is that streaming has never lived up to the hype. Service is unreliable, and in some cases non-existent. Now, maybe it's because I live in a rural area and us country bumpkins don't rate with the streaming management, but I canceled HBO+ because all I kept getting was the dancing dots or messages the service was unavailable. Prime is good, and also Paramount+ although the latter is clearly in decline. Frankly, I was a lot happier with cable, but that is no longer an option with our local provider.
A war between China and Taiwan will be extremely good for business at America’s Frontier Fund, a tech investment outfit whose co-founder and CEO sits on both the State Department Foreign Affairs Policy Board and President Joe Biden’s Intelligence Advisory Board, according to audio from a February 1 event.
The remarks occurred at a tech finance symposium hosted at the Manhattan offices of Silicon Valley Bank. According to attendee Jack Poulson, head of the watchdog group Tech Inquiry, an individual who identified himself as “Tom” attended the event in place of Jordan Blashek, America’s Frontier Fund’s president and chief operating officer.
Following the panel discussion, “Tom” spoke with a gaggle of other attendees and held forth on AFF’s investment in so-called choke points: sectors that would spike in value during a volatile geopolitical crisis, like computer chips or rare earth minerals. It turns out, according to audio published by Poulson, that a war in the Pacific would be tremendous for AFF’s bottom line.
“If the China-Taiwan situation happens, some of our investments will 10x, like overnight,” the person who identified as “Tom” said. “So I don’t want to share the name, but the one example I gave was a critical component that … the total market value is $200 million, but it is a critical component to a $50 billion market cap. That’s like a choke point, right. And so if it’s only produced in China, for example, and there’s a kinetic event in the Pacific, that would 10x overnight, like no question about it. There’s a couple of different things like that.”
More than 70 percent of UK households fear they will be severely hit by the cost-of-living crisis in the first part of 2023, up from 54 percent at the end of last year, a leading business company has revealed.
Survey data from market researcher NielsenIQ showed on Tuesday that rising inflation and deteriorating economic situation have weighed more pressure on Britons during the first month of 2023, disappointing the majority of households about the country’s economic future.
NielsenIQ reported that UK grocery sales on a value basis rose by 7.6 percent in the first four weeks of 2023, due to an increase in food price inflation to 13.8 percent.
However, volume sales fell by 6.9 percent, reflecting the unprecedented deepening of the cost-of-living crisis.
“We expect a challenging first quarter for the grocery industry, with inflation very much top of mind for shoppers,” Mike Watkins, NielsenIQ’s UK head of retailer and business insight, said.
The public is gradually learning how, despite repeated denials and non-answers, top government officials were well aware of the potential for violence on January 6, 2021.
A chief investigator on the January 6 select committee told NBC News last week that law enforcement was privy to a trove of intelligence indicating problems could arise during the election certification process but, for some unexplained reason, chose to ignore the warning signs. “The Intel in advance was pretty specific, and it was enough in our view for law enforcement to have done a better job operationalizing a secure perimeter.” Tim Heaphy told NBC News reporter Ken Dilanian. “Law enforcement had a very direct role in contributing to surely the failures—the security failures that led to the violence.”
Criticism of law enforcement, as I noted here after the release of the committee’s report, was buried in a relatively brief appendix in the 840-page document. Staffers complained for months that former Representative Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) insisted the final work product singularly blame Donald Trump, not government agencies, for the events of January 6.
Cheney got her way. But now that the committee is dissolved, some are going public to reveal what the committee failed to report—and the omissions are far more consequential than private conversations between Ivanka Trump and her father, another odd fixation of Cheney’s. (Perhaps a bit of projection from Dick Cheney’s daughter?)
Binance, the world's largest crypto exchange, will suspend US dollar transfers from Wednesday, and the move is reportedly fueling millions of dollars in outflows from the platform to rivals.
A company spokesperson told several outlets Monday, including CNBC and Bloomberg, that deposits and withdrawals of dollars would cease indefinitely, without giving a reason for the move. Transfers in other fiat currencies such as the euro were unaffected.