Claire's tests came out fine. Thanks to those who emailed.
Posted on: Oct 23, 2023
This country has been having a nationwide nervous breakdown since 9/11. A nation of people suddenly broke, the market economy goes to shit, and they’re threatened on every side by an unknown, sinister enemy. But I don't think fear is a very effective way of dealing with things—of responding to reality. Fear is just another word for ignorance.”
While US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has been frantically shuttling around the Middle East trying to stop the Israeliconflict in Gaza from exploding into a regional war, the United States has also sent two aircraft-carrier strike groups, a Marine expeditionary unit and 1,200 extra troops to the Middle East as a “deterrent”.
In plain language, the US is threatening to attack any forces that come to the defence of the Palestinians from other countries in the region, reassuring Israel that it can keep killing with impunity in Gaza.
But if Israel persists in this genocidal war, US threats may be impotent to prevent others from intervening. From Lebanon to Syria, Yemen, Iraq and Iran, the possibilities of the conflict spreading are enormous.
Even Algeria says it is ready to fight for a free Palestine, based on a unanimous vote in its parliament on 1 November.
The Russian economy grew by 3.2% in the first ten months of 2023 and will post 3.5% growth by the end of the year, beyond the levels recorded prior to the conflict in Ukraine, President Vladimir Putin said during his address at VTB Bank’s ‘Russia Calling!’ Forum on Thursday.
Putin said Western states had aimed to destabilize the Russian economy “to make the Russian people suffer,” with financial sanctions imposed on the country since February 2022. However, these goals “set by our ill-wishers have clearly not been achieved,” the president added.
“There are still things we need to work on, of course… but we have proven that we are capable of tackling the most difficult challenges. The Russian economy is coping,” Putin stated, adding that Moscow expects the country’s GDP to continue expanding and grow by 3.5% by the end of the year.
Saudi Prince Talal bin Abdulaziz bin Bandar bin Abdulaziz Al Saud has died aged 62, the Saudi monarchy announced on Thursday. Reports in Arabic media claim the prince was killed in a plane crash.
The Saudi royal court announced the prince’s passing in a short statement, saying that funeral prayers for the deceased royal would be performed at the Imam Turki bin Abdullah Mosque in Riyadh.
Prince Talal bin Abdulaziz was the son of Prince Bandar and the grandson of the first Saudi monarch, King Abdulaziz. Born in 1961, he was a lieutenant colonel in the Royal Saudi Air Force and served as assistant intelligence chief at the GIP, the Saudi intelligence agency, from 2004 to 2012.
While the court’s statement did not reveal a cause of death, Lebanon’s Al Mashhad news outlet reported that the prince died when his F-15 fighter jet crashed during a training exercise with the air force earlier on Thursday.
Benjamin Netanyahu’s hold on his position as prime minister of Israel appears increasingly tenuous.
Many Israelis hold him and his cabinet responsible for the security failures of October 7, and he has come under heavy domestic criticism for his handling of the war on Gaza. Add to that the fact he has long been bogged down by corruption charges and criticism over plans to change the judicial system.
In a recent development, the Colorado Supreme Court has begun hearing appeal arguments in a case that seeks to disqualify Donald Trump, the 2024 GOP frontrunner, from the state's primary ballot, citing the 14th Amendment.
The case was first ruled on by a lower court judge on November 17, who decided that Trump could remain on the ballot. This decision sparked appeals to the higher court by the petitioners. Trump's attorneys also appealed the lower court ruling, arguing that while the judge allowed Trump to stay on the ballot, the ruling was accompanied by the assertion that Trump was an "insurrectionist" who instigated the January 6 riot at the Capitol building.
A bereaved father, whose 8-year-old son was shot dead by soldiers, stood this week at the entrance to his home at the border of the Jenin refugee camp and stated the simple truth: "These children will never forgive the soldiers. You're raising another generation of resistance. Now our children want Israeli children to be killed too."
I visited the home of the father, Samer al-Ghoul, after a visit to the Jenin camp where the Israel Defense Forces once again sowed destruction in recent days, to a horrifying extent. About 80 homes were demolished, all the roads in the camp were uprooted from their place and the sewage, whose infrastructure was destroyed, is flowing in the streets and raising a stench. The children of the Jenin camp wallow in it.
Webmaster addition: Israel NEEDS enemies to keep their own population under control.
The ancient Othman bin Qashqar Mosque, located in the old town of Gaza City, was bombed by Israeli warplanes on Thursday, causing casualties among people and damage to nearby homes, the official Palestinian news agency WAFA reported.
The mosque was built in the year 620 Hijra (1220 AD), and it is one of the oldest mosques and archaeological sites in the Gaza Strip.
It is located in the al-Zaytoun neighborhood, east of Gaza City, and is adjacent to the Great Al-Omari Mosque, which was also destroyed by Israeli warplanes during this aggression.
The Biden administration’s steadfast support of Israel in its war against Hamas in Gaza has cost him tremendous political capital internationally, according to Ian Bremmer, the CEO and founder of the Eurasia Group.
Washington’s stated unconditional backing of Israel — politically, financially, and militarily — has been a longstanding pillar of its Middle East foreign policy.
When Israel suffered a brutal terrorist attack on Oct. 7 by the Palestinian militant group Hamas that killed some 1,200 people and took more than 240 hostages, Biden flew to the country in a show of solidarity, pledging billions of dollars in military support. The U.S. already provides Israel some $3.1 billion annually in military aid, making it the largest recipient of American foreign aid in the world.
Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis wants to jail Trump, his former Chief of Staff Mark Meadows and Rudy Giuliani in the RICO and conspiracy case against the former president.
“We have a long road ahead,” the Fulton County district attorney, Fani Willis, wrote in one email on November 29, according to The Guardian. “Long after these folks are in jail, we will still be practicing law.”
In August Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis hit President Trump and 18 others with RICO and conspiracy charges for daring to challenge the 2020 election.
A Fulton County grand jury returned a 41-count indictment which included RICO and conspiracy charges against Trump.
In May, Reynolds signed the law to prevent teachers from raising gender identity and sexual orientation issues with students from kindergarten through grade six, and removed all books depicting sex acts from school libraries, with religious texts exempt.
The law also requires school administrators to notify parents if students ask to change their pronouns or names.
In response, the ACLU and Lambda Legal are pushing back with a lawsuit, arguing that the law imposes "ongoing irreparable harm to LGBTQ+ students."
"Squad" Democrats gathered on Capitol Hill to call for a permanent cease-fire in Gaza on Thursday, doubling down on accusations that Israel is targeting civilians and committing "genocide."
Rep. Cori Bush, D-Mo., held the press conference alongside Reps. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., and Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich. They also invited members of the Doctors Without Borders organization, which provides humanitarian aid in Gaza. Bush had vicious words for Israel during her opening remarks.
"When we hear genocidal rhetoric, when we witness devastation and mass murder, when we finance the bombs being dropped, when we intentionally disregard the suffering, we allow the people we represent to be complicit in mass atrocities," Bush said.
The ongoing United Nations COP28 climate summit in Dubai is offering a wide variety of gourmet food options from vendors who serve beef, even as it prepares a report that is expected to call for the West to reduce consumption of beef.
According to the summit's online portal, its food offerings include "juicy beef," "slabs of succulent meat," smoked wagyu burgers, Philly cheesesteaks and "melt-in-your-mouth BBQ" in addition to African street BBQ, fast casual Mexican fare and an Asian option that has a "touch of French flair." The revelation comes as the U.N. faces criticism for preparing a first-of-its-kind report that is expected to be published at the summit and call for lower meat consumption.
Venezuela’s threats to annex a majority of Guyana may be an effort by its leader to consolidate power at home ahead of a potential presidential election next year instead of a real intention to invade its neighbor, U.S. officials say. But Washington is increasingly concerned over how far Nicolas Maduro may be willing to go.
An internal State Department assessment, as well as the consensus of international observers and independent analysts, is that Maduro is seeking leverage against the United States at the negotiating table by threatening an invasion of western Guyana, a region rich in oil and gas that has been the subject of dispute between the two countries for over a century.
Maduro has been under U.S. sanctions for years for undermining Venezuelan democracy and is currently under pressure from Washington to hold free and fair elections.
The Biden administration is not seeing imminent signs of an invasion. But the possibility is raising anxiety levels in the region. United Nations Secretary General António Guterres on Wednesday called on Caracas to avoid the use of force and to respect the recent ruling of the International Court of Justice. The U.N. court last week called on Venezuela to refrain from taking any action that would change Guyana’s control and administration of the Essequibo region, which remains part of a territorial dispute.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton threatened to prosecute any doctors who perform an abortion on a woman after a state judge ruled she may obtained one due to medical necessity.
On Thursday, Judge Maya Guerra Gamble issued a temporary restraining order in favor of 31-year-old Kate Cox, who is 20 weeks pregnant. The order allows a doctor to perform an abortion without being subject to civil or criminal penalties. Abortion is banned in Texas from the moment of conception with few exceptions.
According to her lawsuit, Cox’s fetus was diagnosed with trisomy 18, a chromosomal condition that comes with many physical abnormalities. The suit states the fetus would not be able to live more than a few days outside the womb.
In a statement, Paxton, a Republican, said the judge’s order is irrelevant as far as Texas’ anti-abortion law is concerned.
While guest hosting the Daily Show, Charlamagne tha God said the 'ultimate Christmas gift' would be President Joe Biden dropping out of the 2024 race and pleaded with him not to make the same mistake as Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
The Breakfast Club host called out Biden for his age on Wednesday and said the best gift the president could give the country this holiday season is to let someone younger run for the White House.
'Biden is not getting any younger. He’s not going to get any more popular and he is not getting a new running mate. Please, Mr. President, give America the ultimate Christmas gift and a step aside,' said Charlamagne.
Experts said Hunter Biden's nine new criminal charges will be damning for his father's presidential campaign and makes Joe Biden look like a liar for denying he knew about his son's business dealings.
On Thursday, the Department of Justice indicted the first son on nine charges relate to tax, including two felony charges for filing a false return, a felony charge for tax evasion, four failure to pay charges and a further two charges for failure to file.
George Washington University Law Professor Jonathan Turley said the bombshell news makes it impossible for the president refute he had ties to his son's business dealings and that denying it is comparable to Bill Clinton claiming he did not have relations with Monica Lewinsky.
'I mean, basically [Biden is] saying 'I did not have interactions with those people',' Turley said on Fox News. 'It didn't work for Clinton. And it's even more insulting here.'
A recent internal investigation into faculty hiring at the University of Washington reveals the exhaustive efforts that universities make to discriminate against white job applicants. After the university’s Department of Psychology identified a white candidate as best qualified for a tenure-track professor position in early 2023, the department’s Diversity Advisory Committee pressured the hiring committee to re-rank candidates in accordance with the methodology laid out in an internal handbook titled “Promising Practices for Increasing Equity in Faculty Searches” so that a black woman would receive the job instead. This handbook, obtained by the National Association of Scholars, spells out how to exclude candidates of undesirable races and ensure that candidates of preferred races get hired.
Webmaster addition: One does not end racism by being racist!
Israeli strikes have killed 17,177 Palestinians in Gaza since Oct. 7 and 350 people have died in the past 24 hours, Gaza's Health Ministry said on Thursday, adding health services were barely functioning in the northern half of the besieged enclave.
Ministry spokesman Ashraf Al-Qidra spoke in a brief news conference from Nasser Hospital in southern Gaza.
He said the ministry was urgently trying to reopen Al Shifa Hospital, the largest hospital in the Gaza Strip, located in Gaza City. Some 36 health workers remain in detention after being arrested by Israeli forces during the two-month-old war, including the director of Shifa, he said.
Drug-resistant germs are spreading in Ukraine among people who sustained injuries from the war with Russia and beyond, according to a new report published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Thursday.
Ukraine was already seeing high rates of antimicrobial resistance before Russia invaded. Now, the increase in traumatic wounds and added strain on health care facilities from the conflict is leading to increased detection of multidrug-resistant organisms that have also spread into Europe, according to the report.
Investigators surveyed three Ukrainian hospitals last year and found that “many patients had wound infections caused by bacteria that were resistant to multiple antibiotics, making the infections difficult, or impossible, to treat.” They also found inadequacies with infection prevention and control methods.
Webmaster addition: Did someone drop a test tube at one of the US' Ukrainian biolabs?
Russian President Vladimir Putin hosted Iran’s president Thursday as part of a blitz round of Middle East diplomacy that also included visits to United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia in efforts to raise Moscow’s profile as a power broker in the region.
Putin has cast the Israel-Hamas war as a failure of U.S. diplomacy and suggested Moscow could be a mediator, thanks to its friendly ties with both Israel and the Palestinians.
“It’s very important for us to exchange views of the situation in the region, particularly regarding the Palestinian situation,” Putin said as he welcomed Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi at the start of their talks in Moscow.
A bipartisan amendment to expand compensation for Americans exposed to atomic radiation by the government has been removed from the final version of the annual National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) said Wednesday evening.
The amendment, which Hawley cosponsored with Sens. Ben Ray Lujan (D-N.M.), Eric Schmitt (R-Mo.) and Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), would expand and reauthorize the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act (RECA). The original law, passed in 1990, compensates Americans exposed to atomic testing and radiation from ore mining in Utah, Nevada and Arizona.
However, it does not cover New Mexico, the site of the 1945 trinity test of the atomic bomb, nor does it cover Missouri, where wartime production of uranium resulted in the contamination of Coldwater Creek in St. Louis. The amendment would expand the bill to cover New Mexico, Missouri, Idaho, Montana, Guam and Colorado. It would also reauthorize the law for another 19 years. President Biden extended the law a further two years in 2022 but without action, it will sunset in 2024.
Fighting has escalated in Gaza’s second-largest city of Khan Younis as Israeli air strikes rain down throughout the enclave, forcing Palestinians to flee to increasingly crammed pockets of the territory’s southern edge where there is no promised security, as the war enters its third month.
“We are talking about a carpet bombardment of entire neighbourhoods and residential blocks,” Al Jazeera’s Hani Mahmoud, reporting from Rafah in southern Gaza, said on Thursday, following heavy overnight shelling there.
The Houthis, formally known as Ansar Allah, have fired missiles and drones at Israel in response to the Israeli onslaught in Gaza and have targeted Israeli-linked commercial ships in the Red Sea. US warships have responded to the Houthi attacks and have downed several Houthi missiles and drones in recent weeks.
According to the Journal, the US is concerned an Israeli response could spark a major regional war. US officials told Israel that the US would handle any potential response, although POLITICO reported that the administration is not planning on directly targeting the Houthis, at least for now.
Webmaster addition: As if Israel listens to anything the US says!
-Former army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi is set to secure six more years as Egypt's president in an election held in the shadow of the nearby war in the Gaza Strip, despite growing unease about the country's economic performance.
Over nearly a decade in power, Sisi has presented himself as a guarantor of stability in a volatile region, a message that has added traction in a year when two conflicts, in Sudan and Gaza, have erupted on Egypt's borders.
Critics see the Dec. 10-12 election as a non-event after a decade-long crackdown on dissent. And while the result has not been in doubt, economic pressures including soaring prices have driven public debate and stirred criticism of Sisi's record.
In a stark reality check, Bloomberg reports that the economic optimism touted by some is falling flat for many American households. The sentiment of being worse off isn’t just a feeling; it’s a harsh truth. According to the Daily Rampart from @ftschuyler, Credit Card Delinquency levels have doubled since the COVID lows, painting a concerning picture of financial strain.
Lawmakers are set to block the Air Force’s request to retire older F-22 Raptors, despite pleas from the service that it would cost too much money to get them battle-ready.
This is the second straight year Congress has denied the entreaty. Service officials have argued that Block 20 F-22s lack crucial modern weapons and would require billions of dollars to get them up to speed. Officials wanted to put the money toward the Next Generation Air Dominance program, its new, secretive fighter jet.
Congress released its $886 billion compromise defense policy bill late Wednesday night after weeks of negotiations between House and Senate lawmakers.
The F-22 retirements were part of a larger Air Force proposal to shed more than 300 of its aircraft in fiscal 2024 and use the money for higher-end technology. The bill greenlights at least some of the other retirements, including of A-10 Warthogs and F-15C and -D fighters.
Israel has expanded its total ban on humanitarian supplies entering large areas of the Gaza Strip as part of its ongoing genocide, waged since 7 October, Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor said on Monday in a statement emphasising Israel’s use of starvation as a weapon against civilians.
The Israeli army had planned to largely cut off the Gaza Strip’s central governorate from the Strip’s southern areas during the past 48 hours by imposing restrictions on movement and limiting the supply of humanitarian aid, such as food and drinkable water.Although allowed into the Gaza Strip in small amounts, humanitarian supplies over the past two days have beenconfined almost entirely to the Rafah Governorate in the extreme south of the Strip. These supplies have included sparse distributions of aid, mostly water and flour. The humanitarian aid to the neighbouring Khan Yunis Governorate, however, was halted due to Israel’s severe attacks.
Since Israel resumed its attacks on the Gaza Strip last Friday following a one-week temporary humanitarian truce, humanitarian supplies have been completely prevented from entering Gaza and its northern areas, which have been isolated by the Israeli army for more than a month now as part of its ground incursions.
According to Euro-Med Monitor, Israel has extended its restrictions on humanitarian aid to encompass over 65% of the Gaza Strip’s total area.