More than two thirds of countries scored lower than 50, as 155 countries have made "no significant progress against corruption over the last decade."
The last edition of the research found that anti-corruption efforts have stalled of late, as many countries used the Covid-19 pandemic "as an excuse to curtail basic freedoms and side-step important checks and balances."
In 2022, the countries with the lowest perceived level of public sector corruption were Denmark, Finland and New Zealand, followed by Norway, Singapore and Sweden.
Cash is now king in Lebanon, where a three-year economic meltdown has led the country's once-lauded financial sector to atrophy and turned the country into a Venezuelan-esque hyperinflationary hell. The country has been hit hard by events over the past few years, starting with COVID.
In August 2020, the city of Beiruit was practically destroyed by a massive blast which killed at least 200 people and triggered as much as $15 billion in damage...
Did the prominent monk, writer, social critic, and opponent of the American role in the Vietnam War, Thomas Merton, strangely succumb to a faulty fan while attending a monastic conference in Bangkok, Thailand? That’s what Associated Press reporter, John T. Wheeler, reported with a dateline of Bangkok on the day of the death, December 10, 1968. One can read that same characterization of the event even today on the web site of Merton’s home Abbey of Gethsemani, near Bardstown, Kentucky.
Thailand was in the thick of the Vietnam War theater of operations at the time. Some 80% of the air attacks on North Vietnam and virtually all of those on the Ho Chi Minh Trail in Laos originated there. America’s war wounded were treated there and many who succumbed from their wounds were flown back to the States from Thailand. On one such flight, they were accompanied, ironically, by the dead Merton, who had been one of the war’s most influential opponents. Along with Martin Luther King, Jr., and Robert Kennedy, he was the third major Vietnam War opponent to die under suspicious circumstances in 1968. Although Richard Nixon was the president-elect at the time, we might be reminded that Lyndon Johnson was still the president.
Had the public information situation then been what it is today, very likely lots of people would have been weighing in with the question in that lead sentence. Who’s ever heard of anyone being killed from being shocked to death by a household appliance, much less a fan? The only time this writer has ever heard of it was when a radio fell into a bathtub, but I suppose something like a hair dryer might also produce the same fatal result. (In fact, in the actual 1997 keynote address to the biennial meeting of the International Thomas Merton Society [ITMS], not in the formal transcription here, James W. Douglass reported that his friend Andrew Young had told him that Merton had died when a hair dryer had fallen into his bathtub, and Douglass joked about it because Merton was bald.)
The very first question that any skeptics of the day would have wanted to ask would have been, “What did the autopsy show?” After all, that’s what autopsies are for, to determine the cause of death. How do we know that the faulty fan that was found lying across his supine body that was clad only in boxer shorts or the bottom half of summer pajamas actually killed Merton? Without an autopsy, all speculation about cause of death is nothing more than that. It’s just so much blowing of smoke. An early such smoke blower, currently cited on Merton’s Wikipedia page, was the French Benedictine monk, Jean Leclercq, who was one of the conference’s organizers, writing on February 26, 1969:
How exactly did [Merton’s] death come about? We will never know exactly and with certitude. There are already a number ofscenarios circulating—the sort of thing you expect when an extraordinary person dies. Some have begun spreading the rumor that the last moments of his life were in the presence of a statue of the Buddha. Others have suggested that he was assassinated like Martin Luther King had been. On the evening of his death two different versions were already being put forth by the media of Thailand and the United States. Papers in the United States only made mention of electrocution; those in Thailand spoke only of a heart attack. On both sides there was a desire to explain his death in such a way as to forestall certain hypotheses, none of which are all that significant. In all probability the death of Thomas Merton was due in part to heart failure, in part to an electric shock. Neither one nor the other alone would normally be fatal. (Emphasis added)
Russia says it has obtained documents that reveal US-funded laboratories in Ukraine have been creating biological weapons components and testing them on the population of the country.
The Russian Defense Ministry said on Monday that a few months into Moscow’s military campaign in Ukraine, Russian troops began compiling data related to the role and functions of US biolabs in the country.
“Russian troops have secured over 20,000 documents, reference and analytical materials, and interviewed eyewitnesses and participants in American military-biological programs” since the start of the war in February last year, said the commander of Russia’s Nuclear, Biological and Chemical Defense Forces, Lieutenant General Igor Kirillov.
The general said that the documents “confirm… the focus of the Pentagon on creating biological weapons components and testing them on the population of Ukraine and other states along [Russia’s] borders.”
Microsoft co-founder and billionaire Bill Gates again responded to questions about his relationship with sex offender financier Jeffrey Epstein, saying that “there was never any relationship.”
“I had dinner with him and that’s all,” Gates said in response to a question from an Australia Broadcasting Corporation reporter. When pressed further, Gates said that “there never was any relationship of any kind” after being asked if there is a connection between Epstein and the Gates Foundation.
The reporter, Sarah Ferguson, asked if he regretted the relationship, saying that it went against the wishes of his ex-wife, Melinda. “You’re going way back in time. But yeah, I will say for the, you know, over [the] hundredth time that I shouldn’t have had dinners with him,” Gates said in the interview, published Jan. 30.
Ferguson noted that Epstein was involved in “sexually compromising people” and asked whether his ex-wife warned him about that. “No,” Gates said.
President Biden's 70-person social media team tweeted a photo of the president in the new Hummer EV. They celebrated the president's push to 'electrify and greenify' America.
The president has signed an Executive Order that sets a new target to make about half of all new vehicles sold in 2030 zero-emissions vehicles. The main idea behind the EV push is to "cut emissions," according to the Executive Order.
Though there's a dirty side to clean energy, one of these inconvenient truths is the very EV the president is sitting in pollutes more than a typical gasoline-powered sedan, according to the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE).
ACEEE revealed the inconvenient truth about the Hummer EV in a report last year:
Emissions per mile driven are lower for EVs than for similarly sized gasoline-powered cars, but they are not zero. The Chevy Bolt EV is responsible for about 92 grams of carbon dioxide (CO2) per mile when accounting for emissions from the electric grid. (The CO2 calculations are based on the national average, but electric grid emissions vary considerably across the country.) The gasoline-powered Chevy Malibu causes over 320 grams per mile. Comparing larger vehicles, the original Hummer H1 emits 889 grams of CO2 per mile and the new Hummer EV causes 341 grams, demonstrating that behemoth EVs can still be worse for the environment than smaller, conventional vehicles.
Despite the world-beating rally in Chinese assets, positioning data show a clear dichotomy among investors’ views on the nation.
While hedge funds have boosted their exposure to Chinese stocks to near an all-time high again, mutual funds – which tend to have a longer-term investment horizon — remain significantly underweight, according to Goldman Sachs. Such a divergence shows that Chinese assets are viewed only as a three-month “trade,” rather than a three-year “investment.”
China’s manufacturing and services survey data Tuesday confirmed that the economy is bouncing back. The International Monetary Fund also raised China’s growth forecast this year by 0.8 percentage point to 5.2%, making it one of few major economies that may see growth accelerate this year.
With the economy healing, it’s not surprising that foreign investors are scooping up Chinese stocks hand over fist. The inflow into equities via the stock connect in January reached a record $21 billion, already exceeding the influx for the whole year of 2022.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Tuesday said that his Egyptian counterpart delivered a message from Secretary of State Antony Blinken calling on Russia to “stop” its war in Ukraine.
Lavrov met with Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry in Moscow and told reporters that Shoukry “conveyed a message” from Blinken, who was in Cairo on Monday. “Russia is ready to listen to any serious proposal that is aimed at resolving the current situation in its comprehensive context,” Lavrov said, according to the Russian news agency TASS.
Lavrov said that the message was that Russia should “should stop, that Russia should quit, and then everything will be fine.” He said Blinken “omitted” something from the message, pointing to recent comments from NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, who called for Russia’s defeat in Ukraine.
Webmaster addition: I get a sense the US is looking for a clean exit strategy; one in which the US doesn't look like it lost another war.
The world is a mess, but Washington is determined to fix it. The secretary of state flies around the globe issuing instructions to friends and foes alike. When foreign officials refuse to listen, Uncle Sam dons his mailed fist.
First come sanctions to back his commands. Washington’s ability and willingness to conduct economic warfare is nonpareil. The U.S. and its allies understandably fret over Chinese economic coercion, such as trade restrictions, bans on tourism, and restrictions of investment. However, the Treasury Department issues new economic sanctions almost daily. Thousands of governments, businesses, officials, and others are presently on its naughty list.
With nary a thought, let alone serious debate, Congress also penalizes other nations—friends as well as foes—that flout its will. Worst is imposing economic sanctions on already impoverished populations in an attempt to oust or influence their governments. Americans pay for such controls, which greatly complicate international investment, trade, and services, but foreign peoples suffer far more.
Ukraine will hold a summit with the European Union in Kyiv this week, the government announced Tuesday, as it expressed hope the conference would bring the war-battered nation closer to membership in the bloc almost a year after Russia launched its invasion.
Kyiv also announced it expected to receive up to 140 modern battle tanks from its Western allies, while the prospect of more advanced weapons for Ukraine came from the United States.
In his evening address to the nation, President Volodymyr Zelensky said he hoped the Friday summit would reflect a high "level of cooperation and progress" with the 27-member bloc, which Kyiv has long sought to join.
Armenia on Tuesday asked President Vladimir Putin to take a tougher line on Nagorno-Karabakh and for Russian peacekeepers to end what it calls Azerbaijan's blockade of the only road leading to the enclave.
Armenia said Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan had spoken to Putin about the resulting humanitarian crisis in Nagorno-Karabakh and had "highlighted" the importance of Russia taking the necessary steps to overcome it.
"In this context, reference was made to the activities of the Russian peacekeeping mission in Nagorno-Karabakh," the Armenian government said in a statement.
Nagorno-Karabakh is internationally recognised as part of Azerbaijan, but its 120,000 inhabitants are predominantly ethnic Armenians and it broke away from Baku in a first war in the early 1990s.
Azeri civilians identifying themselves as environmental activists have been facing off since Dec. 12 with Russian peacekeepers on the Lachin corridor, the only road across Azerbaijan that links Armenia to Nagorno-Karabakh.
Activist group Judicial Watch filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) for all records and communications between the Surgeon General’s office and social media companies about COVID-19 vaccines.
Judicial Watch filed the lawsuit after the HHS refused to adequately respond to a FOIA request filed in March 2022.
The request was for: “All records, including, but not limited to, electronic mail, texts, memoranda, and handwritten notes, of, regarding, referring, or relating to any efforts of Alexandria Phillips, Communications Director, Office of the Surgeon General, to contact any employee of Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, Instagram, Snapchat, Reddit, YouTube, LinkedIn, Tumblr, and Pinterest concerning COVID-19 vaccines.”
The report encouraged platforms to censor vaccine misinformation and other misinformation related to the pandemic.
In March 2022, Murthy ordered social media platforms to hand over information about accounts spreading Covid misinformation.
Judicial Watch president Tom Fitton said, “Biden’s Surgeon General is abusing his office to pressure Big Tech companies to censor Americans. This lawsuit aims to uncover the details of this government attack on the First Amendment.”
A group of 57 leading scientists, doctors and policy experts has released a report calling in to question the safety and efficacy of the current COVID-19 vaccines and are now calling for an immediate end to all vaccine programs. We urge you to read and share this damning report.
There are two certainties regarding the global distribution of Covid-19 vaccines. The first is that governments and the vast majority of the mainstream media are pushing with all their might to get these experimental drugs into as many people as possible. The second is that those who are willing to face the scorn that comes with asking serious questions about vaccines are critical players in our ongoing effort to spread the truth.
You can read an advanced copy of this manuscript in preprint below. It has been prepared by nearly five dozen highly respected doctors, scientists, and public policy experts from across the globe to be urgently sent to world leaders as well as all who are associated with the production and distribution of the various Covid-19 vaccines in circulation today.
Alec Baldwin was formally charged Tuesday with involuntary manslaughter for shooting dead Halyna Hutchins on the set of their movie Rust in October 2021.
Prosecutors in Santa Fe, New Mexico, stated he was 'distracted' during firearm training and shortly after the incident admitted to officers he had fired the weapon - something he would later vehemently deny.
Mary Carmack-Altwies, the Santa Fe district attorney, reported that the Oscar-nominated actor and producer of the film was not present for firearms training prior to the start of filming - and when an hour-long training session was scheduled, he appeared uninterested and was on his cell phone.
Webmaster addition: If there was a formal firearms training program, that gets the production off of the hook and lands the guilt squarely on Baldwin.
Ambitious media frauds Stephen Glass and Jayson Blair crippled the reputations of the New Republic and New York Times, respectively, by slipping years of invented news stories into their pages. Thanks to the Twitter Files, we can welcome a new member to their infamous club: Hamilton 68.
If one goes by volume alone, this oft-cited neoliberal think-tank that spawned hundreds of fraudulent headlines and TV news segments may go down as the single greatest case of media fabulism in American history. Virtually every major news organization in America is implicated, including NBC, CBS, ABC, PBS, CNN, MSNBC, The New York Times and the Washington Post. Mother Jones alone did at least 14 stories pegged to the group’s “research.” Even fact-checking sites like Politifact and Snopes cited Hamilton 68 as a source.
Hamilton 68 was and is a computerized “dashboard” designed to be used by reporters and academics to measure “Russian disinformation.” It was the brainchild of former FBI agent (and current MSNBC “disinformation expert”) Clint Watts, and backed by the German Marshall Fund and the Alliance for Securing Democracy, a bipartisan think-tank. The latter’s advisory panel includes former acting CIA chief Michael Morell, former Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul, former Hillary for America chair John Podesta, and onetime Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol.
Taiwan has scrambled fighter jets, put its navy on alert and activated missile systems in response to large-scale manoeuvres of 34 Chinese military aircraft and nine warships in the Taiwan Strait.
Beijing yesterday instructed its air force and navy to perform a major operation which saw 20 Chinese aircraft cross the central line of the Strait, long seen as a buffer zone between the island nation and mainland China, according to Taiwanese defence officials.
US secretary of state Anthony Blinken started a two-day visit to Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories on Monday.
He is the third high-level official from the US to meet with Israeli and Palestinian officials this month. Assistant to Joe Biden for National Security Affairs Jake Sullivan and CIA director Bill Burns also visited the region and held talks with counterparts only a few days ago amid escalating violence, particularly by Israel, that claimed more than thirty Palestinians and seven Israelis.
The top US diplomat came to discuss three matters with the Israelis: limiting the scale of Netanyahu's government response to the recent attacks against Israelis in occupied East Jerusalem, increasing Israel's involvement in the efforts to help Ukraine and controversial judicial reforms by Israel's far-right religious government.
Israeli jail authorities assaulted Palestinian women prisoners on Tuesday morning amid a push to enforce strict new measures against Palestinian inmates introduced by Israel's far-right Minister of National Security Itamar Ben-Gvir.
The Palestinian Prisoners' Society said in a statement that Israeli forces beat women prisoners in Damon jail, fired tear gas at them and used pepper spray.
In response, the prisoners set some cells ablaze. The IPS said Yasmeen Shaaban, the representative of the Palestinian women prisoners who was among those assaulted, was put in solitary confinement for attempting to set her cell on fire.
When news broke that Tyre Nichols, a black man, was killed by 5 Memphis police officers, liberal media was ecstatic. Here they thought was another George Floyd case that the presstitutes could use to whip up hatred and burn down some more white business districts in US cities. The presstitutes were disappointed to learn that all five cops were black.
This stopped them, but not for long. CNN rushed to the rescue with the headline: “The police who killed Tyre Nichols were Black. But they might still have been driven by racism.” As the CNN story put it, blacks are also racist against blacks, because white “society’s message that black people are inferior, unworthy, and dangerous is pervasive.” Evil white society has even created black racial hatred of blacks. https://www.cnn.com/2023/01/27/opinions/tyre-nichols-memphis-police-department-jones/index.html
The New York Post carried the story–https://nypost.com/2023/01/23/unarmed-disabled-man-jason-kloepfer-shot-by-cops-video/ –but otherwise you had to learn about it from the British media. There were no NPR or CNN specials on white cops shooting white people. It doesn’t fit the official narrative constructed by the white liberal media whores, who have devoted their lives to teaching black Americans to hate white Americans. Interest in police shooting is limited to black victims, and the cause is always white racism even if the cops are black. The whore media never lets any facts get in the way of the narrative.
Zelensky sent out a decree on February 24, 2022 for government officials to destroy all information on the Ukrainian Research Anti-Plague Institute, Mechnikov Institute of Health of Ukraine, and the Zhytomyr Regional Laboratory Centers of the Ministry of Health of Ukraine, who all worked with Metabiota Inc. (Metabiota) scientists.
House Oversight Committee chairman James Comer, R-Ky., said he believes First Son Hunter Biden was "in proximity" to the classified documents found in President Biden's garage.
Comer told reporters on Tuesday that he believes Biden's son was around the classified documents found next to the president's Corvette in his Wilmington, Delaware garage.
The Kentucky Republican noted that in "the beginning, the story was at the National Archive triggered the raid on Mar-a-Lago and that the administration has "come back and implied that it wasn't the National Archives that it was actually the Department of Justice."
PayPal said Tuesday it will trim about 7 per cent of its total workforce, or about 2,000 full-time workers, as the digital payments company contends with what it calls 'the challenging macro-economic environment'.
PayPal said it will make the cuts over several weeks, with some of its organizations affected more than others. The company did not further specify. PayPal is the parent of Venmo, Xoom and Honey, among other brands.
The company based in San Jose, California, is the latest in the technology sector to trim its headcount. During the month of January alone, Google, Microsoft and Salesforce announced tens of thousands of layoffs. This has mostly been put down to a need to reduce costs as economic growth slows down around the world.
Webmaster addition: I guess unplugging accounts that questioned vaccine safety or election honesty wasn't a good business decision!
The US House of Representatives voted to terminate COVID-19 health emergency immediately and halt the vaccine requirement for health care workers with the help of democrats.
Republican lawmakers on Tuesday pushed for the bill the Pandemic is Over Act that passed in a party line vote, 220 to 210. A second bill, the Freedom for Health Care Workers Act, was also passed with the votes of seven democrats.
The bill will now be heard in the Senate and if passed would eliminate the health emergency that has been in tact since 2020.
Webmaster addition: This will get interesting. If the Senate passes this bill and Joe Biden vetoes, he will kill Democratic chances in 2024 across the board. If Biden allows this bill to become law, then he faces investigation as to just where all those trillions of taxpayer dollars went!
The sanctuary state of California recently broke a new record in issuing driver’s licenses to undocumented immigrants.
Breitbart reports that the state has given more than one million illegal alien licenses. According to data published by CalMatters, about four out of every ten illegal aliens in California have picture proof to drive and operate a motor vehicle.
Issuing driver’s licenses to illegal aliens in California started in 2015. The Safe and Responsible Drivers Act gave undocumented residents the right to obtain an AB 60 driver’s license. The AB 60 license is a special license that allows undocumented California residents to drive legally.
Webmaster addition: California's motor-voter law means that all these illegals are offered the opportunity to register to vote!
The US is preparing another major escalation of military aid to Ukraine as Reuters reports the next arms package will include rockets that have a range of 94 miles, almost double the range of the munitions Ukraine was provided for the HIMARS rocket systems.
Citing two unnamed US officials, Reuters said that the US will provide Ukraine with the longer-range Boeing-made Ground Launched Small Diameter Bomb (GLSDB) for the first time as part of an over $2 billion arms package that could be announced as soon as this week.
The officials said that the GLSDB will be provided under the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative (USAI), which allows the Pentagon to purchase arms for Ukraine. Weapons provided under the USAI could take months or years to deliver as they involve contracts and might need to be manufactured.
“The tank coalition now has 12 members. I can note that in the first wave of contributions, the Ukrainian armed forces will receive between 120 and 140 Western-model tanks,” Kuleba said. “These are Leopard 2, Challenger 2, M1 Abrams.”
He said Ukraine is “counting” on France providing its Leclerc tanks, but so far, Paris has not pledged to do so.
Kuleba didn’t specify a timeline for when the tanks would be delivered. It could take months or possibly years for the US-made Abrams tanks to arrive as the Pentagon is purchasing the tanks from General Dynamics, and they need to be manufactured.