"I came to America because of the great, great freedom which I heard existed in this country. I made a mistake in selecting America as a land of freedom, a mistake I cannot repair in the balance of my lifetime." -- Albert Einstein, 1947

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MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian troops will go much further into Ukraine, taking the southern city of Odesa and may even one day push on to the capital Kyiv, a senior ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday.

Putin said on Tuesday Russian troops would push further into Ukraine to build on their success on the battlefield after the weekend fall of the town of Avdiivka where he said Ukrainian troops had been forced to flee in chaos.

"Where should we stop? I don't know," former President Dmitry Medvedev, now deputy chairman of Russia's Security Council, said in an interview with Russian media. "We will have to work very hard and very seriously."

"Will it be Kyiv? Yes, it probably should be Kyiv. If not now, then after some time, maybe in some other phase of the development of this conflict.

Claire's Observations:  It is obvious, from Medvedev's comments, that Russia has planned on a "long game" to get what it wants from Ukraine.  The US government is still supporting Ukraine in a no-win situation, and is even contemplating sending longer-range missiles than they have before, signaling a potential direct US conflict with Russia.

Zelinsky is rigidly refusing any moves which would appear conciliatory to Russia at this time, even though the war is going miserably for Ukraine, and   all the firepower and intel they have received from the US and other sources, has seemed not to have made one bit of difference for the Ukrainian military. 

 It is rather amazing to me, in light of the reality that Zelinsky has become the "gold standard for US foreign military intervention failure", that he has not been replaced by this point in the game. So one has to wonder; just what does Zelinsky have on the highest echelon of the US government, and how awful  are these revelations, that he is able to cling to power so successfully?!?   I cannot speculate as to what precisely this might be, but it must be pretty damning.

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Payment services used by Russians to transfer money overseas were knocked offline on Wednesday after the central bank revoked digital bank Qiwi's licence, sending its Moscow-listed shares plummeting almost 50% to a record low.

The central bank, which has taken regulatory action against Qiwi five times in the last year, said Qiwi Bank had engaged in high-risk operations, systematically violating requirements on anti-money laundering and terrorism financing legislation.

Nasdaq-listed Qiwi, on of Russia's largest payment services provider, said it was aware of the revocation and that temporary administrators were currently working at the bank. It said it was looking into the matter and that Qiwi Group's business, which is not related to Qiwi Bank, was operating as usual.

Qiwi, a Russian analogue to PayPal, had 29 million users at the end of 2022 and 13.8 million active wallets. Users were unable to withdraw funds from wallets and Qiwi's Contact payment system, used by many to transfer funds overseas, stopped working.

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Change Healthcare, a prominent healthcare technology company based in the United States has fallen victim to a cyberattack, leading to widespread outages and delays in prescription processing at pharmacies nationwide.

Owned by UnitedHealth Group, Change Healthcare is critical in the healthcare infrastructure, facilitating the processing of orders and payments for patients across the country.

The cyberattack, which was first detected on the company’s East Coast network early Wednesday morning, has caused enterprise-wide connectivity issues, severely disrupting the usual operations of local pharmacies. These delays in prescription processing are not just inconveniences; they represent a direct impact on patient care and access to necessary medications.

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At this point in history the most effective way for westerners to fight the empire and build support for revolutionary change is to undermine public support for western status quo systems and institutions. One does this by using every means at their disposal to help people see that the power structures which rule over us don’t serve our interests, and that they are in fact profoundly evil and destructive.

It takes a flash of insight for a westerner to be able to really see the perniciousness of the US-centralized empire in all its blood-soaked glory. This is because westerners spend their entire lives marinating in empire propaganda from childhood, which has normalized and manufactured their consent for the murderous, exploitative and oppressive power structure we live under. The current status quo is all they’ve ever known, and the idea that something better might be possible is alien to them.

Teachers of spiritual enlightenment point students to the truth of their being in as many ways as possible in an effort to facilitate a flash of insight into reality. The reason they do that rather than saying the same words over and over again from day to day is because everyone’s mind is unique and ever-changing, and what knocks things home for one student one day will just be useless noise to another student who will later pop open at something completely different. The receptivity to insight varies from person to person.

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Room 641A is a telecommunication interception facility operated by AT&T for the U.S. National Security Agency, as part of its warrantless surveillance program as authorized by the Patriot Act. The facility commenced operations in 2003 and its purpose was publicly revealed in 2006.[1][2]

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Elyria Township Fire Department is urging the local community to make unusual preparations for the upcoming Total Solar Eclipse scheduled for April 8.

The statement released by the officials highlighted the importance of being well-prepared weeks in advance of the eclipse. It recommended that residents stock up on food, ensure they have a sufficient supply of their prescriptions picked up the week before, keep cell phone batteries charged, and schedule any necessary appointments for before or after the eclipse weekend.

The message was clear: PLAN TO STAY HOME IF POSSIBLE!

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A Washington DC mom has shared how she splurged most of a $10,000 taxpayer-funded lump sum intended for impoverished mothers on a luxury holiday to Miami. 

Canethia Miller, 27, was accepted onto a DC government pilot last year as she and he three children were struggling to make ends meet. The Strong Futures program is one of many across the US - but the only one to offer the cash as a $10,800 lump sum, rather than in 12 smaller monthly installments.

Miller opted for the former - and confessed to the Washington Post that she splurged more than $6,000 of the windfall on a five night trip to Miami for herself and her three sons.

'I wanted to blow it. I wanted to have fun,' she said. The spending spree included 15 brand new outfits for her kids - one for each child for each day of the vacation - and a $180 haircut to make her not 'look like a working, stressed mom.'

Joined by her children's father, they splashed out on luxury amenities including steak dinners, new gadgets and toys for her kids, brand new outfits, and a boat tour past Miami's most expensive mansions. 

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America successfully returned to the moon on Thursday, marking the first time a US-made craft touched down on the lunar surface since the last Apollo mission in 1972.

The $118million unmanned Odysseus, or Odie, a six-legged robot lander touched down at 6:24pm ET at a crater called Malapert A, near the moon's south pole, having slowed down from 6,500 kph (4,000 mph).

'Houston, Odysseus has found its new home,' said mission director Dr. Tim Crain shortly after confirmation of the signal. 

'I know this was a nail-biter, but we are on the on the surface, and we are transmitting,' Intuitive Machines CEO Steve Altemus said. 'Welcome to the moon.'

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Dr. Robin Rose, Chris Cuomo’s personal physician and a double board-certified physician with expertise in treating long COVID at Terrain Health, destroys the prevailing narrative about COVID-19 vaccine safety on live TV.

During the segment, Cuomo introduced the topic by highlighting a groundbreaking study by the Global Vaccine Data Network (GVDN), which analyzed the safety of COVID-19 vaccines in a pool of 99 million vaccinated individuals across several countries, including Denmark, New Zealand, Argentina, Canada, Finland, Australia, and Scotland.

Here’s what the study found about how certain health issues showed up after people got their COVID-19 vaccines...

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They just can’t take a joke. The former president Donald Trump made a sarcastic crack about encouraging Russia to attack NATO members that didn’t invest in their defense, and hysteria enveloped both Washington and Brussels. For some officials, the imbroglio appeared to signal the end of Western civilization. 

Even worse, Europeans realized that they might have to do more for themselves militarily. The continent’s policymakers have begun thinking the unthinkable. Reported the New York Times, “European leaders were quietly discussing how they might prepare for a world in which America removes itself as the centerpiece of the 75-year-old alliance.” What is the world coming to if European governments can no longer cheap-ride the U.S.? The horror!

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has spurred European governments to spend more. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said 18 of 31 members will meet the alliance’s two percent of GDP standard this year, three times the number in 2016. 

Trump’s comment should accelerate this process, probably more than all the complaining, whining, and demanding of prior presidents combined. He claimed that the leader of an unidentified large European country asked if Trump would send in the American cavalry if that nation failed to meet its NATO obligations. Trump responded: “I said: ‘You didn’t pay? You’re delinquent?’... ‘No I would not protect you. In fact I would encourage them to do whatever they want. You gotta pay.’”

Claire's Observations:  from where I sit, this is both logical and reasonable.  Countries which have NATO protection, should pay for the privilege, period, end of discussion.

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Supplying Ukraine with F-16 fighter jets poses a risk of triggering a nuclear conflict, former Russian president Dmitry Medvedev has warned.

NATO member states are currently training Ukrainian pilots to operate F-16s ahead of the expected transfer of the aircraft. Kiev has been asking for the Western fighter jets for months, saying they were needed to combat Russian air superiority.

”An accidental, unintentional outbreak of a nuclear conflict is not something to be discarded, which is why all those machinations around Ukraine are dangerous,” Medvedev said in an extensive interview with Russian journalists, as quoted by TASS on Thursday.

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Russia’s assets that remain frozen in the West should be confiscated in response to the death of opposition activist and anti-corruption campaigner Alexey Navalny, German parliament member Norbert Rottgen has said.

This money should be used to provide more arms to the Ukrainian military for use in the conflict with Russia, Rottgen suggested in his speech to the Bundestag on Wednesday.

Legislation that would allow the confiscation of an estimated $300 billion in assets owned by the Russian central bank, which were blocked by the US and the EU after the outbreak of the conflict between Moscow and Kiev in February 2022, should be named “Navalny Laws,” he added.

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A group of self-styled “experienced public international lawyers and practitioners” have put together a case for confiscating Russian sovereign funds currently frozen by the US and its allies, saying it would be the appropriate response to Moscow’s “unlawful conduct” towards Ukraine.

Approximately €260 billion ($280 billion) in Russian sovereign funds were frozen by the Group of Seven countries in 2022. The UK and the US have recently demanded the outright seizure of these funds in order to fund the government in Kiev. 

The letter in which the “experts” – from the UK, US, Belgium, France, Germany, Japan and the Netherlands – make their case to the G7 has been obtained by Bloomberg.

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A privately built spacecraft has landed safely on the moon, marking the first time that America has reached the moon since the end of the Apollo era 50 years ago. Odysseus, a  $118 million uncrewed lander built by Intuitive machines, made a soft landing near the moon's south pole at 6:24 pm ET last night. 

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Polish farmers protesting near the country's border with Ukraine are trying to “humiliate” their neighbor and inflict upon it as much pain as possible, President Vladimir Zelensky’s most senior adviser, Mikhail Podoliak, claimed on Wednesday. 

He made the comment after hundreds of tractors gathered on the Polish-Ukrainian border this week, with farmers calling for the closure of checkpoints and a ban on importing cheap Ukrainian grain. Similar protests have regularly taken place in Poland since October 2023, when Brussels decided to allow Ukrainian haulers to enter the EU without having to obtain permits.  

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British fishermen will be banned from operating in the Barents Sea, one of the world’s largest fisheries for cod and haddock, under new legislation passed by the lower house of Russia’s parliament, the State Duma, on Wednesday.  

The bill, which rescinds an agreement signed between the governments of the USSR, the UK, and Northern Ireland in 1956, was passed in its third reading.   

The so-called Fisheries Agreement had allowed British ships to fish in the Barents Sea off the north coast of the Kola Peninsula. It was initially signed for a period of five years and automatically renewed every five years since neither party ever withdrew from the agreement.  

“The agreement was unfortunately one-sided giving the authority and right to fish only to our partners at the time,” Deputy Agriculture Minister Maksim Uvaidov said, clarifying the details of the treaty. He added that the agreement didn’t provide Soviet fishermen with similar rights.

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Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has said the immediate future is bleak for the European Union due to the way the Ukraine conflict is unfolding.

He made the comments during a Fidesz-KDNP parliamentary faction conference behind closed doors on Wednesday, according to media reports.

Orban, who is a prominent critic of the bloc’s policies and has opposed its funding of Kiev’s conflict against Russia, predicted a major victory for conservative parties in the European Parliament elections in June.

”The war will not end. Europe’s burden will become heavier, because financial support for Ukraine will decrease due to disputes in the US amid the presidential election,” he told the conference, according to the newspaper Magyar Nemzet.

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The Gemini artificial intelligence program will not be allowed to generate images of people pending a patch, Google announced on Thursday, after critics panned it as “absurdly woke” and “blatantly racist.”

Formerly known as Bard, Gemini was launched earlier this month and advertised as Google’s “most capable family of models,” able to generate “captivating images.” When asked for images of US founding fathers, Russian emperors, French kings, popes and even 1930s Nazi German soldiers, the AI returned results celebrating the modern US concept of “diversity” instead.

“White people appeared to be the only racial category that Gemini refused to show,” according to a Fox Business summary of their experiment with the AI.

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British Foreign Secretary David Cameron announced more than 50 new sanctions targeting Russian individuals and businesses on Thursday. The package, announced in press release on the UK government's website, is meant to mark the second anniversary of the start of the Russian military operation in Ukraine on February 24. 

The fresh sanctions target entities that supply the Russian military with munitions such as rocket launch systems, missiles and explosives, according to the press release. Also sanctioned are key sources of revenue for the Russian state, such as metals, diamonds, and the energy trade.

According to the report, among those sanctioned is Sverdlov State Owned Enterprise, which the British government claims is the largest group in Russia’s ammunition industry, and several key Russian importers and manufacturers of machine tools.

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 The policy research firm Public First found that a perception of political correctness in BBC News' coverage means a 'significant minority' of working class viewers are tuning into rivals. 

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Two years ago, the Turkic battalion ‘Turan’ in the ranks of the Armed Forces of Ukraine gained worldwide fame after several loud claims about their ‘valiant struggle against the Russians’ on all most dangerous frontlines and personal threats to the Head of the Chechen Republic, Ramzan Kadyrov.

After two years of war, the truth was revealed. The brave unit turned out to be fake. Ukrainians deceived and robbed their Turkish partners, who donated large amounts of money to the fake battalion.

In the autumn of 2022, a video presentation of the new battalion ‘Turan’ was first shared online. About two dozens of masked militants declare the creation of the Turan battalion, which should fight on the side of Ukraine against Russia. The report gained great hype in the media, especially its Turkish roots and the declared ideology of the “Great Turan”. The nationalist battalion reportedly consisted of about 350 militants, including Azerbaijanis, Kyrgyz, Uighurs and Kazakhs. The commander was 33-year-old Kudaibek uulu Almaz. The great commander turned out to be a simple hairdresser from Bishkek, who worked in a barbershop in the Moscow region, then returned to his homeland, and in 2021 decided to move to Ukraine, where a year later he was involved in the profitable plan of the fake nationalist battalion.

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Russia has deployed forty-eight (48) "Iskander" missiles launchers along the Ukraine Border.  Each launcher truck carries two missiles.

The 9K720 Iskander  is a mobile short-range ballistic missile system produced and deployed by the Russian military.

They travel at a terminal hypersonic speed of 2100–2600 m/s (Mach 6–7) and can reach an altitude of 50 km as they range up to 500 km.

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