Back live Wednesday!
The past year has been bruising for Russia’s economy. Foreign investors fled en masse, many never to return. Official forecasts suggest that few countries will see their gdp shrink by more this year. Only a handful of countries, including war-torn Ukraine, will end up posting worse numbers.
From another perspective, however, Russia did surprisingly well. In the days following its invasion of Ukraine in February, there was financial chaos from Moscow to Vladivostok. After Western countries imposed an unprecedented number of sanctions, the stockmarket collapsed along with the rouble. At the time it seemed Vladimir Putin’s “Fortress Russia” was crumbling.
Economists quickly downgraded their forecasts. Within days the consensus estimate of annual gdp growth in 2022 dropped from 2.5% to a contraction of 10%. Some economists were even gloomier: the White House looked for a year-on-year decline in Russian gdp of 15%. Inflation surged across the country.
The Iranian Navy submarines annihilated underwater targets by firing domestically-manufactured torpedoes for the first time during the massive military exercises underway in the country’s Southeastern waters.
Iran’s Army began large-scale drills across a zone stretching from the Eastern side of the Hormuz Strait in the Persian Gulf to the Northern part of the Indian Ocean on Friday.
On Sunday, the Iranian Kilo-class attack submarine launched Mi’ad torpedoes for the first time to hit designated naval targets.
Iranian Qadir-class mini submarines. Click to enlarge
Qadir submarines also detonated various naval targets with homegrown smart and high-speed Valfajr torpedoes during the wargames.
Eighty-three percent (83%) of respondents said the most prevalent racism in the US today is against White people.
That's according to the latest unscientific poll of 1,935 people at SharylAttkisson.com.
Seven percent (7%) said Asian people are on the receiving end of most racism in the US today, while 2% said most racism is directed against Black people.
Fewer than one percent (1%) said Hispanics are target of most racism.
Arizona GOP gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake has filed a petition to transfer her appeal to the Arizona Supreme Court after her election fraud lawsuit was dismissed.
Lake filed the petition Jan. 1.
The state's Maricopa County court last week dismissed eight of Lake's 10 counts. Two of the counts, which involved Election Day ballot printing issues and procedural errors, were brought for a two-day trial that did not go in her favor.
"I am standing up for the people of this state," Lake said on former White House adviser Steve Bannon's "War Room" TV show on the Real America's Voice streaming platform.
Lake has not allegedly widespread voter fraud cost her the election, but argues problems with the state's election system contributed to her narrow loss.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is suing Pfizer and Moderna for killing millions of Americans with their toxic mRNA jabs.
“I think people want the truth that I think people want accountability. You need to have a thorough investigation into what happened with the shots,” DeSantis told a crowd earlier in December.
“I promise to hold these manufacturers accountable for this mRNA [shot] because they said there were no side effects and we know that there have been a lot.”
A federal judge ordered the Biden administration to hand over communication documents between the federal government and big tech companies. U.S. District Court Judge Terry Doughty, of the Western District of Louisiana, granted the order of discovery sought by Republican Attorneys General Eric Schmitt of Missouri and Jeff Landry of Louisiana.
President Joe Biden, members of his administration, and select social media companies must turn over documents and answer questions within the next 30 days during a discovery phase of a lawsuit alleging collusion to suppress freedom of speech, a court ruled. The attorneys general of Louisiana and Missouri filed a lawsuit in May alleging Biden and eight high-ranking members of his administration and the government colluded with and/or coerced social media companies Meta, Twitter, and YouTube to suppress “disfavored speakers, viewpoints, and content on social medial platforms.”
Terry Doughty, a judge in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana, ruled there is “good cause” for the discovery process and set a timetable, including specific deadlines for depositions.
First there was the Twitter Files - now get ready for the Dr. Anthony Fauci files.
According to Fox Business:
Elon Musk, on Sunday, teased that this week’s Twitter Files report would focus on the now former director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Anthony Fauci, in what could be known as the Fauci Files.
Musk turned to Twitter to tell users, "Hope you’re having a great day 1 2023! One thing’s for sure, it won’t be boring."
One Twitter user replied to Musk’s tweet, saying she was, "Waiting… … for #FauciFiles."
"Later this week," Musk replied.
Speaking to Fox News, Rep. James Comer said he expects the files to reveal more government efforts to censor speech and how they backed every controversial policy of his regardless of the facts.
President Joe Biden’s administration has reopened the ability for foreign nationals with a history of using American taxpayer-funded welfare benefits to have a legal path to citizenship under the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
At the beginning of 2020, former President Trump finalized the “public charge”, a federal regulation that “made it less likely for foreign nationals to secure green cards to permanently reside in the United States if they had previously used welfare programs like food stamps, Medicaid, or taxpayer-funded housing programs” reports Breitbart.
However, Biden disbanded the finalized public charge rule immediately after taking office. As a result, Biden blew “open the door for welfare-dependent legal immigration to the United States, for which American taxpayers will ultimately foot the bill” adds Breitbart.
Arizona state senator-elect John Kavanagh, a state representative, is moving a measure that would require parents to provide permission for a school to use pronouns for a student that doesn't match their biological sex.
The Blaze reports that this measure is meant to encourage schools to require parental permission before speaking to a student using pronouns that don't align with their biological sex. The legislation reads in part:
"An employee or independent contractor of a school district or charter school may not knowingly address, identify or refer to a student who is under eighteen years of age by a pronoun that differs from the pronoun that aligns with the student's biological sex unless the school district or charter school receives written permission from the student's parent."
Officials in the city of Eudora, Arkansas, said they are enforcing a mandatory emergency curfew after struggling to stop what the city’s mayor described as a “rampage of shootings.”
The city of fewer than 3,000 residents has recently experienced more than 10 shootings, according to Mayor Tomeka Butler, including one which killed a local resident on Dec. 24. Facing increased crime, few actionable leads, and limited police resources, Butler announced the “civil emergency curfew” on Dec. 27.
The curfew applies from 8 p.m. until 6 a.m. with exceptions for both employment and medical emergencies, officials said.
In a statement to ABC News, Butler said that the frequency of these shootings are unprecedented, adding “this is the first time these acts of this magnitude have taken place.”
“Should you be caught during curfew hours, you will be subject to being stopped and searched,” Butler said in a video posted to Facebook, in which four law enforcement officers stood behind her.
In the video and on other posts, Butler pleaded for community members to work together to stop the violence.
“Please help us bring these senseless acts of crime to a stop,” she said.
Webmaster addition: Lock up the shooters!
ARTIFICIAL intelligence has offered a horrifying vision of what the world faces in nuclear armageddon and World War 3.
Responding to prompts such as "nuclear bomb", "war" and "apocalypse" - the AI tool produced a series of truly grim pictures which could offer a glimpse into the future.
Pictures show devastated cityscapes burning with what could be nuclear fire and grim looking soldiers amongst the ruins.
Mushroom clouds rise over desolate landscapes - including one seen looming beside the US Capitol building in Washington DC.
Strange looking machines rumble in what the AI envisioned could be the weapons of the future
And lone figures walk amongst eerie, unrecognisable hellscapes when the AI was asked who it thinks could be the "last man on earth".
Huge fireballs are seen descending towards burning cities in what could be a nuclear attack.
Soldiers walk amongst ruined landscapes as aircraft, appearing to be giant quadcopter drones fly overhead.
And when asked about what could happen to London, it produced what appears to be an image of Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament.
And another image shows what could be Oxford or Regent Street utterly deserted as its left in total ruin.
"Happy New Year" was wished by B. Putin to NATO and B. Zelensky with the Russian Air Force and Navy launching two fierce successive missile attacks within a few hours against military targets throughout the country.
Russia has refuted British intelligence on the ground: Pounding Ukraine for 3 days in a row, which has never been done before, shows the preparation for a large-scale ground attack.
Today it launched two missile waves, yesterday one and on the 29th of the month two more.
Total 5 missile attacks with over 400 missiles and drones. Today alone the first wave included 70 missiles.
A few hours later a second wave followed.
Within minutes there were mass launches from the Caspian, Black Sea, western Russia from warships and strategic bombers.
More than 586,000 individuals have received a bivalent Covid-19 vaccine as at last Monday.
This is 200,000 more from the previous update by the Ministry of Health (MOH) on Dec 12.
In response to queries from The Straits Times, MOH said more than 133,000 individuals have received a shot of the bivalent Pfizer-BioNTech/Comirnaty vaccine and over 453,000 have received the bivalent Moderna/Spikevax vaccine.
Bivalent vaccines provide protection against the original Sars-CoV-2 strain of the virus, as well as the Omicron sub-variants.
MOH said on Saturday that there are still about 39,000 eligible seniors who have not yet achieved minimum protection. This is down from the 40,000 figure provided in mid-December.
Minimum protection against Covid-19 requires individuals aged five and above to complete three mRNA or Novavax/Nuvaxovid doses, or four Sinovac-CoronaVac doses.
Teachers in Singapore say they will likely have to move from assignments requiring regurgitation to those that require greater critical thinking, to stay ahead in the fight against plagiarism.
This comes on the back of the rise of ChatGPT, an intelligent chatbot that is able to spin essays and solve mathematical equations in seconds.
ChatGPT, developed by San Francisco research firm OpenAI, is being talked about as a major step forward in artificial intelligence (AI), especially its latest version released in November.
Simple and free of charge – for now – the chatbot has prompted some schools to start thinking of ways to mitigate cheating, ahead of students’ return to schools.
ChatGPT’s ability to break down complicated concepts into simple language and respond to follow-up questions logically has raised concerns over whether existing plagiarism detection software used in schools, such as Turnitin, can sniff out text drafted by bots.
Singapore educators interviewed said they have not encountered cases of cheating with the aid of ChatGPT, as its latest version turned viral only during the school holidays.
A TikTok user is stepping on dangerous ground as she claims that people going to the gym are afraid of getting fat.
The user goes by the name “Anti Diet BFF,” and she is less than thrilled to step into a gym.
According to Fox News, the mouthy influencer also stated, “Wanting to work out doesn’t make anyone fatphobic, but the motivations for why you want to go to the gym do.”
The insanity of some people and how they try, and brand people are right up there with bullying. She is trying to shame people for wanting to stay fit and in good shape.