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"Alone among all of Earth's life forms, humans alone perceive the absolute inevitability of their own mortality. For thousands of years, con artists have exploited that fear of the inevitable end of life, offering for sale various magical escapes from the grave, and all the acolytes have to do is surrender their money, their obedience, and their sanity." -- Michael Rivero
Fury at President Emmanuel Macron’s decision to bypass parliament on pension reform has sparked days of unrest across the country, reviving scrutiny of police’s heavy-handed tactics and leaving French cities shrouded in tear gas and smoke – with no end in sight to an increasingly bitter standoff.
First an epic tussle with the unions, then a bitter standoff in parliament, and now a full-blown crisis in the streets: France’s festering pension dispute took a turn for the worse this week, with protests against Macron’s deeply unpopular plans hardening and escalating amid scenes of chaos in Paris and other cities.
The unrest – which began last Thursday after Macron used special executive powers to ram his pension reform through parliament – has seen security forces fight running battles with protesters late into the night even as firefighters race to extinguish hundreds of blazes.
Outrage at Macron’s perceived “denial of democracy”, coupled with his refusal to bow to millions of peaceful protesters, have produced an explosive cocktail – with tonnes of uncollected rubbish providing the fuel. Heavy-handed police tactics have in turn exacerbated the unrest, in a spiral of violence that France is all too familiar with.
In response to questions he received during a press conference on Monday about Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin cementing a “new era” in strategic partnership between China and Russia, the White House National Security Council’s John Kirby made no fewer than seven assertions that the US is the “leader” of the world.
Here are excerpts from his comments:
“The two countries have grown closer. But they are both countries that chafe and bristle at U.S. leadership around the world.”
“And in China’s case in particular, they certainly would like to challenge U.S. leadership around the world.”
“But these are not two countries that have, you know, decades-long experience working together and full trust and confidence. It’s a burgeoning of late based on America’s increasing leadership around the world and trying to check that.”
“Peter, these are two countries that have long chafed, as I said to Jeff — long chafed at U.S. leadership around the world and the network of alliances and partnerships that we have.”
“And we work on those relationships one at a time, because every country on the continent is different, has different needs and different expectations of American leadership.”
“That’s the power of American convening leadership. And you don’t see that power out of either Russia or China.”
“But one of the reasons why you’re seeing that tightening relationship is because they recognize that they don’t have that strong foundation of international support for what they’re trying to do, which is basically challenge American leadership around the world.”
The United States does damage to itself by limiting the use of the dollar for situational reasons, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on the Rossiya-24 news channel on Saturday.
"They saw off the branch they’re sitting on - I’ve been reiterating that - by limiting the use of the dollar based on momentary, situational considerations of political nature. They are harming themselves, and we might even add, they shoot themselves in the foot," Putin said in an interview with journalist Pavel Zarubin.
According to Putin, the United States’ claims that Russia is encroaching on the dollar are not true.
"We would use the dollar, but they do not let us," he explained. "How can we make payments? In a currency that is acceptable to our partners. The yuan is one of these currencies, especially since it is used by the International Monetary Fund."
Russian fish imports to the EU have increased by twenty percent, despite the conflict in Ukraine and the avalanche of sanctions imposed. At the same time, countries with the most anti-Russian stance in the whole EU are active importers. This is the case of Poland. Germany and the Netherlands are not far behind in Russian fish consumption. Statistics are provided by the UK edition of the Daily Express.
Thus, according to trade data, the countries of the European Union buy almost a fifth more fish from Russia than before the start of the active phase of Moscow’s special operation in Ukraine. Fish supplies from the Russian Federation to the EU last year increased by 18.7% to 198,800 tonnes, according to the Russian Fisheries Association. This year, only in the first few months, growth has exceeded previous figures and, on an annualized basis, can represent an impressive volume that breaks all records.
The United States and its European allies have sent tens of billions of dollars-worth of military equipment to Kiev to fuel a proxy war against Russia in Ukraine. Moscow has warned repeatedly about the consequences of these actions for regional and global security.
Western countries won’t be able to deliver enough weapons in Ukraine to outgun Russia, President Vladimir Putin has assured.
“Threats exist, of course. When weapons are supplied to a country we are in conflict with, this is always a threat. As for how they can be assessed, of course we know about the plans to supply them,” Putin said in an interview with Russian TV on Saturday, responding to a question about whether Moscow considers Western arms deliveries to Kiev a “threat” to national security.
“We see, hear about and know about these delivery plans. You mentioned one million shells, about the delivery of tanks. One million – is it a lot or a little? This is a significant amount. First of all, the leading NATO countries, let’s say the United States of America, according to our information, produce about 14,000-15,000 shells per month… Ukraine’s Armed Forces, according to our military’s estimates, use up to 5,000 shells per day of hostilities,” Putin said.
On this episode of Direct Impact, host Rick Sanchez held an exclusive interview with legendary journalist Seymour Hersh regarding his investigation into the Nord Stream pipeline explosion, which caused a shockwave throughout the world. Hersh gives a breakdown of his investigation and some of the sinister details he uncovered.
Russia’s decision to deploy its tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus comes as a response to the West's stepping up military aid to Ukraine, the Japanese NHK TV channel and leading Japanese newspapers opine on Sunday.
The purpose appears to be to deter Western countries that are stepping up military support for Ukraine, NHK noted. For its part, Japan's largest newspaper Yomiuri also expresses the view that the decision to deploy tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus is aimed to curb new arms supplies from the US and Europe to Ukraine. The newspaper believes that Moscow is oncerned about a possible counterattack by Kiev with the use of sophisticated foreign weaponry, including Western tanks.
The country's leading business daily Nikkei also thinks that Russian President Vladimir Putin's decision is directly linked to the desire to put pressure and curb deliveries of Western arms to Ukraine. The Asahi newspaper echoed this view.
The US Navy has awarded Raytheon a $234-million contract to produce and deliver the Over-the-Horizon Weapon System (OTH-WS).
The work will be performed in Norway and various US locations through March 2027.
The navy declared a team of Raytheon and Kongsberg the winner of the OTH-WS program in 2018 consisting of contract options worth up to $847.61 million.
The Ukrainian Armed Forces has taken delivery of its first batch of 122-millimeter artillery shells featuring cutting-edge domestic components.
The country’s arms conglomerate Ukroboronprom said it has shipped the third type of ammunition to support Kyiv in countering Russian aggression.
The war-torn nation currently uses the 120-mm mortar mine and the 125-mm tank projectile to neutralize enemy assets.
According to the defense firm, the 122mm shells were manufactured abroad using Ukrainian technology with Ukrainian specialists.
For all their careers as diplomats, Alon Liel and Ilan Baruch advocated Israel’s case. Both served as Israeli ambassadors in South Africa, and Liel rose to be director-general of the foreign service.
Today, they are using all their diplomatic skills to destroy their government’s case before the international community, and last week were in London ahead of an expected visit by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday.
Liel and Baruch are on a mission: to alert MPs and British Jews who support Israel to what is happening. They say the fate of 5.3 million Palestinians under occupation and the fate of Israeli Jews are both in the balance as Israel lurches towards an openly declared and law-based Jewish supremacy.
Al Jazeera's Abderrahim Foukara asks the former US defense secretary whether toppling Saddam Hussein was worth the many lives of those killed during and after the 2003 Iraq war.
Thousands of demonstrators have held a fresh protest across Tel Aviv in the occupied territories, blasting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for pressing on with his highly controversial and unpopular "judicial reforms."
The demonstration was held in the coastal city on Saturday evening for the 12th straight week after Netanyahu announced the so-called reforms that he claims seek to improve the balance of power between politicians and the regime's Supreme Court.
The changes are slated to rob the court of the power to overrule decisions made by Israel's new extremist cabinet and the Knesset. They will also enable lawmakers to override the court's rulings with a simple majority, while giving them a bigger say in the selection committee that appoints the judges.
Serbian Minister of Labour, Employment and Veteran and Social Affairs Nikola Selakovic laid a wreath at a memorial to children killed in the 1999 NATO aggression on Serbia, then part of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.
City of Belgrade Manager Miroslav Cuckovic, Russian Ambassador to Serbia Alexander Botsan-Kharchenko, Serbian Armed Forces and police representatives, the victims’ families and others also took part in the Tasmajdan Park ceremony in downtown Belgrade.
Annalena Baerbock has started her visit to Georgia with the meeting with the civil society representatives, followed by the meeting with her Georgian counterpart FM Darchiashvili.
According to the information by GYLA, civil society representatives focused on the issues related to human rights situation in Georgia and stressed that importance for Georgia of the receipt of the EU candidate’s status during their meeting with the German FM.
Annalena Baerbock then met with the Foreign Minister Darchiasvhili. At the press conference following the meeting Georgian FM stressed that Baerbock’s visit demonstrates Germany’s special interest in Georgia….According to Darchiashvili the sides discussed EU and NATO integration, as well as the regional security, including the situation in the occupied territories.
U.S. Army Lt. Col. Erica Kane, commander, Wiesbaden Army Health Clinic, Regional Health Command-Europe, speaks about women’s health and putting people first during a Women’s Health Question and Answer Panel….
International law died 24 years ago, Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said on Friday at the main ceremony commemorating the anniversary of the start of the 1999 NATO aggression on Serbia, noting that, at the time, big powers had tried to break the Serbian spirit but had not broken it, and never would.
“Contemporary international law finally died 24 years ago – that sounds like an insignificant bureaucratic sentence, but it is much more than that,” he said.
“Since then, nothing that is going on in the world can be worse than what they did to a small country whose only fault was that it wanted to be independent on its own soil, free and freedom-loving and, as such, it was not liked by those who created a new order in 1989 and 1990, in which only they decided about everything, while the disobedient were to be punished,” Vucic said in Sombor, northwestern Serbia.
Russian tactical nuclear weapons might arrive in Belarus as early as this summer, Russian President Vladimir Putin revealed on Saturday. Moscow is completing the construction of a specialized storage facility for such arms, amid repeated calls by Minsk to deploy them on its soil, he added.
The site in Belarus will be ready by July 1, Putin told Russia 24 TV. The president also said that Moscow does not plan to hand over control of any tactical nuclear weapons to Minsk and that it would only deploy its own arms to Belarus. He did not specify when exactly the weapons would be transported to the new site.
Nobody can give a precise dollar-number to U.S. ‘Defense’ spending because the U.S. ‘Defense’ Department has never been able to pass an audit, and is by far the most corrupt of all federal Departments (and is the ONLY Department that has never passed an audit), and also because much of America’s military spending is being paid out from other federal Departments in order to keep down the published annual U.S. Government ‘Defense’ expenditure numbers (which come from ONLY the “U.S. ‘Defense’ Department). Those are expenditures for America’s privatized and overwhelmingly profit-driven Military-Industrial Complex. (By contrast: Russia and China require, by law, that their armaments-firms be majority-owned by the Government itself.)
According to the best available estimates, the U.S. Government has been spending, in total, for over a decade now, around $1.3T to $1.5T annually on ‘defense’, and this is around half of all military spending worldwide by all 200-or-so nations, and is more than half (around 53%) of all of the U.S. federal Government’s ‘discretionary’ (or congressionally voted for) annual expenditures.
Unlike regular manufacturers, which sell entirely or mainly to consumers and to businesses, not to their Government, armament-firms need to control their Government in order to control their markets (which are their Government and its ‘allied’ Governments — including NATO), and so they (in purely capitalist countries such as the U.S.) do control their Government. This is why the armaments-business (except in countries whose armaments-sector is socialized) is infamously corrupt. In order to hide the extent of that corruption (and to promote ever-higher military spending), the ‘news’-media need — in those countries — to be likewise effectively controlled by the investors in those firms.
During the armed conflict in Ukraine in 2022, Kiev lost, and Moscow gained, a significant part of the south of the country. The largest oblast in this region of Ukraine is Zaporizhzhia. Today Russia controls about 80% of the region’s territory, including more than 90% of the agricultural land.
On March 12, 2022, a civil-military administration was created in the occupied territories of Zaporizhzhia region. In September 2022, an overwhelming majority of the region’s residents voted to join Russia in a referendum. On September 30, an agreement was signed, as a result of which the region joined the Russian Federation.
A new Act from Parliament: Genetic Technology for our food supply. Yes, just released, almost slipped by without you noticing - a new type of food for you.
Geologist Ian Plimer discusses the IPCC report warning of a "climate time bomb" saying the "green policies promulgated by the UN is killing people".
Just what is going on? The Government are claiming there are no plans to bring in digital IDs, and yet, all over the internet is the proof that they are doing just that!
‘Unfiltered’ host Dan Bongino argues ongoing conflict in Syria keeps the U.S. militarily distracted and enriches oil states.
Rep. Dennis Kucinich and anti-war Iraq War veteran explain how the same neocons who were responsible for the Iraq Invasion are also responsible for the Ukraine Proxy War.
Fox News host Tucker Carlson calls out lies by government officials on 'Tucker Carlson Tonight.'
epleted uranium shells are dangerous not just because of the explosions that they produce. It is radioactive dust that poses the biggest danger to living beings after it gets into their bodies, Igor Kirillov, the head of the Radiation, Chemical and Biological Protection Troops of the Russian Armed Forces told reporters on March 24.
"A strike with the use of depleted uranium munitions creates a hot cloud of fine aerosol of uranium-238 and its oxides in the air. Those exposed to that dust may later develop serious pathologies afterwards,” the official said.
Alpha radiation emitting small particles of uranium may lead to the development of malignant tumours in the respiratory tract, lungs, as well as in the esophagus. In addition, uranium dust may accumulate in kidneys, liver and bone tissue and thus trigger changes in internal organs.
London's attempts to implement the concept of ‘Global Britain’ after leaving the European Union have failed, Russian Ambassador to the UK Andrey Kelin told TASS.
"After Brexit, <…> the concept of Global Britain appeared," the ambassador recalled. He explained that London saw the concept in such a way that the country "would go around the world, making new arrangements, improving the trade base, benefiting from it and prospering."
"All that has failed. The UK has neither the strength nor the capability. Neither economic nor political. And now another concept has been adopted: the need to establish long-term relations with promising medium-sized countries. [Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs] James Cleverly and the government are working in this direction, but in small steps," Kelin noted.
French President Emmanuel Macron has been labelled 'out of touch' after he was seen removing a luxury watch during a defence of his pension reforms.
Violent protests have taken place across France this week after Mr Macron forced through a change in the retirement age from 62 to 64.
The president was initially seen wearing his watch during an interview about the reforms, but he soon put his hands under the table after a loud noise.