On Friday, the Supreme Court is expected to discuss whether to hear two cases that challenge laws in Texas and Florida barring online platforms from taking down certain political content. Next month, the court is scheduled to hear a case that questions Section 230, a 1996 statute that protects the platforms from liability for the content posted by their users.
The cases could eventually alter the hands-off legal position that the United States has largely taken toward online speech, potentially upending the businesses of TikTok, Twitter, Snap and Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram.
Webmaster addition: The US Government may be "officially" hands-off on social media, but with the release of the Twitter files, it is clear the US Government (along with corporate interests) has been actively engaging in violations of the First Amendment!
Former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, an ally of Kremlin chief Vladimir Putin, warned NATO on Thursday that the defeat of Russia in Ukraine could trigger a nuclear war.
Striking a similar tone at what he described as an anxious time for the country, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church said trying to destroy Russia would mean the end of the world.
Since Russia invaded Ukraine, Medvedev has repeatedly raised the threat of a nuclear apocalypse, but his admission now of the possibility of Russia's defeat indicates the level of Moscow's concern over increased Western weapons deliveries to Ukraine.
"The defeat of a nuclear power in a conventional war may trigger a nuclear war," Medvedev, who serves as deputy chairman of Putin's powerful security council, said in a post on Telegram.
Serbia and Russia are experiencing rare tensions over the war in nearby Ukraine, with the Serbian government on Tuesday issuing a formal request for Moscow to halt all attempts to recruit Serbs to fight in the Ukraine conflict.
The controversy centers on the Wagner private military firm, which has reportedly expanded its recruitment efforts inside Serbia. The St. Petersburg-based mercenary firm reportedly has direct ties with President Putin, and has been accused of acting with impunity in Ukraine.
It's long been illegal in Serbia for any of its citizens to go off and fight in a foreign conflict, with Serbian Defense Minister Milos Vucevic recently reiterating in light of the Ukraine war that "this will result in legal consequences."
"Why do you, from Wagner, call anyone from Serbia when you know that it is against our laws?" Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said in a TV broadcast, stressing Wagner must end its activities.
Vucic also called out the noticeable uptick in online and social media material being circulated by Wagner and Russian state media in the Serbian language.
As an example, this week Russia's RIA Novosti news agency published the below widely circulated video touting "Serbian volunteers" fighting alongside Russian forces...
China-owned TikTok has been established as a grave threat to America’s national security due to the Chinese government’s ability to use TikTok to control users’ devices for influence or espionage purposes.
Earlier this month, former NY Fed repo guru Zoltan Pozsar wrote one of his most important reports of 2022, in which he described how Putin could unleash hell on the Western financial system by demanding that instead of dollars, Russian oil exporters are paid in gold, effectively pegging oil to gold and launching Petrogold.
At the time, Zoltan urged the reader to think of the timing of this statement in a diplomatic sense:
"President Xi communicated his message on “renminbi invoicing” not during the first day of his visit – when he met only the Saudi leadership – but during the second day of his visit – when he met the leadership of all the GCC countries – to signal the following:
GCC oil flowing East + renminbi invoicing = the dawn of the petroyuan."
And now, according to Bloomberg, Saudi Arabia is open to discussions about trade in currencies other than the US dollar, according to the kingdom’s finance minister.
Webmaster addition: "Quick! Invade ... everybody!!" -- Official White Horse Souse
Saudi oil giant Aramco expects the Chinese reopening and a pick-up in jet fuel demand to lead to a rebound in global oil demand this year, Amin Nasser, the CEO of the world’s biggest oil firm, told Bloomberg in an interview published on Wednesday.
“We are very optimistic in terms of demand coming back to the market,” Nasser told Bloomberg on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos.
Good signs about demand have started to emerge from China, Aramco’s top executive said.
“Hopefully, in the next couple of months, we’ll see more of a pickup in the economy there,” he told Bloomberg.
Aviation is another bright spot: demand for jet fuel is now around 1 million barrels a day below pre-pandemic levels, according to Nasser, roughly half the figure from a year ago. “It’s picking up,” he said at the World Economic Forum in Davos.
Nasser reiterated the long-held view of Saudi Arabia and many analysts that the underinvestment in the industry in the past few years will come back to haunt the market.
The world will need 4-6 million bpd of new supply just to offset the natural decline at maturing oilfields globally, Nasser told Bloomberg. Spare capacity is just 2 million barrels per day (bpd) currently, and it is likely to shrink as China reopens, he added.
National security concerns over Joe Biden's classified document scandal just got worse, as two reports have emerged which place Hunter Biden at the Bidens' Wilmington, Delaware residence while he was raking in millions of dollars from CCP-linked business dealings.
First, Seamus Bruner (researcher for legendary bombshell-dropper Peter Schweizer), reports via Breitbart News, that "While addicted to drugs, cavorting with prostitutes, and making deals with businessmen tied to the highest levels of Chinese intelligence, Hunter Biden lived in the house where Joe Biden stored classified documents."
While filling out a background check, Hunter made a crackhead error and listed his 'rent' as $49,910 - when in fact that's the amount of the security deposit and 6 months of rent for prime office space at the prestigious House of Sweden in Washington DC. What's most interesting, however, is that the dates Hunter listed as living at the Wilmington, DE residence - as claimed on other documents and financial statements - overlap with the period in which multiple Biden family members were taking money from foreign businessmen with connections at the highest levels of Chinese state intelligence services through energy company CEFC. As Bruner further notes, CNN described CEFC as a state-directed entity in 2018.
CEFC, and at least four of its executives and associates - Ye Jianming, Patrick Ho, Gongwen Dong and Jiaqi Bao, have been linked to the CCP and its military intelligence apparatus. In one case, Hunter described Patrick Ho as "the fucking spy chief of China."
In a video address to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky told Kyiv’s Western backers to pick up the “speed” of their decisions on arms deliveries, a veiled reference to Germany’s hesitancy to send heavy tanks to the country.
“The list of calls for decisive, efficient joint actions needs to be expanded with one more: the call for speed. The speed of decision-making,” Zelensky said.
Apparently criticizing the West’s initial reaction to the war, Zelensky said Russia “needed less than one second” to start the war and the world “needed days to react with first sanctions.”
The Ukrainian leader said the supply of “air defense systems must outpace Russia’s next missile attacks” and the supply of “Western tanks must outpace another invasion of Russian tanks.”
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg on Wednesday called for a “significant increase” in military aid for Kyiv.
“This is a pivotal moment in the war and the need for a significant increase in support for Ukraine,” the NATO chief told Reuters on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
Stoltenberg claimed that more weapons to Ukraine would make a negotiated solution more likely. “If we want a negotiated peaceful solution tomorrow we need to provide more weapons today,” he said.
Stoltenberg made a similar claim a few weeks ago when he said the “quickest path to peace” is through pouring more weapons into Ukraine. But as things stand, there’s no indication peace talks will happen soon, and the Western support emboldens Ukraine to make unrealistic demands, such as calling for war crimes tribunals for Russia before negotiations can happen.
Unveiling its latest military assistance package to Ukraine – at $3.75 billion, the largest to date -- the White House declared that US weapons are intended “to help the Ukrainians resist Russian aggression.”
For their part, Ukrainians on the receiving end see it differently.
“We are carrying out NATO’s mission,” Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov said in an interview. “They aren’t shedding their blood. We’re shedding ours. That’s why they’re required to supply us with weapons.” Repeating a rationale offered by his US sponsors in previous wars, including the invasion of Iraq, Reznikov added that Ukraine “is defending the entire civilized world.”
The Biden Administration has just announced that it must dig into weapons it had stored in Israel and South Korea to shovel into the black hole known as Ukraine. Meanwhile the US Secretary of Navy has said that the US Administration is soon going to have to decide whether to arm Ukraine or arm the US. Also today...Biden's lawyers are back in court trying to reinstate the airline mask mandate!
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz will allow the export of German-made Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine if the US sends its own tanks, Reuters reported Wednesday, citing a German government source.
Poland and Finland have both said they’re ready to send some of their Leopard tanks to Ukraine, but the export needs Berlin’s approval. Germany’s vice chancellor recently said Berlin wouldn’t get in the way of the deliveries, but Scholz appears to still be against the idea.
The US recently pledged to send Ukraine Bradley Fighting Vehicles and is expected to announce a package of Stryker Fighting Vehicles this weekend, but it has no plans to send the M1 Abrams, its main battle tank, or any other heavy tanks.
For weeks, there’s been a new sight on Armenia’s dusty mountain roads. Among the ageing Russian Ladas and imported German cars, you’ll spot a fleet of shiny SUVs with the blue and gold-starred flag of the European Union mounted on the front. Peer through the tinted glass and you’ll see half a dozen sets of body armor and helmets piled in the back.
In September, towns and villages in the former Soviet Republic came under fire from neighboring Azerbaijan, while Azerbaijani troops pushed across the border to capture strategic heights. The hostilities, known to many Armenians as the Two Day War, concluded with a Western-backed ceasefire, but claimed the lives of hundreds of soldiers on both sides.
The bloody episode was the most serious escalation since 2020, when the two countries fought a brutal war over the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh, inside Azerbaijan’s internationally-recognized borders but controlled by its ethnic-Armenian majority since the fall of the USSR.
A 12 January report released by the Palestinian Information Center (PIC) has cited Fakhri Abu Diyab, a Jerusalem-based, Palestinian investigator and researcher, as saying that since the start of 2023, there has been an unprecedented acceleration in Israeli excavation under the Al-Aqsa Mosque.
“These excavations have intensified since the beginning of the current year … We have never witnessed excavations of this intensity and speed in the vicinity of Al-Aqsa Mosque before … [It is] as if the occupation is planning to carry out a premeditated and dangerous action against the Mosque, perhaps to bring about a fundamental change in the region, or to prepare it for a Judaization scheme,” Abu Diyab was quoted as saying by Palestinian news agency SAFA.
According to the Palestinian researcher, besides the “intensive” digging, there has been an increased presence of workers, as well as excavation equipment and machinery. Additionally, workers have been seen extracting rock and soil from the ‘targeted’ area and transporting them to unknown areas.
Abu Diyab described the excavation work as “striking and mysterious.”
The youngest of Shah Ibrahim Shahin’s children sit huddled next to each other on the thin “toushaks” – traditional Afghan floor mattresses – trying to stay warm amid freezing weather. The adults, wrapped in thread-bare woollen clothes, surround them in a small chilly room, which makes up the entirety of their home in the northern Afghan province of Baghlan.
Many provinces in Afghanistan have seen an exceptionally cold winter in the last two weeks, with temperatures dropping to as low as -21 degrees Celsius (-5.8 Fahrenheit) in Kabul. More than 20 people have died due to the cold wave, according to media reports.
Russia will achieve its objectives in Ukraine despite a “hybrid war” waged by the West against Moscow, the top Russian diplomat said Wednesday.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said the goals of Moscow’s “special military operation” in Ukraine are “determined by Russia’s core legitimate interests” and will be fulfilled.
“There must be no military infrastructure in Ukraine that poses a direct threat to our country,” Lavrov said, adding that Moscow also intends to make sure the rights of ethnic Russians in Ukraine were protected.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has explained his decision to send troops into Ukraine on Feb. 24 by the need to “demilitarize” and “denazify” Ukraine, to prevent the neighboring country from joining NATO and to protect Russian speakers living there. Ukraine and its Western allies have rejected those arguments as a cover for an unprovoked act of aggression.
President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday that Russia's powerful military-industrial complex was ramping up production and was one of the main reasons why his country would prevail in Ukraine.
Speaking to workers at a factory in St Petersburg that makes air defence systems, Putin said overall military equipment output was rising even as demand for it was growing because of what he calls Russia's "special military operation" in Ukraine.
"In terms of achieving the end result and the victory that is inevitable, there are several things ... It is the unity and cohesion of the Russian and multinational Russian people, the courage and heroism of our fighters ... and of course the work of the military-industrial complex and factories like yours and people like you," said Putin.
The International Atomic Energy Agency is placing teams of experts at all four of Ukraine’s nuclear power plants to reduce the risk of severe accidents as Russia’s war against the country rages on, agency head Rafael Grossi said Wednesday.
The IAEA, which is affiliated with the United Nations, already has a permanent presence at Ukraine’s — and Europe’s — largest nuclear plant in Zaporizhzhia that is held by Russian forces.
The IAEA’s permanent presence at all of Ukraine’s nuclear facilities, with at least 11 staff in total, marks an unprecedented expansion for the agency. IAEA technicians will also be at Chernobyl, the now-closed nuclear plant that was the site of a deadly nuclear accident in 1986 that spread fallout over much of Europe.
“From tomorrow, there will be two flags at all of the nuclear facilities in Ukraine; one of Ukraine and the second of the international nuclear agency,” Ukraine’s Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said at a joint press conference with Grossi at the government headquarters in Kyiv on Wednesday.
Israel and the United States sought to smooth relations between their countries Wednesday in the allies’ first meeting since Israel’s new ultranationalist government, its most right-wing ever, assumed power.
Israel’s ceremonial president, Isaac Herzog, hosted National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan in Jerusalem a day ahead of Sullivan’s expected meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Hovering over all of the discussions were the new government’s policy changes that directly conflict with President Joe Biden’s efforts to improve the lives of Palestinians and hold back Jewish settlement construction in the occupied West Bank.
Netanyahu’s new government, made up of ultranationalists and ultra-Orthodox parties, poses a big quandary for the Biden administration and has laid bare the deep divisions between the U.S. and its top Mideast ally as both countries grapple with the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the threat of Israel’s archrival Iran.
Hundreds of federal, state and local U.S. law-enforcement agencies have access without court oversight to a database of more than 150 million money transfers between people in the U.S. and in more than 20 countries, according to internal program documents and an investigation by Sen. Ron Wyden.
The database, housed at a little-known nonprofit called the Transaction Record Analysis Center, or TRAC, was set up by the Arizona state attorney general’s office in 2014 as part of a settlement reached with Western Union to combat cross-border trafficking of drugs and people from Mexico. It has since expanded to allow officials of more than 600 law-enforcement entities—from federal agencies such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Drug Enforcement Administration, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement to small-town police departments in nearly every state—to monitor the flow of funds through money services between the U.S. and countries around the world.
Nobody in congress lobbied as aggressively to start World War Three as Kinzinger did last year; he tried to advance a bill authorizing hot war against Russia if Moscow crossed specified red lines in Ukraine but couldn’t get cosponsors because even his fellow congressional hawks thought it was too insane. He was the loudest voice in the US government publicly advocating a no-fly zone over Ukraine in the early weeks of the war, an idea that was slammed by the mass media as it would necessarily have entailed the US military shooting down Russian war planes and aggressively tempted nuclear war.
Jorge Rivera, a researcher and technician from the University of Seville’s GRS Radioisotopes department, has made a significant discovery in Europe involving hominin footprints found in Matalascañas. The team used optically-stimulated luminescence techniques at the University of Seville’s Centre for Research, Technology, and Innovation (CITIUS) and CENIEH, to determine that the footprints are 200,000 years older than previously thought, dating back to 295,800 years ago in the Middle Pleistocene period.
This suggests that pre-Neanderthals lived in the Doñana area during this time. The research, led by Professor of Paleontology Eduardo Mayoral at the University of Huelva, was recently published in the journal Scientific Reports.
An investigative journalism website has revealed that the former United Nations special envoy for Yemen, Martin Griffiths, is linked to the British spy agency MI6 through the private conflict resolution company Inter Mediate.
According to the Declassified UK report, the British diplomat, who currently serves as the UN’s Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, is both a co-founder and an adviser to the firm, which also has ties to the Foreign Office and is known to have among its trustees and advisers a range of former British military and diplomatic figures.
It is proclaimed that Inter Mediate “focuses on the most difficult, complex and dangerous conflicts where other organizations are unable to operate” and “brings together some of the world’s leading experts on dialogue and negotiation.”
The company was established in 2011 by Griffiths and Jonathan Powell, Tony Blair’s former chief of staff. Powell has been Inter Mediate’s chief executive since its founding.
For over a millennium, Florence - known as the cradle of renaissance - has been a global icon of beauty. Being the third largest tourist destination in Italy after Rome and Venice, Florence - a stunning, vibrant city with a storied and well-preserved history, attracts every year around 16 million tourists from across the world.
However, starting from the last decade of the 20th century - its city centre has been eyed by big investment groups interested in making profits through the acquisition of local real estate assets. As a result, living costs in the oldest part of Florence went dramatically up forcing a high number of residents to sell their apartments.
Throughout the years, smaller landlords in Florence have been aggressively targeted by large corporate investors. For those investors, housing has turned into a key factor for the management of global capital funds. As a result, the new housing market has led to
excessively high rents, widespread displacement as well as the dismantling of local communities and social bonds. A referendum called "Let's save Florence" has been recently launched in the Tuscan city in an attempt to protect the citizens from the real estate bubble and the speculation which have distorted the local housing market. Many hundreds of residents have supported the initiative so far.
Billionaire entrepreneur and Twitter owner Elon Musk this week blasted the controversial World Economic Forum (WEF) conference underway in Davos, Switzerland, even arguing that the group’s much-touted Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) agenda is “Satanic.”
According to Shellenberger, the Klaus Schwab-founded organization “is fighting back against those who say it and its founder are seeking global domination through a ‘great reset’ aimed at stripping the masses of their private property, de-industrializing the economy, and making everybody eat bugs.”
He noted that contrary to the protestations of its public relations wing, the WEF is hardly hiding its much-criticized agenda.
“Davos is one of the most heavily publicized events in the world,” he said, adding that each conference draws “hundreds of articles about the world leaders, celebrities, and billionaires”.
The head of the German bishops’ Conference (DBK) introduced binding guidelines on sexual education for all parishes in his diocese that force them to accept and promote homosexuality and transgenderism.
According to these 10 guidelines, “there is diversity in sexual identity and orientation.” The guidelines furthermore state the following:
The appreciative handling of these differences and diversity should be actively promoted in the parishes and institutions. The choice of lifestyle is to be respected as the result of an individual and personal decision. It is to be recognized when partners take responsibility for each other in mutual fidelity and care. Furthermore, we welcome it when couples wish to place their partnership under the blessing of God.
The guidelines were authorized by Bishop Georg Bätzing, who heads the heterodox Synodal Way as well as the DBK, on May 17, 2022, but they were only made public Tuesday night during an online event from the diocese of Limburg, according to katholische Nachrichtenagentur (KNA).
The future of Klaus Schwab – Mr Davos for more than half a century – has become a talking point at this year’s meeting after World Economic Forum employees voiced strong criticism of their chair and the lack of a succession strategy.
A group of current and former WEF staff members who contacted the Guardian said the 82-year-old Schwab was a law unto himself and had surrounded himself with “nobodies” who were incapable of running the organisation he founded in the early 1970s.
“Klaus has been at the helm of the WEF for 52 years. When he was born [in 1938] 122 of the 195 states in the world right now did not even exist. He is completely unaccountable to anyone inside and outside the organisation,” the group said.