Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has criticized the decision by his NATO allies to provide Ukraine with over 300 heavy tanks to prolong the war against Russia, calling it a "high-risk move."
"I personally can’t say that sending tanks will resolve this issue," Erdogan told state broadcaster TRT during a Wednesday interview. "This is a high-risk endeavor and will only line the pockets of gun barons," he added.
The Turkish leader also said his nation would continue talks with both Russia and Ukraine as part of efforts to find a path to peace.
Erdogan’s criticism of his western allies is the latest show of discord between Ankara and NATO, as over the past year, Turkey has been holding up Sweden and Finland’s ascension to the war alliance. The two Nordic nations formally applied to join NATO last May, abandoning decades of neutrality. Any country joining NATO requires the unanimous approval of member states.
Tensions recently spiked between Ankara and Stockholm after Danish-Swedish extremist Rasmus Paludan burned copies of the Quran on two separate occasions last week.
"Despite warnings, Sweden turned a blind eye to the Quran burning, and police protected the perpetrators. Hate crimes against Muslims are not acceptable," Erdogan said, adding that "an apology from Sweden won’t fix issues."
French labor unions have been holding several days of mass strikes and protests against raising the retirement age, in a test of the momentum driving defiance to Emmanuel Macron’s signature economic reform... which is hardly surprising: France is one of the biggest "western" bastions of socialism.
As Bloomberg reports, the country’s rail operator, SNCF, said only one-third of high-speed TGVs were running and urged people to work from home. Subway and commuter trains serving the capital were severely disrupted, with limited service on most lines. Many schools were also closed.
Protesters also blocked three oil refineries operated by TotalEnergies SE and strikes by Electricite de France SA’s workforce took more than 3 gigawatts of nuclear-reactor capacity offline. Air France-KLM’s French arm said it had scrapped 10% of short-haul flights.
When President Biden introduced his Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) last summer, he surprised the world with the extent of the climate commitments within it While supposedly aimed at inflation reduction, the legislation also provides extensive political support and funding for the green transition, providing tax cuts, subsidies, and other incentives for companies looking to use cleaner alternatives to fossil fuels. The EU has long been hailed as the leader in the switch to renewable energy, encouraging other countries worldwide to follow in its footsteps when it comes to climate pledges and policies. However, following the introduction of the IRA, pressure on the EU grew to introduce its own far-reaching, region-wide climate policy. After several months, it appears that the EU is ready to launch a transition policy that will provide the funding needed to keep up with the U.S. in the race to green. The EU has announced plans to reduce restrictions on tax credits for renewable energy projects in response to Biden’s IRA. Following mounting public pressure to expand its climate policy following the introduction of the new U.S. law, the European Commission (EC) has stated that it aims to loosen state aid rules to encourage greater investment in production facilities in the green energy industry. However, this kind of major policy shift requires broad support from its 27 member states, which often slows down the introduction of new laws.
The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has found that the US Navy is facing persistent issues maintaining many of its naval platforms.
The study was conducted on 151 cruisers, aircraft carriers, destroyers, littoral combat ships, and amphibious vessels in the navy inventory.
According to the report, the analysis of key metrics showed that 10 ship classes are experiencing sustainment challenges.
The amount needed to maintain the ships has risen by $2.5 billion, but their operating hours have significantly decreased over the last decade.
Seven of the 10 classes have also experienced an increase in cost per operating hour, with America-class amphibious assault ships, Nimitz-class carriers, and Harpers Ferry-class dock landing ships the exceptions.
The human rights group Amnesty International issued a new report on Wednesday, one year after its comprehensive report on Israeli apartheid.
“Since the organization launched a major campaign against apartheid one year ago, Israeli forces have killed almost 220 Palestinians, including 35 in January 2023 alone,” Amnesty said in the statement, adding that the Israeli system of apartheid “is causing so much suffering and bloodshed”.
Amnesty also pointed out that “the international community’s failure to hold Israeli authorities to account for apartheid and other crimes has given them free rein to segregate, control and oppress Palestinians on a daily basis”.
The Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) published a report in January which outlines the consequences that US arms deliveries to Ukraine had on its own stockpiles. The conclusions of the report will surely galvanise factions in the US political system that are against the sending of arms to Ukraine because Washington is not prepared for a large-scale conflict with China.
According to the report’s authors, events in Ukraine make it clear that an armed conflict between two Great Powers is bound to develop into a protracted war, and not only on the battlefield, but also in industry, which must supply the front with everything it needs without interruption from arming soldiers to high-precision missiles and bombers.
Seth G. Jones, director of CSIS’s International Security Program, wrote in another report:
“As the war in Ukraine illustrates, a war between major powers is likely to be a protracted, industrial-style conflict that needs a robust defence industry able to produce enough munitions and other weapon systems for a protracted war if deterrence fails.”
He warned that the US defence industry lacks adequate surge capacity for a major war as it is operating in a peacetime situation rather than the current competitive security environment.
“The United States has been slow to replenish its arsenal, and the DoD (Department of Defense) has only placed on contract a fraction of the weapons it has sent to Ukraine,” Jones said.
Webmaster addition: Short version; the US is running out of weapons!
The walkout comes a day after members of Parliament approved an anti-strike bill that, if made into law, would enforce “minimum service levels” for railroads and emergency services, Julia Conley reports.
Roughly half a million British workers walked out on Wednesday in the country’s largest coordinated strike in more than a decade.
About 300,000 of the striking employees are educators, and they were joined by civil servants, railroad workers, university professors, London bus drivers, museum workers and border officials, among others, with 59 percent of Britons telling YouGov in a recent poll that they supported the walkout.
The strong support comes even as an estimated 85 percent of schools across the U.K. were closed on Wednesday. Students and parents stood on picket lines alongside teachers, whose wages have not kept up with inflation and who are struggling to teach in schools where per-pupil spending for the 2024-25 school year is now expected to be 3 percent lower than it was in 2010.
The WHO was set up after the Second World War as the health arm of the United Nations, to support efforts to improve population health globally. Based on the concept that health went beyond the physical (encompassing “physical, mental and social well-being”), its constitution was premised on the concept that all people were equal and born with basic inviolable rights. The world in 1946 was emerging from the brutality of colonialism and international fascism; the results of overly centralized authority and of regarding people to be fundamentally unequal. The WHO constitution was intended to put populations in charge of health.
In recent decades the WHO has evolved as its support base of core funding allocated by countries, based on GDP, evolved to a model where most funding is directed to specified uses, and much is provided by private and corporate interests. The priorities of the WHO have evolved accordingly, moving away from community-centered care to a more vertical, commodity-based approach. This inevitably follows the interests and self-interests of these funders. More detail can be found on this evolution elsewhere; these changes are important to putting the proposed IHR amendments in context.
Of equal importance, the WHO is not alone in the international health sphere. While certain organizations such as UNICEF (originally intended to prioritize child health and welfare), private foundations and non-government organizations have long partnered with the WHO, the past two decades have seen a burgeoning of the global health industry, with multiple organizations, particularly ‘public-private partnerships’ (PPPs) growing in influence; in some respects rivals and in some respects partners of the WHO.
Notable among PPPs are the Gavi – the Vaccine Alliance (focused specifically on vaccines) and CEPI, an organization set up at the World Economic Forum meeting in 2017 specifically to manage pandemics, by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Wellcome Trust and the Norwegian Government. Gavi and CEPI, along with others such as Unitaid and the Global Fund, include corporate and private interests directly on their boards. The World Bank and G20 have also increased involvement in global health, and especially pandemic preparedness. The WHO has stated that pandemics occurred just once per generation over the past century and killed a fraction of those who died from endemic infectious diseases, but they nonetheless attract much of this corporate and financial interest.
By May 2020, it had become apparent that the standard practice of putting COVID-19 patients on mechanical ventilation with ventilators was a death sentence
Between 50% and 86% of COVID patients placed on life support ended up dying
By May 2020, doctors had also found that high-flow nasal cannulas and proning led to better outcomes than ventilators
The World Health Organization promoted the use of ventilators as a way to purportedly curtail the spread of virus-laden aerosols, thereby protecting other patients and hospital staff. In other words, suspected COVID patients were sacrificed to “protect” others
The matter becomes even more perverse when you consider the fact that many “COVID cases” were patients who merely tested positive using faulty PCR testing. Hospitals also received massive incentives to diagnose patients with COVID and put them on a ventilator
By May 2020, it had become apparent that the standard practice of putting COVID-19 patients on mechanical ventilation with ventilators was a death sentence.1 As early as April 9, 2020, Business Insider reported2 that 80% of COVID-19 patients in New York City who were placed on ventilators died, which caused a number of doctors to question their use.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s wife charged public schools across the country to screen her documentaries, making as much as $1.5 million, according to a new report.
The watchdog group Open the Books reported that Jennifer Siebel Newsom, the founder of the nonprofit The Representation Project, raised $1,483,001 from film licenses since 2012.
Siebel Newsom’s non-profit released four films, for which she is credited as a writer and director, advocating for "gender justice." Siebel Newsom's "gender identity" films are produced through her for-profit operation, Girls Club Entertainment, which is then licensed by the nonprofit The Representation Project, to public schools. The Representation Project claims that they fight "sexism through films education, research and activism."
Pamela McGonigal and Biden both received at least 29 emails related to the Next Level Lacrosse program and other activities associated with the sport from Oct. 7, 2014, to May 7, 2015, according to a search of the first son’s messages.
Two of Biden’s daughters with his first wife Kathleen Buhle — Finnegan and Maisy Biden — were midfielders on the varsity lacrosse team at the exclusive Sidwell Friends private school in Washington, DC, according to online records.
U.S. companies were involved in at least 37 percent of the total investment transactions in China’s artificial intelligence (AI) sector between 2015 and 2021, according to a new report.
The report (pdf), published by the Georgetown University Center for Security and Emerging Technology, found that $40.2 billion in investment transactions into Chinese AI companies had American backing, though it was unclear what percentage of that amount was made by U.S. investors or their overseas counterparts.
The money was given to 251 Chinese AI companies, primarily as venture capital angel, seed, and pre-seed stage investments.
There are risks with such investments, the report noted, as they are generally accompanied by other intangible benefits in which U.S. expertise is delivered to China-based companies.
That is what proponents of California’s high speed rail project say when asked about the whys and wherefores of the system. In other words, if it works somewhere else it will work here.
That argument, though, falls in the face of a rather basic fact: California and Japan are different.
It is true that Japan’s high speed rail system, first begun in 1964, actually makes money – a lot, in fact. The iconic first line, Shinkansen Tokaido, alone carries 90 million people a year and has an operating profit of about $4.4 billion dollars. That does not include capital costs, but teasing that number out after 60 years of operation and the privatization of the route in the late 1980s is extremely difficult – suffice to say the deal has “worked” for the owners.
There are multiple other Shinkansen lines in Japan, most of which also realize an operating profit (the latest expansion to Hokkaido – the very large island north of the Japanese mainland – has proven to be problematic, though.)
Since the first week of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, French President Emmanuel Macron has repeated a mantra on behalf of his NATO partners: “We are not at war with Russia.”
Nearly one year in, that notion has officially been dispelled.
“We are fighting a war against Russia,” German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said this week.
Baerbock was trying to assuage NATO allies’ frustration over German reluctance to send Leopard 2 tanks into Ukraine. She can now claim vindication. In a reversal of its initial position, the German government has announced it that will deliver Leopard 2 tanks to the Ukrainian army.
To overcome German Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s jitters, the White House engaged in an about-face of its own, approving the shipment of 31 US-made M1 Abrams tanks to Ukraine. Scholz had insisted on conditioning any German tanks to a similar US commitment. Up until this week, Pentagon chief Lloyd Austin was “dead set against providing” the M1s, and declared there to be “no linkage between providing M1s and providing Leopards.” Austin had argued that the M1s are too cumbersome for Ukraine, requiring costly jet fuel, heavy maintenance, and lengthy training.
Just last month, a senior US defense official declared that “even one M1 was out of the question,” according to the Washington Post. When used by US troops in Iraq, the M1s were “hard for us to sustain and maintain,” the official noted. For Ukraine, “it would be impossible.” Even last week, senior Pentagon official Colin Kahl dismissed the prospect of sending the “very complicated” M1, because “we should not be providing the Ukrainians systems they can’t repair, they can’t sustain, and that they, over the long term, can’t afford.”
Senior Pentagon officials told lawmakers in the House Armed Services Committee last week in a classified briefing that Ukraine is unlikely to retake Crimea from Russia, POLITICO reported on Wednesday, citing people familiar with the briefing.
The briefing reflects other recent reporting that said US officials don’t think Ukraine has the capability to take the peninsula, which Russia has controlled since 2014. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley said back in November that the probability of Ukraine kicking Russia out of the territory it captured since last February and Crimea is “not high.”
Milley reiterated this point on January 20. “I still maintain that for this year it would be very, very difficult to militarily eject the Russian forces from all –– every inch of Ukraine and occupied –– or Russian-occupied Ukraine,” he said.
The United States has ramped up pressure on China in trade, technology and defence ahead of US Secretary of State Antony Blinken's trip this weekend, and Washington's strategy to contain Beijing is unlikely to change after the talks, according to analysts.
Blinken's visit to China will be the first by a US secretary of state in five years. As the highly anticipated trip approaches, tensions between the world's two biggest economies show few signs of easing.
On Tuesday, the US released its annual "notorious markets" list identifying major Chinese e-commerce platforms accused of failing to crack down on the trade of counterfeit goods.
Iraq’s foreign exchange rate has steadily declined over recent years, falling to lows which are severely damaging the Iraqi economy. Ironically, this comes at a time when the foreign reserves meant to back the Iraqi dinar’s global position are at a near-term high.
Starting with the 2003 US invasion and occupation, the Central Bank of Iraq has remained closely linked to the US Federal Reserve. This was one of several long-term linkages meant to ensure the US retained strong sway over the future Iraqi economy to react to any tensions, and in the increasingly likely event that the US feels like increased mucking about regionally.
The US regime got it in its head that Syria and Iran were using the relatively free economy of neighboring Iraq for money laundering. That’s not an entirely unreasonable suspicion, as many Iranians are heavily invested in the Iraqi economy after the damage done to Iran’s economy by US sanctions. Trying to rein this in, the US Federal Reserve is keeping a tight grip on the foreign reserves it holds “for” Iraq.
The other day I stumbled across a 2014 opinion piece in The Guardian titled “It’s not Russia that’s pushed Ukraine to the brink of war” by Seumas Milne, who the following year would go on to become the Labour Party’s Executive Director of Strategy and Communications under Jeremy Corbyn.
I bring this up because the perspectives you’ll find in that article are jarring in how severely they deviate from anything you’ll see published in the mainstream press about Ukraine in 2023. It places the brunt of the blame for the violence and tensions in that nation at that time squarely at Washington’s feet, opening with a warning that the “threat of war in Ukraine is growing” and saying there’s an “unelected government in Kiev,” and it only gets naughtier from there.
I strongly recommend reading the article in full if you want some perspective in just how dramatically the mass media has clamped down on dissenting ideas about Ukraine and Russia, beginning with the frenzied stoking of Russia hysteria in 2016 and exploding exponentially with the Russian invasion last year. I doubt there’s a single paragraph which could get published in any mainstream outlet in the media environment of today.
The Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of the Islamic Resistance Movement Hamas, broadcasted a video on Thursday, showing its air defenses confronting the Israeli warplanes as they were attacking the besieged Gaza Strip.
The Brigades said in a statement that they confronted Israeli warplanes “with surface-to-air missiles and anti-aircraft missiles.”
The Israeli occupation army announced that it had carried out airstrikes in the Gaza Strip at dawn Thursday, hours after it intercepted a rocket fired from the Strip. No casualties were reported on the Israeli side.
An illegal Jewish settler assaulted on Thursday a Palestinian boy from the town of Huwwara, near the northern occupied West Bank city of Nablus, the official Palestinian news agency WAFA reported.
Suleiman al-Mukhtar, the boy’s father, told WAFA that an illegal Jewish settler driving in Huwwara stopped his vehicle and pepper-sprayed his 14-year-old son Faysal, who was standing on the side of the street when the settler passed by.
Jewish settlers, protected by the army and with a green light from their racist government, have recently escalated their violence against Palestinian civilians in the occupied territories.
According to a report issued by the Wall and Settlement Resistance Commission, Israeli occupation forces and Jewish settlers carried out more than 700 attacks against Palestinians and their properties during the month of January.
Serbia’s populist president warned during a chaotic parliamentary session on Thursday that the Balkan nation could become a European “pariah” state if it rejects a Western plan for normalizing relations with Kosovo.
President Aleksandar Vucic faced a hostile reception from the right-wing opposition, which urged parliament to reject the plan and accused him of betraying Serbia.
The plan hasn’t been made public formally, but Vucic said it stipulates that Serbia wouldn’t object to Kosovo’s inclusion in international organizations, including the United Nations, though it wouldn’t have to formally recognize its statehood.
“I haven’t signed anything. I said we will continue with the talks,” Vucic said. “People need to understand … Would we become a European pariah? Yes, we would.”
Energy giant Shell has announced record annual profits nearing $40bn, after oil and gas prices surged following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine last February.
The British company’s earnings in 2022 were the highest in its 115-year history, a milestone that has angered many Britons struggling with a cost-of-living crisis largely driven by inflated energy bills.
Boeing has been awarded a $1.6 billion contract to provide guidance subsystem support for US Minuteman III Intercontinental ballistic missiles, the Pentagon said Wednesday.
Work will be performed at Hill Air Force Base in the state of Utah, and is expected to be completed by Feb. 1, 2039, the Department of Defense said in a statement.
The Minuteman III, which has been in service for 50 years, is a warhead-equipped missile that can carry a nuclear bomb during wartime.
The Pentagon carried out a routine test of the missile on September 7. The operation had been announced in advance in order to avoid any flare-up of tensions with Russia in the midst of its war in Ukraine.
Martial law was declared in several areas of military-run Myanmar on Thursday, a day after authorities extended a state of emergency throughout the country wracked by violence that some U.N. experts have described as a civil war.
State-run MRTV television broadcast an announcement by Aung Lin Dwe, secretary of the military’s State Administration Council, imposing martial law in 37 townships across eight of the country’s 14 regions and states. Eleven of the townships are in Sagaing region and seven in Chin state, areas in the northwest where fighting has been fiercest between the army and guerrillas belonging to pro-democracy People’s Defense Forces and their allies in ethnic minority militias.
The army has been struggling to contain a nationwide insurrection by opponents of military rule who took up arms after peaceful protests against the army’s Feb. 1, 2021, seizure of power were suppressed with lethal force. The military has declared martial law before, most notably in early 2021 in Yangon, the country’s biggest city, after which violence escalated against protesters. According to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners, an independent watchdog group that tracks killings and arrests, at least 2,948 civilians have been killed since the army takeover.
China, only the third country to put a man in space after the Soviet Union and United States, is to build ground stations on Antarctica to back its network of ocean monitoring satellites, state media said on Thursday.
China's global network of ground stations to support a growing number of satellites and outer space ambitions has drawn concern from some nations that it could be used for espionage, a suggestion China rejects.
In 2020, Sweden's state-owned space company, which had provided ground stations that helped fly Chinese spacecraft and transmit data, declined to renew contracts with China or accept new Chinese business due to "changes" in geopolitics.
China Aerospace Science and Technology Group Co. is to build the stations at the Zhongshan research base, one of two permanent Chinese research stations on Antarctica, after winning the tender with its 43.95 million yuan ($6.53 million) bid, state-controlled China Space News reported.