According to information at Russia’s disposal the United States has deployed a network of biological laboratories in a number of states neighboring Russia, where under the auspices of the US Department of Defense, research involving dangerous viruses and other pathogens is underway. The US argues that the laboratories act in the interests of the security of the United States and its allies, and rejects the suspicion that biological weapons are being created there.
The UK-based BP is still the shareholder in Rosneft and has revised the value of its package (20%) to $24 bln, CEO of the Russian oil major Igor Sechin said at the India Energy Week.
"We see with the interest in audited annual statements that BP, which is our 20% shareholder, has revised the value of the Rosneft stake to $24 bln. That is, BP is still with us," Sechin said.
Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov sees the possibility of a single supranational currency being created for settlements within the BRICS (Russia, Brazil, India, China, and South Africa).
"Today, as far as such a system goes, we can deliberate about a single system of settlement payments and settlements among friendly countries. Let's take BRICS nations. <...> [The settlement currency] can be some kind of supranational unit of account," Siluanov noted, speaking to Channel One.
However, according to him, there is a long way to go before a final decision is made.
Nonetheless, Siluanov believed that a single financial system covering a large number of countries and existing outside politics was not possible at the moment.
Fox News host Tucker Carlson calls out the Biden administration's lies in its handling of the Chinese spy balloon on 'Tucker Carlson Tonight.'
Israel has reportedly integrated a “smokeless” and “silent” gravity bomb into its combat drones to make them more lethal on the battlefield.
The development was unveiled after Iran accused Jerusalem of attacking one of its unmanned systems facilities using combat drones last month.
According to a report by Reuters, the bomb was developed domestically and can travel as fast as the speed of sound in free fall.
The munition does not have a propulsion system or afterburners that produce loud noise and smoke.
US Central Command announced last week that it was involved in 43 operations against ISIS in Iraq and Syria in the month of January. Task & Purpose reported the monthly average for US operations against ISIS in 2022 was 26 per month, signaling that the US military is stepping up its assaults against the terror group.
While ISIS no longer controls any territory, there are remnants of the group in remote regions of Syria and Iraq. CENTCOM said each raid in January was conducted with partner forces, the government in Iraq, and the Kurdish-led SDF in Syria.
“We rely heavily on the Syrian Democratic Forces for the fight against ISIS,” CENTCOM chief Gen. Michael Kurilla said. “Meanwhile, our Iraqi Security Forces have been aggressively taking the fight to ISIS in Iraq.”
Trade unions in France have launched a third wave of nationwide strikes against President Emmanuel Macron's proposed pension reform plan, a day after the controversial bill began its passage through parliament.
According to reports, rail services were canceled, schools were closed and refinery deliveries stopped working as workers across sectors joined nationwide strikes in response to calls by unions to take to the streets in large numbers.
French government defends the plan that seeks to increase the minimum retirement age – from 62 to 64 -- in order to keep the pension systems in the black.
Macron’s ruling party lost its majority in elections last year, even though it continues to remain the largest faction. His government wants to pass the legislation with the help of allies on the political right.
Left-wing opponents of the Macron-led administration filed thousands of amendments ahead of the parliamentary debate on the controversial plan.
The outrage was prompted after Washington and eight European countries issued travel warnings over possible terror attacks in Turkey. The US and its western allies have attempted to connect a recent Quran burning in Sweden with travel danger inside Turkey. Muslim countries worldwide have denounced the burning as hate speech, not free speech, but this has no apparent connection to travel safety issues inside Turkey.
The US travel warning is tantamount to a declaration of economic war on Turkey who is in an economic downturn of its tourism sector, which was 11 % of the GDP in 2019, representing $78.2 billion, and rose to $17.95 billion in the third quarter of 2022, of which 85.7 percent came from foreign visitors. In 2018, tourism directly accounted for 7.7% of total employment in Turkey.
“Every American ambassador wonders how they can hurt Turkey. This has been one of Turkey’s greatest misfortunes over the years. It gathers other ambassadors and tries to give them advice. They are doing the same thing in Europe, the American embassy is running Europe,” said Soylu.
Soylu has criticized the US and blames Washington for the 2016 Turkish regime change attempt, and has accused the US of ruling Europe. In foreign policies, the EU follows US directives implicitly.
“I’m being very clear. I very well know how you would like to create strife in Turkey. Take your grinning face off from Turkey,” said Soylu.
During a recent interview with German magazine Der Spiegel, former Chancellor and European political heavyweight Angela Merkel revealed that the Minsk accords, a comprehensive 2015 diplomatic treaty, agreed by the EU, United States, Russia, and Kyiv to end the civil war in eastern Ukraine, was essentially subverted by the Ukrainians in an attempt to buy time to expand its military capabilities.
The fact that the accords, which were widely regarded as a truly workable solution to the conflict, were not prioritized by the U.S. for implementation, speaks volumes when assessing the sincerity of the U.S. position. Just prior to Merkel’s stunning revelations, Former Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko was also covertly recorded admitting that the process was abused by Ukraine and used to prepare for war with Russia.
Given the high level of interface between NATO and Ukraine during this period, it is difficult to imagine that this manipulation of the peace process was not carried out with the full knowledge, and probable assistance, of NATO and the U.S. It is now abundantly clear, at least to all objective observers, that the U.S. never seriously intended to prevent the current conflict in Ukraine. On the contrary, any cursory assessment of their past and contemporary covert and overt involvement in the region suggests they have been working to destabilize Russia via Ukraine for decades.
In reality, I should be the last person to down-talk the subscription movement. Because I truly believe in a strong future for companies who choose to sell their products and services on a subscription model. Nonetheless, it’s important and necessary to talk about what is happening in the streaming market right now – several media outlets are identifying challenges for some of the world’s largest streaming-based platforms – and the stock market has followed suit by dropping prices quickly.
Are the big streaming actors free-falling? Or is it just a question of a natural correction in a market that has grown enormously in the past few years?
Webmaster addition: Certainly the declining economy is going to tighten cash for the streaming services, but the fact is that streaming has never lived up to the hype. Service is unreliable, and in some cases non-existent. Now, maybe it's because I live in a rural area and us country bumpkins don't rate with the streaming management, but I canceled HBO+ because all I kept getting was the dancing dots or messages the service was unavailable. Prime is good, and also Paramount+ although the latter is clearly in decline. Frankly, I was a lot happier with cable, but that is no longer an option with our local provider.
A war between China and Taiwan will be extremely good for business at America’s Frontier Fund, a tech investment outfit whose co-founder and CEO sits on both the State Department Foreign Affairs Policy Board and President Joe Biden’s Intelligence Advisory Board, according to audio from a February 1 event.
The remarks occurred at a tech finance symposium hosted at the Manhattan offices of Silicon Valley Bank. According to attendee Jack Poulson, head of the watchdog group Tech Inquiry, an individual who identified himself as “Tom” attended the event in place of Jordan Blashek, America’s Frontier Fund’s president and chief operating officer.
Following the panel discussion, “Tom” spoke with a gaggle of other attendees and held forth on AFF’s investment in so-called choke points: sectors that would spike in value during a volatile geopolitical crisis, like computer chips or rare earth minerals. It turns out, according to audio published by Poulson, that a war in the Pacific would be tremendous for AFF’s bottom line.
“If the China-Taiwan situation happens, some of our investments will 10x, like overnight,” the person who identified as “Tom” said. “So I don’t want to share the name, but the one example I gave was a critical component that … the total market value is $200 million, but it is a critical component to a $50 billion market cap. That’s like a choke point, right. And so if it’s only produced in China, for example, and there’s a kinetic event in the Pacific, that would 10x overnight, like no question about it. There’s a couple of different things like that.”
More than 70 percent of UK households fear they will be severely hit by the cost-of-living crisis in the first part of 2023, up from 54 percent at the end of last year, a leading business company has revealed.
Survey data from market researcher NielsenIQ showed on Tuesday that rising inflation and deteriorating economic situation have weighed more pressure on Britons during the first month of 2023, disappointing the majority of households about the country’s economic future.
NielsenIQ reported that UK grocery sales on a value basis rose by 7.6 percent in the first four weeks of 2023, due to an increase in food price inflation to 13.8 percent.
However, volume sales fell by 6.9 percent, reflecting the unprecedented deepening of the cost-of-living crisis.
“We expect a challenging first quarter for the grocery industry, with inflation very much top of mind for shoppers,” Mike Watkins, NielsenIQ’s UK head of retailer and business insight, said.
The public is gradually learning how, despite repeated denials and non-answers, top government officials were well aware of the potential for violence on January 6, 2021.
A chief investigator on the January 6 select committee told NBC News last week that law enforcement was privy to a trove of intelligence indicating problems could arise during the election certification process but, for some unexplained reason, chose to ignore the warning signs. “The Intel in advance was pretty specific, and it was enough in our view for law enforcement to have done a better job operationalizing a secure perimeter.” Tim Heaphy told NBC News reporter Ken Dilanian. “Law enforcement had a very direct role in contributing to surely the failures—the security failures that led to the violence.”
Criticism of law enforcement, as I noted here after the release of the committee’s report, was buried in a relatively brief appendix in the 840-page document. Staffers complained for months that former Representative Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) insisted the final work product singularly blame Donald Trump, not government agencies, for the events of January 6.
Cheney got her way. But now that the committee is dissolved, some are going public to reveal what the committee failed to report—and the omissions are far more consequential than private conversations between Ivanka Trump and her father, another odd fixation of Cheney’s. (Perhaps a bit of projection from Dick Cheney’s daughter?)
Binance, the world's largest crypto exchange, will suspend US dollar transfers from Wednesday, and the move is reportedly fueling millions of dollars in outflows from the platform to rivals.
A company spokesperson told several outlets Monday, including CNBC and Bloomberg, that deposits and withdrawals of dollars would cease indefinitely, without giving a reason for the move. Transfers in other fiat currencies such as the euro were unaffected.
In one video, a news anchor with perfectly combed dark hair and a stubbly beard outlined what he saw as the United States’ shameful lack of action against gun violence.
In another video, a female news anchor heralded China’s role in geopolitical relations at an international summit meeting.
But something was off. Their voices were stilted and failed to sync with the movement of their mouths. Their faces had a pixelated, video-game quality and their hair appeared unnaturally plastered to the head. The captions were filled with grammatical mistakes.
The two broadcasters, purportedly anchors for a news outlet called Wolf News, are not real people. They are computer-generated avatars created by artificial intelligence software. And late last year, videos of them were distributed by pro-China bot accounts on Facebook and Twitter, in the first known instance of “deepfake” video technology being used to create fictitious people as part of a state-aligned information campaign.
“This is the first time we’ve seen this in the wild,” said Jack Stubbs, the vice president of intelligence at Graphika, a research firm that studies disinformation. Graphika discovered the pro-China campaign, which appeared intended to promote the interests of the Chinese Communist Party and undercut the United States for English-speaking viewers.
A six-year-old boy who shot and wounded his teacher constantly swore at staff, tried to whip other students with his belt and once choked another teacher 'until she couldn't breathe', a lawyer has claimed.
The incidents were described in a notice sent to the Newport News school district by Diane Toscano, a lawyer for teacher Abby Zwerner who was shot by the same boy earlier this year.
The lawyer informed the district that Ms Zwerner intends to sue.
Webmaster addition: Looks like this liberal ideal of two working parents and the children raised by woke teachers is working out just fine!
The European Patent Office (EPO) has revoked an EU patent held by Impossible Foods, maker of the Impossible Burger. In the US, Impossible’s fake meat products are manufactured with GMO yeast-derived soy leghemoglobin, a controversial ingredient that makes the fake meat look as if it’s bleeding, like undercooked real meat, and that we have argued may not be safe to eat.
Following the EPO’s decision, another fake meat company, Motif FoodWorks, has filed a suite of new petitions with the US Patent and Trademark Office challenging US patents held by Impossible Foods over the use of heme proteins (such as that present in soy leghemoglobin) in meat alternatives, as it defends itself against Impossible’s accusations of patent infringement, according to Food Navigator USA.
Fake meat industry “a flop”
The news about Impossible’s patent fights comes in the wake of an article by Bloomberg describing the rapid decline in the fake meat industry, which it branded “a flop”. The article is titled, “Fake meat was supposed to save the world. It became just another fad”.
Food prices in Sweden have recorded one of the largest hikes since food prices started rising almost a year ago, according to a new report, as European countries grapple with the rapidly worsening cost-of-living crisis.
Citing a survey conducted by price comparison site Matpriskollen, Swedish Television (SVT) reported on Monday that food prices rose by 1.4 percent in January, one of the largest monthly increases since inflation skyrocketed in the country in January 2022.
According to the survey, some items for which inflation was relatively modest last year suddenly became considerably more expensive in January.
"For some items, the price hike was enormous in January," Ulf Mazur, founder and managing director of Matpriskollen, told SVT, citing sugar as an example.
"The remarkable thing is that it was not a long and slow increase but a shock increase (in January) for certain items," Mazur added.
Sweden recorded an annual inflation rate of 12.3 percent in December, according to the data released by Statistics Sweden last month. The figure was the highest since February 1991.
We’ve mentioned before that the one clean way to avoid a national debt default is a discharge petition in which a small number (at least 6) of House Republicans join with Democrats to force a vote on a clean debt ceiling. Once that happens the two sides can get down to negotiating a budget. But today, Don Bacon (R-NE) – Washington’s favorite GOP ‘moderate’ – came out categorically against the idea. As reporter and TPM alum Sahil Kapur puts it, if Bacon won’t do it probably no Republicans will.
In announcing his alliance with Freedom Caucus hardliners, Bacon went the extra step of endorsing their false claims about negotiations. “I think [the discharge petition approach is] DOA. Because the president’s got to make some compromises with Republicans. For him to say my way or the highway — no way.”
This is absurd. The President has made clear he’ll negotiate a budget. That’s how the system works. The White House, the House and the Senate have to agree on a budget for the government to function. What he has said he won’t do is negotiate over whether the House will force the United States to default on its debt obligations for the first time in almost 250 years.
Harry Whittington, the man who former Vice President Dick Cheney accidentally shot while they were hunting quail on a Texas ranch 17 years ago, has died. He was 95.
Whittington died at his home Saturday in Austin, family friend Karl Rove said Monday.
Before Whittington was thrust into the national spotlight after the accidental shooting, the attorney was long known for helping build the Republican Party in Texas into the dominant political force it is today and for being the man governors went to when they needed to clean up troubled state agencies.
“This minimum tax would make sure that the wealthiest Americans no longer pay a tax rate lower than teachers and firefighters,” the White House said in a preview Monday of the economic aspects of Biden’s speech.
Neither of the tax proposals is likely to gain much support in Congress, where Republicans now control the US House.